By: Geoff Case, Merchant, Pressure-Treated Lumber and Decking, The Home Depot
With outdoor living spaces becoming more popular, it’s time to tackle new projects to upgrade patios and decks this season. Not only can an outdoor living space provide a great return on investment for clients, it can also serve as a valuable room for entertaining where clients can show off their personality – day and night.
Here are a few trendy projects to upgrade patios and decks this summer:
- Lay the Foundation
Outdoor spaces are growing to accommodate a wider range of activities. As a result, we’re seeing the need for more spaces that exceed the skill sets of DIYers, such as adding another tier to a deck or creating a transition to another outdoor area. For instance, the idea of bringing a full-service kitchen or a built-in fire pit to the deck or patio not only is reasonable, but something that might pique your clients’ interests.
Ahead of any potential renovation project, you always want to ensure you and your team have a complete understanding of your clients’ full vision for their new deck or patio. A thorough discussion will help define the desired elements and project timeline.
- Diversity in Decking Options
With recent changes and efficiencies in manufacturing, composite decking offers a variety of benefits to traditional lumber. Fading, staining and mold are no longer an issue with composite boards, which require little maintenance and come in a wide variety of colors.
Basic composite boards have become more affordable and now compete in price with high-end lumber species. At the higher end, there are options that bring an entirely different look to the deck. Many of these styles now mirror the trends in hard flooring, with interesting patterns and designs – often with a look that more closely mirrors natural wood.
While composite boards offer the new design appeal, pressure-treated lumber is still the number one seller when it comes to decks. Even if clients want a high-end species or fancy composite look on top, pros know that the underlying support structure of beams and joists should always be made of more affordable wood.
However, we still see pros that are not aware of the new guidelines for ground contact lumber that were implemented in 2016. Many do not know until the local inspector turns down a job, at which point all profit on the project is lost. The Home Depot stocks lumber that matches the latest requirements, so be sure to talk with your local Pro desk and ensure you are using the right products.
- Minimalist Railing
Over the past several, the trend for railing systems has been a “less is more” approach. It’s all about keeping railing as small as possible within code to create an open feel and better sight lines for clients. For clients willing to make the investment, cable-railing systems deliver visibility and durability without overpowering the space. Likewise, metal balusters have grown in popularity thanks to their lower price point and minimal upkeep. Overall, choosing pre-built railing systems will help cut down time and expenses.
- Light up the Night
When hosting nighttime events, your clients likely will need more than a clear, starry sky to brighten up their deck or patio space. Consider implementing low-voltage LED lights under railings and steps for added visibility. These lights not only blend in well with the deck’s overall layout, but provide significant energy savings (80 percent less than standard deck lights) and longer lifespans (up to 50,000 hours). As a complementary installation, post caps also can add sophistication and practicality for elevated lighting.
- Simple Maintenance & Upkeep
Pros know that the key to keeping decks fresh is consistent maintenance with stains and sealers, but consumers may not. A resurfacing liquid, such as BEHR’s DeckOver, can enliven a deck and keep it shining for years to come. It can also help eliminate mildew, hide cracks and splinters, creating a smooth, slip-resistant finish.
These new and trendy projects can give clients an invaluable space to enjoy during this warm season.