Cass Smith is a self-taught DIYer, mother, and influencer. You can keep up with her beautiful home improvements (and everything she learns along the way) on her blog, Cass Makes Home, or on Instagram and Facebook. Cass is on record as loving Trex decking, and when you look at the brilliant two-level patio and deck she created in her backyard at home in VA, it’s easy to see why. In Cass’s own words, her new Trex Enhance® Decking and Transcend® Railing have created a safe, durable outdoor space for her family that they can enjoy without worrying about upkeep.
Cass and her husband David had been daydreaming about starting work on their backyard so they could entertain out there more often and make the space safer for their daughters. They love their backyard, which is safe, fenced, and shaded by mature trees, but the deck was a weak point – literally. The old wooden deck was long past its best, with sagging boards, stairs at an odd angle to the house, and an overall grimy and tired look.
As a true DIY enthusiast with a full workshop of tools – that she built with her own hands, of course – Cass took it upon herself (with some help from her husband and a friend) to not only install Trex decking in Toasted Sand® but also to expand the deck by about six foot as she rebuilt the structure and moved the stairs.
Cass started her big deck and patio makeover in the Spring of 2021, and with breaks for winter and a few other delays, the whole build took over a year.That’s a long time to wait to enjoy an expanded outdoor living area, but Cass and her family are so pleased with what they’ve achieved and say it was well worth the wait.
The rebuild itself was necessary. The old deck was giving Cass’s kids splinters, and the stairs were becoming dangerous as they began to rot and crack. One of the reasons Cass loves Trex’s composite boards is that they’re incredibly durable and don’t need that kind of upkeep. Even after rain or a cold front, there’s no extra work involved when you choose Trex decking.
All Trex decking comes backed with a minimum of a 25-year warranty. Wood, on the other hand, needs to be painted and restained every few years and is still prone to discoloration, splintering, and rot, especially in humid or wet climates or when not properly maintained. Plus, when you buy a house with a deck, there’s no knowing how well the previous owners have cared for their decking.
To ensure Cass’s Trex deck lasts as long as possible, she also installed the RainEscape® System between the supporting joists of her deck to protect the substructure from water damage and create a dry patio area below so that it can be used in almost any weather. The RainEscape did add time to the project, but for Cass, it was worth it to create an outdoor space her family could enjoy throughout the year.
After stapling and caulking their RainEscape System, Cass and her husband added picture framing around the edges of the deck for a neat finish before moving on to the decking itself. The deck boards are fairly easy to install, especially if you use the Trex Hidden Fastening® System, which Cass appreciated given the size of the job she had taken on in her backyard.
Finally, deck railing was needed. Not only is railing a key safety feature for a second-story deck, but it’s also an opportunity to show your style. Spend any time looking at Cass’s blog, Cass Makes Home, and you’ll recognize her signature style, which combines splashes of maximalism with clean modernity. This high-contrast concept moves from inside the house to out with Cass’s choice of railing; Trex Transcend in Charcoal Black®. Sleek and modern, the railings stand out against the warm tones of Enhance decking in Toasted Sand.
Cass describes her chosen railings as “nice and substantial” and also “easy to install.” The ease of installation was a relief at this point in the build, and of course, knowing that the railings on your deck and stairs are sturdy is important in a backyard that will be heavily used by family, friends, and pets for many years to come.
The patio below Cass’s deck was finished with a border of shrubs that will grow to partially enclose the area. She also added curtains to create an indoor/outdoor space that works as a play area or an area for entertaining when the weather isn’t perfect. No doubt there are more clever design touches to come.
Up on the deck, Cass is also still hard at work. She has made the space perfect for entertaining, just like she and David imagined back in Spring 2021, with an outdoor rug, a dining table, cabana chairs, and lemon, lavender, and gardenia trees that will grow to maturity over the long life of the Trex decking. Finally, Cass has built a white pergola that is a bright pop against the dark railings, provides shade during the hottest days of summer, and supports outdoor lights for those evenings with friends that roll into the night.
The family’s grill is also out on the deck, but as usual, Cass has more up her DIY sleeve with plans for building an outdoor kitchen. It’s enough to make anyone hope for an invite to an al-fresco dinner with Cass and her family!
What Cass has achieved with her Trex deck has made her home more functional for her family and increased the resale value. If you want to build a deck of your own, check out Trex Academy. This handy section of our website teaches you everything you need to know about tackling a DIY deck project.
If a do-it-yourself project feels a bit too much for you, find a TrexPro® contractor in your area. Even Cass brought in a contractor briefly to install the frame of her new stairs because everyone needs professional help from time to time!