Nothing beats relaxing in the shade or entertaining a group of guests on your own private deck. When you take the time to plan your deck for the way you live, the result can be a versatile living space and a value-boosting addition to your home.
Trent Boozer, publisher of Extreme How-To magazine, notes his readers have made it clear that decks are one of the top projects they love to design and build. The Internet is full of deck plans and planning tools – and with the range of decking products and accessories on the market, every deck can take on a personality of its own, he says.
Personalization is what makes the deck an extension of the home, says Rick Preble of Deckorators, the leading deck accessory brand that embraces the concept of deck personalization.
“The idea of an outdoor living room has really materialized as people have reattached to their existing homes,” says Preble. A cost-effective way to add square footage and upgrade your lifestyle without moving is with a deck. With all the deck products and accessories available today, homeowners can customize their outdoor rooms.”
Deckorators has made the process of mixing and matching different deck accessories and building materials easy with a new, easy-to-use online design program: the Deckorators’ Deck Visualizer. The online tool is free and provides homeowners a way to visually discover the different design options they like best for personalizing a deck.
The Deck Visualizer allows the user to set the virtual deck environment to a lake or backyard view and then change the deck accessories for limitless combinations. Users can select the color or grain of composite or wood decking, select the style of metal or even glass balusters, add baluster infill centerpieces, change railing colors, and add post caps, lighting options and even stone.
“This deck design program is fun for homeowners to use and is a great tool for deck planning,” says Preble. “We work with hundreds of deck builders, and they appreciate having this when working with clients. It allows both consumers and deck builders to visualize different options and choose deck products prior to constructing a deck.”
The North American Deck and Railing Association website (nadra.org) is another good place for consumers to start when gathering information for a deck build. The organization has a large gallery of photographs of decks that have received national awards for design or construction.
Michael Beaudry, executive vice president of NADRA, says consumers are definitely hungry for deck design ideas and information on new products. NADRA offers resources to help consumers with deck and rail design and deck safety. The organization’s website also provides access to more than 1,750 different building products companies.
Homeowners who want to build or who are renovating an existing deck will find new trends for 2011. One material making its move onto decks is stone.
Deckorators cast stone Postcovers, which install over rail posts, are one new product in high demand. The postcovers provide the same look and feel as natural stone columns, but are designed to install over basic wood posts. Postcovers are hand-painted to look like cobblestone, fieldstone or stacked stone. The simulated product costs far less than real masonry work and makes it possible for do-it-yourselfers or contractors to add simulated stone columns to a deck.
“Stone or simulated stone on a deck has become possible with new products, and it’s another example of interior design trends and the mixing of various elements making their way to outdoor living areas,” Preble says.
Experts agree that putting the time into planning your deck up front and knowing what your product options are is the best way to ensure you end up with a space your family will embrace as a true outdoor living room.
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