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Finishing Touches to a Composite Deck

This DIY Basic will provide tips on adding finishing touches to a composite deck.

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Watch an Overview Video

Gather Your Materials and Tools

Materials and Tools:

composite decking, railing and gate
hidden fasteners
color-matched fasteners
color-matched screws
post cap lights
accent lights
riser lights
color-matched or companion fascia boards
power drill
circular saw
measuring tape
carpenter's level
volt meter
1 3/4-inch hole saw
3/8-, 7/64-, 1/4-, 3/16-inch drill bits
5/8- and 3/4-inch spade bits
2.5 mm Allen wrench

Choose the Finishing Touches

Finishing touches can make your composite deck one-of-a-kind

Choose a fastener that complements your design. Hidden fasteners can give deck a smooth, sleek look.

For dense boards not suitable for hidden fasteners, use color-matched fasteners or screws. Instead of color-matching the fascia boards, choose a color in the same family.

Use color-matched screws or hanging fasteners, which let boards move against rim joists.

Customize railing with a combination of colors and materials. Combine composite posts and rails with black metal balusters. Install composite balusters in a companion color to posts and rails.

Install a Curved Railing

Have railing curved to your specifications. You'll need to know the rise and run of the curve. For rise, measure distance to inside of rail at center of rail; this gives radius of leg; for run, measure width from inside one end of rail to inside other end; this gives radius of curve.

Install curved rail as you would straight railing.

Cut Holes for Wiring

Extend outdoor life after dark with rail and deck lighting.

  • Post cap lights create subtle glow around perimeter.
  • Accent lights produce down-light at transition spots or near stairs.
  • Riser lights illumine space and make steps safer.

Wiring goes from transformer and GFCI outlet underneath deck and steps to locations of deck lights.

Mark vertical and horizontal centerlines for riser light. Align template with centerlines and mark let and right center points for hole saw cuts.

Using 1 3/4-inch hole saw cut hole at each center point.

Install the Lamp

Mark horizontal line tangents at top and bottom edges and cut to complete cutout.

Trim excess wire length and make connection to main circuit wire with wire nuts. Depending on local codes, conduit may be required.

Remove riser light cover and install light housing into opening with wood screws.

Install lamp into socket.

Re-Install the Light Cover

DO NOT TOUCH lamp with bare hands; oil from skin may damage lamp; use soft cloth to handle lamp, instead.

Re-install light cover and secure with set screw and Allen wrench.

To set your deck apart, hang a matching gate.

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