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Getting All Decked Out

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If you’re going to build a new deck, create a comfortable and appealing space that will draw you outdoors.

PSP: What, if any, special considerations should you make if your deck is to be built near or to surround your swimming pool? What about if you plan to place your hot tub on the deck?

Lafrance: If you get a lot of sun in the backyard, be aware that darker colours on the deck absorb more heat than lighter colours. You want to be careful of this around a pool or hot tub area, since dark-coloured decking combined with sun exposure and bare feet equals ‘owie.’ So definitely use a lighter tone. At the very least, you may want it on the level of your spa or pool simply to protect bare feet from a hot surface.

PSP: What are some tips for easy ways to enhance decking patterns?

Lafrance: Decking patterns are absolutely crucial to creating visual appeal. It is one of the most undervalued esthetics. If you’re unsure exactly what you’re going to do, but you know you want to include something creative on the deck floor, make sure you overdo it on the deck frame blocking. In other words, block around the edge for bordering and in the centre for some sort of decorative inlay, whether it’s a piece of stone or centre pattern using decking material. If you forget to do the blocking first, you’re going to be stuck with the same old boring deck pattern as your neighbour.

PSP: If you already have a backyard deck, what are some telltale signs that your deck is in need of repair or an overhaul? (e.g. rot/mould, shifting, bad design, etc.)

Lafrance: There are a few things to look out for. First, if you step out onto the deck and it sounds like you’re walking through a haunted mansion because of the creaking and groaning, then it’s time to take a closer look. A rough handrail that leaves your hand covered in splinters is another sign the deck needs work. And finally—and this is a big one—if the actual surface of your deck looks more like ocean waves, you know the frame beneath the surface is no longer sound. Put it out to pasture ASAP for something that will be a lot more useful and a lot less dangerous.

For more information on Paul Lafrance, visit www.cuttingedgedesign.ca and www.hgtv.ca.

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