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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.

universal

Universal Design for the Outdoor Life | All-Craft Halifax

With universal design, top-of-mind awareness is focused on interior design when it comes to renovations, a safe and accessible lifestyle is important inside and out.

Research has shown that spending more time outdoors can boost your immune system, promote positive energy and create a relaxing lifestyle.

Outdoor living has become one of Canada’s top investments for renovations. People want to spend more time enjoying family and entertaining in their backyards. A universal design can ensure that you can welcome company of different ages and abilities.

Thoughtful exterior design considerations like lighting, pathways and raised gardens can help you enjoy your backyard.  But, on a more larger scale, when designing your backyard for the future, implementing the following design features will help accommodate any life changing events.

Pathways with edging– Your pathways should have adequate lighting and have a solid surface to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers. A non-slip pathway  helps with stability as well (Pathways should be at least 42″ wide). Edging will help with depth perception.

Ramps, Rails and Lifts– The “deck life” is a summer trend in Canada. Decks are no longer your basic 12 x 12 box. People are investing in a an outdoor living space that can include kitchens, showers, hot tubs and trendy dinning areas.

When designing an exterior space to enjoy, consider mobility and accessibility.  Implementing a ramp, outdoor stair lift or an incline platform will ensure stress-free accessibility.

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Some small modifications that you can do to adjust to different abilities are:

Installing electrical receptacles higher than usual

Adding lighting to walkway paths

Provide wheelchair pull-up access to seating areas and tables

Low thresholds from inside to out

Nobody can predict the future, but you can plan for it. With interior renovations we find that all age groups are putting in grab bars and building with a universal design. Now it is time to plan for the future outside, so that no matter what, you can enjoy the fresh air.

When thinking of renovating your backyard to customize  it to your lifestyle needs, make sure you hire a professional in exterior renovations who has an Aging-In-Place professional with CAPS(Certified Aging in Place Specialist) training working for them.

 

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universal

Cleaning

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.

Cleaning

 

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.

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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 

BackyardCleanClean

snow

Winter Protection for Your Deck | Halifax Deck

Protecting your deck from winter elements is key for longevity of your deck!

Mother Nature can be very cruel during the winter months, dropping record amounts of snow and leaving us to dig our way around our homes.

Protecting your deck with deck maintenance is extremely important in any season, but especially in the winter because of the fluffy white stuff and the adverse effects it can have on your decks structure.  Keeping your deck clear of snow is just one of many steps that can save your in the long run.

The fact is, when the snow starts falling we head to the snow blower or shovels to get the driveway done and the walkway cleared. But, by the time your done shoveling them the idea of shoveling your deck is about as far away from your mind as summer is. Prolonged exposure to carrying the weight of snow and ice may harm your deck’s structural integrity, causing your deck to be unsafe or causing it to collapse. Keeping your deck clean, is just as important as keeping your pathways clean and deiced.

There are many reasons to keep your deck clear of snow, one being that it can be used as an emergency route, allowing access to your home during an emergency, keeping it clear might mean the difference between life and death. Keeping snow away from your patio door and house walls can also help decrease the chances of any water damage to your home.

On average, you will find most decks are built with pressure treated wood, but please note that winter maintenance is different for composite decks, including Trex and Azek. There are different methods of maintenance for different decking materials, always check with your local outdoor living specialist for advice before using any product on your deck.

Bigger is not always better when it comes to clearing the snow off your deck/patio, so if you are thinking snow blower, you might want to leave the “big guy” to your driveway and walkway and pull out the “little guns” for your deck. From electric snow shovels to electric snow throwers, there are options beside the old fashion shovel that you can use, cutting down on heavy lifting and time.

winter

Electric Snow Shovel

Electric snow shovels are lightweight and a very effective tool for cleaning your deck with ease. Winter can leave a heavy load of snow that needs to be cleared off your deck before it weakens the structure. Because the electric snow shovel is lightweight and maneuverable it is a great choice. It is not a struggle to use it on your deck stairs or a ramp. They usually run you between $115 to $145, a small price to pay to save you time and body pain.

winter

Electric Snow Thrower

Electric Snow Throwers are a great option for clearing snow from your deck/patio. It provides a little more clearing power than an electric snow shovel. They are equipped with soft rubber or plastic paddles instead of metal augers allowing you to clear the snow without damaging the surface of your deck. Snow throwers are easy to store and do not require gas, you just plug them in and go for it. The investment in this tool usually is between $189 to $289

Don’t rule out the “old fashion” method, the winter shovel. Rule of thumb on any decking material your going to use a shovel on is to use a shovel with a rubber or plastic edge and not metal. Using a metal shovel can leave splinters and gauges in your wood as well as composite material.

deck

During the winter season, we sometimes forget about our outdoor living spaces and how beautiful they are come spring. Winter maintenance doesn’t just begin when the snow starts, maintenance should begin before the snow falls by sweeping off dead leaves and washing down your deck. Leaves that are left on your deck can cause mold and fungus growth which can affect the boards itself.

Make sure you have the correct maintenance regiment for your deck and if you are not sure how to maintain your deck,

Deck

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Deck

 

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