Deck tech: Top online tools for designing your dream deck

(BPT) - Virtually everything in life can now be achieved with just a couple of clicks or swipes, including planning for a new deck. If you are looking to update your outdoor space, expert assistance is available right at your fingertips via your computer or mobile device. Thanks to advancements in rendering technology and user-friendly interfaces, there are lots of great tools and resources online to help guide you through the deck design and planning process — from inspiration to installation.

“Planning a deck may seem intimidating at first but it doesn’t have to be, especially with all of the help that is readily available online,” said Leslie Adkins, vice president of marketing for Trex, the world’s leading brand of high-performance composite decking and railing. “No matter where you are in the planning process, as they say, there’s an app for that!”

Visualize the possibilities

Every great outdoor space starts with a vision! Using the latest augmented reality (AR) technology, apps like the Trex AR Deck Visualizer tool allow users to explore design possibilities for their outdoor spaces by experimenting with different decking shapes, board colors and railing combinations against the backdrop of their own personal home environments. The interactive program also has features to help determine approximate deck size/square footage and users can order decking samples right from the app, which is available for free via the Apple Store and Google Play.

Design from your desktop

Once you’ve envisioned your new deck, bring it to life using an online deck design tool — no engineering or architecture degree required. Decks.com is a helpful resource that offers a library of downloadable deck plans, along with an easy-to-use deck design program that enables users to experiment with different features and explore options in 3D and 2D top, side and front views. Trex also offers a desktop deck design program. Recent enhancements include the ability to create multi-level decks and non-traditional layouts customized to your home’s dimensions and populated with specific decking and railing products to bring your vision and project one step closer to reality. Both the Decks.com and Trex programs automatically generate material lists and cost estimates, along with printable renderings for sharing with family, friends and potential contractors.

Calculate costs

To ensure your deck dreams remain within reach, make use of online material and cost calculators. These tools provide valuable guidance in the early planning stages to help you manage expectations and make informed decisions. Rough cost estimates for materials can be determined based on deck size, substructure needs, and the decking and railing products being considered to give planners a good starting point for budgeting.

More deck ideas, information, and digital tools are available online at www.trex.com/academy.

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