Forty years ago, pressure-treated deck boards were the greatest thing to hit the housing market since, er, vinyl siding.
But while treated lumber holds up well under most conditions, it's going to need work—cleaning, stripping, sanding, and sealing.
Today, composite decking does even treated wood one better by doing away with the bulk of the upkeep. Made of a mix of waste wood or cellulose fiber and plastic, composite boards typically require only an occasional cleaning. Same goes for new nonwood railings offered in a variety of materials, including composite, vinyl, glass, and metal.
Deck designs have evolved, too, with more homeowners seeking activity-specific spaces that mimic rooms inside their houses. The deck has become a hub for outdoor living and entertaining.
This deck, designed by Archadeck of North Atlanta
, wraps the house with multiple activity zones, including a dining area, a breakfast bar, and
a hearth. The spaces are delineated by the deck's irregular footprint, by steps that lead up and down, and by the way the deck boards run in different directions. Designing around existing trees helps blend the deck into the landscape.