Cutting-Edge Deck Trends for 2017
New deck project incorporates board bending and several other hot outdoor living trends.
While decks will remain a place to congregate and enjoy the great outdoors, here are 10 trends that are ready to takeoff this year.
Deck Board Bending
Curves are becoming increasingly popular in the decking world, contradicting the antiquated idea that all decks must have square corners. Using a Seattle-based product called HeatCon, I am able to use the control box and two silicone heating blankets to gradually raise the temperature of the PVC decking board, which is why I like to use products like AZEK. Once I get it to the right temperature, the deck board can be manipulated to any shape the homeowner wants. Now that I’ve started doing curves, I don’t think I’ll ever stop.
Heating & Lighting to Extend Seasonality
One thing that is definitely changing in the decking industry is the outdated idea that decks can only be used when it is warm outside. With more and more people thinking about their deck as an extension of their home, rather than just a place for summer barbeques, deck usage is extending deeper into the fall, and even into the winter in some cases.
While temperatures might drop and days might be shorter, heating and lighting is a trend that is expected to pick up in the New Year. Ceramic style heaters allow for spot heating and fire pits continue to grow in popularity as additions to outdoor spaces, adding another level of warmth and comfort to extend the seasonality of your deck.
Decks Built for the Elements
Because decks are predominately uncovered, they are exposed to any and all elements. Wooden decks might be cheaper up front, but they age at a faster pace with exposure to sun and moisture, requiring a lot of upkeep. Consumers are increasingly investing in decking materials that offer a slew of benefits and are longer-lasting.
Taking the Inside, Outside
With new development in outdoor building materials and the increased use of technology, deck owners can enjoy more of their day-to-day activities outdoors. Outdoor kitchens are gaining in popularity, and to make the deck usable even when the weather might not be perfect, I expect to see a lot more covered area spaces.
With the decreasing price of televisions, outdoor entertainment systems are more popular with waterproof audio systems allowing for the complete entertainment experience outside. The decking area has transitioned from a place to eat dinner and go back inside into a place to spend the entire night entertaining.
Virtual Deck Design
Before jumping into a big investment like a deck, many homeowners go back and forth on the idea before actually taking the plunge. Virtual deck design has become increasingly popular because it allows the customer to see what they are getting out of the investment before opening their wallet. Recently launched software tools and apps allow contractors and homeowners to visualize their dream deck designs before they are able to see the end result. There is really no need to go to work without a homeowner loving the 3D version before breaking ground.
Increase in Gray Decking Popularity
Long gone are the days where all decks are wooden and brown. Manufacturers have released different paints and stains that are long-lasting and well-wearing, allowing homeowners to put more personality into their decks.
Gray has become increasingly popular. AZEK and TimberTech, for example, offer eight different profiles of the color, and the neutral tone is expected to stay trendy for years to come as homeowners look for variety and differentiation in building their deck.
No contractor wants to spend longer on a jobsite than needed. With a limited deck-building season for much of the country, builders want the fastest and easiest install possible so they can move on to the next project quickly. Light boards and railing options make one-person deck building possible. With a growing number of decks being built with each passing year, rapid, quality installs will no longer be just a luxury, but a necessity.
Drawing Inspiration from Interests
The best decks draw inspiration from their surroundings—even if it’s a little outside the box! Pizza might seem like an unlikely base for a successful building plan, but the deck that was recognized by the North American Deck & Railing Association (NADRA) was inspired by a pizza oven.
That’s just one example of a larger theme. People want their outdoor living space to reflect who they are. Whether it’s a love for sports, music, greenery, water elements, or cooking, homeowners want to truly enjoy their time outdoors, and they will be tapping into existing interests for inspiration in their deck design.
Times have changed since homeowners were conditioned to simply tolerate wooden decks that became warped and splinted away as they aged. Composite decking has become increasingly popular over the years as deck owners realized that wood decks just don’t have the same longevity when it comes to withstanding rough environments.
As populations continue to increase in urban environments, rooftop decking is becoming increasingly popular in order to maximize the amount of space at hand. In many cities, wooden decks simply can’t withstand the wear and tear of harsh climates. Now, with new products that allow rooftop decks to last through a wide variety of different weather climates, the concept is expected to be a growing trend in the year ahead. Building product manufacturers have taken notice and introduced different solutions to the trend, such as lighter weight boards to make rooftop installations easier and Class A flame spread ratings—great for urban settings.
As manufacturers introduce more advanced products for consumers and contractors to use in their decking ventures, the options are endless. Homeowners are now able to invest in their outdoor spaces with ease, knowing they will be long lasting and usable through at least three seasons of the year. Long gone are the days when decks can only be enjoyed on a sunny day, thanks in large part to these new decking trends that are expected to pick up steam this year.
– Jason “Dr. Decks” Russell has been in the decking building industry for 25 years, landing the nickname “The Rebel Contractor.” He most recently took first prize for Best Alternative Deck in NADRA’s annual competition.