Jessica installs composite decking
Jessica drills deck screws into the composite decking’s fasteners. These fasteners ensure the deck has uniform gaps between boards.

Install New Composite Decking

We’ve cut an additional stringer for the stairs so the composite decking is well supported.

Then we cover the old wood joists with tape flashing. Shielding the wood joists helps protect them from the elements and extends their life.

Composite decking is DIY-friendly because it includes fasteners that screw into the joists and create uniform gaps. And that look will last, since composite decking doesn’t expand and contract.

Next, we install skirt boards while Michael and Jessica install the deck boards on their own.

The process goes faster than you might think.

“I imagined it would take days to put down a deck, and it took a couple of hours,” Jessica says.

Install New Handrails

Deck posts, after shot
These vinyl covers easily fit over the old wood posts, and the new white rails contrast nicely with the black balusters.

To add new handrails, first, we need to place all the balusters. Then, we make sure they stay that way by squeezing the two rails together with a ratchet strap.

Next, we install the mounting brackets on the ends of the rails. Those brackets will secure the rails to the posts.

The posts are in good shape, but they’re weathered and look unattractive. We can instantly make a difference by encapsulating them with vinyl covers that even include a baseboard. As a bonus, LED lights are built into every column cap.

We also:
• Clean and reinstall existing lattice
• Pressure wash bricks and stepping stones
• Install riser lights on the stairs
• Add plants and planters

Post-Production Thoughts

Danny, with homeowners Michael and Jessica Zoghby and their children.
“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford, with homeowners Jessica and Michael Zoghby, and their children.

Michael and Jessica’s deck was a great size in a great location, with a great view, but the years hadn’t been kind to it.

The peeling paint and rotting wood made it unattractive and unsafe.

But now, the deck that was an eyesore has become a showplace.
This new composite decking will not only offer years of worry-free use, it looks fabulous while it’s doing it.
The color of the surface complements the house beautifully, while the white rails and black balusters create just enough contrast to make sure that the neighbors notice.

The lighting we added blends in so well you won’t even know it’s there until the sun goes down, and the RainEscape system allows Michael plenty of covered storage under the deck and out of sight.

At about $7,500 for materials, this is a little pricier than many of our projects, but it’s hard to argue with the results.

Further Reading

Simple SolutionsSimple Solutions
How to Level Your Stepping Stone Walkway
Jodi Marks and Dan Levin with Flex-Drain Pro Drain PipeBest New Products
Flexible Pipe Makes Landscape Drainage Work Easier
Michael Zoghby installs under-deck drainage systemWatch & Learn
How to Install an Under-Deck Drainage System

Editorial Contributors
Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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