Great Ideas to Make Your Deck Stand Out from the Rest!

Deck House Deck

Are you thinking of building a new deck, remodeling an old deck or just looking for ideas to spruce up an existing deck? Having been in business for over 20 years and having remodeled and built hundreds of decks, Buchanan Custom Builders can offer some great ideas for your deck.

Multiple Levels and a Screened-in Area

A deck can be a place for personal retreat, for gathering with friends and much more. Having a deck with more than one level presents an opportunity for multi-purpose use. The picture above is a deck BCB built for a customer who wanted both an upper and lower deck. The upper deck was built with access from the homeowner’s bedroom giving the homeowner exclusive use of the deck and more privacy. Hildreth Fall 09 050The lower level deck is much larger with room for friends and family with a screened in area. Decks are a great place to relax and enjoy the sun on a nice day, but having a screened in section is great for nights when the bugs are out. The screened-in section is furnished with padded sun chairs, a table, small area rug and traditional Deck House ceiling lights. This is a great way of bringing the outdoors in and vise versa.

Hot Tub Installation and Outdoor Shower

Hildreth Deck 060BCB also installed a hot tub. The tub was sunk into the deck and the decking was scribed around the tub. However, there are several different installation types for a hot tub. Most commonly, a hot tub is installed on top of the decking or attached to the deck with steps to climb in. Another option, as seen in the picture above, is for the hot tub to be installed sunken into the deck. The tub can either be slightly above the decking or flush with the decking. An access panel is also installed for easy access to the mechanicals of the hot tub. Along with a hot tub, an outdoor shower can be built to accompany an outdoor tub or swimming pool. An outdoor shower is a great place to rinse off after an invigorating run, a swim in a pool, or just after a long day of work.

Partitions and Rails

Partitions or half-walls are often used to define space and provide privacy. In the picture above BCB built a small partition between the grill and the hot tub. The partition creates privacy for the hot tub, while providing a wall surface for multiple uses such as, bench seating, storage, or in the case of the picture above, a place to put the grill. These types of partitions give definition and dimension to a deck.

Another area for consideration are the deck rails. The deck in the picture above does not have rails on the lower section but does include cable rails on the upper deck. There are several different materials such as glass, cable and wood, for a homeowner to choose from.

Shape of the Deck and Direction of the Decking

Hildreth Fall 09 056Do not feel limited to the traditional rectangle. If you have landscape features, BCB can contour your deck around them. We can scribe the decking to fit your needs. Curves can be added for style and flow or multiple straight edges. There are many beautiful rectangular decks, however, different shapes and angles will help define areas of a deck and make your deck stand out from the rest. Additionally, the direction of the decking is not limited solely to being parallel to the home. Whether you want your decking at an angle, herringbone, v-shape, diamond, basket weave, or any other pattern you desire, Buchanan Custom Builders can make it happen.

Elemental Features

The joy of being outdoors is most certainly amplified by being next to the elements. Many homeowners enjoy having a fire pit or fireplace built into (or onto) their deck. Likewise, water features such as ponds, water falls, and fountains can also be added. BCB can incorporate shrubs or trees, planting beds, trellises, or any other feature into your deck. The possibilities are only limited to your imagination.

Lighting and Sound

An often overlooked option that differentiates a good deck from a great deck is lighting. Incorporating accent lighting into the deck is the icing on the ambiance cake. Whether it’s up lighting, tow kick lighting or post lights, our electricians can take care of it. Outdoor speakers are another great way to get the most out of your deck. Manufacturers now make speakers that integrate into the deck flawlessly.

Hopefully, we have sparked some ideas to make the most out of your Deck House deck!


A Maintenance Free Decking Option

At the request of our customer, we recently retrofitted composite decking onto a Deck House balcony deck.  The chosen decking was similar in width and came in colors native to the Deck House palette.   This option relieved the homeowner from staining their balcony deck every year or two.  It did require framing between the Deck House spec beams with pressure treated 2x framing, but the end result looked as if it had always been a part of the home:


Thinking about going solar?


Deck House homes are unique in nearly every way, including their roofs. Properly installing solar panels on a Deck House roof is possible with the right methods. Because of the solid roof system, solar contractors can not simply bolt the mounting brackets to the roof like on a conventional home.

Conventional roof systems use trusses that lie directly below the surface of the roof. On a Deck House solid roof, there is a layer of 2-6” of rigid insulation. Bolting through this insulation and into the roof decking will compress the insulation enough to cause failure of the roof system. The shingles will stress and crack, causing water to follow the bolts into the home. Left unattended, just one failed solar mount installation can end up causing thousands of dollars in damage to the roof.


Recently, Buchanan Custom Builders was contracted to implement a solution and properly fit our customer’s Deck House home with solar panel mounting brackets. This was accomplished by working with the solar panel contractor to determine the exact layout of the brackets, which was then transferred to a layout for solid blocking. With the layout in hand, the shingles were stripped off of the roof that was going to support the solar panels. Solar companies recommend installing over a relatively new roof, as re-roofing after the panels are installed is beyond difficult.

Once the roof was stripped, the layout was transferred onto the plywood surface. Buchanan Custom Builders’ owner, Steve Buchanan, implemented an installation detail to provide a solid surface for the solar brackets to mount to, while maintaining the integrity of the Deck House roof system. This design included cutting channels into the roof, installing blocking, and installing a waterproof membrane under the shingles. The shingles and solar mounts had to be installed at the same time. Properly shingling around so many mounts, so close together, takes time and much experience. In the end, the layout was successfully transferred from paper, through every step, and onto the finished solar mounts.

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At this point, the roof was ready for the solar contractors to complete the installation and flip the switch to turn this Deck House home into a residential solar farm!


For some specifications on this customer’s Deck House solar install, visit his page here: Energy Sage   

Contact us at or call 978.365.5110 if you’re considering a solar package for your Deck House home.  

Give New Life to that Old Conservatory

One of the more popular renovations we have done in the last 10 years is the Deck House conservatory remodel.  For some time, Deck House homes were constructed utilizing a slanted glass styled conservatory.   Billed as a passive solar model, these homes offered great solar gain during the winter months using this conservatory style.  Unfortunately, cooling costs during the summer months were daunting.
Fast-forward a few decades, and the slanted windows began developing leaks.  Seal failures became common.  New designs, building materials, and methods have offered a solution for Deck House homeowners with the passive solar conservatory. Below are a set of before and after pictures that show the dramatic upgrade that is now possible with Deck House conservatories.
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Give us a call at (978)365-5110 or email if you’d like to discuss updating your Deck House conservatory.

Deck House Shed

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Have you been looking for a shed to store your garden tools, lawnmower, snowblower, and everything else that doesn’t belong in the house?  Do you cringe at the thought of having one of the box stores drop a cookie cutter shed in your yard that doesn’t match your house in the slightest?
So did these homeowners.
Buchanan Custom Builders was hired to design and build a custom Deck House shed to compliment their home, while providing a spot to store all of their yard accessories.  The resulting structure is filled with natural light from the custom Deck House windows on the front and sides.  Additionally, the post and beam structure and shallow roof slope allows for the maximum amount of usable storage space.
Like any Deck House, the options with a shed like this are numerous.  Give us a call at (978)365-5110 or email us at to discuss your outdoor storage needs.