Large Walkout Vinyl Deck On Mountain

A huge walkout vinyl deck was about the only design option for this building site.

What do you do when you are perched precariously on a north-facing mountain slope in a location where winter rain is measured in feet?

You better cover that deck in something that can handle the rain and dampness. It would be best if you also considered building a deck large enough to give you some valuable space to live.

So that is what the intent of this deck was.


This was a new house on a steep mountain slope without much usable land for a backyard. How do you go about building a deck in a case like this?

Take advantage of what you do have - great views. This house was a one storey home with a walkout basement that opened up to the grade in the backyard. It was also quite a wide home.

In a case like this a small deck against such wide wall would look odd. It would make the house look even more dominant. So you should seriously consider building a deck that is more proportionate in size to the house.

This creates equal visual weight between the home and the deck.

The Site

The backyard was non- existent.

It sloped steeply down and had a north-northwest exposure. This meant sunshine was going to be at a premium.

Another reason for a larger deck is to capture the sun when it was available.

This location was on the west coast, and rainfall was just a fact of life. During the winter it rains - sometimes for weeks on end. A regular wood deck would have about half the life span as a similar wood deck in the east or central regions of the country.

Vinyl decks are the only sensible solution in this climate because of the reduced maintenance but are proving to be beneficial everywhere else.

But a deck in this location would offer spectacular views.

The Clients

The clients wanted valuable space and to capture the essence of west coast living.

They wanted a large vinyl deck with aluminum and glass railings to give them space and view they desired.

The vinyl surface was a 40 mil flooring product available in 5' widths and with 1/2" overlapped heat-welded seams to ensure that no water dripped underneath the deck.

Vinyl decking offers this benefit - dry storage or outdoor living area beneath if so desired. They also wanted their hot tub in the deck to complete the project.

The Layout

This vinyl deck was a straight forward rectangle - since the function was the primary concern for these clients.

It maximized the usable space. The only variation from this simple layout was the bump-out created for the broad deck stairs along the east side of the deck.

This layout allowed the long stairway to come back to the house and be a little less noticeable rather than running alongside the front edge or otherwise.

If you are building a high above grade deck, think carefully about where you will install your deck stairs. Bigger stairways ought to be useful but not seen - or at least not become part of the main focus of your deck.

With vinyl decks, you must consider the orientation of the vinyl material since it is only available in 5' widths. The usual and proper thing to do is run the vinyl parallel to the side of the house, starting from the outer edge of the deck and overlapping each successive run of vinyl about 1/2" like shingles on a roof.


Voila! Certainly, the largest deck in my portfolio.

It is a huge walkout vinyl deck with excellent expansive views of the valley and surrounding mountains.

A hot tub sets into the deck for year-round usage. But best of all, useful space over an area that would have been unusable.

Imagine if this had been a wood deck. The annual maintenance of a deck this size would have been overwhelming.

Vinyl decks like this require only minimal maintenance like a scrub with some soap to brighten it up in the spring. The aluminum railings will never have to be touched again, not so if they were wood deck railing posts set into the joists or mounted externally to the rim joist.

The lessons on this large walkout vinyl deck are to design the size to match the home's size, create useable living space, and make it withstand the elements.

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