Deck - Before Pictures

It's going to be a beautiful week here in North Carolina! The weather is cool in the mornings and perfect for the first week of the fall season.

We are starting a lot of home projects this fall, mostly for the exterior, and first up is the deck!

Our house has three decks. We had the smaller two decks replaced in 2019 with plans of replacing the largest deck the following year. We were just trying to break up the expense a bit without knowing what 2020 would hold, otherwise we would have just replaced them all at the same time in 2019.

When it became really challenging to get lumber and the lumber prices skyrocketed last year, we had to put replacing the large deck on hold. Now that prices are back down to normal, this deck is more than ready for it's makeover.

When replacing the decks, we considered a lot of options. My first choice would have been to do composite decking instead of wood. The samples we saw basically looked identical to our current deck color and I loved the thought of not having wood that will rot. 

Since our house is on a large wooded lot, it stays shaded and damp. The wood will likely need replacing every 10 years. I came up with that estimate because we have lived in our house almost 10 years now and haven't needed to replace them until recently. Composite decking is much pricier but would last approximately 30 years. Ultimately, we decided to stick with wood based on the huge upfront cost difference, even though in 30 years it may have evened out.

Here's the current condition of the wood:

It's soft and rotting in lots of places, which not only looks bad, but is probably not very safe. Our decks are about 20 feet elevated from the ground.

Secondly, in addition to composite decking, I would have loved to do cable railing. I feel like it would enhance the aesthetic and fit the contemporary style of our home. One of the highlights of our house is the views from outside, so the cable railing (and our current horizontal wood railings) doesn't deflect from the view. The normal vertical railing typical of most decks just wouldn't look right for our home. 

Here's a picture of the railing I would have chosen in a world where money doesn't matter:

But alas, this is a very expensive look to achieve and doesn't make the most sense for us right now, especially since we are embarking on several other outdoor projects in addition to this deck one. 

Brian was also concerned about the maintenance and the cables needing cleaning, replacing or potentially rusting. Since he does all of the exterior household maintenance and upkeep, I valued his input on this and didn't push too hard to get my way...but that cable railing would have looked sleek. :)

Goals for the deck makeover are as follows ranked by priority:
- Replacing the wood (starts this week!)
- New seating for the concrete table 
- Add lighting on deck railings and/or hang string lights
- Add plants

As much as I love the look of outdoor rugs and cushioned furniture, our house stays too wet and it would immediately mold, so there's not much style-wise to incorporate other than plants and lighting. I think the lighting will make it feel more cozy, like it's an outdoor extension of our living room. We've really been able to achieve a contemporary yet cozy vibe in most of our home. We have music on the decks via our Sonos speakers that are installed around the outside of our home. Music + mood lighting + drinks + good company...all the elements needed for a perfect evening! 

I hope once the deck has completed it's makeover, maybe we will find ourselves using it more.

Here's some of my inspiration pictures for this project:

Our deck has a similar lower area for main seating and an upper nook