Decks are thought to be wooden platforms built off the backs of houses to hold a grill, a table, and some chairs. Well, that is what they used to be back in the 70’s, but the trend is for decks to be architecturally designed with lighting and aesthetic appeal to make them as important to a house as the living room. In fact, they are becoming an extension of the living room, it not its replacement in moderate climates.
I recently read a great article in Pro Remodeler (http://ow.ly/rlK230b1f9Z) by Jim Cory that talks about the modern interpretation and use of decks in the modern era. They are no longer simple rectangles tacked onto structures to provide simple utility. Homeowners want them to be sculptural elements that make a statement about who they are and how they live and engage with the great outdoors.
The materials available to build decks have expanded beyond simple pressure treated pine boards to the use of more exotic hardwoods like teak and redwood as well as sustainable marvels like Accoya®. While some clients and designers might turn their noses down at synthetic composites like Trex® and its lookalikes, these materials are available in a myriad of colors and offer complete accessory systems to tie the whole project together.
Shapes, sizes, multiple levels, and curves have entered the decking bag of design tools. Built in seating, fire pits, and entire outdoor kitchens are also regular parts of modern deck design. While outdoor showers are also available, I don’t think we are ready for a complete water closet facility outdoors yet. To continue bringing inside conveniences to the outdoor living rooms we need to consider bringing a complete lighting plan into the design to create the mood and add to safety while moving about the space.
OK, so what about doors? Although doors are not considered part of the deck, the joining of the indoor space to the outdoor space you might be prepared to spend up to six figures for are an important part of the success of the deck project. If the deck is not easy to access from inside the house it might not get used too often. In perfect weather, the opening might best be completely open to allow a free flow between the inside kitchen and living spaces to create an enormous party space. Also, let’s not forget bad weather times when you are stuck inside but would like to enjoy the beautiful design of the gorgeous deck sculpture that you created with its landscaping and subtle lighting. That’s right, you need not just doors, but glazing areas to visually share the outside from the inside when you might not want to physically be out there.
Fixed window walls with single or French glass doors offer the simplest solution while sliding doors might be the most commonly used to join the inside with the outside. Bi-fold doors with their amazing hardware design achievements are probably the best solution in this case because along with providing a minimally obstructed view when closed they can fully open when it is beautiful outside. I’d like to think that our 2Fold® door products offer the best of the best alternatives because of the simple operation of a fully openable glass opening, but we accomplish it with the world's thinnest framing components. Yes, up to 35% more glass area than other bi-folding doors.