Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently asked questions
Deck Product Questions
1.1 What is joist tape?
Joist tape is a self-adhesive flashing tape designed to prevent water from accumulating in areas that are prone to premature rot. Most commonly, joist tape is used on beams or double joists where water can get between the boards and not dry out properly. It's also a good idea to tape any flat blocking, post blocking, stair stringers, ledger to house connection, and other high risk spots. It's also never a bad idea to tape the tops of all your joists when installing composite decking to the framing for your deck has a chance of lasting as long as the 25-50 year composite you're putting on top. It's a cheap insurance to help the whole structure last longer.
While there are multiple tapes available, our thorough research and experience has determined that G-Tape is by far the best option - especially for our climate. It sticks at any temperature, it unsticks from itself, it's repositionable, it's hand tearable, and it's not messy to work with.
G-Tape for decks is offered in three models. 3035BK, 3040BK, and 3045BK.
3040BK is the standard G-Tape with a paper backing and is available in 2", 4", 6", 9" and 12" widths for all types of applications.
3035BK is the same great product as 3040KB but without the paper backing, so install and clean up is a little easier. Available in 2" and 4" widths.
3045BK is a stronger version meant for bonding seems between rubber membranes such as EPDM or other rain management systems. Available in 2" and 4" widths.
1.2 Is composite decking slippery?
Some composite decking is very slippery! And some composite decking it not slippery at all!
If you need REALLY good traction on your deck, stay away from brands like Armadillo, Moistureshield, Veranda, Trex, some Fiberon lines, some TimberTech lines.
For incredible, out of this world traction which is NOT slippery AT ALL, choose Deckorators Voyage decking. It really is in a league of it's own with insane traction, wet or dry.
For other options with really good traction, choose Deckorators Vault, Wolf Serenity, Fiberon Promenade, TimberTech Azek, or Clubhouse.
So no. Not all composite is slippery. It can range from very slippery, to not slippery at all. Visit our stores and test them out on our Slip Zone to see which one feels best on your feet!
1.3 Is composite decking cheaper than wood?
Yes. I mean no. Well, yes... but no, not usually. At least not upfront.
This question also has a lot of variables.
Pressure treated decking will always be cheaper upfront than a good brand of composite. However, if you calculate the cost over the life of the deck, the composite will almost always end up less in the end.
A good composite deck is warrantied to last 25 to 50 years. You will replace a pressure treated deck 2-5 times over that timespan. Not only that, but the annual cost of maintaining a wood deck, will slowly add up, and around that 9-10 year mark, the amount of money you've sunk into your wood deck will begin to creep past what a composite deck would have cost you.
So it depends on how you look at it. What I can tell you is we talk to people all the time who REGRET buying a pressure treated deck, and end up switching the boards to composite only a few years later. We NEVER talk to people who regret a composite deck.
While we sell both options, it's undeniable the nearly all people want the composite deck. But we'll help you get what you want either way.
1.4 What is the best brand of decking?
This very much depends on what you're looking for. There is no one brand that is universally better for every situation and budget. However, there is such thing as "good brands" and "bad brands".
Some general rules of thumb and questions to ask when evaluating a brand of composite decking are:
- Is it made in North America?
- You want a USA or Canadian made product. Products imported from overseas have a long history of low quality, product failures, and no support.
- Does it offer a minimum of 25 year warranty?
- If the company offers less than 25 years, they don't trust their own product - so why would you?
- Is the board hollow?
- Board profiles that have holes in the middle of the board spell trouble.
- Does it have a fade and stain warranty?
- If not, run away!
- Has the company been in business long?
- Stick with a successful business. You need to know you'll be supported if you should have an issue. There are many fly-by-night options that will leave you burned.
In addition to those quality qualifications, also make sure the options you're considering will meet your needs.
- Is it within my budget?
- Does it have good traction?
- Does it get hot?
- How does it install?
- Do the colours match my house?
- How durable is it?
The Ultimate Deck Shop has done much of the legwork for you. We only stock brands of decking that check all the boxes. If we experience issues with a product, we discontinue it. We carry Trex, Fiberon, Deckorators and Wolf because these brands provide a wide variety of colours, budgets, and are all good companies with good products, good warranties, and good support.
1.5 Can you paint composite?
The whole point of composite is to be maintenance free. If you're composite requires painting or oiling, it's not a good product.
Cleaning should be the only thing required.
1.6 What is the best railing for a deck?
There are many types of railing options for a deck.
But aluminum is king. Aluminum powder coated railing is maintenance free, comes in a variety of colours and styles, and holds up great in our climate extremes. Brands like Regal Ideas and Fortress Rail offer long warranties, and easy install.
Other types of rail you may consider for privacy, preserving a view, or general aesthetic are cable rail, glass rail, composite rail, privacy rail, wood rail, and others.
But the most popular and budget friendly, maintenance free option is aluminum.
1.7 How can I add privacy to my deck?
We have many options to add privacy to any space. Privacy walls generally come in 5' tall or 6' tall options, but you also have privacy glass options for regular height rail as well.
Whether glass, or decorative panels, or slat walls, we have all sorts of options that you can brown in our PRIVACY SCREENS section!
1.8 Will my decking scratch?
It's not a matter of IF but rather WHEN. It's like a brand new car, we all want it to stay shiny and new forever, but at some point, you're going to get a door ding or a rock chip.
That said, some options are MUCH more durable to scratching than others. For example Trex Transcend line has a very durable surface, while Trex Enhance line scratches quite easily. Fiberon Promenade, very durable. TimberTech Terrain, scratches easily.
So it just depends, but if that's an important feature to you, we can certainly help you choose out products that will perform better than others in that regard.
1.9 Does composite get hot?
Yes. Everything that sits under a hot sun will get hot. Sidewalks, roads, decks, beach sand, houses, people, cars - deck boards are not any different.
There are a number of brands who claim, with fancy marketing, that their boards stay cooler. They don't. Clubhouse "Cool Pigment Technology" and Moistureshield "Cool Deck Technology" are VERY misleading. There is nothing "cool" about plastic in 40*C/120*F sun. And while those EXACT colours, may get a little hotter without their fancy technology, it doesn't make a real difference to the back of your legs in short shorts.
That said, lighter colours generally get less hot than darker colours. And some products, like PVC deck boards, will cool off much faster once out of the sun than a dense composite will.
But the bottom line is, pick the colour you love - and error on the side of lighter colours if heat is a concern.
Lighter colours you can comfortable walk on in bare feet up to 30-35*C. Darker colours up to about 30*C. Any higher on any deck, and you'll likely want to slip sandals on.
Deck Process Questions
2.1 Do I need a permit?
For a fence, no. Check with your local municipality as the rules can differ from town to town. Commonly, fences in the backyard require no permit or zoning if they ae 6' tall or less. The front yard is a bit more restrictive, usually 4' tall max. But check with your local building office for full details.
For a deck, most likely. It's a common misconception that you don't need to get a permit if you're just replacing an existing deck. That is not true.
The only time a renovation to an existing deck does NOT need a permit is if you are replacing the cosmetic details ONLY, such as replacing the decking, and the structure is not being touched at all - and all of this is assuming the deck had a permit in the first place.
Otherwise the only exceptions are very low decks (in Regina less than 12" and in Saskatoon less than 8") or for decks that are small enough to be considered stair landings (in Regina less than 32 square feet and in Saskatoon less than 25 square feet). Please check with your local building office to verify these numbers as they may change, and your municipality may be different.
For information on obtaining a permit, CLICK HERE.
2.2 How do I build stairs?
But the best solution will still always be to cut custom stringers from 2x12 lumber so that they are perfectly fit to the height of your deck.
Now there are two ways to figure this our. Do the math yourself, or cheat and use a calculator. Either way, you need to take one important measurement, and that it the FINISHED height of your deck down to the approximate spot where the stairs will land. By "finished height" we mean the top of the installed decking, not just the framing. If your decking isn't on yet, measure the framing and add the thickness of your decking (most commonly 1").
Set a long level on the finished height of the deck, get it level, and then measure down to the ground around where the stairs will land. Let's say for example, that the measurement works out to 34 1/2".
For the easy way, take your 34 1/2" and punch it into this Stair Stringer Calculator and it will give you your rise and run.
If you want to do the math yourself, do the following:
- Divide 34.5 by the MAX height you want the stair rise to be, or the max that the city will allow, to find out how many total rises you will need. Let's call that 7.75".
- 34.5 / 7.75 = 4.45
- Round that number up to a whole number, so 4.45 becomes 5.
- Now take your original 34.5 height and divide by 5, which gives you 6.9".
- Convert the 6.9" decimal into a fraction by taking the .9 and multiply it by the denominator of how accurate you want the measurement to be, commonly 1/16". So .9 x 16 = 14.4 and round that to a whole number, so 14.
- Reduce it down so 6 14/16" becomes 6 7/8". Your rise is correct at 6 7/8" per step.
- Your run per step is determined by the width of your treads, minus the nosing or overhang. Usually this is around 10" to 10.5"
- So your Rise x Run for your steps is 6 7/8" x 10 1/2".
- Set your stair gauges on the square at 6 7/8" and at 10 1/2".
- Push the triangle portion of the square on and against the 2x12 so the gauges are butting again the 2x12.
- Trace the triangle, slide the square down until the lines meet up and trace the next one.
- You need 5 rises, which means 4 steps as the deck itself will be the 5th rise. So do this until you have 4 steps traced out.
- On the bottom step, you must remove the thickness of your decking from the bottom step. So go back, and trace another line 1" less, so your bottom step rise will only be 5 7/8".
- Cut the triangles out using a circular saw. Do not overcut, use a jigsaw, multi-tool, or handsaw to finish the cuts.
- Use the first one you cut as a template to trace and cut the rest. But be sure to test the first one to make sure it will work and is level.
2.3 Should I put lights on my deck?
Adding lighting is a budget friendly way to add WOW factor to your space. Not only does it create a beautiful ambience, it also adds an element of safety and increases the useable hours you can entertain on your deck.
Low voltage light options are easy and safe to install, and will give reliable light any time you want it. Solar options can fill in the gap where needed, but are not as reliable and typically not as aesthetically pleasing.
To see what options you might want to add to your space, check out our OUTDOOR LIGHTING category.
2.4 Can I build my own deck?
Well this depends. If you're handy, have some experience in carpentry, and have the tools and patience, then yes - you can likely build your own deck.
However, not all decks are created equal. A small 10x12 deck is a nice little weekend project for you and some friends. But these projects can get complex or overwhelming quickly. So if you feel at all out of your comfort zone, then it's time to call a contractor or use our Managed Install Service.
To compare all three options, visit our INSTALLATION COMPARISON.
2.5 What should my deck cost? How much is a deck?
Decks are like houses. They can cost a little, or can cost a lot.
Sometimes a deck is $1500. Sometimes a deck is $150,000.
It all depends on the size, the shape, the height, the materials, the region, and whether it's DIY or hired project.
For most of our customers who enter our stores for a standard composite deck, we tell them to plan for around $50 per square foot on average for an average deck. But it really can range from $15 to $150 based on a variety of factors, so we can certainly help to accomplish nearly any budget.