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February, 2014

DIY Deck Building in Ottawa…..Should I do it Myself?

What do you need to know?

Building a deck is one of the most common DIY projects in Ottawa as we do have such a long and beautiful summer.  So why not build a deck for our families to enjoy.  In order to build a deck to the required Ontario Building Code it takes quite a bit of know how and is not just as simple as buying a few deck boards and creating something.  An improperly built deck can not only result in major structural failure but also cause damage to your home.  We are writing this article because as deck builders in Ottawa we do see major structural mistakes that were made by deck builders or by do it yourself homeowners.

How your deck could structurally fail?

A deck is very much so a structural component usually attached to the house, the most important part of your deck will be the foundation, framing and ledger board.  If either of these elements of your deck were to fail then your deck needs to be totally rebuilt, NO QUESTIONS ASKED!  If a deck fails prematurely due to improper installation of one of the elements you should just rebuild it properly.

The old step. We have the sod removed and the post saddles installed

So what could go wrong with the foundation of the deck you ask?  Well first of all the footings may not be deep enough, your deck footings have to be well below the frost line to avoid vertical shifting.  Next would be the diameter of the concrete piers (or size of the pier base), deck footings are designed so that they can hold the weight of the deck.  The load bearing capacity of the soil is a determining factor as well as the size of the deck.

The deck framing is complete, now just to install the boards

What could go wrong with the frame, it’s just a bit of framing?………..right?  The framing is another key element which the structural integrity of your deck depends on.  Using quality materials and proper fasteners will make a huge difference in the strength of your deck but most important is the way the deck is framed.  The framing is what holds all the important elements of your deck together so it’s important to build your deck strong.  Generally speaking all deck framing is built with pressure treated lumber to to long lasting and on the same note all fasteners are galvanized to pressure treated approved.

The deck posts, beams and ledger. This is the lifeline of the deck

What could go wrong with the ledger board?  Here’s where a lot of people make a wrong turn.  Attaching a deck (or anything for that matter)  has to be done in a way that you aren’t doing more damage than good.  When attaching a deck to your house it’s important that it be attached in a way that is strong an will never move, and that does NOT mean just use a few more nails.  In fact, you should use nails at all……your deck should be bolted to the house.

How could a deck damage my home?

There are a couple ways that a deck could damage your home without you ever really knowing until it’s too late.  The first reason would be because of movement.  If your deck footings weren’t properly done than your deck could be moving vertically which would be damaging your house and possibly loosening the ledger board from the house.  We have seen this happen in the past (it usually takes years to notice it) where a customer wanted their deck replaced and when we went underneath to look the deck was barely attached to the house.  Needless to say we advised them to stay off the deck until it was replaced.  The damage to your house could be severe especially if it’s attached to the foundation, extreme movement of the deck could cause the mounting bolts to shift and crack your foundation.

The second reason why your deck could damage your house could be because of water penetrating into your house.  If your ledger board is not properly installed with flashing, membrane & caulking then if will lead to water getting into your house at some level.  We have noticed when removing old decks that the flashing is not adequate (or in most cases, non-existant) and that the sheathing/studs were rotted and needed some extra work.  We have never seen improper deck flashing cause any major damage however it does happen.

Hope this helps you in your decision!  Please stay tuned as we have many Fence, Deck & Landscaping topics coming to help all Ottawa homeowners.

A view from the upper deck showing the railing and post lights

Fencing with Ottawa Neighbors!

 

Ottawa fencing season is just around the corner, so we thought we would try to help you with a little bit of info on building a fence with neighbors.  This can be a very touchy subject and cause extreme arguments if you don’t play your cards right.  So our first bit of advise would be not to cause a feud with your neighbor and try to be nice (we know it’s not always pleasant with some neighbors).

Types of fencing

There are a wide variety of fences for different applications.  Some are for security, some are for privacy, some look better than others.  You just have to look at all your options and decide what works best for you.  If you look at our previous post on fence products that will give you a breakdown on what you need to know to get you started.  But if you would like to discuss it with us feel free to give us a call.  Before approaching your neighbor do your research on all the products and have some info for them about the products so they don’t get too overwhelmed

The post ball caps are a nice accent on an iron fenceWhite Cedar lattice panels with iron inserts in the fence panels on the leftA maintenance free PVC fence is a wise choice for homeowners with precious time

 

Who pays for what part of the fence?

This can get a bit confusing when dealing with multiple neighbors and that’s why you should call us to sort things out.  So, basically how it works is whatever part of the fence you share with that neighbor is divided into 2 equal parts (assuming that they agree).  Fence gates to the entrance of each persons yard are not a shared part of the fence (usually).  If you do get quotes prior to approaching you neighbor be prepared and have all the costs of each neighbor all worked out so that everyone knows how much they will have to pay to get their fence.

How you should approach your neighbor?

When approaching your neighbor regarding building a fence you should do so in a polite and casual manner.  You are not approaching your neighbor to start an argument or make demands but to discuss a landscaping plan that will accommodate both properties.  Here are a few tips to prepare yourself:

  • Before approaching your neighbor hopefully you have an idea of their personality and what they may consider, this may help you to be better prepared.
  • Have a plan of attack (No, this is not an attack….just a figure of speech).  Just have a plan on how you’re going to approach with the question in a nice manner.
  • Do you’re research on fencing products……contact a fence company.  You may even want to get quotes on the costs associated with the installation of your new fence.
  • Do you know what type of fence you want?  Or are you willing to compromise?  If you are set on a certain fence type or product be sure to have something to show……even just a few pictures will help.
  • Also note that some people would feel offended that you were putting up fence and may think that you are doing it because of them.  Be sure to let them know that this is not the case (unless it is) and that you just want some added security.

 

Now that the hard part is over everyone has to make their decision……fence to no fence?  Some people may also want to get other quotes to see if what you have presented is a reasonable price compared to other companies in the Ottawa area.   So, what’s next?

My neighbor says they don’t want the fence.  What to do?

Your neighbor has notified you that they don’t want the fence.  Well just because they don’t want a fence doesn’t mean that you still can’t have your fence, the unfortunate part of this is that you will have to pay for all of the fence on your own.  This also means that you will have to put the fence ENTIRELY on your property which means everything above and below the ground HAS to be on your own property.  You want to make sure that the fence goes on your property because if there’s ever a dispute on the location of the fence you will loose that battle and will be forced to move or remove the fence.

My Neighbor says they don’t want to pay for the fence.

Some people seem to think that they can force their neighbor to pay for half of their fence.  This is definitely not the case, you cannot force your neighbor to pay for half of your fence.  The only possible reason someone could be forced into installing a fence is for safety reasons….hence the City of Ottawa Pool Enclosure By-Law.  So unfortunately in this case again you would have no choice but to pay for the fence in full by yourself and put the fence on your property.

 

Everyone has agreed to share the cost of the fence.

Finally some good news, everyone has agreed to the same style of fence and share the cost.  When sharing a fence the fence is installed on the property line as the fence is equally owned by both sides.  In terms of figuring out who pays who….the easiest way to go about it is that everyone signs separate contracts with the fencing company for the amounts that they owe for their part of the fence.

 

Well that wasn’t so bad was it?  The main thing when dealing with neighbors if to remain calm and don’t get angry at your neighbor.   You have to remember that not everyone has the same priorities.  Not everyone wants a fence, some people just see a fence as being senseless and limiting their freedom which you have to respect.  Also not everyone wants to spend money on a fence, everyone has their own budget.

REMEMBER:  Be nice to your neighbors……..and they’ll be nice to you!

 

 

 

 

Fencing in Ottawa – Different Fence Products

What Fencing Product to Choose?

As a fence building contractor based in Ottawa we can tell you what your options are here in the city.  There is a wide variety of fencing products to choose from here in the Ottawa Valley and we install them all.  In this post we will go through all the different products explain the pros and cons as well as the associated price (these are not quoted prices). Hopefully this info will help you in your decision.  First of all would be the least expensive and least attractive………

Chain Link Fencing

  • This type of fencing in our eyes is the least attractive, however it does serve it’s own purpose.
  • Generally used only as security and provides absolutely no privacy
  • It’s commonly used where long fence lines are required and privacy is not a concern
  • Pricing would start at $18/linear foot
  • It also comes in a variety of colors:  galvanized, black, green, brown or white

Pressure Treated – Wood Fence

Image

  • There are many different styles to choose from when building a wood fence.  Most common would be a privacy fence (as pictured above) or good neighbor/shadow box style, quite often lattice is added to the top of the fence for visual purposes only.
  • Pressure treated wood is a preserved wood made to last approximately 20 years, with a wooden fence some regular maintenance will be required.
  • This type of wood can be stained or sealed if you wish to do so but it is not required as the wood is already treated
  • It’s one of the most popular types of residential fence because of the lower cost and that it is a privacy fence.
  • Pricing would start at $26/linear foot

Western Red Cedar Fencing – Wood Fencing

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  • This is our favorite type of fence and the picture above should tell you why……It’s absolutely beautiful
  • As it is a wood product it’s available in all the same styles as the pressure treated product.
  • Not only do we offer Western Red Cedar but Eastern White Cedar as well
  • Cedar is a product that should last at least 20 years, it is recommended that you stain or seal this product to maintain the beautiful appearance.  With that said you can also let it grey if that’s the look you want to achieve.
  • This is also a popular type of fence which is acquired by it’s beauty.
  • Some regular maintenance will be required.
  • Pricing starts at $33/linear foot

Iron Fences

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  • The most elegant of the fencing family.  Perfectly suited for any climate.  Although it doesn’t provide any privacy it’s looks will charm you into relaxation.
  • All iron fences we install are quality long lasting products with minimum 20 year warranty on the paint.  A quality iron fence is powder coated and not painted.
  • There are various styles to choose from that will definitely suit your taste.  Many colors are available: black, white, copper vein, silver vein……
  • This is a maintenance free product with the exception of adjust the gate hings every few years.
  • Pricing starts at $45/linear foot

PVC/Vinyl Fences

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Becoming more popular for it’s maintenance free properties is a definite consideration for every homeowner.

  • All of our PVC Fence products have a 25 year manufacturers warranty.  We only install quality long lasting products, no cheap imports!
  • PVC Fence comes in a variety of styles however the style in the picture above is most common.
  • Pricing for this product starts at $40/linear foot4

Sim Tek Fences

Fencing Ottawa

  • This is a plastic product and not to be mistaken as a PVC product
  • Most likable for it’s natural stone looking appearance
  • This is one of the best fencing products on the market
  • This product starts at $70 per linear foot

 

*  Not to reader, we apologize for the cut and dry blog post the next post will be interesting & exciting.

Welcome to the NewFound – Land, Fence & Decks blog

Welcome to NewFound – Land, Fence & Decks blog.  Based in Ottawa, ON

We are creating this blog as an informative portal for consumers as well as the “do it yourself” homeowners.  As you read through our topics and browse through our pictures you will get a good feel as the type of company we are.

We will also be posting links to interesting articles related to landscaping, fences & decks in the Ottawa Valley.

If you have any questions, concerns or information relevant to our discussion topics please feel free to comment or contact us