For me, part of the challenge of custom remodeling has been the opportunity to try something new. When I saw the potential to combine an interesting deck design and new materials, I immediately went to my prospective clients, who received the ideas enthusiastically.
From their house near Long Island Sound, my prospective clients had a wonderful view of a salt marsh and the estuary beyond. They also had a small yard and wanted a backyard deck for recreational space.
After several meetings, we drew up a plan for a stacked semicircular deck. The family could watch marsh birds from the top level or sit around a cozy fireplace/barbecue on the lower deck. A grand staircase facing the water, a wraparound bench and a small side stair completed the basic design.
My clients also wanted a deck that would withstand constant exposure to salt and the weather extremes of New England. Although we would use pressure-treated yellow pine for the framing material, we ruled out pressure-treated decking because it tends to crack and check after a few seasons. Wooden lumber would also have required steam-bending to fit the desired curves. Having had four years of experience building decks with wood-polymer composites, I suggested Trex decking (www.trex.com), which fit the bill perfectly. (For alternatives, see Sources for synthetic decking.)
Alhough framed with pressure-treated yellow pine, this deck has skirtboards, railings and deck boards made of Trex, a composite of recycled polyethylene and wood. Photo: Charles Bickford.