Trey Gregory is an animator and principal at Entertainment Creative Group (ECG) Productions, but like many of us, he’s also a homeowner. When he and his wife bought a home four years ago, they had no idea how deteriorated and unsafe the back deck (constructed in the 1980s) had become. The family’s backyard backs up to a creek and dense woodland. Both the uncovered and covered side of the pine deck, as well as the stairs leading up to it, had fallen victim to chronically wet conditions resulting in dangerous rot.

“Our backyard is almost completely shaded, so when it gets wet, it stays wet for weeks,” said Gregory. The deck stairs had rotted out, and one of our landscape contractors almost fell through the top step but luckily didn’t hurt himself. It was a warning sign!”

After that incident, Gregory added yellow caution tape to his deck to prevent future injuries. In desperate need of a replacement deck, Gregory called in expert deck contractor John Lea.­ A seasoned deck builder and owner of Decksouth of Marietta, GA, Lea has been serving the Atlanta area since 1998. Upon inspecting the decaying deck, Lea noticed the ledger wasn’t even bolted to the home’s sill. He advised Gregory that it was time for a replacement from the ground up.

  • elevated deck remodel before
  • pine elevated deck remodel

Having worked with composite decking since it first came on the market, Lea proposed MoistureShield® Elevate™ capped wood composite decking as a highly durable and budget-sensitive solution. MoistureShield is so moisture-resistant, it can actually be submerged underwater. It’s also resistant to scratches and is splinter-free and slip-resistant for added safety. Lea suggested the Lake Fog color, a rich gray shade, to complement with the home’s exterior and wooded landscape.

“The materials I use matter,” explained Lea. “The Elevate capped boards are super resistant to wear and tear and scratches during construction. We don’t even need to protect it with a drop cloth as we do with others. It doesn’t shred or feather when the board is cut, which is very important with a cost-conscious board. And, MoistureShield’s resistance to expansion/contraction is unmatched in the capped composite market.”

  • cutting capped composite boards deck
  • capped composite boards deck

Lea also noted that MoistureShield Elevate is impervious to damage from moisture, rot and insects, offering an ideal solution for Gregory’s sunlight-deprived yard. “This stuff can truly do it all,” said Lea. “It’s rigid for workability, won’t swell, warp, or rot — and insects don’t know what to do with it.”

He also commented on the product’s ability to complement the beauty of the natural surrounding. “What I like most is the natural wood grain texture,” said Lea. “It’s subtle, doesn’t splinter and doesn’t have deep crevices where dirt gets trapped,” said Lea. “At the end of the day, it takes painstaking craftsmanship to create a deck like this, but materials have a huge impact on looks, longevity and overall safety.”

  • New modern Elevate composite decking porch
  • maintenance free New modern Elevate composite decking porch

Further adding to functionality and aesthetics, Lea extended the new deck out further than the original and chose Belgard Lafitt® Rustic Slab pavers with the natural look of cut slate to create an elegant, coordinated patio below the deck. The new covered paver patio provided a finished look, added much-needed downstairs outdoor living space, and created a more stylish transition to the backyard. The natural stone textures and color blends of the terraced patio pair well with the home and deck to work in harmony with the natural landscape.

  • Covered Belgard paver patio with natural color blends
  • Covered Belgard paver patio with natural color blends
  • Terraced paver patio Belgard

“I like to use products that have synergy when creating outdoor living spaces,” said Lea. He noted the way these products work together with consistent performance backed by solid R&D and a similar warranty from the same parent company (Oldcastle APG) makes his job easier all around. “When I sit at a customer’s kitchen table and ask them to put their trust in me, I want to know that the brands we’re offering put their name on the line every day just like us,” he said. “For my personal brand, it’s important that these materials perform consistently on each job and are always available,” said Lea. “If my customer’s neighbor likes it, I want to be able to offer them the same colors, styles and warranties.”

The Gregorys were thrilled with their new outdoor spaces that blend in seamlessly with the woodland views, especially enjoying the peace of mind in knowing it can stand up to the harsh conditions of their backyard — without caution tape. “We absolutely love it and can’t wait to have our first meal outdoors,” said Gregory. “John turned our nightmare deck into a dream space.”

Behind the Build with Contractor John Lea

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