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When it comes to a new deck, do you really know what you're buying?

Rosario Ungaro - Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Or, Anatomy of a Well Appointed Composite Deck. Part I

You've been looking on and you’ve found some great pictures of decks and deck designs that you think will ideally fit perfectly into your backyard. You are ready to call a deck-building contractor, or so you think. You have an idea of what you want it to “look” like, but what about its construction? Do you really know what you're buying?
Anatomy of a omposite Deck

Our last blog post discussed how the deck's substructure plays a critical role in your deck’s structural safety and durability. Along that same vein, here are some additional issues that need to be considered.
  • Underdeck preparation. Rainfall and snowmelt can accumulate below your deck. It is important that any drainage issues be considered before the deck is built.
  • Depending on the space under your deck, you may need to protect the space from critters that may consider moving in and calling it home.
  • Especially if you're using wood joists, you want to make sure that there will be enough airflow in order to prevent mildew and rot on your joists and posts.
  • Depending on the character of your deck, steps may need to be taken to prevent anything from growing under your deck. One way this can be done is with landscaper’s fabric covered by gravel.

Although this list is not all inclusive, these are some of the things that can be done to ensure that your deck provides you with the longest lifespan possible.

You are still thinking, "When do I get to the good part where I get to choose colours, lighting and features, etc.?"

Before we get to that, and we'll do so in a future post, I promise, there is one more thing, and another thing that you can't see, that we need to discuss first, to wit, beams, joists, and deck support posts.

In the past you had a choice between wood or wood. Wood is a tried and true building material but it does have its inherent drawbacks. In particular, it is susceptible to splitting, warping, shifting, rot and mildew, and pests like termites. Although, with proper construction practices and maintenance, these risks can be minimized, wood still cannot offer some of the benefits of the new triple-coated steel alternatives like that offered by Trex (See video below). Not only is steel not susceptible to any of these problems, its greater strength allows for longer spans and therefore more creative deck design alternatives. It is also chemical free and noncombustible. Once again, it too is another part of the deck that our customers will rarely think about. For that reason, it's a good thing we do. Steel joists, beams, and posts create a solid substructure for your deck and set you up for years of hassle-free enjoyment.

That pretty much covers the parts of the deck you don't see. In the next post we're going to start looking at the parts you do. Here too there are lots of issues to consider. For example, also something you don't see (or may not want to see), is the choice to use hidden fasteners so that no nails or screws show. More about that, and a lot more, next time.

If you can't wait and want to talk about your deck project, please feel free to pick up the phone and give us a call at (416) 293-3325 or click here to contact us online.

That's all for now, until next time we'll Keep Building it Right™.

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A word from Rosario…

Our Blog is about sharing some of what we have learned along the way. (Many contractors even call us for ideas or advice.) We hope it is informative and shows our commitment to continuous learning—something we do so we can bring the very latest and best to our customers. 

You've probably heard the phrase: 

"Some people have twenty-five years of experience. Others have one year of experience, twenty-five times over." 

If a contractor doesn't stay up-to-date on the latest building codes, trends, styles, tools, materials, and products, they'll soon find themselves in the latter category. We work hard to make sure that we are not. We regularly talk with our suppliers, go to industry trade shows, and share information and ideas with our peers to make sure that we stay on top of our game and can continue to bring you the very best in building craftsmanship and knowledge.

I welcome the opportunity to chat with you about your next building project.


Rosario Ungaro
Benchmark Building Services Inc.


Relax… we'll build it right!