Spring is in the air, summer is around the proverbial corner and with it, a noticeable spring in your step. Is this the year that you plan on finally taking on what is considered (in some circles) to be a Canadian rite of passage…Building your own deck! I say GO FOR IT but only if you’re sure you know what you’re doing, if not call Robert Pybus at The Mermaid Group of Companies! Before you rush off to the nearest B.C. big box store to buy a whack of lumber though, consider these very important factors so you can avoid making some very classic home owner deck building mistakes:
1. Consider a professional design – Whether you are building your deck yourself, or having it professionally built, do not undervalue the importance of a design that will add a “wow” factor to your project. The Mermaid Group Design Team designs decks and every other home design imaginable for people all over British Columbia. Remember that you will eventually be selling your property and you want a design that appeals to the lion’s share of buyers not just your own likes.
2. Understanding the sun and our west coast rain – The sun can be a beast, so if you burn easily like many (special note to those with children or grandchildren), make sure you incorporate an element of shade into your design. Of much more relevance here on Canada’s wet coast is our year round rainfall. Using the proper materials incorporated with a wet weather design gives your finished product year round usage and enjoyment.
3. The BBQ – The barbeque is typically the worst placed item on a deck. Remember, the gas line needs to run to the ideal BBQ location, not the other way around.
4. Consider Furniture First! – How often do you get the chance to go furniture shopping, and then build the room to match the furniture? There is an amazing selection of exterior furnishings these days. Choose the size and shape you like, then design “rooms” on the deck to incorporate it. Robert Pybus is known for his impeccable taste and knows every top 10% product line available like it was his own. Whether its gorgeous Restoration Hardware styles or Home Depot there is a fabulously furnished Mermaid Dream Deck waiting for your pleasure filled use.
5. Use Footings – Even if you are building a deck that does not require a permit, it is important to use 48” deep concrete footings that extend below the frost line. Always use a builder’s tube to keep frost from being able to heave the footing.
6. Floating Deck Mistakes – A floating deck means that the structure of the deck does not connect to the house structure. This typically requires a line of footings close to the foundation wall for a support beam. Here’s the problem; footings are meant to sit on “undisturbed soil” which is compacted and will support the footing without sinking. When digging a footing 12” to 24” away from the foundation, the soil in that area is “disturbed soil” due to the excavation required to build the house. These footings must be enlarged, particularly at the base to avoid sinking.
7. Do your Structure Homework – Again, if your deck does not require a permit, you still need to build it properly. It is easy to find online help in order to understand basic fundamentals like footing size and spacing, beam sizing, joist sizing and spacing, railing guidelines, and proper staircase construction.
8. Decking Patterns – One of the easiest ways to spice up your deck is to have some fun with the decking. I personally hate the traditional method of fastening down a deck board, and if it doesn’t reach the end of the deck, just adding an extra piece on. After a few winters of expansion and contraction that “seam” between the boards looks terrible. Simply adding a “spine” in the deck creates an intentional seam, which looks great for years to come.
We hope that these simple steps are of use to you as your strive to make you and your family’s home and life a better one. If you need any professional assistance don’t hesitate to call, email or text Robert and his passionate team of industry professionals at The Mermaid Group of Companies. Oh and feel free to fire off any BBQ invites to us anytime!