Upgrade your summer with an outdoor living do-it-yourself project

(ARA) – Nothing says warm weather quite like backyard barbecues and pool parties. But if your outdoor living space doesn’t quite make the grade, you might consider building a dream deck with your own two hands. Do-it-yourselfers not only save money in labor costs, but they also reap the pride and satisfaction of improving and adding value to their homes.

“If you’re going to put the time and effort into building an outdoor living space, it’s crucial to use high-quality materials that will provide a return on investment and boost your home’s value,” says Adam Zambanini, vice president of marketing for Trex, the world’s largest manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing. Check out these tips from the outdoor living experts at Trex to ensure your DIY deck project will earn neighborhood bragging rights.

Assess your skills – Before getting started, make sure that you’re confident in your ability to design, plan and build a dream deck on your own. Consider the amount of time you have to commit to the project, whether or not you’re in adequate physical shape to handle the materials, your access to necessary tools (such as a circular saw, framing square, wheelbarrow and socket wrench) and if you’ll be able to count on help from family and friends.

Research necessary permits – Contact state, county or city offices to determine what specific permits are needed for your project. Remember that some permits may take longer to obtain than others – especially during the peak spring and summer home improvement months – and build this approval process into your project timeline. Also, consider the costs associated with necessary permits and be prepared to pay a small fee.

Choose the right materials – When planning a do-it-yourself deck project, select wood-alternative materials that will look like new even after years of heavy foot traffic and severe weather. Trex Enhance high-performance decking in Clam Shell (a deep charcoal) and Beach Dune (a warm, honey brown) offers all the charm and none of the trouble of real wood – at a value. Combining superior durability, wear-resistance and long-lasting good looks, Trex Enhance is also extremely low-maintenance and manufactured from 95 percent recycled content. In fact, spills wash off easily with just soap and water, and the collection is backed by a 20-year limited residential fade and stain warranty.

Log on for ideas: From inspiration to installation, reference trusted home improvement and do-it-yourself websites for guidance through every step of an outdoor living project. For instance, Trex.com has a comprehensive selection of resources that include sample deck plans to jumpstart your creativity, a color visualizer that allows you to experiment with mixing and matching various colors of decking and railing and a deck designer to create virtual outdoor living spaces with customized layouts, colors, textures and accessories.

For more do-it-yourself tips and product information, visit www.trex.com.