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Look, we don’t mean to write about negative stuff, but it seems like one of the best ways we can contribute to the do-it-yourself’ers and the weekend handymen and handywomen is by writing about the common mistakes people make when they’re building decks in Alberta.

Why does it happen? Well, we think it’s because people in Alberta are hard-working and intuitive, so most of the time they’d rather learn on the job and figure things out as they go along.

Anyone else see a problem with that?

Yeah. Us too.

So let’s make a commitment this summer. You’re going to build a deck? That’s great! Make sure you start here to get your foundation and blueprints ready, but after that?

Avoid these mistakes at all costs.

1. IGNORING THE ELEMENTS

Like we talked about a few weeks ago, the weather up here makes building decks in Alberta more difficult than anywhere else on the planet.

…Ok that’s probably a bit of an exaggeration. But it’s important to respect the elements, not only when you’re choosing materials and hardware, but when you’re choosing your design, the location, and exposure.

For instance, let’s say you’re determined to build a deck that will let you enjoy maximum sunshine during those long Alberta days. That’s great, but just keep in mind that extra sun exposure on your deck is a lot like extra sun exposure on your skin.

The same goes for precipitation and snow once the weather turns (and we all know it will!), so make sure you keep the impending elements in mind at each stage of the planning process.

2. CHEAPING OUT

Why do people cheap out when they’re building their deck? Well, we’ve all been there, it’s pretty obvious. We all want a beautiful deck but we don’t want to spend too much. It’s understandable, but if you cheap out on materials while you’re building decks in Alberta, you’re going to spend a lot more in the longrun on maintenance and repairs.

One specific cheaping out move people make is increasing spacing between supports to save on costs. But all that does is sag and warp the decking that goes over the top. It will shift and wiggle back and forth and rot where the screws are inserted and quickly wear out.

Oh yeah, people also forget (or just don’t know) to use galvanized nails or screws that are rated properly for treated lumber. Otherwise the lumber will dissolve the screws or nails in two or three years. When building a deck, if you don’t pay for it now you’ll pay for it later. Lots of people think treated decking is a good idea, but this decking requires lots of maintenance to last a long time. Often upgrading to cedar or a better product doesn’t cost as much as people think. 

3. FORGETTING THE HIDDEN SUPPORTS

Ok, so you finally have a beautiful sturdy deck for the entire family. Even your in-laws can enjoy it!

Except they have to bring the beer.

But wait – if you’re going to add a bunch of extra weight to that DIY deck, you’d better make sure you’ve used plenty of hidden fasteners and supports to keep things tight and supported. You might not see them, but these fasteners help prolong the life of your deck. 

Another secret reason these hidden fasteners are so amazing is their placement. Because they go into the side of your deck boards to maintain a flat surface up top, these screws and nails don’t collect water like fasteners on the top of the deck do.

Eventually that moisture can eat away at your planks and create rot, and no one wants that.

So what do you think? Are you ready to build? If you are, great! If not, give us a shout, we love talking shop and we can help point you in the right direction.

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