News & Insights

Modern Aluminum Tri-level Deck Design and Build

Carl Christianson



Mike and Karen asked us to visit their home in June 2013 to replace their old, rotting back deck. They wanted to build an exceptional outdoor living space that extended their main floor into the expansive forest of Vineyard Mountain that surrounds their home. Our homeowners felt a tri-level deck would be best as it would incorporate the natural slope of the yard and give them the outdoor space they wanted. Additionally, a multi-level deck allowed our homeowners to have defined spaces, such as a dining area and a lounge area to sit by the fire, rather than just one large deck surface. Mike and Karen’s previous deck provided no access to the yard from the back of the house, so we made it a priority to give them access from multiple points on the deck.

Final Sketch Up rendering



We took dimensions of their home and built a 3D model on the computer to visualize the deck and made adjustments until we had exactly what Mike and Karen had envisioned for their deck. We also modeled various types of handrails that could accommodate undermounted lighting and then worked with J&J Electric to create the lighting plan. The homeowners also wanted the stairs to function as extra seating when they host parties, so we designed wide stair treads so their guests will have more places to sit. The next step was engineering and permits, and then construction. We started excavation in January, deck framing and decking in February, handrails were installed in March, and then the electricians installed the lights. We installed the natural gas fire table in early April.


Our homeowners choose Nexan’s NextDeck powder coated aluminum decking in Light Gray. Nexan says that “NextDeck is a revolutionary decking product that offers unsurpassed durability and longevity. Specifically designed to replace other high-maintenance decking products, NextDeck® delivers a truly maintenance-free choice. NextDeck® gives homeowners the freedom to enjoy their outdoor living space and activities, rather than spending countless hours and money on deck maintenance and repairs. Designed for the life of your deck, NextDeck® aluminum decking is fireproof, pest resistant and will not rust, rot, sag, splinter, warp or crack in freezing temperatures.”


Karen and Mike also chose a Stainless Steel Cable Railing system and Nexan’s Black powder coated posts to support the steel cables. The steel cable railing system allows anyone sitting on the deck to enjoy the various views of the yard without feeling like their sight lines are being obstructed. We installed LED strip lighting under all of the handrails along with step lighting on every other tread to provide safe access at night and ambient lighting. The fire table is an American Fyre Designs 48” diameter Contempo Round Firetable fueld by natural gas. We finished the deck with a Rustic Hardiplank skirt to match the home’s existing LP siding, the skirt also conceals the framing members. We also added a metal roof under the upper deck to provide a dry place to store outdoor furniture during the winter.


In the evenings, the warm glow of the lighting and the fire table make this a cozy and welcoming place to sit and enjoy the gorgeous, peaceful surroundings. Mike and Karen are exceptionally happy with the finished deck. They were thrilled with our work and dedication through the coldest and wettest part of the year to have this completed in time for summer in the Willamette Valley.

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