There can be many different ways to come to a good looking finished product. Skimping here or there can be ok depending on what you are dealing with. From what I look at day in and day out, if you are installing anything outside it should be the best you can afford and maybe a little better.
I am not talking about the finishes. People tend to get caught up on what they can see and understand, which makes sense. But the parts that hold up those wonderful jungle hardwoods or space age composites are the things that are really important.
Take decks for instance: A deck that was on a home that I inspected in Salem, Oregon recently appeared to be beautiful. Composite decking boards (low to no maintenance), and aluminum railings (again low to no maintenance) all appeared to be installed properly and should last a long time. The real issues didn’t make themselves visible until we got a look at the structure……
The first thing that jumped out was the outside structural beams, or lack there of.
I can’t tell if, to save money they didn’t think they needed to extend the
support all the way to the edge or if they got the wrong beam in the first place and again decided to ‘make it work’ instead of getting the proper sized beams.
Either way this set up is really a classic example of how not to build a deck.