Every great outdoor living space starts with a good plan and a solid foundation—which is what our decking series is all about. In this series, we sit down with our good friend Kevin Kunka of Trex Company to cover some of the ins and outs of executing a successful decking project. Trex is the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking products and a veteran in the outdoor living industry. Over the years, the Trex name has become synonymous with quality manufactured decking. 

In this episode, we sit down with Kevin to learn about best practices for planning and laying out a project using manufactured decking.

Here’s a recap of what we learned:

Design efficiently

Something to consider when designing your deck is the available board lengths your manufacturer offers (Trex comes in 12-foot, 16-foot, and 20-foot lengths, for example). If you’re working with a space that doesn’t perfectly fit those pre-cut sizes, adjusting your design to use material more efficiently can save you money and even produce a better end result. Doing things like creating a picture frame design or adding transition boards to divide your deck into sections are examples of ways to bring efficiency and create a safer more attractive outdoor space.

Lay out your deck boards in a pattern of your liking

Some of today’s manufactured decking closely resembles hardwood lumber, all the way down to the natural differentiation in color and grain pattern. If you're using a product with distinctive colorings, like Trex's tropical collection, it’s important to lay out all your boards on the framed deck surface prior to installation to ensure that the mix of colors and patterns are aesthetically pleasing to you.

Consider adding lights

If your deck has steps or multiple levels, you’ll want to consider adding lighting of some sort to create a safer environment by highlighting these transition areas. Whether using recessed lights or riser lights, these additions will further augment your design while making sure your space is safe for guests.  

Envision how you'll use your deck

Will your deck be a place to lounge in the sun or entertain friends? When it comes to pre-planning, we can’t overstate how important it is to envision how you actually want to use the space and what kind of activity it needs to accommodate. Envisioning yourself in the space will help you determine the size that will fit your needs. If you’re working with a contractor, make sure they know what you envision doing on your deck so they can help you plan accordingly.

Creating an outdoor space your family loves to live in takes careful thought, and we're here to help. For more decking tips and advice, check out how to apply for a deck building permit and things to consider before building a deck.