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So you’ve finally decided to take advantage of the summer sun by building a deck, hey? Good for you! There’s nothing we love more than hearing from people who’ve rolled up their sleeves, invested a little sweat equity, and emerged on the other side with a beautiful DIY deck they can be proud of. It’s just crucial to avoid a deck fail that you’ll pay for in more ways than one.

But sometimes we get the other type of call. The “oh my goodness this is a mess please help me right now” call. Those aren’t fun. We can help, but if you’re committed to doing it yourself, then we want you to see it through. We build decks for a living so we’ve got a bunch of tricks up our sleeves that might help you out if you don’t want to end up with a gigantic mess in your backyard.

One of the most common problems is people start building without a clear plan in mind. How much material do you need? What do you need in terms of hardware? How long is this project going to take?

It’s a big job, but you’ll cut down on a lot of stress if you focus on avoiding these problems before you start.

Problems like:


If you don’t start well, you sure as heck ain’t gonna finish well.

Lots of people are anxious to get their deck up and running, so they skip the all-important first step of installing a proper deck foundation.

“They don’t put in proper screw piles or proper concrete piles,” that’s Scott, head honcho here at North Elm. Often we see people skimp out on putting their pilings in to a proper depth and building to code. Even if you’re doing this yourself you should read the building code for decks and build it to code. The building code has been written with safety for you and your family in mind, and to make sure you get a product that lasts a lifetime. 

“Without that proper foundation, over the years the deck will start to settle and sag.”

Skipping this step means the integrity of the deck will deteriorate much faster and put you and your family at risk. The boards will start to get wavy as the ground naturally shifts over time and the foot traffic nudges the pieces around.”


The biggest influence on a deck is the weather. And who benefits or suffers from the weather?

The human traffic making use of your deck. You look out the window, you open the door, you step onto the deck – if that connection is off then you’re in for a huge world of hurt down the road.

Why? Well, here in Alberta our weather is incredibly challenging. We have extremes that are all over the map and what we build must be built properly in order to endure what the elements have to throw at it. Moreso, it needs to be properly attached to the house. Your deck is an extension of your home in terms of style, but it also needs to support your home and be functional.

Attaching the deck to your house requires proper fastening hardware and procedures as well as sufficient waterproofing. Without this step the deck and your house will start to rot and before you know it you’re in deep trouble. This debilitating effect will creep into the house and impact the structural integrity of your home.

So how will you plan to include proper foundations and a blueprint that attaches your deck to the house securely and safely? Give us a call if you need, but just make sure you’ve got answers to these questions before you start!

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