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Outdoor Deck Talk for Gen X Homeowners

(ARA) - You're a member of the new, up-and-coming generation of homeowners: Generation X. You and your peers are rewriting home ownership and home improvement. Clearly, you won't be settling for the high-maintenance, homogenous-looking decks of your parents' hey day.

An outdoor deck remains one of the most popular home improvements - largely due to their potential to enhance home value and homeowner enjoyment. Installing one is also well within the means of most competent do-it-yourselfers. Manufacturers of outdoor building products are taking notice of the needs and preferences of Gen X homeowners, that post-baby boom generation that makes up the largest segment of home buyers today. In the case of decking, that means low-maintenance, high quality composite decking.

A great outdoor deck built with composite material."If you're a member of Generation X, you grew up with wood decks, and you probably remember your parents toiling away with annual staining duties," says Dan Gauthier, of Universal Forest Products, Inc. (UFPI), a composite deck material producer. "You also probably picked up your share of splinters playing on your parents' wooden deck. You're looking for a better way - a decking material that provides all the value and enjoyment and none of the work of traditional decking."

Composite decking has emerged as the deck solution of choice for Gen X homeowners, who are not afraid to spend on their investment and are comfortable with new technologies. Here's some helpful information for Gen Xers in the process of SIY ("spec-it-yourself) for their deck project:

* It comes in a variety of colors and materials. Some, like Latitudes by UFP, are "wood thermoplastic composite" materials made from 50 percent wood and 50 percent high density plastic. The materials eliminate annual staining duties because the color is added to the mixture during the manufacturing process. This means the composite deck won't, chip or peel, and you never have to worry about water damage.

* Walk barefoot on your composite deck with confidence. Unlike wooden decks, composite materials will never splinter. They are also slip resistant. Many have fastening systems that are invisible, meaning you'll never step down on a protruding nail or screw.

* You can mimic the look of wood with some composites. Latitudes composite deck boards come in a variety of lengths. They are reversible; one side will provide a sleek, brushed appearance, while the other has a woodgrain finish.

* Remember the staid, old plain wood balustrades of your parents' wooden deck? Well, forget them. Changing up railing materials and designs is one of the hottest ways to personalize your deck's look. Composites work particularly well with modern railing designs. Product lines like Latitudes offer a variety of rail systems, baluster and post cap options. "Ornamental railings and decorative post caps are great finishes for a deck, and with so many options to choose from it's easy to create a one-of-a-kind look," says Chelsea Gardner, an outdoor design expert.

* If you're considering having a house built for you, look for a builder who offers decks as a standard feature or as an upgrade option - and allows you your choice of materials. Driven by consumer demand, many builders are doing just that, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

"The Gen X homeowner is not about cookie cutter looks or keeping up with the Jonses," Gauthier says. "They want to be unique and individual, and that translates to the products they use in their homes, both inside and out."

To learn more about composite decking materials, visit

Courtesy of ARAcontent

For more information on wood decks, please read this article on cleaning a wood deck.


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