Homeowners love their outdoor living space to look just as stylish as their indoor living space. That requires comfortable furnishings, high quality materials and installation techniques that will provide the smoothest finish even when exposed to harsh weather conditions. Specialty fasteners are available to make the surface of your Virginia deck look sleek and feel comfortable no matter what the weather throws at it. There are also design ideas for the railing and stairs that will help create a more luxurious space that truly feels like an extension of your home.
Common Construction Techniques
Pressure treated wood deck boards are most often nailed or screwed through the top of the board – commonly two fasteners per joist, resulting in multiple nail or screw heads on the surface of your deck. You can opt for colored screw heads, which hide the fasteners a little, but this type of finish is not nearly enough for some homeowners. They are looking for a more permanent and fool proof solution.
Many composite deck boards on the market are installed using a clip system. Clips are attached to the joist and deck boards are held in place thanks to a groove carved down the bull nose on each side. This tongue and groove design allows for solid construction and provides a fastener-free finish on the top of the deck boards.
Unfortunately the same system will not work for a wood deck board, unless the groove has been routed in. Some cedar products include this option, but that product isn’t commonly found in Virginia. For wood decks (either cedar, pressure treated or another type of timber) the contractors must rely on a different system in order to ensure the deck boards are secured and the fasteners hidden.
There are certain products on the market that allow wood deck boards (and solid composite decking without the groove) to be fastened from the bottom, which provides a smooth surface for walking. Most often these are attached directly to the joists and present a lip that can then be nailed or screwed in from the bottom – through the plastic or metal strip and into the deck board. It is a difficult process to do for ground level decks, but if you have the space and inclination these products can provide a beautiful finish on your Virginia deck.
Be prepared for a fastener-free system to increase the cost of your deck project. Not only will you need to buy this product, but the use of clips or strips will require more fasteners as well. Labor is another factor to consider.
Installing your deck boards in this way is very time consuming, so you can expect that your professional decking contractor will charge more for their services. If a smooth deck surface is important to you, the added cost is certainly worth it.
Railing and Stairs
To make your deck look more like a luxurious indoor living space choose maintenance free materials for your railing. Aluminum, composite and vinyl deck railing will provide attractive textures and color without the need for staining or painting. They can also be cleaned up with a hose and will last for years.
Stairs should be wide and inviting where possible. This helps them to look more like a stylish entranceway or hall than an utilitarian pathway onto the deck. Close off the faces (space between the treads) with wood or composite to hide any unattractive framing underneath. And small details like trim and rounded corners allow your stairs to look finished and sleek.
If you are looking for a Virginia deck that creates a true extension of your well designed and comfortable indoor living space, consider adding hidden fastener systems and low maintenance railing solutions. Ask your contractor which options are available and look forward to a smooth, luxurious finish on your new deck.