Our New Azek Deck

Our New AZEK Deck

When we bought our house, one of the features we really loved was the huge, free-standing deck in the side yard. It extended our living space outdoors, had a pretty view of the ravine, and provided an excellent place to entertain larger groups.

Spring 2008, the original deck shortly after we moved in.
2008 – shortly after we moved in.
Spring 2008, the original deck shortly after we moved in.
2008 – the other side of the deck. I think this was the only year I planted up so many pretty pots of flowers!

Over the years, we’ve enjoyed lots of Fourth of July cookouts, birthday parties, and dinners on the deck, but it was really starting to show its age. We’d done our fair share of maintenance on it – we re-framed and expanded the opening around the tree, added speakers under the deck, pressure washed and stained it multiple times, and did a couple rounds of replacing rotted deck boards. These things had all helped to extend it’s life, but the railings and facia boards were now loose and rotting through and more deck boards needed to be replaced, so we decided it was time for a more extensive update.

2009 - re-framing the deck around the tree
2009 – Re-framing around the tree. This was a huge project.
2017 - replacing rotted deck boards
2017 – Replacing rotted deck boards
2019 - rotted facia & railings; just before construction started.
This Spring, before deck construction started.

We priced a bunch of different options for repairing or replacing the deck:

  • Replacing just the rotted railings, facia boards & deck boards.
  • Removing all railings and decking from the frame and replacing everything with new materials.
  • Tearing down the whole deck (including frame) and rebuilding from scratch (with the same footprint or a different one).
  • Doing the work ourselves or hiring it.
  • Rebuilding the deck around the tree or cutting the tree down.
  • Using pressure treated or cedar deck boards or some type of maintenance free decking.
  • Using wood, PVC, or aluminum railings.
  • you get the idea …

In the end, we chose to spend a little more on a new AZEK deck with aluminum railings – in the hopes that we would not have the same level of continued repairs and maintenance that we had seen with our old deck.

We also chose to hire out the construction of the deck to a crew that works with these materials all the time since we felt like that would give us the best end result – and also because we didn’t want the deck to be in various states of demolition/construction for the entire summer. :)

Overall, we are really happy with the new deck. We love the way it looks and the promise of low maintenance going forward!

The new AZEK deck w/ aluminum railings.
The new AZEK deck with aluminum railings

We like that the AZEK decking is relatively maintenance free, although it does need to be pressure washed periodically. (Yay for no more staining the deck!) We’d seen some composite decks that we didn’t love, but since AZEK is solid PVC, they tell us it shouldn’t have those same problems — it shouldn’t stain or fade as easily and there’s much less expansion/contraction with weather changes, so things shouldn’t move around as much. We hope that’s true!

Color-wise, we picked Acacia, which is a solid darker brown color that coordinates nicely with the black aluminum railings and generally “blends in” to the surroundings better than the bright white railings and red stain on our old deck.

I do find that the deck gets dusty (and the darker acacia color of the AZEK decking shows it). It’s an easy fix to hose it down and maybe run a micro-fiber mop over it once in a while – but it’s not something I ever thought about needing to do on the old deck. Having said that, though, it is overall much easier to keep clean than the old deck and it’s nice to be able to be barefoot now that we aren’t worried about splinters, etc.

Dust on the AZEK decking.
See the dusty “haze” under the table? At least it cleans up easily.

Although it was a tough decision, we did choose to have the tree cut down rather than build the new deck around it. We did love the tree (and the shade it provided), but wound up removing it since it was starting to show signs of rot and we figured chances were good it would fall or need to be removed before we would be ready to replace the deck – and we wanted to extend the life of this deck as long as possible.

Removal of the tree is complete.

We do miss the shade of the tree (although we don’t miss cleaning up all of the leaves and sticks it dropped). To help block some of the sun, we’ve added an oversized umbrella on the table and hung some solar shades on our side porch (which we found to be VERY hot now that it gets full afternoon sun).

We also went with a slightly smaller footprint for the new deck (it is 36’x14′ – which is 4′ narrower than the original deck). This did mean that some new footings were poured and the deck was re-framed to fit the smaller footprint. However, since we also removed the tree and hammock stand, there is about the same (or maybe more) usable space than before – and it’s definitely more flexible to different arrangements of patio furniture, adding more tables & chairs when we entertain, etc.

The new deck.

After much thought into trying to figure out what would work best to bridge the gap between a deck that is level and an adjacent sidewalk that is not, we also added a 12′ step on the north end of the deck. I love the functionality and not having to worry that someone will mis-judge the distance between the deck and the sidewalk and fall. As an added bonus, it also hides most of the “gap” between the deck and the sidewalk, which was always a bit of an eyesore before.

The step that was added for the new deck.

We still need to get our speakers hooked back up under the deck and finish landscaping around it (the weeds are currently taking over). At some point in the future, we’ll likely also think about adding some lighting on the deck (most likely on the railings) and maybe also adding a wireless access point since the wi-fi signal on the deck has always been kind of spotty.

For now, though, I’m so happy that our old deck (which was becoming a bit of an eye sore) is finally replaced with something new and relatively low-maintenance – and I’m super excited for the flexible space for entertaining!

Our new AZEK deck w/ aluminum railings.

The new deck was an investment, for sure, but with any luck, it is one that we are looking forward to enjoying for many years to come!

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