5 Questions Homeowners Ask About Deck Building
Ready for a new season of deck building and renovations? Contractors doing their homework and learning about innovative products will have a competitive advantage when answering client questions and providing the best advice on deck building projects. Mike Scott, founder of Simcoe Decks and a Deckorators Certified Pro offers his clients’ most commonly asked questions. 1. Do composite deck boards expand and contract? This question comes up often and is relevant across Canada with its hot and cold weather conditions. The expansion and contraction of deck boards depends on the composition of the board. Synthetic products like PVC and composite will react to the cold and heat differently. A composite product like Deckorators Voyage decking features Eovations™ technology, a polypropylene and mineral blend, ensuring deck boards are strong and lightweight with virtually no thermal expansion or contraction, perfect for the unpredictable Canadian climate. 2. What are the differences between polyvinyl chloride (PVC) decks and wood plastic composite (WPC) decks? Different decking materials have different features and benefits. PVC and composite decks vary in pricing and quality of materials used. It’s important that contractors are well-informed on the various materials available to guide their client to what board composition will work best for their deck vision. PVC deck boards are made with one synthetic material, polyvinyl chloride and contain no wood. PVC decks are lightweight, easy to clean and don’t require any staining, sanding or painting. Composite decks are typically made from a mix of synthetic materials as well as wood, depending on the composite. Composite decks resemble natural wood but have superior weathering properties and require little maintenance. Plus, boards are fade resistant and can hold up against moisture. Look for composite brands with hidden fasteners that discreetly secure deck boards to joists using slotted edges, making the installation process faster, saving time and money. The fasteners automatically space the composite deck boards at proper intervals, which eliminates the need for predrilling and countersinking. 3. I’ve heard composite decks are slipperier than other decks, is this true? It’s a misconception that composite decks don’t have traction or slip control, but certain brands design their deck boards with moisture and water in mind. When building a dock or a poolside deck, investigate products that have added traction to keep your clients safe. Contractors should look for composite boards designed with textured embossing for enhanced slip-resistance, even when wet these boards will better grip the foot. Deckorators Voyage decking provides 34 per cent or greater surface traction than other leading brands of composite decking to eliminate this issue. The added benefit of composite is that brands continue to innovate product lines to meet the demands of modern outdoor spaces. 4. How do I maintain my composite deck? Deck boards made from synthetic materials are typically low maintenance and easy to clean. Clients should take time to sweep the deck to remove any leaves, dirt and debris and wash with a garden hose, especially ahead of winter to minimize staining and mold growth. Talk to product dealers to get a thorough understanding of deck maintenance of the brands you prefer to work with so that you can pass along to your clients. Work with brands that stand behind its products. For instance, a brand like Deckorators backs all its deck boards with a 25-year structural, 25-year stain and fade warranty, and most boards with a 25-year removal and replacement limited warranty. 5. Are permits required for a deck build/project? Whether a permit is required depends on if the deck is a new build, and the height of the deck, dock or balcony. If the project involves replacing existing deck boards, a permit is typically not required. Municipalities across Canada have different regulations and permit requirements so it’s important to check with the municipality you’re building in before getting started. Whether it’s a new or returning client, do research to offer the best advice on build and design. Developing a list of client questions ahead of time will prepare you for any questions that may arise.