Whether your existing deck is old and in need of repair or you’re ready to expand and add new features, upgrading your deck can be an exciting home improvement project. Before jumping in, here are a few things to keep in mind about deck replacement, repair, and updates.

First: Deck Replacement or Repair?

The first question to answer if your deck isn’t in great condition is whether it can be repaired or a complete replacement will be necessary. From regular wear and tear to the long-term effects of the area’s climate, a deck can go through a lot over the course of several years. The best way to know whether your deck can be restored or if you need to start from scratch is to have it professionally inspected.

Cosmetic problems can make an otherwise sound deck look like it needs to be demolished when it could be easily repaired. On the other hand, a deck may appear to be in good shape, but the structural elements that are not easy to see may be compromised. In some cases, the deck may not have been built up to code, or changes to local codes will mean extra remediation. In those cases, if the problems cannot be remedied, it may be time for a deck replacement.

In many cases, a deck that needs an overhaul can be spared from a complete demolition by saving the deck framing and posts and replacing the decking. However, if you’re looking to change decking materials (i.e., from natural wood deck to composite decking) or make substantial changes to the deck’s layout or placement, it may be time to start from scratch. 

Next, Consider Your Budget

One of the biggest disappointments of any remodeling or restoration project is discovering that what you’d really love to see is far outside of your budget. On the other hand, there are dozens of ways to upgrade your deck that are affordable. 

The best place to start is knowing how much you can budget for the project from the beginning and sharing that information with your deck builder. Then, you can begin exploring options, and your builder will know right away what is likely to be the best ways to spend your time and money to avoid setting hopes and expectations that cannot be met.

Upgrade Options for Your Deck

There’s nothing wrong with a simple deck that consists of standard decking and railing. However, if there’s room in your budget for a few extras, there are plenty of features you can add that will upgrade your outdoor living area. Here are just a few ideas to think about:

  • Integrated Benches. Built-in benches provide lots of extra seating beyond your patio furniture. For ground-level decks and patios, they can be a great substitution for railings to preserve the open feeling while still marking the boundaries.
  • LED Lighting. From post-cap lights and recessed stair lighting to rail lights and strip lights, LED options provide energy-efficient ways to illuminate your outdoor spaces in nearly any conceivable way.
  • Decorative Lattice & Privacy Panels. Decorative panels provide visual interest as well as privacy to your deck or patio. They can also reduce noise, wind, and sun exposure and make the area more comfortable in various conditions.
  • Hidden Fasteners. Deck screws are the go-to choice for securing decking and railings, but hidden fasteners can provide a smoother surface and a sleeker look overall. They can be a bit labor-intensive to install, which lands them in the upgrade column rather than the standard choice.
  • Built-In Planters. Whether you’re an avid gardener with a bright-green thumb or just like the look of fresh plants (even if you choose low-maintenance artificial greens!), integrated planters are typically made of the same material as the decking and can be purely decorative or strategically placed for added privacy or shade.
  • Decorative Railings & Balusters. Just because it’s outdoors doesn’t mean you’re stuck with plain squares and rectangles! Railings and balusters come in a variety of types and styles and can be a great way to personalize your space.

Getting it Right

The best place to start when considering a deck replacement or upgrade is with a deck builder that you trust. From inspection and planning to finishing the job on-time and on-budget, you’ll want to work with a builder who is transparent about their process and willing to listen to your questions and concerns.

At Mitchell Construction, we built our business on satisfied customers. When you’re ready to get started, call us for your free, no-obligation estimate for your deck repair or replacement project.