Tips and Ideas from a Toronto Building Pro

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Your Deck is Only as Good as its Foundation.

Rosario Ungaro - Thursday, January 21, 2016

What you don't see may be more important.Supporting your deck properly is key to its structural integrity, durability, and safety. Toronto's weather and changing seasons are also a factor. The deck/structure has to be protected from frost heaving caused by freezing and thawing and "lift-off" in the event of a windstorm.

A number of other factors may also have to be considered when choosing the best foundation for your project.

  • Cost
  • Soil conditions
  • Risk of frost heaving
  • Deck/structure size and weight
  • Deck height from ground
  • Risk from wind
  • Building code requirements
  • Strength and durability
  • Installation: E. G., preparation required, earth displacement, need for equipment, available space, season, etc.

The design of your deck's foundation is dependent on the deck's design, the load that needs to be distributed from the deck to the support posts, to the foundation, and the soil and weather conditions. The role of the foundation is to keep the deck level (prevent sinking, frost heaving and shifting) and keep it attached to the house if need be. If the deck heaves and your home stays where it is you can imagine what will happen.

In order to prevent heaving, the foundation has to be supported by piers or piles that go below the frost line. If you are supporting your deck/structure with concrete this requires a rather large hole.

Different depths may also be required depending on the specific soil for each pile. A pile being put into "disturbed" soil (I.E., soil that has previously been dug up and refilled) may need to be deeper to reach the solid ground below.

These are just a few of the considerations that go into the engineering specifications that will ensure that your deck gives you an optimal problem-free lifespan.

The piles that go into the ground can be made of wood, steel, or concrete. Because they go into the ground decay is an issue. Some soils contain acids that can eat away at the concrete, wood is susceptible to wood-boring insects and rot, and steel to corrosion.

After years of building decks we've tried just about every alternative there is.


After comparing the best of the best, we've decided to use GoliathTECH'S Screw Pile System, for virtually all of our projects. Pile Systems like this have, until recently, been cost prohibitive for most of our clients. We are happy to report that the system is now affordable for smaller projects like decks and outdoor structures. In our opinion it offers the best solution. Their system addresses each of the factors we've mentioned above.

Before we tell you why we like it let me tell you what it is. A GoliathTECH Screw Pile—the part that goes into the ground to support and anchor your deck/structure— is installed deep into the ground below the frost line to solidly support the deck/structure. It is fully engineered and the number, depth, and size of the pile is chosen based on the size, construction, and load of the deck/structure being built. It resembles a large screw that can be screwed into the ground so a large hole doesn't have to be excavated for each pile.
GoliathTECH Screw Pile System
This brings us to our list of what we like about this system.
  • It is faster to install
  • You don't have to wait for the concrete to cure—so there is no downtime during construction
  • It allows us to perfectly level the deck/structure
  • It takes up less space so is ideal for restricted spaces
  • It can't be torn out of the ground because of the screw nature of its tip
  • The galvanized steel doesn't degrade or corrode
  • The piles are removable and reusable
The GoliathTECH Screw Pile System is ideal for most of the projects we work on like,
  • Decks
  • Second story decks
  • Balconies
  • Sheds and outdoor structures
  • Solariums
  • Building additions and extensions
Today, being a great builder involves bringing together a pride in one's work, time-honored craftsmanship and building skills, and the latest technological developments and building techniques and materials. In moving to GoliathTECH'S Screw Pile System we believe we are doing just that. 

All Benchmark Building Services Inc. projects are installed by GoliathTECH Screw Pile System Certified Installers.

For more information on how the GoliathTECH Screw Pile System can benefit your project contact us directly or call us at 

(416) 293-3325.

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!