deck safety in Halifax

Did you Know? May is Deck Safety Month

Did You Know? May Is Deck Safety Month

HRM has had its share of deck collapses in recent years. These events highlight the importance of building to current code standards, as well as annual inspections and maintenance. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot the issues and take steps to correct them.

Code Compliance when Building Decks in the HRM

Building code standards are frequently updated and revised to reflect updated information and technology. What was acceptable in the past likely would not be compliant or safe by today’s standards. The most common areas that fail inspections are stairs, railings, and guardrails, as well as flashing, the connection to the house/structure, and footings.

  • Depending on the height of your deck from the ground, the railing should be 36-42” high
  • Stairs have a range of acceptable dimensions for the rise and tread which vary depending on the application
  • Spacing in guardrails should be less than 4”
  • Footings extending past the frost line are required for all decks attached to a house
  • The ledger board should be bolted to the house
  • Flashing should be installed above and behind the ledger board to prevent water penetration

Check out this permit application guideline for decks from HRM.


Annual Inspections & Deck Maintenance

Annual inspections and maintenance can help prolong your deck’s life, maintain structural integrity, and prevent injuries. If you think there’s a problem or you’re unsure you should always bring in a professional to have a look.

  • Visually inspect the wood for splitting or decaying
  • Make sure the flashing is intact and no water or debris are accumulating
  • Verify that the ledger board is fastened and secured to the house and that the fasteners are in good condition (no rust or corrosion)
  • Deck, stairs, and railings should not move, they should be secure with no wobbling or swaying
  • Regularly clean up leaves and debris as they can be slipping hazards and also promote mildew and deterioration
  • Keep snow to a minimum and shovel as needed to prevent overloading the structure

Check out this 10-Point Deck Safety Checklist for homeowners from The North American Deck and Railing Association.

Examples of a Failing Deck that are not Code Compliant in HRM

Raised Deck Surface with No Safety Railing

Raised Deck Surface with No Railings

Incorrect Railing Installation Unable to Handle Strong Winds

Railing Unable to Handle Strong Winds

Deck with no Safety Railing

Deck with No Safety Railing

No Railing on Both Sides of Stairs

No Railing on Both Sides of Stairs

Improper Deck Footings

Improper Deck Footings

No Joists or Hangers, No Lag Bolts

Improper Connection to House or Wall

Concrete Footings Cracking/Breaking

Improper Deck Footings

Improper Deck Footings


We take pride in the design and installation of the decks we build. That’s why we take care of everything, including the permit application, for you. Each project is built to be safe and structurally sound, adhering to both the current National Building Code and HRM standards. If you have concerns or need your deck replaced, give us a call for a complimentary assessment and/or quote.

Deck Collapses

Deck Collapses | Permits Are No-Nonsense in Halifax

Decks Collapsing In Halifax Make Permits a MUST!

Who needs a permit you ask, we do if we are building a project for you. All-Craft does not take chances with your deck or your safety. With every job we build, we take pride in the design, the look and the safety. So #1 rule when hiring a Pro, always confirm about permits (click for a copy of the HRM guideline brochure for building a deck) and insurance, if they blow you off, tell you not to worry about them, that they are a waste of time, then you should run, and fast. Decks seem to be one of the top 10 do-it-yourself projects. However, when it comes to building a deck there are many things that only a professional deck contractor will know.  A professional is specialized in the work, and has worked on many styles of the structures and with many different materials. When dealing with a professional in HRM, they will also know the in’s and out’s of why you need a permit and who you deal with for your permits.

The reason HRM has a permit office, and requests plans is to make sure safety is first for the homeowner and that your project is 100% to guidelines. Major areas that fail inspections when building a deck project are: stairs, railings and the way your deck is fastened to your home, or the structure. beam and joint size and guard rail openings. Other considerations that play a roll in designing your deck to meet regulations are boundary line, easement of right-of-way, and where your deck can be built and what not to cover with your deck. This is why, when your professional registers your project, an inspector is assigned and inspects the building process. If your deck is found not to have been built with a permit, and inspections, HRM will fine you and take you to court.  As well, they will make you dismantle your project, losing your materials and your initial investment.

Halifax has now felt the wrath of decks that have not been built correctly or maintained. Halifax says 1 in 10 decks fails inspection. At least two builders have been hit with financial penalties under this new no-nonsense system.



Are you concerned that your deck might not meet regulation or that it is in danger of possibly collapsing?

Give us a call to come for a complimentary assessment to see if you are safe on your outdoor living space, summer is for fun not falling!







Deck Footings | Big Foot Is In N.S.

Decks are more than just floors and stairs, building a deck means working from the ground up, starting with your footings.

To make sure you have a safe deck, a sound foundation is crucial, this includes supports like your ‘footings’. Footings support the load of the deck so there is no sinking. Concrete pillars with footings resist frost upheave and in Nova Scotia, lets face it, they need to resist wind uplift as well. With proper footings, you can consider your deck to be anchored down, for all seasons!

Footings use to be back-breaking work and could take days to complete, until the day arrived, when it was finally spotted, Bigfoot!

Best Foot Forward

The BigFoot, which proudly was developed in Nova Scotia, was designed in a tapered cone shape with sizing at the top to fit any size footing tube, commonly known as the SonoTube. With this new design there is no need for forms to be built, this minimizes workload and time when building a deck.

In Nova Scotia it is required that the footing extends past the frost line, ensuring a firm foundation for your deck. The footing tube is placed into the hole allowing the concrete to be poured smoothly and forming a concrete column and footing at the same time.

The Big Foot comes in four sizes and fits from 6 inch to 18 inch tubes. The Bigfoot system can be used to support:

Now, most DIY decks use ready-made blocks or also know as, deck blocks as footings. These type of blocks rely on soil conditions and if the soil condition’s are bad, can cause sinking or with frost cause the deck to rise. They also have no hold down capacity against wind uplift, which is a weather element known for weakening decks in Nova Scotia. These type of footings can only be used on a deck that is less than 600mm off of the ground and is not attached to a dwelling or building. You should always contact your local building official for clarification of your deck design if it is not designed and built by a professional.

Lets keep your deck safe, All-Craft believes in Big Foot!

Outdoor Living Rooms Minus 4 Walls | Halifax, NS

Your home is so much more than 4 walls and a roof…it is one of your largest investments and one that
encompasses everything that home and family means to you.

But is that home that means so much to you just not functioning or fitting your current lifestyle?
Well, this is when we talk about renovating versus relocating and we have to bring an awareness around
the housing market today where the fastest growing segment of Canada’s housing market is renovation
spending. Fuelled by rising home prices, tight resale market conditions, attractive financing costs and
government tax credits and well…who are we kidding I don’t think anyone likes the task of moving,
especially away from the place that holds so many memories close to your heart. So doesn’t renovating
look more and more like an attractive option every day.

Reasons to remodel are as varied as the homeowners themselves. Some homeowners have growing
families, while others are “empty nesters” changing their home to reflect their new lifestyle. Whatever
your remodeling needs—more space for entertaining, an expanding at-home business, updating or
modernizing—there are advantages to remodeling right now to make your home which holds all of its
precious memories fit your needs, wants and desires.

Upgrading your home is one of the most profitable decisions you can make. Not only do home upgrades
provide a sense of accomplishment, it will also influence the aesthetic appeal of your home which will
pay off when it comes to your return on investment.

All-Craft’s speciality is the exterior of the home and we love the summer when the backyard is all about
celebrating the season with family and friends. So why not maximize your personal oasis with an
outdoor remodeling project and give new life to a ‘tired’ exterior all the while reducing maintenance,
improving energy efficiency, security and the general comfort of your outdoor living space.
The benefits to exterior renovations are limitless and all it takes to get started is a vision.

A few benefits:

  • Return on Investment – ROI – this is a biggie and HGTV’s Carson Arthur notes that ‘simple outdoor living spaces like a deck or patio increase a home’s value by 12%’. Read more on ROI
  • Increases usable living space
  • Addition of an outdoor living space has rapidly become a popular way to enhance both the functionality, quality and aesthetic appearance of a home and surrounding yard
  • Impacts your comfort and convenience by creating a retreat for you to enjoy each time you ste foot onto your outdoor living space
  • Increased outdoor enjoyment
  • Switching to low maintenance exterior products, such as composite material, can save hours of maintenance time.
  • It will dramatically improve the curb appeal of your home
  • Creates that outdoor oasis in your very own backyard … no need for passports or going south of
  • the border
  • Opening up a floor plan and extending the living space to the outdoors can eliminate interior traffic jams and create a noticeable difference in how your home feels—and how you feel about your home
  • Creates an space that brings an emotional draw which will win over the electronics or social medial and allow you to connect with friends and family in space of enjoyment
  • Provides that impactful space which can be the disconnect from the everyday madness right outside your door for quality time that creates the best kind of memories
  • Positive outlook and energy – exterior renovation changes the atmosphere of the home and provides a positive outlook of the living space
  • Gives you the home of your dreams
  • Show the true potential for your property

Outdoor projects are a timeless renovation and the journey to renovating your home should be a
positive and beneficial one, rather than a complicated mess. And of course you want to get the greatest
benefits from your efforts so, hiring a professional renovator who specializes in the exterior home is the
best way to accomplish that. With a professional you receive sound technical advice, design assistance
as well as make the most of your budget to successfully beautify your exterior parts.

Happy Outdoor living !

Deck renovators in Halifax

The Deck Building Process

The following is a brief description of the deck building process. We have also written an article titled “Design Considerations” that we encourage you to read if you’re seriously considering building a deck.

Before considering any deck building project, you should determine what your budget is, make sure there are no zoning conflicts, and check with your Home Owners Association so you know their requirements.

The first step in the deck building process is to set a time to meet at the jobsite, preferably when both decision-makers are home. Although decks may look quite simple, no two decks are alike, materials vary considerably, every jobsite is different – thus we don’t give “general bids” over the phone without first seeing the property. A typical first meeting will take 1 ½ to 2 hours. Larger jobs may take more time.

The goal during the first meeting is to find out the scope of the project, including size, how the deck will be used, what materials you’re interested in, and do you want enhancements like lighting, grilling stations, fire pits, pergolas, etc. With simple projects, we are able to give immediate cost to construct.

For larger projects, we’ll schedule a second meeting and provide you with a “footprint” drawing of the proposed deck, along with the estimate, samples, and other materials. There is no fee for the estimate to this point. If additional designs are desired, including 3D drawings, we enter into a retainer agreement for these services.

After a contract has been signed, we then acquire a building permit. Permitting consists of two parts. First we draw a set of plans so the building department can verify the design and materials. The second part of the permitting process requires acceptance from the zoning department. Most projects require permits. It is the responsibility of the contractor, not the homeowner, to acquire the permit. This also places the liability on the builder and not the homeowner.

As the permit is being acquired, we also order materials so they can be staged and ready for delivery. During this period we often like to bring the crew leader to your home to see the project, meet homeowners, etc. It typically takes at least two weeks or more to look at a job, draft a contract, draft plans, acquire the building permit, and acquire materials.

Project durations vary depending on factors like deck size, height, access, weather, efficiency of the builder, number and type of accessories, and type of materials being used. Spring and the early summer months is the peak deck building season since most people want projects completed prior to the warm summer months so they can enjoy their newly built decks. Make sure you plan ahead if you want your deck completed early in the year so you don’t end up months out on a deck builder’s schedule.

We build decks year around. Although bad weather can impact a job, we don’t usually lose many working days to cold, snow, or rain. Wind is usually our biggest weather obstacle and is more prominent in the spring. The advantages of building a deck in the fall and winter months are that there aren’t usually material delays and lumber prices are usually less (lumber is a commodity, thus supply and demand dictate price).

To schedule an estimate, click here.

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