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.

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!



Pergola Paradise | Decks | Halifax


Pergolas are like bows on a present, they are the finishing touch to your outdoor oasis!

The origin of the word pergola is Latin, referring to “projecting eave”. Once used for ambience in a garden, it is now used to enhance the visual of a building or outdoor living space. Pergolas combine pleasure with function, providing shade and a unique look. Modern Pergolas can be built from materials such as wood, fiberglass or aluminum. A more costly pergola would be built using materials like brick or stone pillars. Wooden pergolas are built with wood that is weather-resistant, such as western red cedar or eastern white. Pergolas add creativity to your home, they can be your canvas to your backyard art.

Pergolas have been inspiring creation and enriching aesthetic beauty for over 3000 years. They have served many purposes throughout the years, from the gardens of the elite rich, to helping harvest vegetation for the common worker. Pergolas have made a journey into the creative design and no longer are only for the rich elite. With a jump through the ages, the Italians actually brought new life to the beauty of pergolas, adding brick, and large dramatic pillars. Pergolas have built beauty in Greece, Egypt, France, Asia and now they have touched the landscaping of lands all over the world. Some people think pergolas are just a beauty feature, maybe an investment that is not needed, but before you rule out adding a pergola to your outdoor living space you should know that there are different accessories that can be added to make your pergola a benefit to your outdoor life.

Solar panels can harvest the energy of the sun and at the same time blocking sun and providing shade. Harvesting the energy can allow you to use the energy for your outdoor items like lighting, heating your pool, running your water features and providing energy to your outdoor cooking area. Climate Controls can help you enjoy your pergola-paradise just a little bit more.  So the question is, what are climate controls for a pergola? Well, you can add an outdoor ceiling fan, these can be installed to a solid roof pergola. You can stay fresh and cool with a mister or keep warm on those chilly nights with a heater.
Pergola lighting can keep the party bright after the sun sets, leaving the hours of outdoor fun everlasting! Lighting choices can be overwhelming, and like a Christmas Tree, there are so many factors when placing them in the right place.

 Outdoor Pergola Lighting Tips

Create the right ambiance

 Direct lighting-highlight key features of the pergola

Indirect lighting-to create the right mood

Avoid Glare

fire on deck lightingimagespergola lighting2Perogla lightingpergola


All-Craft would love to be your artist, coloring your backyard canvas with color and character!
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!






3-D Drawing

3-D Renderings, An Important Design Tool

3-D renderings, An Important Tool

A vision can be very hard to put to paper. But even harder, is seeing a construction design and trying to visualize the colors and creation that will be implemented into the design of your outdoor living space.  All-Craft understands how frustrating this can be, and we believe that by using a 3-D renderings we can help ease that frustration and anxiety with visualizing your deck, providing high quality pictures. 3-D renderings can be of the most valuable architectural tool we use to make sure your vision is what we design. In a blink of an eye you can see your dream come alive.

Using a 3-D program, we can set a beautiful scene using color pallettes, landscaping, flooring, and much more.  Almost like a cartoon, you can add people, animals, clouds, the creativity is endless. This powerful construction tool can digitize objects and add texture to create atmosphere on paper. You can see your outdoor vision in all seasons, helping you to breath during your design stage.

A 3D rendering of your home’s outdoor living space will give you the information you need to decide what will best suit you and your family. As a team, we can use the 3D model to add different types of decks, shapes, colors, and levels, all with a click of a button.


3-D Renderings

3-D Rendering

3-D Rendering

Project Completed

Together we can take your vision and make it a reality with a custom deck!

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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