Before and After: A Rotting Wood Deck Gets a Luxe Double-Decker Overhaul

published Jul 26, 2023
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Some renovations happen because the homeowners or renters are ready for an aesthetic change. But other times, renovations happen out of sheer necessity — as was the case for Cass Smith’s nearly 20-year-old deck.

Cass, of Cass Makes Home, hadn’t loved the deck before. Its paint was peeling, the wood was rotting in some areas, and it was overall too small for her family’s needs. “But mostly, we did not like that it felt unsafe and looked so rough due to all of the rotting wood and peeling paint,” Cass says.

The turning point was when one of the steps broke beneath the foot of one of Cass’s daughters as she was walking up the stairs. That was when Cass decided it was time to take action.

Credit: Cass Makes Home

Working with Trex, Cass designed an entirely new deck space that would provide more hangout space and a lot more durability, too. The project started with demolition of all the existing deck boards, railings, and stairs, leaving only the basic frame and joists behind. Additional footings, posts, and joists helped extend the width of the deck so it now covers the lower exterior doors.

Credit: Trex Company

Cass hired a contractor to build a new frame for the repositioned stairs, then installed the Trex decking on the top level of the deck. She added in a waterproof layer beneath it to help divert rainfall so that the space underneath stays totally dry. Then, Cass installed a sleek new black railing. (The black support beams below the deck are painted Sherwin-Williams’s Tricorn Black to match.) “Almost all of this project was a home improvement first for me!” says Cass, who pulled off the ambitious DIYs thanks to online videos.

Credit: Trex Company

Cass made the patio beneath feel like a true outdoor room by closing in the exposed patio decking on the ceiling using tongue and groove wood planks. She also installed durable porcelain tiles on the concrete patio area and installed an outdoor ceiling fan and accent lighting. Curtains add to the luxe vibes (and can be used for additional privacy or sun protection, too).

Credit: Trex Company

But Cass didn’t stop her DIYs there — she also built her own outdoor sofa for the shaded patio space using plywood and Sunbrella outdoor fabric. The rest of the space is styled with a mix of wicker pieces and black and white outdoor furniture. A few lush plants liven up the neutral palette.

Credit: Trex Company

Now, the outdoor hangout space is more than twice as big as it used to be, and lots more enjoyable to use. “I love absolutely everything about the after,” says Cass, who adds that the covered patio “gives us the ability to enjoy the outdoors so much more.”

Credit: Trex Company

Cass’s only regret? She wishes she’d gone even bigger. “If we were to do anything differently, we would have extended the new deck a few feet further to meet the edge of the house just for additional entertaining space,” Cass says.

As it is now, the double-decker outdoor hangout still provides plenty of room for relaxation, rain or shine. “The new deck is so stunning and I know that we will be able to enjoy it for years to come,” Cass says.

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