Inside the Innovation House

We pulled out all the stops to bring the latest home tech features to our Innovation Home. See the 16 coolest things from the home and be amazed by how smart one home can be.

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Bathroom Countertop Ideas

Good-looking countertops -- whether made of marble, limestone, or concrete -- create high-functioning bathrooms that spill over with style. These popular countertop materials are sure to inspire a bathroom remodel.

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Find Your Dream Backyard

Whether you dream of sunning by a state-of-the-art pool or strolling through a simple cottage garden, there's an outdoor oasis with your name written all over it. Take this quiz to find out where you really belong.

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DIY Patio Ideas

Want to boost the beauty and usefulness of your outdoor spaces? Put one of these inspiring DIY patio ideas to work in your landscape.

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Easy Fireplace Upgrades

Does your fireplace need a facelift? Check out these 20 ideas for updating your fireplace with easy-to-apply embellishments and simple-to-make constructions.

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8 Cutting-Edge Exterior Features

The wow-factor of the Innovation Home starts with great curb appeal. See the eight things that make the home's exterior stand out.

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Budget Curb Appeal

Be the best home on the block for less. These budget curb appeal updates will show you how.

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About Composite Decking

Forget the image of plastic decks that look like recycled milk jugs. Composite decking has come a long way as an alternative to wood.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • New Alternatives to Wood Decks

      If you haven't taken a look at composite decking products lately, you're in for a pleasant surprise. Manufacturers have stepped up production of a broad array of stylish synthetic substitutes for wood.

      Many of these products mimic the look and feel of wood but without many of natural wood's drawbacks. There's no painting, staining, sealing, or periodic refinishing required. These wood alternatives aren't likely to warp or split, and they resist insects and decay.

    • Made From Recycled Products

      The major components of most composite deck boards are plastic resins and wood fibers. In many cases, the materials come from recycled products. Some manufacturers use reclaimed sawdust from woodworking operations and combine it with recycled polyethylene plastic from sources such as grocery bags.

      Manufactures are able to produce composite boards that are uniform in appearance and quality. However, most cannot be used for structural components, such as posts and beams, because they lack the required tensile strength. So you'll still need real wood to build the substructure of your deck.

    • Match Grain and Color of Wood

      Some composite products offer a color and texture that resembles wood. It's best to shop around to find the look that suits you. Because some consumers want a wood grain on their deck while others want a uniform look, both options are easily available.

      Certain manufacturers even offer planks with simulated wood grain on one side and a brushed surface on the other. Many products are offered in popular shades, such as cedar and redwood. If you want a specific color to complement your home, it is possible to stain or paint most composite deck products.

    • Easy to Install Decking

      Most composite decking works like wood and requires no special tools. Simply cut your boards to length and attach them to the supporting structure just as you would with real wood. You can drill holes in the boards and drive screws through them.

      Because the boards have no knots, curves, or splinters, spacing and installation is a snap--although composite boards generally weigh more than wood. For the ultimate finished appearance, some manufacturers offer underside clip systems to keep the deck screws out of sight.

    • Stylish Composite Railing

      When shopping for composite deck planks, make sure the manufacturer you choose also offers a complete package of matching posts and rails. After all, you don't want to have to stain and maintain wood railings to match your composite deck.

    • Practical and Beautiful Composite Decks

      You'll pay a little more at the outset for a composite deck, but you'll save on maintenance in the long run. And with the uniform appearance of composite decking and its availability in a wide variety of colors, you'll enjoy a deck with the polished look of an indoor space.

    • 7 of 7
      Next Slideshow 12 Ways to Outfit a Small Deck

      12 Ways to Outfit a Small Deck

      Bring big style to a small deck or patio with these simple, space-savvy accessories and decorating ideas.
      Begin Slideshow »



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