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360 Degrees of Updates: Custom Vinyl, Railing, Fencing & Deck Replacement

I had asked our residential foreman to tell me what their favorite project of the year was.  One of our foremen didn’t spend much time thinking about it. He sent me a great message about the following job and why it had been his favorite of the year.  It became apparent that this would be more than a short social media post - it deserved its own story.

This project was completed the end of April and was located 30 minutes north

of Cedar Rapids.  It sits just a bit north of where our typical Eastern Iowa coverage extends, but after talking to the homeowners initially by phone, our salesman, Ryan, headed their way to meet and discuss the project. 

The work consisted of four parts. 

One, replace an old worn out chainlink fence that ran the length of the front of the property. 

Two, replace the wood railing on the front of the house for a low maintenance option.

Three, replace a large multi-level deck.

Four, resurfacing an upper balcony deck on the back of the home.

New Chain Link Fence

The fence was an easy decision and fix. A little over 300’ of old galvanized chain link would be removed and replaced with a new 48” tall black vinyl coated chainlink fence. Chain link is a common solution, but the black vinyl coated chain link upgrades the look of a traditional galvanized fence.  It has an appeal that is less industrial and more residential friendly. 

Chainlink fence before
Old galvanized chain link fence


Front Porch Renovation

The existing front porch was lovely, with white wood railings that had a Victorian charm with ornate details to the railing spindles.  The homeowner loved the character - BUT - the railings extended across most of the house. It was a lot of maintenance work to keep up with. 

A brick and siding home with long expansive front porch with white railings and decorative upper detail
Wood Railings and Detail Before

The front porch also had additional decorative details along the top of the roof overhang that mimicked the lower railings and ran the entire length as well.  The goal was to keep the charm of their traditional porch railings, but to do so in a low maintenance material. 

Brick home front porch with white wood railings
Wood Railing Details - Before

Since we fabricate all our railings in-house, we were able to come up with a solution to create the detailed upper design. Our talented vinyl shop fabrication team were able to custom build a decorative rail to match what would be installed for the handrails.

Deck Replacement

So, with the front design updates set, it was time to discuss the large multi-level deck out back.  The current deck was done in three parts.  Two smaller sized raised decks on either side of the home.  Both decks had a staircase to meet up at a larger deck which hovered a couple feet above the patio.  That deck then had two short stairways leading down to ground level.

An old multi level deck on a walk out level home
Multi-level deck - before

The current wood deck was old and showing signs of age, disrepair and rot so it needed to be replaced. But a bigger discussion was needed regarding the usability of the current deck design and layout.  All three decks were very separate from each other and with all the points of egress, none were set up well for entertaining or being used to their potential.  Ryan worked closely with the homeowner to discuss what spaces they would use for their style of outdoor living and entertaining.  The design that was agreed on was to change the multi-level deck into two separate decks.  Each of the upper decks would be replaced with a larger independent deck.  And only one of the upper decks would include a stairway down to the patio.  The lower deck was planned to be removed completely. 

old wood deck with multiple staircases leading up to upper level decks and a small stairway to a landing on ground level
Old deck had lots of walkways and stairs but not a lot of functional space!

The main entertaining deck would be utilized more just by increasing the overall size of the deck.  The second deck was also expanded to create space for additional dining or seating while still allowing plenty of room and flow for the stairs down to the patio. 

Balcony Deck Resurfacing

Lastly was a discussion on how to update the balcony.  It’s a small space, but the 2nd story balcony  (which really felt more like a 3rd story due to the walkout basement) needed to be resurfaced with new decking and new railings to match what would be done on the main decks. 

back of a home with a small balcony deck above garage doors two stories down.
Upper wood balcony - before

Project Construction

So four different projects to be completed at once. The home was 2 hours from our material yard & fabrication shops.  That meant some extra due diligence was needed to coordinate all the individual projects, materials, measurements and timing to make it all come together professionally and efficiently.

“It was a challenge” Chris, the job foremen discussed.  On the front porch, the decorative upper details needed to line up with the lower railing to achieve a seamless professional finish.

White overhead detailed decoration on a front porch
Custom vinyl was fabricated to create the upper front porch detail

Chris and the crew were definitely there to meet the challenge – Chris is already very detailed oriented but spent the extra time to get the spacing perfect.  White vinyl railings and the custom decorative upper rail now replace what used to be there in wood. The end result is modernized by the square pickets and post details, while keeping the traditional feel the homeowner loved.

Renovated front porch railings on a brick and siding home
Finished install of the vinyl railings for the front porch

Tackling the back decks included removal of all three of the old decks along with hauling the old material away. That in of itself was a large task before they could even get started on the new decks.

old wood deck chopped up and bundled on a trailer
Part of the old deck packed up ready to be hauled away

I’m convinced our guys can build decks in their sleep so the actual construction of the two new upper decks wasn’t a new challenge.  But they did need to ensure the two new decks would look cohesive together.   They were rebuilt from the ground up with new footings and posts and then covered in TimberTech Advanced PVC in Slate Gray and surrounded with white vinyl railings.

Arial view of new deck post installed on a deck build
Construction of new decks is underway

The second story upper balcony may be small in size, but working 30’ up on a ladder still made this a challenge to complete.  The balcony was resurfaced in the same TimberTech decking and vinyl railings that were used on the main decks.  Between the new decks and balcony, everything is cohesive, beautifully built and all spaces have a well thought out layout. 

large extension ladder up three stories on a home to a balcony
It's a long way up there!

We are fortunate to find ourselves working with some really awesome people on our projects and Chris said this homeowner was no exception - showing a lot of appreciation for the hard work and the distance the crew went to take on the project. 

Incorporating so many of our core products, the logistical planning, custom details and design changes is what made this a memorable one for Chris and crew. The main win is always measured by the satisfaction of the homeowners when the job is complete. And were happy to report it was a win all around!

A look at the final product

home with white railings and white pillars on the wrap around front porch
Front porch railing renovation - after

back of a home with two raised decks and a balcony deck
New decks completed - after

side view of a home with upper level balcony deck and raised deck
Balcony deck coordinates perfectly with the main outdoor decking and railings

Black vinyl chain link fence running between a road and yard in the spring
Black vinyl coated chain link fence

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