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Upgrade your outdoor space, increase homes value
Pleasant and useable outdoor space enhances a homes value. - photo by Photo Contributed

Whether you are looking for a way to increase the marketability of your home, or simply looking for a way to make your outdoor space more enjoyable, a deck remodel adds living space to your home and value to your house. And if you start your project now, you'll have plenty of time to enjoy it during the warmer months.

Home remodeling is projected to pick up steam by year's end, according to a recent report by the Remodeling Futures Program at Harvard University. If you're one of the many considering a home remodeling project, a deck remodel is a simple project that offers more than a 60 percent payback according to Hanley-Wood's Remodeling magazine's Cost vs. Value Report for 2011-12. Another nice thing about a deck remodel is you can either go all out with a complete redesign, or pick and choose a few small projects that can have big effects in upgrading your outdoor living space. And whichever way you slice it, a deck remodel usually ends up being a lot less expensive than remodeling your kitchen, living room or basement.

Where to start

When you decide to remodel your deck, one of the first decisions you'll make is what type of material to use for the job. Composite decking offers a great way to add beauty, while reducing time you'll spend on maintenance. While composite has always been a low-maintenance option, composite decking providers have come a long way since the last time you may have purchased decking materials.

For example, Fiberon composite decking offers capped composite options that closely mimic traditional grains and exotic hardwoods, a far cry from the plain and plastic-looking composite of years ago. With options like these, you'll get the gorgeous appearance of wood, without splinters, twisted boards and rot. And you won't be staining or painting it every two years. Plus you'll have warranties against fading and staining. Whether you're redesigning a grand deck that dramatically increases the footprint of your living space or simply resurfacing the small deck off your urban condo, composite is a great option.

Once you've chosen your material, it's time to decide on the layout. Do you like the existing design of your deck, or are you looking to add a level for a little more dimension? Meet with a deck builder, who specializes in outdoor spaces to go over your plans and get a cost estimate, or visit the Design & Build section at to use their free tool that facilitates designing your own deck.

Other updates to consider

Updating the rails on your deck is another great option to add fresh life to your outdoor oasis. New railings offer a way to add color, dimension and character to your deck. Plus, quality railings are needed for safety around higher level deck elevations. This can either be done in concert with a complete remodel, or as a smaller side project if your current surface is still in good shape.

Since your deck connects you to the outdoors and allows you to comfortably enjoy your backyard, consider bringing nature a little closer by adding plants. Deck builders are craftsmen who can easily add built-in planters, bench seating and lighting as part of your remodel. Then hit the garden store to browse their selection of potted plants, weather-resistant seating and umbrellas. If you already have furniture, adding colorful new pillows or painting wrought iron furniture is often all you need to add new life to your space. Lighting makes evenings more enjoyable and promotes a festive atmosphere or can set the mood just right for a peaceful, relaxing night on your deck.

By updating your deck, you'll be able to enjoy a nice, comfortable outdoor living space and know that you'll be increasing the attractiveness and value of your home in the process.