...because home doesn't happen overnight.
08.06.13 / Deck. Done.

deck 1

There she be. In all her composite glory. If you’re just tuning in, we partnered with Trex to build a deck off the back of our house, between two concrete patios. We live in a modest ranch and we wanted something low-lying and simple in design – no curves or fancy inlays. We opted for a 15′ x 17′ platform structure with a double picture frame detail. {See our original design plans here.}

The Trex Elevations framing was ideal for our situation because it consists of galvanized steel that won’t warp, rot or sag over time – even when in close contact with the ground. Whew. We chose the Trex Enhance decking in clam shell to tie in to the gray metal roof.

deck 2

From breaking ground to screwing in the last Hideaway hidden fastener, it took us about three months to DIY the deck build. And by us I mean HH. Unless you consider steadying a level DIY. My main job during all of this was to keep the kids occupied and out of the way so HH could do his thing. Normally, a deck build wouldn’t take three months to complete but when you work close to 60 hours/week and frequently travel out of state for work, it takes three months. Honestly, I’m surprised it didn’t take longer. This deck is HH’s baby. He’s been nurturing it every spare second in the evenings and on weekends. HH put a lot of work and sweat into this deck but I think he secretly enjoyed it.

deck 4

We are super happy with the results. I, for one, am a huge fan of the color. It’s a medium warm gray and looks great next to the red brick. I had always assumed composite decking was brown or tan and we almost didn’t do the Trex thing until I discovered the clam shell hue. If you look closely, you can see a faint faux wood grain. It’s a nice feature and feels good underfoot. Not slippery when wet.

deck 5

HH’s measurements were spot on. The deck fits like a glove in between the two concrete patios that we had poured last fall. I had dreams of gravel patios or even concrete paver patios with ornamental grasses growing between the pavers but with three kids who track everything indoors and an HH that isn’t keen on tedious yard work, we opted for the more practical concrete patios. Sometimes function trumps form in our house. Sometimes.

deck 6

The hidden fasteners go a long way in keeping the look of the deck clean and consistent. Not to mention, the absence of nail heads feels pretty awesome to bare feet. We don’t have any furniture on the deck yet so we spend a lot of time just walking around on it and admiring it. {The kids like to pretend it’s a stage.} It’s really solid and sturdy. This deck isn’t going anywhere!

deck 9

I was glad we were able to keep the deck only a small step up from the yard and patios. Low platform design = no railing required. No railing = unobstructed view of the backyard. But our favorite thing about this deck? NO MAINTENANCE. Knowing we will never have to stain, seal or reseal this bad boy makes victory that much sweeter.

Obviously, we have more plans for our backyard {like burying that orange internet cable!} and these aren’t true “afters.” But the patios and deck are the basic building blocks for what will hopefully become a really great place to hang out and relax with friends and family. Working with the Trex company and its materials was a dream come true for us!

Because you might be curious {I’m always curious as to what other bloggers are planning!} here are a few things we’d like to add/tackle in the backyard:

*general cleanup {we’ve kinda neglected this space while the deck was under construction}

*backfill around the deck and reseed

*add comfy deck furniture {I have my heart set on a sectional}

*disguise the electric meter and cable boxes

*bury the orange internet cable

*add portable shade cover {we have no plans to build a permanent shade structure}

*DIY a kitchen garden {we are really stoked about this one!}

*wrangle the treeline

*add a rain barrel

*find/build an out-of-sight place for our garbage and recycling cans

*paint the second set of french doors {to the kitchen} to match the mudroom’s moody french doors

*landscape around the northeast corner of the house

*make the grilling patio more functional/appealing

*set aside a spot for composting

…and probably a bunch of other stuff that I can’t think of right now. Then WHEN THAT’S ALL DONE maybe we can relax. Ha!

We have partnered with Trex to build our deck. They have provided us with some of the materials for the build but all other materials, designs, labor, injuries, flubs, four-letter exclamations, opinions and reaping of benefits {i.e. chillaxing with beverages on our new deck} are our responsibility. A special thanks goes to Lauren and Nate at Trex! They were so helpful and patient while we floundered around with our first ever deck build.

images: Dana Miller for House*Tweaking



Woo hoo! I bet you all are super glad it’s done with and ready to style that bad boy!

I swear our houses exteriors look SO much the same.


This looks great! The composite option is awesome. We hope to someday upgrade to it but for now, our 600 sq ft deck is getting refaced with good old, cost effective, wood. One word of advice, be careful what you spray on the deck. Both my parents and in-laws have the lighter grey Trex option and both now have stains that won’t come out due to bug spray and sunscreen. Obviously this does not effect the function by any means, but it sure does look nice clean and stain-free!

Looks awesome! Great color. Enjoy it!


My in laws also have a trex deck and I was also going to warn about the sprays but someone beat me to it! You will literally have foot print stains of sunscreen if you spray near it, but it is a beautiful deck.

I just love the color you chose for the deck. It’s perfect. And the mitered corners are magnificent. Love the picture frame style.


*gasp* looks AMAZING!!! I cannot wait to rebuild our deck, we’ll be doing composite as well, with built in seating. Love it! You are such an inspiration to me!

It looks so, so pretty. I like how you laid out the boards, very attractive! Here’s a thought – I saw some nice concrete paint at Home Depot in some really great colors, including a few grays, do you think painting your two concrete patios the same gray as the trex boards would help make everything seamless?


Onto the next sponsored project in your house! Gaaaaah


That’s definitely an idea!


I know sponsored posts aren’t everyone’s faves but they help pay the bills, help us tackle projects that otherwise we wouldn’t get around to for years and years, and allow us to work with some pretty amazing people and companies. And for those reasons, we are truly grateful for sponsors!


Thanks for the heads up on the stains! We do all of our spraying over on the dining patio away from the deck and so far we don’t have any stains. Let’s hope it stays that way.


Impeccably done! The attention to detail really shows through in the final product and I can’t wait to see it styled a bit more. I love the picture frame detail you did and the zipper seam that YHL did on their deck at the second house, things like that make it look so professional!


LOVE it ! Just wanted to let you know that Reading feed and garden has the rain barrels that home depot has (gray ones) that are $100 for $35 bucks. Picked one up a few months ago and love it.


This looks beautiful. We have a large, vintage (read: slowly rotting) wood deck attached to our new to us house that will eventually need replacing. Not that I want to pry deeply into your personal finances, but is there a possibility that you could estimate a cost per square foot for this project? We thought about replacing the deck with a patio but are concerned about how our lot is graded. We have to have a patio raised somehow so there aren’t too many steps coming off the house. Whatever we choose, it has to be splinter-free for little toes!


I’m with Margaret, It would be good to know what the cost of this deck would be if one was to DIY it the way your HH did.

I understand that sponsored post pay the bills, but to your readers they are useless if they dont give at least an estimated cost to build on. I’m in the same situation as Margaret. I have a rotting deck that needs replacing, would like a patio, but my grade it terrible underneath the deck. I didn’t even know that galvanized steel joists were an option so this Trex decking seems to be a good contender but ultimately, the cost would be the decision maker.


We have a Trex deck, too, and I really hope the product has improved in the years since we installed ours. We get a greenish build up in the shady parts and black discoloration in other parts. A good power washing cleans this right up, but it’s not as maintenance-free as we expected (and I think there have been lawsuits about similar issues). Your deck looks great, though. I really like the frame and inlay.


Thanks for the recommendation!


I’m waiting to hear back from Trex on that. I’ll get you an estimate!

Wow!! It looks great. That is amazing that you will never really have maintenance on the deck. We are looking our old-ish deck know and cringing. Can’t wait to see it all styled up!


Looks amazing! Love the color. Have you thought of staining the concrete slabs on the sides of the new deck? They have some amazing colors available. Or stamped concrete?


It looks fantastic! I’m so jealous because my deck badly needs some boards to be replaced and I keep putting it off because I want to replace the whole thing with a Trex deck.

And that grey color will be such a pretty backdrop to every color flower. White, purple, red. They will all look so cute!

HH did a fabulous job.


That looks great! Do you plan on trying to disguise your meter at all? That’s one thing that I have on my deck as well. While I would love to cover up mine, I struggle to come up with something that will work — look good and not easily be destroyed by the elements.


Thanks Laurie! I’ll let HH know you complimented his work.

Just love this post! Found it on Pinterest. We recently purchased a home and I’m getting ready to do a blog post about our backyard dreams early next week (which include a building a deck very similar to this) and I’d like to include a photo of Trex Deck with a link back to this post with your permission. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to email me at thejohnsonsplusdog at gmail dot com.


Sounds good! Links are always appreciated ;)