Many of us are at home. Not on vacation, not by choice. COVID-19 has put us all into circumstances that are unprecedented. For Hickory Dickory Decks, April is the start of a very busy time. We are typically running at 110%. 2020 has brought a very different deck season and a vastly different way of doing things. We continue to work for our customers but with many precautions in place. For our friends and family and customers, we are all in this same boat. So while that new deck may not be something you are in the market for during these difficult times, there are many things that can be done while we wait for better days.
Being stuck at home can make a person feel helpless. Doing something productive makes for a healthier outlook and ultimately can save your mental health. We are all taking the precautions needed to protect ourselves and our families, but what can we do to help others in need? Here is a list of 10 ways to help yourself and those around you:
- Help a neighbour. Make contact with those who live close by. Some are, no doubt, lonely. A phone call can do wonders. Consider venturing out to pick up medications and groceries for those elderly neighbours.
- Going for a walk? Bring a garbage bag and take the opportunity to clean up your route. This may be something that can be picked away at over the next few weeks.
- Give blood. The need for healthy blood supply in Canada never ceases. Giving blood is safe and an opportunity to get out of the house.
- Consider writing letters. For those of us who are removed from most human contact, a letter in the mail can make someone’s day.
- Make masks. Do you sew? Making those much-needed masks that are reusable is a great gift to your local hospital. Many patterns can be found online.
- Donate to your local food bank. With so many unemployed, the food bank will never see more traffic. Food can be purchased, picked up and dropped off all in one shot.
- Provide those much-needed items to someone without access. Wipes, hand soap, antibacterial gel, etc. can be hard to find during this difficult time. Consider sharing.
- If you find yourself with time on your hands, take advantage of it. Get stuff done. Take a look around your own household and make a list of small items that can be taken care of while you wait out the pandemic. Busy hands make a clear mind.
- Make an effort to remain positive. Attitude is everything. A good attitude will help you to stay healthy and can bolster those around you.
- While physical affection is non-existent in our communities, if you are at home with a loved one, give a hug, take a hug. It’s safe and needed.
Hickory Dickory Decks wants our communities to know that we are here with you in these difficult times, and our hope is that we all come out of this pandemic with a renewed love for those around us and a greater appreciation for life. This may be our hard-fought reward at the end of the day.
For those of us who can’t resist the look and feel of real wood, the Janka Scale can be a valuable tool. While composite and vinyl decking are leading in the decking industry because of quality, comfort and longevity, there are a few of us who will insist on wood when investing in a new deck.
The Janka scale should help you decide on what kind of wood will be used for your project. The Janka scale determines how hard wood is. This, in turn, helps to determine how durable and long-lasting the wood will be over the years. If you live in Canada, the weather will most definitely be a factor. Choosing a wood that is both strong and beautiful is a must.
What is the Janka Scale?
So, what exactly is the Janka Scale? The Janka hardest scale gives each type of wood (tree) a score. The system is named after an Austrian man named Gabriel Janka. He worked in the forest industry for the US department of agriculture. In 1906 he was given the job of coming up with a way to measure the hardness of different woods. The result is a test that measures the force required to embed a 11.28 millimeter steel ball into the wood to half its diameter. Although the scale has been formalized over the years, the premise remains the same and is universally recognized.
While choosing a wood, a rating of 1000 or more is ideal for interior floor applications. While deciding on a type of wood to be used in decking is a different story. Weather will, of course, wreak havoc on your wood deck, so choosing a wood with a rating of more than 1000 is advisable.
Ipe (Brazilian Hardwood) has a rating of 3680, for instance. This wood will be long-lasting, indoor or out. It will, however, like all wood decks, need maintenance. Staining or waxing each year can help prolong the life of your investment, but Ipe, just like pressure treated wood, will grey out. Something to remember when choosing a hardwood decking product.
Cedar is popular in the decking industry because of its character and amazing smell. Cedar has a Janka rating of 900. Pressure treated wood is an economical choice in decking choices. Pressure treated lumber is typically made from southern pine or douglas fir, and both have Janka ratings in the 600′s.
If you are determined to use real wood to construct your new deck, take a look at the Janka Scale to help you make that decision. Keep in mind that harder woods do cost more than their softer counterparts and that all wood will deteriorate over time. With some yearly maintenance and the elbow grease and budget to go along with it, your hard wood deck will be beautiful for years to come.
All home décor has its time in the sun. Just like each season brings it own style, so does each year. Home décor trends of 2020 aren’t limited to the inside of your home. 2020 trends for outdoor living exist and here are a few of them.
Trends in decking colour choices change every few years, but new for 2020 is the use of more than one colour in deck boards. As the consumer becomes more educated and comfortable with low maintenance decking, imaginations have expanded. Choosing more than one colour for your deck floor doesn’t have to cost a lot and, in many cases, doesn’t increase the budget at all. Consider a double picture frame border and use a complementary colour for that inside board. It is important to first choose your primary colour of course. The accent colour can be used on stairs and trim as well. If dark colours are your thing, but you are afraid of too much heat, stick with a lighter colour that complements that dark colour of your choice. Use that darker shade as an accent.
Varied Width Decking
There are a few decking suppliers out that that offer decking boards in not only several lengths but in several widths. Unique to the decking industry in 2020 is a look that has never been seen before in an outdoor space. Adding character and unique design, a varied width decking choice for your deck is sure to wow the neighbours and will ensure that you are on trend for 2020. Using varied width boards comes with a price tag but if you are looking for something different in deck design, and you find this extra cost in the budget, the investment might just be the thing that “makes” your outdoor space. Varied width boards will typically include anything from 4″ to 8″ and be mixed and matched to create designs.
Creative Use of Lighting
Deck lighting is not new. Landscape lighting is not new. Designing your outdoor space with both in mind is on trend for 2020. Often our outdoor spaces are pieced together over the years and creating one lighting design for the whole space could be just the thing to tie it all together. If you are choosing 2020 to redesign this space, now is the time to consider your lighting solutions. Many outdoor lighting suppliers offer both deck and landscape lighting to complement your space. Expanding your usage of your deck and backyard, as well as safety, are the two main considerations when deciding on lighting. Your deck designer or landscape designer can help you to achieve both.
Up On the Roof
No room in the back yard for a deck? A flat roof can create living space were there was none. Building a rooftop deck will not only save space and create space, but a rooftop deck can also provide you with a spectacular view. In 2020, homeowners are changing it up and using space above garages, outside master suites and yes, even on top of roofs. Some things to consider when building a rooftop deck are ventilation and drainage. These concerns are quite unique to rooftop living spaces.
If this is the year you finally get that new low-maintenance deck, consider incorporating some of the 2020 deck trends you will find in the industry. Combined with your own unique style, your outdoor space can become a dream come true.
Didn’t get a new deck this year? No worries. Spend the winter making a plan to finally create the outdoor space you deserve. Focus on the beauty and design of the centrepiece. Your new low-maintenance deck.
While many newly built decks are still being constructed of wood, if you want your new deck to last, low-maintenance is the way to go. This does, however, put many more choices in front of you as you consider design, product and colours. Let’s break it down.
Like any new structure, planning is key. Understand your limitations first. Budget and usable land will be in the forefront of planning and how much you are prepared to spend on your new deck will greatly affect the design and product choice. Secondly, each municipality has rules. How close to your property lines can your build extend to? How high will the deck be? Will you need a permit? A call to your city building department will answer many of these questions and save a lot of headaches in the future.
Once your budget is in place and you have uncovered any building restrictions your city may have, it’s time to do your research. A low-maintenance deck is an extension of your home and likely a big investment of your hard earned money.The more you know about low-maintenance products and how much they cost, the better. A homeowner will likely only build a new deck once or twice in a lifetime and, therefore, people are often surprised at how much a project like this costs.
Next is the fun part. Make a list of design features that are must haves for your build, as well as any accessories such as lighting that you want to see on your design. How big will your deck be? If you are not good at visualizing, consider spray painting your lawn to give you an idea of what the space looks like. Getting a 3D view of your property with the proposed deck in the backyard can go along way in helping you envision the end result. You may choose to design your own deck but it you want to leave it to the professionals, many deck companies provide free designs and will work with you on that design.
Get Your Quotes
Once you are more clear on what it is you want to see in a new deck design, it’s time to collect some quotes.This process can take time but because you have chosen to focus on your spring build in the winter, you have the time to do it right. Doing if right, typically means getting more than one quote.
If you have decided on your deck builder, and have a rough idea of when your new low-maintenance deck will be build, it’s time to get some logistical things out of the way. Do any private locates of sprinkler systems or septic need to be done. Nothing will dampen a new deck build like a ruptured sewage pipe. Move any gas, or water tap that might need relocating in order to build your deck and if your basement needs waterproofing, now if the time to do it. Does your old deck need to be removed? A homeowner can save some money on their project by ripping out the old deck.Consider doing this part of the project yourself.
If you have taken the winter to properly plan your new deck, there is less chance that things will get delayed or go wrong. With a little preparation, you will be enjoying that new low maintenance deck in no time.
A deck design can be elaborate or quite simple. Depending on the design you choose, a pre-engineered deck design may be right for you.
Save Time and Money
A pre-engineered deck design will serve your DIY project well, saving both time and money. In many municipalities throughout Canada a permit is required. Getting a pre-engineered drawing means you have all the specs your municipality will want to see, streamlining the process. Not having to commission permit drawings, will also save you money.
Keep in mind, if you are planning to use your pre-engineered drawings for permit purposes, the finished product must line up with drawings. Drawing will include elevation, rail details and substructure lay out, making it easier to conform to the building code.
Pre-engineered drawings are available for free from some deck companies, and some are available for purchase. Regardless, a pre engineered design will save you money.
If you are planning on building your deck yourself, these pre-engineered drawings can act as instructions. Following the specs of your drawings will ensure that building code is followed and your build is a sound one.
Often, pre-engineered drawings will include a 3D and photo of the decks design you choose. This will help you visualize your project and also help you to decide on the design that is right for you. Many pre-engineered packages also include a material list. This will save you countless trips to the hardware and lumber stores, having all the materials delivered in one shot. Again, saving time and money.
A Design for Everyone
There are so many pre-engineered deck designs out there. You are likely to find a design that will fit your home. Pre-engineered deck designs can be found that include pools and spas. Many pre-engineered deck plans also include special features, such as pergolas, benches and planter boxes. The possibilities are endless. Whether you are considering a high deck, low deck, big or small deck, there’s a pre-engineered deck design right for you.
For many people, building a deck is something that they only want to do once. In order to fulfill this wish, premium, long-lasting products must be used in its installation, starting with the substructure of your deck. That is where Hahn plastics can help.
While wood can be very attractive, it cannot resist the ravages of rain and cold. Time-consuming maintenance can delay this decay, but it is inevitable that wood will eventually stop what it was intended to do. Concrete is very durable but difficult to transport. It too will eventually breakdown. Steel is flexible and used in various applications but will corrode. Steel can also have a high price point. A recycled plastic substructure may be the way to go.
Among other applications, Hahn Plastics has developed a rot free recycled plastic substructure material that is also recyclable. If you want a deck substructure that will last as long as the low maintenance deck boards do, this may be your solution. Here are just a few of the aspects of plastics that make it a great addition to your new deck.
- Decay resistant
- Environmentally friendly
- Long life
- Splinter free
- Resistant to oils, brines, acids, and saltwater
- Low maintenance and service costs
- Long service life
- Produced without preservatives
- Reduces the strain on landfills, is sustainably environmentally friendly
- Recyclable in the material cycle
- Installation does not require heavy equipment
In 1993, Hahn Kunststoffe GmbH was one of the first companies to manufacture new plastic products from used plastics. This is typically referred to as upcycling rather than recycling. From the start, they have consistently promoted the development of hanit. It’s a material that outrivals wood, steel, stainless steel, new plastic and concrete. This is because it is more robust, lighter and more durable.
A deck substructure made with Hahn plastics will never go away. If you want your next deck to be the last deck you build, consider a plastic substructure. It’s forever.
Whether you are an employer or an employee, health and safety should be of great importance in your workplace. Thousands are injured every year in the province of Ontario alone. In fact, last year more than 150 workers lost their lives while on the job. Being able to return home from work each day, is not a privilege, but a right. There are a number of precautions that can be put into practice to ensure your workplace is a safe one.
The Hickory Dickory Decks crew at their monthly safety meeting.
Health and safety should be of utmost importance to all employers as the effects of downtime due to injury can be devastating to a company.
The responsibilities of the employer and employee are very different but equally important. Knowing yours is key to keeping the workplace a safe environment. There are many things an employer must do and some that are recommended in order to maintain a safe workplace. Policies and procedures include but are not limited to:
- certification in CPR and first aid
- working at heights certification
- harassment and violence policies
- first aid kits stocked
- providing safety harnesses, etc. and making sure they are being used
- maintaining a health and safety committee, ensuring that both employer and employees are represented
- facilitate regular safety meetings with all employees
- ensure all employees have their WHMIS
- display in the workplace any safety literature that is relevant
- maintain a proper reporting system in the case of an incident
Health and Safety in the workplace regulations can and will change, This is why having an active committee in place to keep informed of any changes, is so important. Without adherence to the Health and Safety code in your province, your company is at risk. Not to mention, all those that work there.
As an employee, you too have the obligation to do your part in ensuring a safe workplace. Here is a list of your responsibilities:
- Exercise your rights and duties in a responsible manner.
- Work in compliance with the Act and regulations.
- Use any equipment, protective devices or clothing required by the employer.
- Tell the employer or supervisor about any known missing or defective equipment or protective device that may be dangerous.
- Report any known workplace hazard or violation of the Act to the employer or supervisor.
- Not remove or make ineffective any protective device required by the employer or by the regulations.
If you operate a business or simply work in the province of Ontario, there are many resources available to you, to ensure a safe workplace for yourself and your employees. Visit: https://www.labour.gov.on.ca/english/hs/
Maybe you’ve been packaged off. Perhaps, you took early retirement. You might be struggling to fill all those work hours and just need a fresh start. Unretiring and starting a new career doesn’t have to feel like a job at all when you invest in a franchise.
Becoming a franchisee after retirement can fill a life-long desire to work for yourself. Unretiring with a franchise takes some of the headaches out of owning your own business, giving your new adventure a soft landing. Here is a list of reasons why franchising might be right for you, post-retirement:
- Without a lot of planning, retirement can reek play havoc on your mental health. All those free hours can leave you without purpose on a daily basis. After years of the 9-5 grind, retirement can be a shock to the system. Buying a franchise with a business that is already fully established can get you moving once again. Unretiring may not be something you ever thought you would be interested in but no one knows how they will respond to retirement until it comes. If you find that you are not the kind of person who can fill their days with hobbies, volunteering and traveling, buying a franchise will get you back in the game.
- If you’ve been packaged off from a company you’ve been with for years, a decent severance package can go a long way. Taking a package at 52 may not be ideal, and if you weren’t in the market financially to be without an income just yet, as a franchisee, this gap can be filled. If you need to work for financial reasons, why not work for yourself.
- Perhaps you spent your career in the corporate world but always longed to work with your hands, or in customer service. Now is your chance to fulfill this dream. With unretirement, being a franchisee, in the right business, can have you doing the work you always longed to do. Think of retirement as an opportunity to change careers. When you invest in a franchise, these new work hours can be on your own terms.
- After several decades of work, you likely don’t have much tolerance for stress and risk. If you are considering unretiring and going into business for yourself, you can reduce both stress and risk with a franchise. Owning a franchised business means less risk, as the brand is already established. A franchised business is one that comes with loads of support with both the start-up and the day to day running of your business.
Look at retirement as a new beginning. Get up off that couch and venture into unretirement. Be your own boss with a franchise and discover employment with a new purpose.
Bamboo has become a mainstay in interior design. Furniture and floors are being made from Bamboo. It is durable, low maintenance, and comes from a sustainable wood source. Now, with Katana Decking, the beauty of bamboo can be enjoyed in your outdoor spaces as well.
Katana Decking requires no dyeing, painting or sanding. It will stand up to extreme weather conditions and comes with a 25-year warranty. Katana deck boards are composed of thermally treated and compressed bamboo fibers, making these deck boards incredibly strong. Unlike other wood options, Katana’s bamboo decking has a tongue and groove features that eliminate most hardware, giving that clean, seamless look to your new deck.
Why does bamboo decking make sense? Bamboo decking is an ecological and durable alternative to tropical hardwoods. Katana has developed a patented treatment call Thermo-Density, making this decking choice one that is fire resistant and great for high traffic areas such as around pools.
The giant bamboo species, Moso, is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. It reaches its full height of 20 metres in just a few months. It can grow up to a metre a day. Talk about growing like a weed. It then takes 4-5 years for the stalks to fully mature and reach their full strength. Bamboo is a very renewable wood source for this reason.
Once the bamboo stalk is harvested from the plant, it does not die but regrows a new stalk. This is an incredible feature that eliminates deforestation. Bamboo provides an abundant and sustainable alternative to traditional hardwoods. A cedar tree, for example, can take more than 50 years to fully mature and reach its full hardness and density. Cedar and tropical hardwoods are increasingly sparse and therefore often more expensive. Bamboo continues to revolutionize the wood industry with its sustainability.
In fact, bamboo doesn’t even compete with other species of wood. Bamboo isn’t a tree at all. It’s giant grass.
This isn’t all that bamboo has going for it. Aside from being one of the world’s fastest-growing, renewable resources, bamboo absorbs large quantities of CO2. Making the air we breathe just a little bit better.
Bamboo decking is very durable and will be enjoyed for many years. There will come a time, however, when it will need to be replaced. Bamboo is easily recycled and can be made into chipboard or burnt to create green electricity.
If you love the look of real wood on your deck but want to enjoy many years on your deck without splintering, warping, rotting or splinters, bamboo may be right for you. With its low maintenance needs, along with a warranty, Katana bamboo decking is changing the way the industry looks at wood decking.
Want to own your own business? How about several?
Master franchising could be just the kind of business you’re looking for. Owning a master franchise not only allows you to be your own boss, but to invest in a proven business model that grows year after year on a global scale.
Master franchising is a franchising contract in which the Franchisor (the owner of the brand name) hands over the control of the franchise activities in a specified territory to a person or entity called the master franchise.
Master franchising is a form of the franchisee-franchisor relationship in which the master franchise essentially becomes a mini franchisor for a specific territory. Within that territory, the master franchisor recruits, trains and provides ongoing support to each of the franchisees they sign. In exchange, the master franchise receives a large percent of the initial fee and ongoing royalties, typically 50 percent but this can vary.
The master franchisee agrees to a development schedule which can include owning and operating their own units. Many “household” name brands have very successfully sold master franchises, allowing them to expand their business worldwide. Master franchising is commonly used to expand a business internationally. It works to build out a territory quickly. Tim Horton’s did just this in 2017 when they first opened their doors in the United Kingdom.
The top ten most successful master franchises in the world include:
10. Papa John’s Pizza
9. Circle K
5. Auntie Annie’s
4. Pizza Hut
1. Anytime Fitness.
While single unit franchisees represent the vast majority of those who choose to franchise, for those who want to become a master franchise, they are simply entering the game at a higher level. A typical master franchisor has some experience with the basic franchisee model and is looking to up their business game with further investment. While some master franchisees are investors, others may have a strong passion for a particular industry that drives them to pursue ownership.
Whatever the reason, master franchising continues to be a sound business model that takes advantage of a global market, a household name and the entrepreneurial spirit.