It’s that time of year again, the weather is nice, the snow is gone and you want to spend more time outside, entertaining family, friends or just relaxing. Outdoor Decks are very popular feature of a home, I can’t really give you any specific numbers on how many decks are built in Ontario. But out of the 6000 plus property inspections I’ve performed over the last 16 years, I would estimate a good 70-80% had a deck in one form or another. And probably 50% of those buyers planned on improving on or rebuilding the deck.

Improperly built or old and damaged decks can be a serious safety issue. Loose or damaged guard rails, rotted stairs, beams and or ledger/rim joist connections not properly attached or even rusted connections can all have an impact on your safety.

Ontario and in some cases individual municipalities have Building Codes and By-Laws which govern the building and placement of out door decks. You must check with your specific municipalities requirements.

Building Permit may be required if:

1. The deck is higher than 600mm or (1ft and 11 inches) off the ground.

2. The deck is 10ft x 10ft. A by-law may also be in place which governs the location the deck can be built, be sure to check your local by-laws.

Refurbish/Maintenance of Decks – The National Association of Home Builders and Bank of America Home Equity did a Study, Study of Life Expectancy of Home Components see page 8 which estimated the life expectancy of a deck is approx 20 years maybe longer with proper maintenance and in dry regions.

Do you maintain your deck or do you build a new deck. At a minimum you should be checking your deck for maintenance and safety issues each year. Improper and/or loose connections can be deadly, just look at the pic above. (Home Depot: How to Clean a Deck, Repairing and a video on Staining) your deck.

New Decks – Today there are different styles and materials you can choose from when building a deck. If your a DIY type person there is so much information on the web on how to build a deck, calculators and guides. Be sure to check your local Building Codes and By-Laws. Home Depot has some information and how to videos. I also found a couple of US based websites which appear to offer some interesting information on designs, calculators etc – Decksgo and If you are a DIY type person you may also find Simpson Strong-Tie to be of interest, they are one of the largest manufacturers of connectors and have a Canadian Website with connector catalogues, software and where to buy information.