With homeowners more willing than ever to invest in their outdoor spaces, make the most of your projects by suggesting simple upgrades that will add function, value (and profit) without adding a lot of time or cost. Here are three easy add-ons that I suggest to all of my clients:

1. Deck Flashing Tape for Wood Framing

Research* shows that most wood-framed decking substructures begin to show signs of decay within the first 8-10 years. This is because wood is highly susceptible to moisture damage. Deck flashing tape is a simple and inexpensive way to protect wood from deterioration due to weather and time. It also helps screws and fasteners hold longer for enhanced structural integrity.

Without protection from moisture, wood-framed decking substructures can begin to show signs of decay within 8-10 years.
Capping joists and beams with protective tape, such as Trex® Protect™, can help to ensure the substructure lasts as long as the decking it supports.

My go-to tape is Trex® Protect™. I use it on every deck I build – no matter the size or material – because I want my work to last. Engineered specifically for use on decks, the peel-and-stick tape is applied as a cap to allow the wood to breathe. It requires minimal cuts and little overlap making application a breeze.

The butyl adhesive is super sticky creating a tight seal around fasteners. It doesn’t dry out or curl up like other construction tapes and performs extremely well in a wide range of temperatures. Trex Protect also features a non-skid surface, making it easy and safe to walk across during construction.

2. An Under-Deck Drainage System

Another way to optimize a deck project is by installing an under-deck drainage system. Using a network of troughs and downspouts, these systems divert water away from a deck, preserving the studwork and also keeping the area underneath dry and useable for storage or as additional living space – something all homeowners seem to be seeking these days.

For optimal protection and aesthetics, I use Trex® RainEscape®. Installed above the joists, this system protects the entire foundation and also allows homeowners to run electrical wiring for lighting, ceiling fans and entertainment components, as well as gas lines for grills and outdoor kitchens – all concealed between the deck surface and a soffit ceiling to create a finished look.

Trex RainEscape is easy and efficient to install. The entire system includes just five SKUs and only a utility knife, staple gun, hammer and caulk gun are needed for installation. The process takes no more than a few hours to complete, and the system is backed by a 20-year warranty from the world’s #1 decking brand.

Using a series of troughs, funnels and downspouts, Trex® RainEscape® installs above the joists to keep everything beneath a deck dry and protected.
Rubberized membrane pieces are stapled to the top of the joists and shaped to hang lower at one end of the joist bay to facilitate drainage.

3. Deck Lighting

Another “bright” idea for adding value to a deck project is lighting. Dimmable LED lights incorporated into railing post caps and stairs can increase safety while enhancing ambiance and extending the time that homeowners can spend outdoors. And don’t forget to illuminate the space beneath the deck with soffit lights.

Trex® RainEscape® Soffit Lights install easily to enhance the ambience and function of an under-deck living space.
Trex® RainEscape® Soffit Lights install easily to enhance the ambience and function of an under-deck living space.

While these add-ons may seem minor, they can have a major impact on customer satisfaction and your bottom line – especially during a season as busy as this one promises to be.

Mike Mitchell, Owner of Mitchell Construction
Mike Mitchell, Owner of Mitchell Construction

*Based on a survey of 100+ builders conducted by Dri-Deck Enterprises (now IBC, LLC).

About the Author

Mike Mitchell and his father, Scott, own Mitchell Construction in Monee, Illinois. Combined, they have 57 years of construction experience and build approximately 60 decks each year. They are certified TrexPro Platinum builders, the highest rank awarded by Trex®, the world’s leading brand of high-performance, low maintenance composite decking. For more information about Mitchell Construction, visit www.mitchellconstructioninc.com or @mitcondecks on social media.