“Property Brothers” stars Jonathan and Drew Scott would probably be the first to say that a great beach house has to have a great deck. So, the pressure’s on in the latest episode of their HGTV show “Brother vs. Brother,” as they both renovate the decks on their respective Galveston, TX, beach homes to see who does it better!
On previous episodes, they’ve overhauled living rooms, kitchens, and master suites, so you’d think upgrading a glorified patio area would be a piece of cake—but not so fast!
Because the materials are exposed to the elements and the support beams are embedded in sandy or watery surfaces, the brothers face major challenges that, at one point, prompts Drew to raise both arms heavenward in frustration and cry, “Why does this house hate me?”
But the brothers prevail, as they always do—and, in the process, trot out some amazing deck ideas that we can all use to enhance our outdoor spaces, for beach houses and beyond.
Before: Drew’s deck
Before: Jonathan’s deck
Use composite decking
About the only thing the brothers agree on in this episode is the need for replacing wood decking with composite.
“This climate is really rough on building materials,” Jonathan says, noting that weather, bugs, and saltwater have made his old wood deck splinter, crack, and rot. “Composite looks just as nice as real wood, but it’s much more durable.”
“This house is going to have a lot of parties, a lot of renters,” adds Drew. “Renters don’t take care of the place the way an owner would, so we need a deck that will stand the test of time.”
A French drain can remedy plumbing issues
Before: Jonathan’s illegal bathroom
We admit, we’ve never heard of a French drain until Jonathan brings it up. He wants to install a full bath and margarita bar on the lower level, where previously only a toilet in an unfinished room stood. The problem is, he finds out that you can’t tie into the sewer system in a room that’s at or below the water level—so the toilet has to go and a full bath is out.
But in a bar, you need at least a sink, so Jonathan comes up with the idea of installing a French drain, which basically empties up and out to the side of the house and is perfectly legal. He tears out the toilet, puts in a changing room, then adds an adjacent bar with refrigeration and a French drain–enabled sink.
“That way, you can get out of your wet clothes before you dive into a dry martini,” he says.
Jonathan turns the nonpermitted bathroom into a “cozy changing room.”
Recycle used materials
Meanwhile, poor Drew learns that rebuilding his deck won’t leave him enough money to build a custom bar with new materials. Fortunately he has gorgeous marble and tile left over from his master bath and kitchen renovations which he can use on the bar. Problem solved!
Drew creates a bar using materials left over from other room renovations.
A louvered wall is a perfect outdoor divider
What do you do when you want privacy, but you don’t want to block out fresh air and light? You add a louvered wall, according to Jonathan. The neighbor’s house is just a few feet away from his margarita bar, and because the new owners would not necessarily want the neighbors to be peering in all the time and expecting an invite, he builds a wall of white, horizontal louvered boards that allow the air and light to pass through, but not the neighbors’ gaze.
Hanging furniture is fun
Below his massive deck, Drew adds a boat dock. However, he also wants some living space, so he constructs and hangs a sturdy day bed. Who wouldn’t love to snooze in this swinging lounge?
Built-in daybed, or swing
How does it go?
The judges this week are house flippers Karen Laine and Mina Starsiak, the mother-daughter stars of “Good Bones.” The brothers are thrilled to hang out with another all-in-the-family business.
“They know how to bicker, and they know how to work together,” says Jonathan.
While both decks are lovely, the women are drawn to Jonathan’s ground-level margarita bar, and name his design the winner.
Jonathan’s margarita bar
After: Drew’s deck
Jonathan’s reward? He gets to zip line over the water at Moody Gardens, while Drew has to inch across an 80-foot-high ropes course. We hope they both end the day with a margarita at least.
For losing the challenge, Drew is forced to do the ropes course.