Too cold for a cold one on that beautiful deck of yours? Bundle up and get out of the house. In this winter wonderland we call Canada, there’s no excuse not to make the most of the cold weather and all that white stuff. There is something for everyone. Winter can truly be something to enjoy, not just tolerate. Try one of these 6 winter wonderland escapes and make the most of these frigid temperatures.
Ottawa’s Rideau Canal
A skate on the 7.8 kilometre skate way is one excellent way to get the blood pumping during the winter. In fact, winter is the only time to enjoy this unique venue. Open from January to February, a canal skate in the Nation’s capital doesn’t get much more Canadian. A skate on the Rideau canal will also put you right in the middle of many tourist attractions such as the parliament buildings.
LaBodega Ice Bar, Regina
We want to bet most of you have never even heard of this one. The LaBodega bar is made completely of ice blocks. You won’t find a colder drink in Canada. This bar is created each year on the patio of the existing bar. Because it is staffed by volunteers and sponsored by local businesses, all proceeds go towards a scholarship for a Saskatchewan student to study gastronomy in Italy. Now that’s a uniquely Canadian winter wonder.
Whistler, British Columbia.
Of course, if you are a skier, the slopes of Whistler have to be on your bucket list. People from all over the world travel to B.C each year to enjoy the spectacular experience, of skiing in Whistler brings. Whistler was created more than 50 years ago, when a group of local businessmen stumbled across the London mountain in B.C., while on the hunt for a suitable mountain to host the winter Olympics. Although their bid to host the 68′ games failed, Whistler mountain was born. Whistler did host the Olympics in 2010 and is ready to host you on your search for Canada’s best winter wonder.
Quebec Ice Hotel
If leisure is more your thing, pay a visit to the Quebec ice hotel. This hotel is a site to be seen. With cathedral ceilings, the hotel is made completely of ice. Even the furniture. The hotel is rebuilt every year of course and is made of 4 foot thick walls and 18-foot ceilings. Despite the cold, the temperature inside the hotel is quite comfortable. Whether you visit just for a drink or stay over, the Quebec ice hotel is certainly an experience you will never forget.
Frozen Niagara Falls
The only to rival this wonder of the world is this winter wonder of the world. Niagara Falls in the winter is spectacular. All three falls will freeze during any given cold winter and the result is a naturally occurring piece of art. This winter wonder attracts just as many visitors in the cold months as it does during the warmer months in Southern Ontario.
Marble Mountain, Newfoundland
Newfoundland has a secret. Some fantastic skiing can be enjoyed near at the foothills of the Appalachian mountains just outside of Corner Brook which is the snowiest place in Canada. Marble mountain boasts the highest slope in all of the Atlantic. Marble mountain provides the most relaxing venue for other winter recreation as well such as snowboarding, tubing and dog sledding.
Don’t hibernate this winter. Get on those boots and gloves and get out there into the great white north. This is Canada’s season.
Low-maintenance decking is no longer the “newest thing” in the decking industry. Though the industry continues to grow, low maintenance decking has been available to the consumer for more than 20 years. Despite its history, there remains many misconceptions about these products – misconceptions that can have people turning away from the option of low-maintenance.
The question of mold is one that gets asked often. A good low-maintenance composite or vinyl board will not take mold into the boards. While moss and/or mold can grow on the board. (especially in damp and shady areas) the substance, along with the other stains, will wash off. Some boards can be easier to clean than others but any mold that grows on the boards should not grow in them.
When we think of low-maintenance decking, only one or two names come to mind. There are, in fact, dozens of manufacturers of low-maintenance decking. On top of these choices are hundreds of colours. When choosing the right deck for you and your family it’s important to consider several options. You aren’t looking for the best product, you’re looking for the one that’s right for you.
Low-maintenance, not No-maintenance
Many years ago, when the low-maintenance industry was in its infancy, one of the largest manufacturers advertised their composite boards as maintenance free. This was a misconception. This did not sit well with the consumer. These decks didn’t get washed and grew mold. It is important to remember when considering low-maintenance decking that it is just that. Manufacturers guidelines should be followed when it comes to the care and maintenance of your low-maintenance deck.
There are many misconceptions about the quality of low-maintenance decking. Quality, like any manufactured product, can vary. Most low-maintenance products fall into three categories. Composite boards are simply that. They are comprised of a combination of wood and plastic. Sometimes these materials are new and sometimes these are recycled. Some manufacturers have chosen to wrap their composite boards in vinyl. This has gone a long way In making these products easier to clean. Vinyl decking is typically longer lasting. Vinyl boards are made from 100% vinyl. They also often come with a higher price point.
There are misconceptions about the cost of low maintenance decking products. Low-maintenance products generally have a higher price point. That said, because low-maintenance decking typically lasts substantially longer than its wood counterpart, owners of low-maintenance decking can make their money back when they aren’t having to replace their deck earlier and don’t have to spend money on maintenance for things such as cleaning, sanding and staining.
Like any investment in the home, due diligence needs to be done. If you think low-maintenance decking might be in your future, explore your options and displace any misconceptions.
After a fun-filled summer on your deck and the outside space it provides, the leaves will soon begin falling. Your deck might need to take a hibernation of sorts and getting your deck ready before the snow flies will make the spring deck cleaning a whole lot easier.
Take a step back. Take a good look at your deck. Look under it. You may find a collection of things that don’t belong on or under or around your deck. Now is the time to tidy that space. Pool noodles, towels, bbq utensils, and goodness knows what else might have gone unnoticed throughout the summer months. Everything has a home but isn’t necessarily your deck. Take this opportunity to declutter your deck so that you can start fresh in the spring.
Take this opportunity to have a good hard look at the condition of your deck. Get down on your knees and get a good hard look. Inspect the surface, the trim, the skirt and the substructure, if possible. Some of the things to look for should include warping, splintering, fading, instability, and rot. Identifying problems now will give you the winter to consider solutions.
Get out your bucket and mop. Give your deck a good scrubbing. Whether your deck is made of wood or a low maintenance product, it needs to be cleaned a couple times a year. Now is the time to also give that patio furniture a good scrub. Be sure to dry each piece thoroughly before storing it all away for the winter. Don’t forget to wash those cushions. Putting the work in now will give you a clean slate in the spring and will make the upcoming season a whole lot easier.
Show your deck a little TLC this fall. When the warmer weather is upon us again, your deck will be sure to return the love.
Are you tired of being managed? Sick of answering to someone else? Might be time to become your own boss. But this can be easier said than done.
If you’ve decided to make the leap from employee to entrepreneur, and you’ve decided that a franchise is the way to go, realizing your dreams will only come after you decide what kind of business you want to be in.
Deciding to go out on your own can be both terrifying and exhilarating. Being your own boss can mean more freedom and flexibility. You can work parttime or fulltime, often determined by how much you want to make. You will have no one to answer to other than yourself, and building your own business can give you new drive to succeed.
When choosing a franchised business as your new venture, you will have the benefits of buying into a business that is already established. Typically, when buying into a franchise, you will receive training, set up materials and marketing assistance. You will also reap the benefits of being involved in a business with an established brand and reputation. All of these aspects of a franchise business will make your grand opening a whole lot easier and those lean first couple of years a lot less lean.
So which franchise should you buy? There are many factors to consider when making this decision. All these factors will help you to narrow down your search so that you can be confident that the franchise you buy is a great fit.
What do you love to do? If you are going into business for yourself, it’s likely at least in part because you don’t enjoy your day to day and want a change. Now is the time to do what you love. Turn that hobby into a money-making machine. If your work experience is in service but you hate the service industry, now is the time to get out. If you’re a handy person, you might consider getting into the construction industry. Do you love numbers? Commerce might be the way to go. Love children? Consider getting into the ever-growing childcare arena. Whatever your passion is, there is a likely a franchise opportunity waiting for you.
The price of a franchise can vary dramatically. Location, size of the business and the start-up package of any given franchise can all affect the buy-in. First, consider your own financial comfort level. If you’re paying cash for your franchise, there will certainly be less stress but in lieu of this, a payment plan can often be established with the business you’ve decided on and banks are happy to lend money to established businesses. You must weigh what you pay, against what you get and also make sure to factor in the cost going forward as you build your business. Ongoing fees will include franchise fees, marketing fees and overhead such as employees and vehicles.
You may already know what kind of business is in your future but location can put a damper on your enthusiasm when you find out that there are no units available in the town you live in. If you are willing to relocate, this may not be a determining factor for you. If you’ve decided to be your own boss, you don’t likely want to add or continue with a long commute. Being stuck in traffic for hours a day will certainly take the shine of your new venture in a hurry. Sometimes if you are interested in a territory that is already taken, a rebuy can be made, putting you into your desired location.
Choosing the right franchise for you is a big decision. Visit franchise shows to get ideas. Sit down with CEOs and other franchise owners to gather lots of information and most importantly do your research. Owning a franchise compared to starting from the ground up should provide less stress, not more. Take your time and give this often once in a lifetime opportunity the consideration it deserves.
If you are interested in a deck building franchise, please visit our Franchise site.
Your deck is an extension of your living space. When conditions are just right, it can be your favourite place to spend time. Why not expand on the activities you enjoy on your deck and increase the time you spend in the great outdoors.
We all know that barbeques and pool parties are made better with a great deck. We’ve all enjoyed beveredges and conversation on the deck. There is a whole lot more that can be enjoyed on that great deck of yours and here are eight crazy and fun things we bet you never thought of doing on your deck.
Anyone can place a Bluetooth speaker on their deck and enjoy their favorite tunes during a hot summer night but why not bring in a live band. Whether it’s your brother with his guitar or a full 6 piece band, a deck, especially an elevated deck makes for a great stage. Your friends and family will enjoy this unique experience and your party will certainly be a memorable one. Just make sure to invite the neighbours before the concert begins.
Kids love a sleepover. Sleeping bags on the deck, under the stars or even better, under a fort on the deck will no doubt impress the kids. Deck camping can be a little more comfortable than the ground and keep the kids close. Add in a lots of blankets, pillows and snacks and your children will have a spacious area to host the whole class.
Time spent on your deck in the winter is not out of the question when you install an ice rink. A level deck is a great space for a little home made pond. Fastening a tarp and making a few inches of ice will keep the kids busy through out the colder months without having to travel too far. Pair this unique skating experience with a cup of hot chocolate and you’ve got yourself a great winter activity for all the neighbourhood kids.
If deck hockey isn’t your thing, try a little winter tobogganing. If your deck has a few stairs and you’ve just experienced a great snow fall, put your shovel to use by piling snow on the stairs. A well packed snow pile will make for a great hill and if you have little ones, might just be enough to provide a thrill right in your own backyard.
Consider hosting your family games night outside. Your deck can provide the perfect space for spin the bottle or perhaps something a little tamer. Twister might be a little sweaty but there are so many games that can be enjoyed outside and your deck provides a great opportunity to take the fun outside.
Nothing like a great night of dancing. Decks make a great dance floor. With the right lighting, your guests won’t be able to help themselves. Picture a snowball dance right in your backyard.
Movies on the Deck
Night time is great time to watch your favorite flick. A projector and screen on your deck will make the coziest of spots to be entertained. Fire up the popcorn maker, and bring out a couple mattresses. Your deck will rival any drive-in experience.
Remember, your deck isn’t just for sitting on. It is a valuable extension to your outdoor space and should be utilized as such. Expand your horizons and give these ideas a try.
Check out some of our other blogs to get great deck maintenance advice.
If you are in need of a new deck, your budget will certainly be a big factor when it comes time to make decisions on what that deck might look like. Many of us will only have a deck built once or twice in a lifetime. For this reason, alone, it is difficult to get a handle on price. The market is ever changing and choices in deck products are constantly increasing. Getting some idea of the cost will put your mind at ease and bring you one step closer to that fabulous new deck.
What are some of the factors about your new deck that might bring the price up? Well, size is the first thing. Obviously, the bigger the deck, the bigger the price tag. This doesn’t mean you need to scale back your project. Ask the professionals. They can help you determine how much space you will need according to the usage of your deck. For instance, if the average group of people enjoying your deck at one time is two, you won’t likely need more than a couple hundred square feet. If however, you plan to have a hot tub on your deck, space might need to be expanded upon. Also, keep in mind that many deck boards come in standard lengths. Keeping the length or width of your future deck to 12′, 16′ or 20′ will reduce waste and therefore bring down the cost of your deck even though the square footage is the same as another design might be.
If your deck is a high deck, it will cost you more. High decks take longer to build, the substructure is more extensive and labour costs go up on a high deck. Anyone working on your high deck will need to be tied down. Lots of time is spent on a ladder and danger increases when building a high deck. All these things will bring the price up on your deck budget. Consider anything above 6 feet, a high deck, and budget accordingly. A low deck will bring a heavier price tag as well. but for different reasons. If the deck you plan to build is below 16″, trenching may need to happen. Digging out enough soil to fit the substructure of your new deck is must but again takes time.
Your choice of decking material will affect the bottom line. Many wood products have lower price points than low maintenance products. Keep in mind, when choosing wood versus low-maintenance, there is no warranty on wood, whereas most low maintenance products carry 20 and 25-year warranties. Whether you choose aluminum or wood rails and if your deck will have skirting are all things you need to be considered when planning and budgeting for your new deck.
Knowing what your deck will look like will go a long way in determining what your deck will cost. If it’s out of your budget, you have options. Change the design or save for a deck next year. Speaking with the professionals at Hickory Dickory Decks, will bring you a lot closer to knowing the price and get you that much closer to your dream deck.
Whether you call it plastic decking, vinyl decking, low-maintenance, composite or eco-friendly decking, you could no doubt use a little more knowledge before you make the jump into a low maintenance deck this season.
Low maintenance decking products are not all cut from the same cloth and indeed vary greatly when it comes to composition. You will also find that price varies. Low maintenance decking products have come a long way from the early days of the 90′s when it was first introduced to the decking industry.There are a plethora of manufacturers out there and an abundance of variety when it comes to design, durability, and price. Consider these differences and weigh them against your needs for your outdoor space. This will make your decision a whole lot easier.
Geo Composite decking in Walnut.
Composite decking of the wood variety was the first low maintenance decking product to hit the market. Wood composites do everything all the other versions of low maintenance decking does. It saves time. A homeowner will spend 1-2 hours a season maintaining a low maintenance deck as opposed to a wood deck that will cost the average homeowner 16-20 hours each season to keep looking new. Composite decking also looks like wood without all those splinters.Early releases of these wood composites gave the consumer the freedom that comes from not having to scrape, sand, stain and paint a wood deck every year. Wood composites of the past did, however, come with a few hiccups of its’ own. With all the kinks ironed out, wood composites remain popular, durable and priced right. Many composites are not just made from wood fibers any more. More and more, composite decking is made from a variety of materials, both recycled and new. With a combination of natural fibers and plastic, composites have gained strength and versatility.
Trunorth vinyl wrapped composite made from recycled products.Vinyl wrapped composites.
Vinyl wrapped composites
In an effort to make an already durable, reliable low maintenance option even more so, the vinyl wrapped composite board was born. Many low maintenance decking manufacturers are taking their wood and other composite boards and wrapping them in vinyl. The advantage to this is two-fold. With a plastic coating that is as hard as a golf ball coating, these low maintenance decks are more durable that ever. They keep the moisture out and therefore prevent mold from getting into the boards. By wrapping the composite, the look of low maintenance has been revolutionalized. If you have a look in mind, there is likely a wrapped composite to fit it. The ability to better mimic the look of wood has increased dramatically with these vinyl wrapped boards. The look and feel of vinyl wrapped composite decking is clean and fresh. Not to mention its low maintenance claim to fame. With some mild dish soap and a mop, these vinyl wrapped composite decks clean up quickly and thoroughly. No power washing needed.
Clubhouse vinyl decking.
Full Vinyl boards
This decking product will be here long after us Because of the nonbiodegradable properties of plastic vinyl deck boards, they are sturdy, dependable and just about bullet proof. Stains are no match for a full vinyl board. A full vinyl board can have a higher price point than its counterpart. They are either made from recycled plastics or new materials. Either way, they are beautiful and durable. Vinyl decking has superior impact resistance and can withstand even the greatest variations in weather conditions.
Whether you’re looking for a composite deck, capped composite or vinyl, low maintenance is becoming ever more popular. With the longevity, durability and long life that low maintenance can offer, low maintenance decking products can ensure that the dream deck you build today will only need to be built once.
With any home renovation project, having a budget is essential. It matters not how much something costs if you can’t afford it. Here are some tips that will help you with the process of developing a budget for that new deck, or any home improvement project for that matter.
How long will you be living in your house?
This question might be the most important question you ask yourself when determining a budget. If you’re planning to sell your home for instance in the next couple of years, you might want to save that dream deck for your next, forever home. A new deck might be a must but going all out for the next family that lives in your home, isn’t necessary. On the contrary, if you plan to stay in your home for 10 plus years, your budget will likely increase. You are going to get what you pay for in a new deck and you won’t want to build it twice.
Consider the uses for your new deck. If you are a small family of three and don’t entertain often, a smaller, more simple deck might do the trick. If green space is at a premium where you live, you might not want to fill your space with deck alone. Obviously building a smaller deck will lower your budget. Likewise, if you spend the majority of your leisure time outside, and have the capacity, a larger deck to fit family and friends on all summer long, could be in your future.
Do you aim for low maintenance around the home? Like many, long work days in addition to an often long commute have you craving a home that practically takes care of itself. A low maintenance deck is likely something your budget will need to allow. Stripping and staining a wood deck every year will eat away at your leisure time. Low – maintenance, although purchased at a higher price point, is a better value, You will need to consider this high price point when creating your budget.
Geography may be a factor in determining the budget. If it’ a large deck you want but your property can’t hold a large deck, no matter how much money you may have for your project, that large deck isn’t going to happen. Also, consider any other work that has to be done to your backyard before a new deck goes in. Will you want a fence? Does your property need grading? These things can eat away at your available funds.
Obviously, personal finances will play a big part in any project around the house. A new deck is no different. A deck is a great investment into your lifestyle and your home, but overextending yourself can negatively affect your enjoyment of the finished project.
The scale of your project
Your preference of deck size, material and design need to line up with your pocket book. If you need a multilevel, low maintenance deck, you will need to come to the table with a budget that reflects this kind of deck. This brings us to our last budgeting tip.
Do your research. Educating yourself on the products and cost of having a deck built by the professionals will give you peace of mind, good research will also give you a realistic idea of what the cost will be. Often having this knowledge will help all your other budget factors fall in line.
Knowing your budget is as important as picking the colour of your new deck. It’s something you’ll be living with for a very long time.
Get someone experienced and efficient to make your deck
Let our work speak for itself, check out our Decks Built on a Strict Budget and see for yourself what kind of results you can expect from Hickory Dickory Decks.
Six outdoor trends that you may never have heard of are leading the market in outdoor design and decor. Implementing even one of these will give your property a fresh face and perhaps bring it into this century. If you are like the average homeowner, you don’t renovate or redecorate your outdoor space every year. If this, however, is the year to put some time and money into this space, you are in luck. This year’s trends include a variety of options that will bring colour, texture and character to any outdoor space.
If you’re a DIYer, this trend is for you. An outdoor design that features all of your personality and some of your favourites is the hottest trend for the 2017 summer season. If your outdoor space looks like you pulled it from a magazine cover, you might be lacking what is considered unique. When you inject your personal style into your home and indeed the outside of your home, you will better own that space, increasing your enjoyment throughout the year. Consider using your favourite colour. Perhaps concentrate on those activities you love most and invest in them. If horseshoes are your thing, create an atmosphere centered around those beloved pits by creating comfort and further enjoyment.
Colour blocking sounds great and it is indeed one of the hottest trends in outdoor living for 2017. What is it? Colour blocking is the art of layering or pairing two or more solid colours together. Traditionally used in the fashion industry, colour blocking is being taken outside as one of the hottest outdoor trends of the year. Often homeowners reserve their most dramatic decor ideas for the outside. Colour blocking can be used with outdoor fabrics, dinner wear, and umbrellas. Colour blocking can also be implemented in your outdoor gardening endeavours.
Here’s another stumper. One of the hottest outdoor trends of 2017 is hyperlocalism. This term will have you planting, purchasing and essentially sourcing all your outdoor needs strictly from within your own community. Visit your local nursery, pool shop, hardware store, decking company and patio furniture store right in your backyard. Shopping local can take on a whole new meaning when you choose to implement hyperlocalism.
Mix and Match
Mix and match furniture is a new trend and also happens to be one of the hottest outdoor trends for 2017. Shabby chic can be translated to your outdoor space by picking out your outdoor furniture one piece at a time. Mixing and matching with your personal style in mind will create a unique outdoor space that is both comfortable and appealing to the eye. This is particularly good news for those of us who enjoy a good yard sale or thrift store.
If you’re going to plant a garden anyway, why not make is delicious. Edible gardens are gaining popularity and this year, these edible gardens are among the hottest outdoor trends of 2017. Consider planting with your diet in mind. Important to remember is that many fruits and vegetables, flower and look just as beautiful as many other annuals. Container gardening on a deck or patio can mean a fresh salad to go along with that barbecue.
Water features are the mainstay in any creative outdoor space. With the benefit of solar energy and lighting, water features have become more accessible to the average homeowner who wants to add a little zen to their outdoor space. This year’s final hottest outdoor trend of 2017 is one that will have the neighbours talking. Whether it’s a koi pond or a waterfall, water will add to the ambiance of any space like no other feature can. Consider combining two or more of these trends in 2017. You will find your outdoor space refreshed and on point for the season. Many of these options will add little or nothing to the budget and the benefit will be something you can carry forward year after year. With a little imagination, the hottest outdoor trends of 2017 can be yours this year.
Having a great deck will go a long way in making or breaking our outdoor space. When it comes time to build or replace that deck, it’s important to identify those things that cause concern for you. Your decking pet peeves as we like to call them.
All decking materials have their limitations. Different limitations for different materials. The key is to identify your concerns and your needs and choose the decking product that is right for you.
Splinters, cracks and slivers are not likely something you want to deal with when if comes to your deck. All wood decking will eventually provide you with all three. Unless you enjoy spending time cleaning, sealing and/staining your deck on a regular basis, low maintenance decking is the way to go.
A hot deck can mean an uncomfortable walk to the pool. Nobody wants burned tootsies. Consider a decking product that has cooling properties built right in. Also, understand that a darker colour is going to heat up and stay hot more so than it’s lighter counterpart. If your deck doesn’t already have a degree of shade you might want to invest in a structure that will provide this kind of protection from the elements. An awning will keep both your deck surface and those toes cool.
If you are not a fan of rust or stains, you will want to invest in stainless steel hardware for your deck installation. Especially important if you own a salt water pool. Salt can wreak havoc on metal. Also, choose a low-maintenance decking product that is made of vinyl. Though many other decking materials are known for their strain resistance, nothing beats vinyl with it comes to clean up. Grease, blood, food and even red wine will mop up easily with a little dish soap.
If warping and rotting is one of your pet peeves, you’ve likely experienced one or both of these in the past. To eliminate this problem in the future, choose a low-maintenance decking product that is heavier than it’s counterpart. Most wood decks are at risk for these problems. Low-maintenance deck products provide a warranty that ensures, when installed properly, your deck won’t warp or break.
If fading is a pet peeve of yours, you are in luck. Many low-maintenance decking has a fade and stain warranty. While everything fades a bit when exposed to the hot sun for any period of time, many low maintenance deck products won’t fade enough for the human eye to even notice a difference. Also, these products will be warrantied against stains. Low-maintenance decking is known for it’s resistance to stains and will no doubt save you time and money in the long run.
These top decking pet peeves will be addressed when you take the time to enlist The Professionals with your needs and your worries. There is just the right decking product out there for you.