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.


5 Mistakes Made While Cleaning Your Deck | Halifax

There are 5 common mistakes you can make when it comes time to clean your deck.

1. Using The Wrong Cleaner: When cleaning your deck make sure to use the proper cleaner.  You want to consider the type of decking material when choosing your cleaner. Take the time to call your local deck builder to help decide which cleaner best suits your decking material.


2.Use of a Power Washer: Some people go all guns blazing with their pressure washer on their decking. THIS IS A HUGE NO NO! If your deck material is pressure treated wood, using a power washer can remove the natural oils that protect your wood. These oils can not be replaced with any type of stain. Power washers can leave splinters because of the intense power behind the nozzle and they can cause your wood to expand, loosening nails and allowing space for debris to get between.



3.Weather doesn’t matter: WRONG! Weather always matters when it comes to your deck, work and play. Always double check the weather as temperature and humidity can have major impact on how your protective seal dries. The ideal temperature is between 15-25 Celsius and it is important that you pick a day where there is no rain in the forecast.


4.Gaps don’t matter. WRONG! The dentist always tells you to “floss”, and we highly suggest that you clean your gaps. Dirt and leaves in between your deck boards can cause premature rotting of wood, like cavities if you don’t floss. Make sure to clean your gaps thoroughly.



5.“I don’t need to clean the deck in the fall” WRONG, prepping your deck for the winter is very important to help maintain the life of your deck. Making sure all of the debris and leaves are clear off the deck prevents mold from taking control of your decks surface.


If you are concerned about how to clean your deck contact the Pros at 


Outdoor living

Why a Screened Porch | Design and Build Halifax

Why build a screened porch in Nova Scotia…

That old fashioned meaning of “porch” has been reborn. Introducing the new trending outdoor living room, the ‘Screened Porch’

Screened porch Screened porch

A screened porch enhances your ability to enjoy your outdoor space. Protecting you from weather elements like rain and wind and provides you a place to escape the scorching sun.  Screen porches are designed to provide a functional yet beautiful living space, constructed with a roof, a structure and than screened in, usually adding a screen door.

There are various looks that a screen porch can provide depending on what your budget allows for and the design you envision. Homeowners sometimes like the idea of removable screen panels because of the screen blocking out the natural light.  If lighting is a concern, you can install sun tunnels skylights, providing natural light. Another option for a screened porch is vinyl sliding windows, providing you with a sleek look.

Some trendy ideas that you could incorporate into your screened porch design, making it welcoming and stylish are:

Modern screen porches are considered an extension of your living space. They provide you an that extra living room, just outside. Your goal when designing your porch is to make the transition seamless from the main structure to the porch area, keeping with the original architectural appearance.

Depending on the ambiance you desire, your porch can be your private cozy space or your entertaining space surrounded by gardens, lighting and decor of choice.

In Nova Scotia, a screened porch is a great investment to your homes value. Investing in your outdoor living space with a screened porch will leave buyers excited, adding one more room to the overall homes footprint.

All-Craft is a custom design and build firm, specializing in outdoor spaces. We have enjoyed building beautiful screened porches for families all over HRM, providing them a chance to enjoy 3 seasons. If you would like to receive a quote for a custom screened in porch. Contact your local deck building company,  our division All-Craft Decks and Sunrooms.

Screened porches

Screened Porch

Screened Porch

Nova Scotia Deck renovations

Extra, Extra, Outdoor spaces! | Decks | Halifax

Custom Outdoor Spaces

Adding those custom outdoor ‘extras’ allow your deck to be attractive and functional, bringing it to life.  Incorporating spaces that allow for family time and social gatherings gives you the total definition of an outdoor oasis. When designing your dream deck, always allow the space for your ‘extras’…

With a deck design, you want to allow for correct sizing of spaces, making allowances for remote structures (gazebos, pergolascustom fireplaces) you want to build, and like the interior space of your home, you want to allow for outdoor room space, your relaxing spots, your activity zone and cooking/dinning spots. Take into consideration that you need room for the paths between these areas. When incorporating your extras into your deck design, make sure you think outside the box, you do not have to be defined by a symmetrical design. Deck ‘extras’ are exciting and creative nowadays, they can blow your imagination. Outdoor kitchens have come a long way since your everyday barbecue. Outdoor cooking zones can now include a full kitchen, with cabinets, granite countertops, sinks with running water, you can even find built-in fridges and freezers, and outdoor surround sound to keep you dancing while grilling. Outdoor kitchens are usually protected by some style of overhead roof, you will often find a solid overhead roof, or a trellis-type overhead. This protects your kitchen from hot sunlight, as well as rain and wind. If you are building a beautiful outdoor kitchen, you should allow a dinning area to continue the flow of your design. The dinning area may vary in size depending on the size of functions you usually host.  On average, a dinning area should be at least 12 feet square. When designing your deck, you can always use a two level design to include your extras, if your layout of your home allows for it. Do not try to squeeze all your dreams into one deck if it makes it look cluttered. If you do not have the room to accommodate, or can not have the size deck you want to host your ideas, it is time to do your “want” and “want more” list. A few smaller ‘extras’ you can incorporate into your deck design to match your budget or the size of your deck are planter-benches, fireplaces or implementing custom storage designs. Another option when designing your deck, is using unique lighting and custom doors/skirting to “pop” the brilliance of your outdoor living space. Free standing structures are the new fashion when it comes to outdoor living spaces. You can say that a gazebo or pergola is the “earrings and necklaces” of a deck. If your budget or space doesn’t allow for a full outdoor kitchen, you can improvise and build a free standing structure to give your barbecue depth and style. An old fashion gazebo can be ‘supped’ up to be your party zone, adding lighting, music, and screening to provide you all night fun. On the other hand, your gazebo can be used for a romantic dinner, allowing the stars to provide the light to complete the ambiance. The new look of your outdoor spaces are endless. You have to take your time and visualize your dimensions and paths of your spaces. Hiring a designer to bring your vision to life is beneficial because of the overwhelming choices that are at your fingertips.  The words ‘boring and flat’ no longer have to be associated with your outdoor design!

All-Craft has a passion, our passion is your vision!




Composite Color Hits Gold! | Decks

New Composite Color Shines Like GOLD!

There are many reasons to use a high performance composite deck material to build your outdoor living space.  Composite  is made from 95% recycled materials, this saves 400 million pounds of plastic and wood scrap from landfills every year and has a 25 -year limited residential warranty, but now, you can add beautiful colors to why you should build with composite. It is easy being green when you are lounging on your composite deck. Another great reason to invest in a composite deck is that it provide you with low maintenance all year long. Now isn’t that a breath of fresh air!

Trex has now launched its new beautiful Havana gold color to there popular Trex Transcend Tropical collection.  Havana Gold gives a rich, golden look to the sleek composite material making your deck feel warm and elegant, and with a little help of your imagination, you can feel like your sitting in the tropics embracing the outdoors.  Havana Gold, like the other 9 tropical colors, features a subtle shading and natural hardwood looking grain to give off a look of hardwood from the tropical rainforests without destroying the environment. Check out all the great Transcend colors that Trex has to offer.

Lets take the work out of the weekend and spend more time admiring the beauty of your investment!

Composite Deck

Havana Gold




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!


Why Build in the Fall? | Deck Building

If you have come to the conclusion that it is too late to build your dream outdoor living space, we have the reasons why you should change your mind! People seem to think you can only build decks and outdoor living areas in the Spring and Summer, but Fall brings many reasons to build your deck!

Building a deck in the Fall leads to less of a negative impact on your landscape.
During the Spring or Summer season the weather can range from hot, sweltering days to stormy, rainy days with very little warning.  During the Fall and Winter season the weather is a lot more bearable and the cooler weather dries out the landscaping making it easy to build a deck on the yard without causing any significant damage to your landscaping so that when Spring rolls around your yard will bounce back greener and vibrant.
Get ahead of the crowd with your deck construction.
Beat the Spring rush by beginning your deck construction early so that by the time Spring arrives you will be enjoying your new deck with out having to worry about how to host Summer gatherings with no space outside. What a way to kick off the Spring, creating your dream atmosphere with accessories and colors.
Take advantage of the predictable weather.
Weather during the Fall season is a lot more predictable than weather during the Spring and Summer season. There are a lot less weather issues like thunderstorms that could cause a delay in construction which makes it easier for the construction crew to get the job done within a short amount of time. In the Spring and Summer months contractors are busy, and not able to be flexible with scheduling, but in the Fall, things slow down which allows contractors to be able to accommodate your scheduling needs.
These are just a few reasons why building in he Fall has benefits.  With frost coming, Fall is a great time to start your deck project if you need to dig.  Deck building doesn’t stop cause the snowflakes are falling.  With Spring, the flowers bloom and the decks blossom after a cold winter!

Deck Safety, Check Your Deck | Halifax, NS

May always provides an exciting month – spring flowers, the Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon, Beloved
Mother’s day and Victoria day … it’s a busy month and for us in construction this month raises a time to
stress an important message, deck safety. With the warmer weather and sunshine beaming we are
setting our sights on spending more time outdoors and a deck or outdoor living space can be the perfect
place to spend time enjoying the weather with family and friends and we want to help you avoid
potential mishaps this season as a well-built and well- maintained deck offers a safe haven for outdoor
quality of life.

The North American Deck & Railing Association declares May as Deck Safety month and promotes this
program in an effort to improve safety, prevent injuries and save lives. All-Craft is committed to this
program as we take deck safety very seriously and make it a priority to ensure that you deck is built to
code and is safe.

The NADRA emphasizes the importance of maintenance of existing decks and proper installation of new
decks as an unsafe deck could collapse, causing serious injuries to you and your guests

Did you know the NADRA estimates there are over 40 million decks in the USA that are over 20 years old
and the NADRA states that the number of deck failures and resulting injuries are increasing at an
alarming rate. Yes. American statistics but our Canadian decks are not far behind them … decks don’t
last forever and craftsmanship on this area of your home needs to be of highest quality.

Reasons for a deck collapsing can range from age of the deck, poor maintenance and exceeding load
capacity to improper building methods. Deck collapses happen far too frequently and when they do
happen, they happen fast – click here to out a devastating deck collapses on You Tube

The good news any deck mishap can be avoided. The NADRA emphasizes that it is a matter of
awareness around the necessity of choosing a professional deck builder, maintenance and inspection,
and knowing the limits of the deck structure. 

So let’s discover the potential disaster before it happens – we are here to help! Click here for a 10 point
Deck inspection checklist which provides some guidelines for what areas need to be repaired or what
needs attention. With key areas outlined from split or decaying wood, to railings and banisters,
cleaning and maintenance, lighting and electrical, outdoor furniture and everything in between. Wow,
a lot right but there’s a lot to consider when thinking about the safety of your deck for your loved

Our experts at All-Craft have an eye for safety and can go one step further for you by inspecting
everything from substructure to ledger connections, posts and footings, post-to-beam connections,
joists and joist connections, stairs, deck boards, handrail assemblies and guards and miscellaneous.
An inspection can determine structural supports and connections, such as post sizes, fastener types
and specific design aspects as well as any visible indications of corrosion or weakness. All you have to
do is call us for a no charge consultation.

Read more: Jim Miller active NADRA member, whose company participates in education and advocacy
efforts centered on deck safety each year discussing importance of deck safety.

All of this might sound complicated but certainly an important necessity that is why the All-Craft team is
here to help. Contact us today for your no charge consultation where our expert consultants who has an
eye of what to look for and what is or isn’t allowed. We can walk through the safety of your current deck
and help you solve potential issues.

Like us on Facebook to access Deck Safety check lists that will be posted throughout this month.
Creating your dream outdoor living space safely is a complicated task to undertake – Read the following
article where we highlight some of the complexities and why hiring a professional is in your best

Outdoor living

Outdoor Living | The New Trend

Canadian summers may be short, but they are glorious. For a couple of brief, magical months,
it’s your patriotic duty to spend as much time outdoors as is humanly possible.

Outdoor living is part of today’s lifestyle trends, and many homeowners are turning their outdoor
areas into attractive and relaxing extensions of their homes. This transformation can be as
simple as a sitting area for the family, or include a combination of decks, patios, walkways,
gazebos, gardens, pools, ponds and fountains.

Where kitchens and bathrooms are consistently described as the top spaces to renovate, home
exteriors are now surpassing these interiors when it comes to home improvement projects.
Whether it’s enjoying the view each morning over a cup of coffee or entertaining all year round,
we want to help you get out there and enjoy your outdoor haven. Your backyard can be that
oasis space, the right in your very own backyard vacation spot that gives a sanctuary to create
memories that last a lifetime.

Now, are you thinking all the above sounds great but…. “What really are the benefits to me
renovating the exterior of my home?” Read ‘Hangout to Sanctuary’ article below for a brief
overview of some benefits to exterior home renovations.

The planning stages of your exterior renovation are a critical step and accessories are a key
fundamental to add character and create a custom design. Read below ‘The Finer Details’, to
get inspired to plan from the small details to the larger ones.

For more information contact us to chat with an expert on how to bring your outdoor living
space dreams to reality or like us on Facebook for regular updates.

Happy reading and outdoor enjoying!

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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