I have a beautiful deck on the back of my house that virtually spans the entire back of our bungalow, and gives us so much outdoor living space. My husband built it with the help of my father and father-in-law. Also, we have an oversized wooden staircase leading to our over garage loft space. My only complaint about the wooden deck and staircase is the maintenance. I had no idea how much love and attention wood decking needs. The hot Texas sun is brutal on the stained lumber that the deck is made of, and every few months I have to re-stain the deck surface and stairs. It is a chore that I procrastinate on so badly that I usually find myself late the night before we are hosting a party, re-staining (all the while cursing the wood surface). It is not that it is hard to restain, I use about $60 worth of stain/sealer for the stairs and $60 for the deck, and I apply it with a roller on an extension poll that I simply roll back and forth, as if I was mopping or sweeping. It takes me about 2 hours stain the deck and 4 hours to stain the stairs. Here is a before (left) and after (right) of my most recent re-stain.
Lately I have been dreaming of decks made of materials other than wood. I am loving the idea of a large stained concrete tiles and some metal railings and staircase. I'm not sure how the industrial look of concrete and metal would blend with our historic home, but I like the idea of less maintenance!