By Lance McCarthy
When I was in seventh grade, I had a horrible sense of style. (I’m actually not sure things have changed very much since then). I remember going to school with Jamz (don’t remember these? That’s a good thing) on when other kids were wearing jean shorts. I wore my jeans loose when other kids were tight-rolling the bottoms. I had long hair when the style was short. The list could go on. Point is, I was out of step with the in-crowd when it comes to fashion. This may be why I only had one friend. Fred, if you’re out there, thanks for being my friend in seventh grade. It didn’t make for a fun middle school experience, I can assure you.
It got me thinking about house fashion (is that a real thing? I’m gonna go with it). We know the obvious ones–grandma’s blue tiled bathroom where all the fixtures are the same color. Or carpet in the kitchen (sorry mother-in-law, it’s cool in your case). But there are definitely trends in outdoor spaces as well. I prefer to think that they have a little more purpose behind them than the tigh-rolled jeans craze of the late ‘80’s, although that may have been healthier for growing adolescent legs, who knows?
Screws you can see–Out. Hidden fasteners–In
When I started building decks in the ‘90’s, most of them were face-nailed or screwed down. Now it is so much cleaner without seeing lines of screws.
Some of them like Cortex go straight through the top of the board and get a deck colored plug. Some like TigerClaw mount to the side or underneath. But they all give you a great looking finished product, and you will never again have to stub your to on a nail sticking up.
Pressure treated wood–Out. Composite–In.
Pressure treated wood just can’t get no respect. The nice thing is the price. Pressure treated pine is still the cheapest way to build a deck. The problem is the wood. It still only lasts 15-20 years, and it loves to warp and splinter over time. Composites like Trex or Azek last much longer, and don’t splinter. There is some maintenance, but nothing like the god-forsaken work of stripping and re-sealing an old wood deck.
Wood spindles–Out. Metal railing–In.
No more 2x2s along the rail. If you are cool, you use a steel or powder coated aluminum railing system like the one from Fortress. Less maintenance over time, plenty of styles to choose from, and you are able to see through your railing easier than on the old decks.
That big security porch light–Out. All kinds of cool lighting–In.
I don’t think I need to explain this further, but those of you that light your deck with the motion sensing security light where you have to wave at it to get it to go back on if the party gets too slow, you know who you are. Cool lighting can change all that. If you need help here, call my buddy John Bruce with Outdoor Lighting Perspectives. He’ll hook you up.
Wanna know about “the next big thing”?
The next thing in decking will be steel structures–like Elevations from Trex. No more wood rot or termite damage here. They are more expensive than wood, but they are light, perfectly straight, and don’t have that bouncy feeling that some wood decks have.