Posted by & filed under Wooden Decks.

While low maintenance decks have surged ahead in popularity within the decking industry, wood remains the leader and hard wood has got it’s hold on consumers because of it’s obvious attributes.

Beautiful Backyard Deck

If you enjoy your hardwood floors inside, you’re likely to consider using hardwood for your deck and here’s why. Unlike pressure treated wood, many hardwoods will look beautiful for 25 years or more. Because of it’s density and natural oils, hardwood decks will resist rot and insects. Many hardwoods that are used in the decking industry include, red mable, golden ironwood,cambara, cumaru, redwood and cedar. While these hardwoods are certainly more expensive, they are durable, feel good under your feet and can be installed with ease. Like every exquisite product, there are drawbacks and choosing a hardwood deck will be no different.

Great Deck For Your Home

When selecting your wood, it’s wise to stick to a lighter colour. The darker hardwoods will heat up faster and hold heat longer. It can be next to impossible to put a nail through some hardwoods and pre-drilling is often necessary. This can make your deck project more labour intensive. With the often higher cost of hardwood, you won’t want a lot of waste, so proper installation is key. Any wood deck will need a good cleaning each year to maintain it’s look and all wood decks can change colour over time. Hardwood decks will need to be periodically re-stained as well.

When you invest in a hardwood deck, you get the best of both world’s. While the price tag may be hard to swallow, the end result is often better than the dream and owner’s of hardwood decks swear by their their beauty, durability and functionality. Choosing to install a hardwood deck, truly creates an outdoor space that is an extension of your home. One that will be enjoyed for many years to come.

 

Posted by & filed under Composite Decking, Deck Design, Deck Ideas.

Can’t decide between a patio and a deck? You likely don’t have to.

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the difference between a patio and a deck?” You might also being wondering which will suit outdoor needs. You may be surprised to find that both are the answer.
Patio is a spanish word that means courtyard. A courtyard is traditionally an open space and if you are opting for a patio, it is likely to be made of stone, pebbles, brick, or concrete and sit directly on the ground. Decks are primarily made of wood, composite or vinyl and often sit above the ground so that access can be made from the house. Space permitting, why not consider a patio and deck combination.

040 large cedar deck and patio
Choosing a patio and deck combination will ease transition from one space to another and with a little application of design, both will enhance your outdoor space while providing lots of room to be creative.  Decks are often used in the backyard to take advantage of a spectacular view while a patio frames out that pool nicely.

Deck and patios are an extension of your personal home environment and just like your home, there may be more than one room. Building a patio and deck combo will ensure you have more than one room in your outdoor space as well. The variety of materials that will be used in a patio and deck combination will give texture and depth to the overall look of your backyard.

deck and patio

Creating a deck and patio combo can seamlessly tie in your hot tub, fire pit, outdoor kitchen or any other element that you want to incorporate into that space. Goals can be established in creating your deck and patio combination with careful planning.  Attention to detail and a great design will ensure that your vision becomes a reality and that your reality includes an inspired outdoor retreat for family and friends.

 

Posted by & filed under Deck Ideas.

Couch sitting is way more fun than fence sitting and a heck of a lot more comfortable.  Outdoor furniture has been redesigned, reimagined and rediscovered. Gone are the days of expensive, impractical and poorly made patio sets. The options available to the consumer today are endless.

 

Dune Group_3574

 

Creating the outdoor atmosphere you want, like any living space, starts with a great couch. Purchasing patio furniture can be icing on the cake when you’ve just built a new deck. This new addition could also be sprucing up an existing structure.

Your first step to choosing a great couch is to know your space. You won’t likely get stuck in stairwells if your new couch is too big but you will still need to conform to the square footage that is available to you. Though sectionals are popular, you might opt for two love seats.  If you can find it in a house, you can find it for your deck.  While outdoor furniture used to be made of wood, today’s furniture is made in a variety of materials and durability has certainly increased with these choices.  Today’s outdoor furniture is made of plastic, aluminum, wood, wrought iron and wicker.  Choosing which you prefer will help to establish the over all look of your outdoor space.

Next comes colour.  Where you might otherwise shy away from colour, this is your chance to go wild. Your outdoor space begs for vibrant colour and any green space can be complimented by patterns and textures..  Outdoor furniture often comes in a variety of colours.  These colours can be switched up year to year depending on, if keeping up with the trends is important to you.

When making a decision about your outdoor furniture, consider your needs, space and design preferences.  If all three are met, you have likely found a  fantastic couch and you can move on to filling your outdoor space with all the necessities.  You are ready to enjoy couch sitting at it’s finest.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

It’s always important to make sure your skirt isn’t too short. Your deck skirt is no different.

With so many design options for your decking project, it’s important to pay attention to details like deck skirting. These details can make the difference between a professional look and a do it yourself appearance. Having an ill fitting skirt will always leave you feeling exposed even if it’s just your deck skirt.

stone deck skirting

No matter what materials you’ve chosen for your deck, the finishing touches will enhance the final project. Skirting should be part of this completion. It not only gives it a polished look, but a professional one.

Skirting materials should be build into your materials budget and can represent, on average, 5% of your overall cost.

Deck skirting is essenitally pleasing to the eye but serves more than one purpose. It can aid in proper drainage and provide loads of storage.

While skirting should be part of any deck design, deck skirting can also be retrofitted and this is especially useful if you are looking to improve drainage around your property. Deck skirting provides the opportunity to hide a lot of drainage solutions within it’s design.

Azek skirting on a deck
Who doesn’t need more storage? Depending on the size and design of your deck, loads of storage can be created. With a couple of hinges and a decorative handle, you’ve just created outdoor cupboards. Hidden hardware may be the way to go, if you don’t want the overall appearance interrupted.

If you have an existing building outside like a shed or pool house and are considering a new deck, skirting will go a long way in tying these buildings together and deck skirting will create that unified look.

Installation is key. Like any finishing work, deck skirting has very little room for error as it is often covering up existing mistakes or rough work. When done right, deck skirting can transform a deck and ultimately your whole outdoor space.

Posted by & filed under Deck Design, Deck Ideas.

What’s your vision for that new deck?  Is it simply a pressure treated square deck that says nothing about your personality or are you thinking outside the box.  Expand your vision to include stone.  Stone can set your deck apart from others and add texture and visual effect that is both interesting an calming.

Natural, stamped and decorative stone mixes well with all kinds of other decking materials.  Using stone in your deck design will open design possabilities as well as your visual outcome.  While stone doesn’t have to cost a lot, it always looks like it costs a lot.  Whether your entire deck is made of stone or you simply mix materials and use stone to accent your deck project, a deck with stone looks both rich and natural.

 

019 Vaughan deck with stone insert (1)

Contracting a professional who will help with your design and comes with the  experience needed to construct a stone deck is key.  There are different factors to consider when working with stone and it’s not a do it yourself project.  Important factors to consider are drainage, ground slope, shade and obstacles such as trees and tree roots. Gone are the days of stone pavers as our only choice in stone decking.  There are so many choices in the stone deck industry.  Choices to fit any budget and if you can imagine it, Hickory Dickory Decks can likely built it.

005 Brian Maclean stone deck (2)

Once you’ve decided on stone deck,  you can consider your deck nearly permanent and maintenance free.  This is especially true if you’ve chosen natural stone.  Mixed with other other low-maintence decking and you will be enjoying that new deck for many, many years to come.

Adding stone to your deck design will give it elegance and add colour and texture.  Stone can take an ordinary deck design and make it unique.  When making design decisions about your deck, open yourself up to the idea of using stone and see what the possibilities can be.

Posted by & filed under Deck Cleaning.

You have recently uncovered your deck and perhaps it hasn’t faired too well under all that snow and cold or perhaps all the snow this year was a welcome distraction to the unsightly appearance of your deck.  Either way,  the warm weather will be soon upon us and that means it’s time to spring clean your deck.

kids lying on the deck in summer

 

Annual deck maintenance will protect your investment and increase enjoyment of your outdoor space. Whether your deck is made of wood or of low-maintenance products,  every deck needs a little tlc this time of year. Though you’ll want to wait until the temperatures come out of the freezing range,  don’t wait until it gets too warm. If you simply want to remove grime from your wood deck, a simple scrubbing will do the trick but sometimes spring cleaning your deck is little more involved. After cleaning a wood deck, it may still be grey. If this isn’t the desired colour, a power washing or sanding is in order. It’s best to do this during the early spring and not to wait for summer as the heat can put a lot of stress on the wood. You don’t likely want to be dragging the hose out in the cold weather, but this is the perfect time to spring clean your deck. A bleach cleaner will remove mildew and dirt and when applied with a brush followed by a light sanding, is much gentler on the wood surface than power washing.

If your deck is made of low-maintenance materials, your spring cleaning will likely be less labour intensive but not less important. After a year of falling leaves, piles of snow and a dog too lazy to do his business on the lawn, even a low-maintenance deck is in need of a good spring cleaning. Scrub your deck with a soft brush and use a cleaner with oxalic acid to remove rust and leaf stains. A power washer is not recommended unless used by a professional as it can permanently damage the surface of your low-maintenance deck.

You’ll be happy you took the time and effort now, to spring clean your deck. Soon enough, the warm weather will be upon us, and you’ll be thrilled your spring cleaning is done. Your deck will thank you too.

Posted by & filed under Deck Ideas.

Is your deck as tired as you? Does it lack personality? Is it generous with the splinters? There’s a solution for that. The solution doesn’t have to involve all the expense of a new deck. Spruce up you deck for less with many elements that won’t break the bank.

Gazebos and Awnings

Sprucing up your deck for less can be accomplished many different ways and at many different price points. Building onto your existing deck with a gazebo or awning can transform your outdoor space quickly and without a heavy price tag or heavy lifting.  A gazebo or awning can cost a little or a lot depending on materials and size you choose. A gazebo or awning, however, will never cost as much as a new deck. A little shade might just be what your old deck needs. When incorporating any new structures into your existing deck and outdoor space remember to clean your deck so that the addition will blend in. Cleaning all your existing structures will go a long way in sprucing up your deck.

fireplace and deck lighting

Lighting

Lighting can change and enhance the atmosphere of your old, tired deck. Lighting can be retrofitted and custom designed to create the desired ambiance. Lighting projects can cost a little or lot depending on your vision.

Planter Boxes and Benching

Planter boxes and benches are very economical ways to spruce up your existing deck without the cost of a new one. Planter boxes can help to frame your space and the plants in these boxes will inevitably add colour. Benches will also give structure to your deck and provide extra seating. Add some cushions and outdoor rugs and you’ve got yourself another living room.

panter box and bench_MG_0052

Some other elements that don’t cost much but invigorate your outdoor space and breathe life into your deck are privacy screens and fireplaces. Also consider a fresh coat of stain or paint.

While a new deck might not be in the cards for you, there are many ways to make your old deck new again. Have a plan, have a budget and most importantly, have an imagination.

 

Posted by & filed under Uncategorized.

While we all can’t afford our dream home, designing and building a treehouse might just be the trick to seeing that dream come true.

Most of us have no desire to build our home in the trees but a more popular and feasible option is to build a treehouse. While children benefit most from this outdoor element, your treehouse can become the envy of everyone in the neighbourhood.

 

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Unlike many outdoor projects, a treehouse requires engineering, designing, professional construction and permits to ensure it’s safety and durability.

There are many kits our there that will provide you with the bulk of the necessary elements, but you’re likely to only build one treehouse in your lifetime, why not give this project all the personal touches it deserves. This is your opportunity to have all those “dream home” elements without the hefty real estate price tag.

Of course, tree houses are limited to those properties that include at least one mature tree. This should be your first consideration. And you will want to make sure that the design of the building compliments any existing structures, like your primary home and your deck. Take care of the tree you will be using to build your treehouse. Don’t restrict it’s growth by constricting branches with rope, straps or wire. This can strangle the tree.

 

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While you probably aren’t going to be living in your treehouse,  there’s no reason the whole family and can’t spend loads of quality time there.  Don’t just consider the design and construction of the building, keep in mind it’s usage.  Will you need to install electrical or insullation. What kind of access will you use. While stairs seem obvious, maybe your treehouse includes a slide.

Options in design can be as large as your imagination.  Building a treehouse in your backyard can be a great project for the whole family and provide your family with loads of great memories.

 

 

Posted by & filed under Deck Stairs.

Who says taking the stairs can’t be fun. Designing you own deck can be exciting, but also at times confusing with all the elements to consider. Deck stairs and the multiple options available can be mind boggling but don’t have be.

Taking the stairs will take on a whole new meaning once you’ve navigated through the design options that come with choosing the right set of stairs for that new deck. Will your budget fit your vision? Many factors will determine the price of your deck stairs. Square footage, is not the only variable affecting price. The design, materials and number of stairs will bring the price up or down as well.

090 curved Veka vinyl steps 008 3 sided wrap around step

 

There are deck stair calculators out there that will not give an accurate estimate of cost because of the many factors effecting price. Lighting is functional and adds to the design of any deck, but will obviously cost more. Curved stairs, though interesting and easy on the eyes will cost more than straight stairs. Caping your stairs will give it a finished look but will increase the quantity of materials and therefore increase the cost of your decking project. Keep the height of your deck in mind when considering the cost as well. The more stairs it takes to reach the ground, the higher the cost.

012 spirel steps 015 800 foot Xtendex

 

The design of your deck stairs demand your attention to detail. Deck stairs are a natural focal point of your deck. Your deck stairs should not break the bank, but be functional and pleasing to the eye. The design of your deck stairs should fit in with the overall design of your deck. With so many options in building materials available, design options are endless. Working closely with your builder will ensure that your vision will not be lost and your decking project will be finishing off with a great set of stairs.