Category: Trex Composite Decks

The Importance of Proper Deck Planning: Tips for a Successful Project

Deck contractor building and planning a new deck construction project

Building a deck is more than just an addition to your home; it’s an investment in your quality of life. A well-designed deck can serve as an outdoor extension of your living space, offering a sanctuary for relaxation, a hub for family gatherings, and a venue for social events. However, the success of your deck project hinges on proper planning. Without a well-thought-out plan, you risk ending up with a structure that doesn’t meet your needs, exceeds your budget, or even worse, is unsafe to use. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the importance of proper deck planning and offer tips to ensure your project is a resounding success.

Why Planning is Crucial

Budget Considerations

One of the most common pitfalls in deck construction is overshooting the budget. Proper planning helps you outline all the costs involved, from materials to labor, and allows you to make informed decisions that align with your financial capabilities. A contractor can provide a detailed estimate, helping you avoid unexpected costs.

Functionality and Design

A deck should not just be aesthetically pleasing; it should also be functional. Planning helps you decide the size, shape, and features that best suit your lifestyle. A professional deck contractor can help translate your vision into a feasible design, advising on the best materials and structural elements to suit your needs.

Safety and Compliance

Building a deck involves adhering to local building codes and regulations. Proper planning ensures that your deck is not only safe but also legal. A contractor can handle the task of obtaining all necessary permits and scheduling inspections, ensuring your deck is up to code.

Key Steps in Deck Planning

Assess Your Needs

Before you even think about design, consider what you’ll be using the deck for. Is it primarily for dining and entertaining? Do you need it to be kid-friendly? Or is it a peaceful retreat for reading and relaxation? Your intended use will guide many of your subsequent decisions.

Choose the Right Location

The location of your deck matters. It affects not just the construction process but also your enjoyment of the finished product. A contractor can assess your property to recommend the most suitable location, considering factors like sunlight, wind direction, and proximity to neighbors.

Select Materials Wisely

The materials you choose will have a significant impact on the longevity and maintenance requirements of your deck. A contractor can guide you through the pros and cons of different materials, helping you make an informed decision.

Create a Detailed Plan

Once you’ve gathered all the necessary information, it’s time to create a detailed plan. This should include dimensions, structural details, and a list of materials. A contractor can provide detailed blueprints, serving as the roadmap for the entire project.

Budget and Timeline

With your plans in hand, you can now create a budget and timeline. Be realistic and account for potential delays like bad weather or material shortages. A contractor can help establish a realistic budget and timeline, accounting for potential delays and unexpected costs.

Obtain Permits and Inspections

Before construction begins, make sure to obtain all required permits. Your contractor can handle this cumbersome task, ensuring your deck is up to code.

Tips for a Successful Deck Project

  1. Consult Professionals: Even if you’re well-versed in home improvement, consulting with a professional contractor can provide valuable insights.
  2. Think Long-Term: Choose materials and designs that will stand the test of time, both in terms of durability and style.
  3. Prioritize Safety: From railings to staircases, make sure every component of your deck is safe and up to code.
  4. Consider Future Add-Ons: Plan for possible future additions like a pergola, hot tub, or outdoor kitchen. Even if you can’t afford them now, preparing the structure to accommodate them later is wise.
  5. Review and Revise: Don’t be afraid to make changes to your plan as you go along. Flexibility can often lead to a better end result.

Proper planning is the cornerstone of any successful deck project. It sets the stage for everything that follows, ensuring that you end up with a deck that not only enhances your home but also enriches your life. So take the time to plan carefully; your future deck will thank you.

Filed under: Deck Design, Decks, Trex Composite Decks

Creating an Outdoor Oasis: Incorporating Landscaping into Your Deck Design

Trex composite deck with plants and furniture

Outdoor living spaces have become an essential part of modern homes, providing a seamless transition between the indoors and the natural world. A well-designed deck can be more than just a place to grill and gather; it can be a tranquil oasis that reflects your personal style and connects with the surrounding landscape. Here’s how you can create an outdoor oasis by incorporating landscaping into your deck design.

1. Understanding Your Space

Understanding your space is the foundation of creating an outdoor oasis. It’s about recognizing the unique characteristics of your yard and how they can be harmonized with your deck design. From the way the sunlight hits different areas to the natural flow of the landscape, every detail matters. By carefully assessing the area and identifying key features, you can create a design that feels natural, functional, and aesthetically pleasing. Avoiding common mistakes like ignoring the surroundings or overcrowding the space ensures that your outdoor oasis will be a comfortable and inviting retreat.

Do’s

  • Assess the Area: Consider the size, shape, and orientation of your deck and yard. Think about how the sun, wind, and other elements will affect the space.
  • Identify Key Features: Recognize existing features like trees, ponds, or slopes, and integrate them into the design.

Don’ts

  • Ignore the Surroundings: Avoid overlooking the existing landscape and how it interacts with your deck.
  • Overcrowd the Space: Don’t add too many elements that can make the area feel cramped or unbalanced.

2. Choosing the Right Plants

  • Select Native Plants: Native plants are adapted to your local climate and soil, making them easier to maintain.
  • Consider Scale and Proportion: Choose plants that complement the size of your deck and don’t overwhelm the space.

Plants for Connecticut:

  • Perennials: Black-Eyed Susan, Coneflower, and Joe-Pye Weed.
  • Shrubs: Mountain Laurel, Inkberry, and Summersweet.
  • Trees: Eastern Redbud, Dogwood, and Sugar Maple.
  • Grasses: Switchgrass and Little Bluestem.

Plants for Massachusetts:

  • Perennials: Bee Balm, Goldenrod, and Lupine.
  • Shrubs: Bayberry, Viburnum, and Witch Hazel.
  • Trees: American Elm, Red Maple, and White Pine.
  • Grasses: Indian Grass and Northern Sea Oats.

3. Incorporating Hardscape Elements

  • Use Natural Materials: Stone, wood, and other natural materials can create a harmonious connection between your deck and the landscape.
  • Add Water Features: A small fountain or pond can add a soothing ambiance.

4. Creating Functional Zones

Dining and Cooking Area Ideas:

  • Outdoor Kitchen: Consider adding a built-in grill, sink, and prep area. Stainless steel appliances are durable and weather resistant.
  • Pizza Oven: A wood-fired pizza oven can be a unique addition.
  • Bar Area: Including a bar with seating can create a social hub.
  • Cooking Safety: Ensure proper ventilation and fire safety measures.

Relaxation Zone:

  • Outdoor Fireplace: Options include wood-burning, gas, or a fire pit, with materials like natural stone, brick, or fire-rated concrete.
  • Seating Arrangement: Arrange comfortable seating around the fireplace.

Safety Considerations:

  • Fire Safety: Ensure construction to local building codes and include proper safety barriers.
  • Material Selection: Use non-combustible and heat-resistant materials.

5. Lighting and Accessories

  • Use Ambient Lighting: Soft lighting can create a warm and inviting atmosphere.
  • Add Personal Touches: Decorative accessories like cushions, rugs, and art can make the space feel personalized.

Trex Lighting Examples:

  • Deck Post Cap Light: Tucked discreetly under the cap, providing a warm downward glow.
  • Stair Riser Light: Installed into step risers, durable for years of foot traffic.
  • Recessed Deck Light: Subtle dot lights that install flush on the deck boards.
  • Aluminum Post Cap Light: Integrates lighting into the Trex Signature® aluminum post.
  • Wedge Deck Rail Light: Versatile post lamp that can be installed on composite sleeves.
  • Energy Efficiency: Trex deck lighting uses 75% less energy compared to incandescent.
  • Easy Installation: DIY-friendly with the built-in Trex LightHub® connection system.

6. Sustainability Considerations

  • Water Conservation: Use drought-tolerant plants and efficient irrigation systems.
  • Eco-friendly Materials: Examples include recycled composite decking, reclaimed wood, bamboo, permeable pavers, solar lighting, recycled metal, and low-VOC paints and stains.

7. Working with Professionals

  • Consult a Landscape Designer: A professional can help you create a cohesive design.
  • Hire a Skilled Deck Contractor: Ensure that the construction is done to code and meets your quality standards.

Creating an outdoor oasis is more than just adding a few plants around your deck. It’s about designing a space that resonates with your lifestyle and connects with the natural environment. By thoughtfully incorporating landscaping into your deck design, you can create a tranquil retreat that enhances your home’s beauty and offers a place to relax and entertain. If you need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to experts like Regan Total Construction who specialize in creating beautiful outdoor living spaces.

Filed under: Decks, Trex Composite Decks

Factors to Consider Before Hiring a Deck Builder

Deck contractor building a new composite trex deck

Do you want to know the secret to creating the perfect deck of your dreams? Hiring the right deck builder. You can explain your vision to several deck and patio builders, but only the most experienced and specialized contractors will be able to carry through with it. Nowadays, deck building has become a specialized trade and shouldn’t be left in the hands of a general contractor.

With so many different options you have for your deck, it’s critical to work with deck companies that are knowledgeable and experienced. You’re making a major investment in your home by building a deck, so it needs to be done properly. Take your time when talking to various Trex deck contractors and consider these factors before hiring one.

Only Consider Specialized Deck And Patio Builders

General contractors are capable of building decks. However, with the ever-changing building code requirements and manufacturer restrictions, general contractors typically don’t keep up with them. That’s why opting for specialized deck and patio builders is the best option. They will ensure all codes and regulations are followed and the necessary permits are pulled. Specialized deck builders also know about manufacturer installation instructions and understand the product inside and out. This can give you peace of mind knowing all decking, railing, and trim will be installed per the manufacturer’s instructions. The deck will perform correctly, last longer, and the manufacturer’s warranty will be valid.

Look Out For Red Flags In Communication

Once you’ve identified a few Trex deck contractors to interview, you need to look for characteristics to separate them. Communication is a vital component of any home renovation project, especially deck building. If a contractor is too busy to return your initial phone call timely, then it’s a red flag that they might be too busy to communicate with you effectively throughout the project. The contractor should be clear and transparent with their communication from the very beginning. You will appreciate prioritizing this characteristic once the project gets going.

Ensure All Agreements Are In Writing

Ask all deck companies you interview if they will provide contracts and agreements in writing before the project begins. Some contractors will make multiple promises during the interview process and then neglect to relay those to their team. That’s why getting a written agreement is so critical. Whether it’s holding them accountable to their timeline, certain features promised with your deck, pricing, or anything else, you need something in writing to fall back on.

Ask For References

The best deck and patio builders should have plenty of references and won’t be afraid to give some to you. If they hesitate to provide them to you, it should be perceived as a warning sign that they might not make their customers very happy. And if they do, be sure to utilize the references to help you through the interview process. Reach out to those references and ask important questions like:

  • What was the process like when working with this contractor?
  • Were you kept informed throughout the project?
  • Were all agreements met to your expectations?
  • Would you consider working with this contractor again for future projects?

If possible, send these types of questions to three different references. Everyone has unique situations, so getting input from different people can give you a good idea about how the contractor works. If a reference provides any concerning information to you, then feel free to bring it up to the contractor and allow them to explain.

Does The Contractor Offer Workmanship Guarantees?

Skilled and experienced Trex deck contractors should be confident in their workmanship. When you opt for high-quality decks like Trex decks, you can take advantage of manufacturer warranties. You shouldn’t have to worry about any workmanship issues when you work with specialized deck and patio builders, but it’s best to have some guarantees in your back pocket just in case.

Ask contractors if they will come back at no charge if you identify any defects or issues within the first year or two after the deck is built. Even after a thorough inspection following the completion of the project, you might not realize a defect. Once you start using the deck how it’s intended, you may notice a board is not secured thoroughly or other similar issues. Knowing your contractor has a workmanship guarantee can give you peace of mind in these situations.

Understand Lead Times And Completion Dates Thoroughly

Be careful with contractors who make promises that seem a little too good to be true. While it may be possible to build a deck in two or three days, it’s usually unrealistic if the contractor is juggling other projects. No one likes to live in a construction zone for longer than they have to, so nail down all lead times and completion dates with your contractor. Unforeseen circumstances can happen that lead to delays, but as long as the contractor communicates with you, then it shouldn’t seem like as big of a deal.

Regan Total Construction is skilled and specialized in building various types of decks. We specialize in building Trex decks, which is widely regarded as being the best type of decking you can invest in today. Whether you want a small patio to enjoy reading a book on in the evenings or a large deck for hosting parties and gatherings, we have you covered. Don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule a free consultation and let us start the process of turning your dreams into realities!

 

 

Filed under: Decks, Patios, Trex Composite Decks

Three Key Differences Between Composite Decks and Natural Wood Decks

composite decking next to wood decking for comparison

Adding a new deck to your backyard can instantly improve your lifestyle. And if you already have a deck that’s been there for several years, it might be time for a deck replacement. Regardless of your situation, deciding between a composite deck and a natural wood deck is one of the most important things to consider. There are some major advantages and disadvantages of each material to help you make the best decision. We’ve discussed those here for you.

Consider The Durability Between Natural Wood And Composite Decking

Natural wood decks are often the top choice for homeowners because wood is durable and can last up to 30 years when maintained properly. However, composite decking contractors will tell you composite decks are even more durable and can last for around 50 years if it’s cared for.

When natural wood decks are exposed to harsh weather elements, they can eventually splinter, warp, rot, and even attract termites. So if your wood deck will be rained on, then you’ll have to deal with these issues over time. Wood decks will also fade when intense sunlight hits them, so you’ll constantly need to stain and protect them. Generally, composite decking contractors agree you don’t have to worry about those issues with composite decking. The long-lasting and durable materials are designed to be long-lasting no matter the weather elements where you live.

Understand The Maintenance Required

Whether you’re looking at a deck replacement or installing a new deck from scratch, you should understand the maintenance required for each type of material. While a natural wood deck looks amazing when it’s first installed and for many years, it takes a lot of work and maintenance to keep it that way. It’s important to clean the deck of any debris as soon as possible when it looks dirty, and many people choose to lightly pressure wash it a few times each year. And since decks tend to have a lot of foot traffic, you’ll also have to repaint or stain it every couple of years to keep it looking nice.

With a composite deck replacement, you don’t have to worry about having to repaint or stain it. And as far as cleaning goes, sweeping it off when needed and scrubbing it with soap and water a couple of times each year is all that’s usually required to ensure it remains in great shape. Most composite decking contractors see people choose composite decking over natural wood primarily because of the less maintenance required.

Cost Considerations

Cost is always a consideration whether you’re looking for composite decking contractors or comparing deck materials. When you’re building a new deck, you don’t want to opt for cheap labor or materials because you likely won’t be satisfied with the end product. And it likely won’t last as long as you’d like.

While there’s nothing wrong with a traditional natural wood deck, it’s enticing for people because the materials are less expensive upfront. However, what many people don’t consider is the investment you have to make to maintain it. The cost of paint and stain can add up over time, not to mention the hours you have to spend every year keeping it clean. On the other hand, composite decks are more expensive to install, but you shouldn’t have to spend much more on maintaining them in the future. So if you’re on a budget now, then a natural wood deck can offer great value. But if you have a little extra money to spend, then it’s worth it for most people to invest in a composite deck.

Are Composite Decks Better Than Natural Wood Decks?

There are some clear advantages to composite decks over natural wood decks. Composite decks don’t require much maintenance and have a lifespan of nearly twice as long as natural wood decks. Combine this with the durability of composite materials and many homeowners believe the extra cost is well worth it.

However, this doesn’t mean natural wood decks should be avoided completely. Some people aren’t worried about having to maintain a wood deck and enjoy painting or staining it frequently to change up the look. You can enjoy both types of materials just the same. As long as you know what it will take to enjoy each type of deck for years to come, then you can make an informed decision and feel confident with it.

The Right Contractor Can Help You Make The Best Decision

When you search for “composite decking companies near me,” you’ll likely see multiple results. Not all composite decking contractors are the same, though, so it’s critical to find the best option. Interview multiple companies and have them come to your house to provide an estimate and talk about their process. Cutting corners is not an option when building a deck, and that’s what many contractors will do if they offer you a low cost estimate.

Regan Total Construction specializes in building custom decks homeowners can enjoy for years to come. Choosing between a natural wood deck and a composite deck is a difficult decision for many homeowners and we can help present you with facts to help you make a confident decision. We use only the best materials and our professionals will never cut corners during a project. If you’re ready to start the process of your deck replacement, contact us today and we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Filed under: Decks, Trex Composite Decks, Wood Decks

The Importance of Quality Decking Material

Beautiful composite deck with inground pool

When you’re ready to start spending more time in your backyard sipping lemonade and taking in the views, a quality deck is a must-have. Over time, decks continue to evolve and become more accommodating with their design and build. The planning process determines the lifespan of the feature and how much use you get out of it in the coming years. There are a few reasons you should consider investing in quality decking material instead of cutting corners when you hire deck contractors.

Protect Your Safety

You can’t put a price on the safety of your family, especially when they spend time at home. Investing in quality decking material will offer peace of mind and reduce the risk of accidents or injuries as your loved ones spend time on the deck. Lower-quality materials that come with a cheaper price tag are prone to collapsing as they age and deteriorate. Frequent exposure to the elements can weaken the parts and make them more susceptible to damage, making it necessary to talk to deck companies about the best options available.

Although you may want to save more on cheap decking materials, it can come at a higher price in the future. You can end up spending a lot more on medical bills and the trauma that comes with a deck collapsing. Deck companies can recommend the best materials to ensure they last longer and hold up well in different types of climates.

You can spend your hard-earned money on a deck that is on par with current building and safety codes and is safe for both children and adults to use year-round. You also won’t have to trip over popped out nails or avoid cutting yourself on the materials because they won’t come loose over time.

You’ll also end up spending more money to perform repairs or build a new deck with the help of local deck companies in the area. Spending more upfront while hiring top rated deck builders can offer peace of mind and avoid potential headaches in the future.

Upscale Appearance

Quality decking materials like PVC and wood will enhance the look of your deck and allow it to appear more attractive. This can transform the look of your backyard and even increase your home value. In addition, the deck will look beautiful year-round when you select quality materials rather than resorting to pressure-treated pine or chemical-treated wood.

The deck will continue to look new for many years to come because the materials won’t wear down as quickly when exposed to the elements. If you need assistance selecting the right material, search for “top rated deck builders near me” to get professional help from reputable deck companies in the local area.

If you choose composite materials, they have a natural appearance that will make your guests assume you have a real wood deck. This can allow you to attain a specific look without compromising on the quality. The materials are visually appealing and don’t have any visible nails to create a more professional look.

A Longer Lifespan

Most homeowners don’t want to spend a significant amount of time and energy building a new deck only to redo the process in a few years. Those who choose cheaper decking materials don’t think about this and only think about the money they’re spending. With quality materials used the first time, the deck can last a lot longer. The most durable decks can hold up for 40 years with proper care and maintenance. When working with top rated deck builders near me, you can also obtain warranties to protect your investment.

It’s a lot more cost-effective to invest in better materials upfront rather than spending even more in the coming years to rebuild the deck multiple times. You’ll only need to hire deck contractors once every few decades instead of paying for their labor every ten years.

Fewer Repairs

It’s no secret durable materials hold up better and are less prone to wearing down and breaking as quickly. You can spend less on repairs and hiring deck companies to fix issues if you invest in better materials when the deck is built. This means you don’t have to deal with hiring a professional to replace a post or deck board. The railing will be a lot more sturdy and won’t crack or snap in the middle of a storm compared to cheaper materials. You can spend more time enjoying the outdoor feature rather than performing frequent maintenance.

Save Time and Energy

Deck contractors will tell you that one of the most frequent types of maintenance on low-cost decking materials is staining the wood. The wood is prone to fading with regular sun exposure and can quickly look old and dingy the longer it’s outside. Staining your deck or repainting it is a weekend project that no one looks forward to due to the work involved.

There are many options to consider regarding the quality and cost with the materials you select for your new deck. Each material available varies with the benefits and drawbacks, making it necessary to do some research to determine the best choice for your property. By choosing any type of wood material, it will require maintenance to prevent the wood from aging or looking old. However, some wood materials like pressure-treated wood will require on-going maintenance and care their entire lifetime to ensure they can hold up well in different climates and seasons. Specialty hardwoods, like different types of mahogany or oak, will stand up to the elements better, but if they are not regularly maintained, the color shade will quickly start to fade and look gray. Composite, vinyl, and aluminum decking materials are durable enough to hold up well in any type of weather or climate. Contractors recommend cleaning them regularly to enhance their appearance, but this isn’t essential to maintain their durability or color shade.

When you want a deck you can show off and get more use out of, the Regan Total Construction team is here to build the deck of your dreams. Contact us today to get started on building a maintenance-free deck.

Filed under: Decks, Trex Composite Decks, Wood Decks