The backyard continues to be an important space for most Canadian homeowners. Consumers try to maximize the time they can spend outdoors during the spring and summer seasons. Using long-lasting materials – such as composite boards – for structural components like decks and fences help homeowners to enjoy their outdoor space longer without wear and maintenance concerns.
Fiberon, a leader in composite decking products, keeps its fingers on the pulse of developments in deck design. They’ve identified a number of emerging consumer trends relating to deck construction.
Curved decks and stairs are becoming increasingly popular as they present a vibrant alternative to the more common rectangular decks. Fiberon recommends adding circular or octagonal areas as secondary pieces to a main decking area with a rectangular design. This is because curved designs require more board cutting, which increases waste and construction time. Often, outdoor furniture placement is also more difficult in areas with a curved design.
Another popular trend is to create separate outdoor spaces, or “rooms,” that each serve a different purpose. The most common choice of a separated outdoor area is a dining space. An area such as this is often physically separated by small sets of stairs, trim boards in different colours or alternating the direction in which the deck boards run. Fiberon recommends creating a separate space for the grill situated away from the seating area, so that smoke or heat do not become a nuisance.
Rooftop decks and concrete pads
Not all decks have to be elevated by posts. Ground-level and rooftop decks are popular alternatives, however, they can present unique challenges relating to water management and air circulation. It is recommended that you install a sleeper system before applying deck boards. A sleeper system is a substructure comprised of joists that sit between a solid surface (i.e. concrete) and the decking. Not only will this system enable adequate drainage and ventilation, it will also make it easier to access the area underneath the deck. This is useful when running electrical to any outdoor lighting elements or water to outdoor kitchens or water features.
Awareness about these and other trends can be a big asset to contractors when consulting with their clients on outdoor projects. Being able to communicate the latest design and material trends, while at the same time knowing how to implement them, will add to a contractor’s credibility and ensure the client is aware of all their options before committing to a plan of action.