Decks. Built to Endure
Our philosophy is simple. You should enjoy your deck. That's it.
We'll take care of the details. And details do matter when it comes to decks. Built wrong, decks will rot, or worse, come crashing down. Subpar deck designs rob you of functionality you could have had. And let's not forget the dreaded annual deck maintenance caused by using unsuitable materials and deck finishes. Put this all together, and you have a deck that is a pain to maintain and requires a full replacement and the consequential headache in several year's time.
Built right, decks will last in Red Deer or Central Alberta's comparatively harsh climate. We focus on reducing the maintenance and increasing the longevity of your new deck. Joists are flashed to minimize rot. Ledger flashing is tied into the drainage plane to protect your home. Screw piles are used to eliminate frost movement. These terms may be unfamiliar, but they are part of the backbone of a well-built deck – built well so you can enjoy it.
These wide front entry stairs portray an invitation. Building oversized steps also leaves room for seasonal decorations and flower planters. Good design and quality workmanship go hand in hand.
When it comes to the decking, we are one of the few Red Deer deck builders that offer natural options other than pressure-treated decking; cedar, ipe, meranti, bangkirai, batu decking are available. We recommend finishing your deck with decking oil to extend the decking life and prevent greying. We also support letting the decking weather and replacing only the decking when the time comes – a fraction of the cost of a complete deck replacement.
We generally do not install composite decking. Composite decking has its place, but it's often not the right choice for many. In our opinion, composite decking is an over-marketed product that causes more problems than it solves. Some of the issues are that it can mark up easily, it expands and contracts excessively along its length, and it's an inefficient use of resources. If you are willing to pay the money for fancy composite, look at the exotic hardwood decking we mentioned above. If you were considering budget composite decking, consider cedar decking or pressure-treated wood decking instead.
Services we offer as your Red Deer deck builder.
Standard decking. Brown pressure treated decking.
Premium decking. Cedar, ipe, dark red meranti, yellow balau bangkirai, and red balau batu are available.
Deck extensions. Deck expansions are worthwhile when the size is large enough to offset the cost of additional piles.
Custom deck designs. Tiered decks, custom staircases; we build your backyard oasis.
Deck stairs. We also can add stairs to your existing deck.
Hot tub pads. We can build hot tub platforms for your deck or design your deck around a hot tub sitting on a concrete pad.
Covered decks. Build your new deck with a roof so you can enjoy the outdoors while staying cool and dry.
Railings. We offer aluminum, glass, metal/wood hybrids, and stainless steel cable railings as part of our deck packages.
Pergolas. Perfect for a little shade and creating a relaxing space.
Screwpile foundations. Our first pick for deck foundations.
Decking treatment using Pallmann or Osmo outdoor oil. Extends the life of the wood by slowing down the speed of moisture movement in and out of the wood by using a micro-porous finish.
This built-up deck beam is simple to install on height-adjustable screw piles.
An in-depth discussion on deck construction in Red Deer
How and Why? These are some of the hardest questions to answer in any context. But when it comes to decks, it pays to know the "how's" and the "why's behind the deck design. We've done our homework on why decks often fail or degrade prematurely, and we understand how to mitigate these failures and slow degradation.
Our comparatively severe climate in Central Alberta can destroy a beautiful new deck after one winter due to frost if the foundation is lacking. When decks are built on blocks sitting on grade, frost can cause soil movement. Or, when a deck is built on poorly installed concrete piles, frost lensing can cause the concrete pile to heave. This deck foundation movement can cause significant damage to your deck and any structure it is connected to, including your home. And if the movement is severe enough, it can cause deck failure and collapse – leading to potential injury. Another cause of foundation movement, more prevalent with covered decks and hot tub platforms, is piles not rated for the load. The load-bearing capacity of the soil is only so much, and when the bearing area or friction of the pile is not great enough for the load being carried, the foundation will sink.
To prevent movement from frost, we primarily use screw piles. They cause little disturbance when installing, are highly resistant to frost heaving, and are quite durable. Concrete piles can be used too, but a Sonotube should be installed on the first four feet, and the pile should go twice that to minimize the risk of movement from frost. For every deck, we also calculate the required load rating and size the piles accordingly. For example, a standard 12x12 deck with two piles and a ledger board and with a deck roof tied into a house on one side would need to be rated for a total load of at least 14,400lbs – meaning each pile would need to be rated for at least 3600lbs.
Decks should last. This partially finished deck has joist tape so that when the decking boards do eventually wear out, they can be replaced with new ones without replacing the entire deck structure, equalling significant cost savings.
Several factors increase a deck's susceptibility to decay from moisture. Decks built from untreated SPF lumber are rot-prone and do not meet the current Alberta Building Code. Another problem area is deck ledger connections to homes and the required flashing around them; this is a detail that many inexperienced deck builders struggle with. When ledger flashing is done wrong, moisture that is running down the home's siding or house wrap may be directed into the rim joist area and result in decay. A rotten rim board or deck ledger can compromise the structural integrity of the deck, potentially resulting in the deck collapsing. Another issue a little less evident than the previous two points is poor air circulation; this is especially true for ground-level wood-framed decks. Poor ventilation around the deck frame will increase the relative humidity and foster wood rot.
We build our decks to manage moisture effectively. This means all lumber used in the deck construction is pressure-treated or decay-resistant. We pay close attention to moisture management at the ledger connection; we ensure the drainage plane is continuous and directs water away from your home. Ground-level decks built right are possible but require additional moisture management. We often recommend that clients opt for a concrete patio instead of a ground-level deck. Concrete patios cost less than a properly built ground-level deck, and the concrete patio can be tied into a deck for a stunning and functional yard design. Our finishing touch for dealing with moisture is the incorporation of joist flashing on all our decks. Joist tape is applied to the top edge of the deck joists and seals around the fasteners that secure the decking. Properly built decks without joist flashing tape often first fail where the decking fasteners penetrate the joists and expose untreated wood.
Decks stairs need a proper foundation to land on. By installing these screw piles in along with an aluminum channel, the stair stringers will have robust support.
Once installed, the aluminum beam sits flush with grade and is nearly hidden.
We view a beam underneath the heel of the stringer as the strongest way to build a set of stairs that land on a lawn.
These wooden stringers are protected from moisture by flashing tape as well as the custom metal flashing on the rises.
Subpar workmanship exacerbates the previously mentioned problems and usually creates issues of its own. The use of improper fasteners and poor framing connections creates safety concerns and, unfortunately, is quite common. We see many decks structures built with treated decking screws; many of the commonly available decking screws are not rated for structural use and do not have the shear strength to carry the required loads. Another common and significant issue is the lack of bracing and undersized joists, beams, and stair stringers. These deficiencies can be dangerous, create less than confident footing and do not meet the minimum building code.
We see the Alberta Building Code as the minimum requirement for building a deck. We aim for our decks to inspire confidence, so we often build to a higher spec than code requires. Our experience has shown us that decks constructed to the code minimum do not have the same rigidity as decks built with upsized framing members. Fasteners have to do double duty; they need to resist corrosion from moisture as well as from the corrosive effect of the preservative treatment in the lumber. We only use hot-dipped galvanized, specially coated, or stainless steel fasteners when building decks. Additionally, deck ledgers require special attention since they rely on the shear strength and pull-out rating of the fasteners used to attach it. For this reason, we use high capacity structural lag screws to connect the ledger board to your home.
Building a deck to endure in Red Deer takes an in-depth understanding of the challenges posed by our climate. We want our clients to spend their time enjoying their new deck, not worrying about if it's safe, or if they will need to replace it soon. Decks built properly do cost more upfront, but when you look at the repair and maintenance costs, along with the expected life span, the money spent upfront becomes trivial.