Skilled Trades

3 Things Students at Construction School Should Consider About New Decking Projects

May 22, 2018

Nothing says summertime like a great deck, but the amount of design and construction work that goes into the project can be taxing. There is the budget to consider, and what kind of square footage it allows for, as well as lighting, patio furniture, and other accoutrements. Clients will also need to determine a feasible location on their property that makes building the deck possible.

Constructing a deck requires a lot of expertise, and knowing how to go about making sure they’re stable and that the right materials are being used can ensure they’re built to last. Here are three important factors students in home renovation technician programs should consider whenever they start on a deck project.

Be Mindful of Your Building Foundation

Before digging and construction begins, you should consider the kind of foundation that you’re working with. For instance, your clients may want to build their deck on soils rich in clay. Clay soil tends to be weaker and may only be capable of supporting a weight of 680kg per square foot, and does not drain water very well.

Clay rich soil may also swell on rainier days, or shrink in dryer weather conditions, which can put the stability of a deck at risk by causing it to lift or drop. When erecting piers, you may also need to consider building in areas where there are less large rocks and stones, as removing or drilling through them could be more expensive.

When building on clay soil, be sure to pour your concrete mixture directly into the post holes you dig as soon as possible, as it will minimize the space between the piers and the soil and improve grip. As decks built on clay soil can also sink a little more each year, try to use a wider surface area than concrete footing so that weight can be evenly distributed.

Considering Wood and Composite Materials for the Decking Surface

Deciding between building a deck surface and railing with composite or wood material can be tough. Wood materials tend to be cheaper to install, but they need to be treated regularly so that they don’t crack. Mahogany and Western Red Cedar are good choices, because they can stand up to weather conditions and resist rot and termites. However, trade school graduates should inform their clients that maintenance of a wooden deck can be costly.

On the other hand, composite materials, like those with polyethylene plastic, do not require staining, painting, and sealing, but they could take longer and cost more to install than wood. Composite materials may also come with a warranty in case they split or splinter, which is great for clients. Ultimately, it’s up to the client to decide which materials to use, but your advice is always helpful.

Students in Construction School Learn About Building Codes

The blueprints for decking projects might need to follow certain building codes, all of which vary depending on the city or province. For example, the height of the rails on one-level decks can depend on the height of the deck’s surface above ground. The National Building Code of Canada requires decks with a height ranging from 24” to 5’, 10” to have 36” railings – anything higher needs 42” rails. You should also make sure that the distance between the bottom of the rail and the balusters that support them is no more than 4”.

Knowing these codes is paramount when you become a home renovation technician, and you’re likely to learn many of them in programs offered at North American Trade Schools. With the right training, you’ll know if a project meets the legal building requirements of each province.

Are you looking to kick-start your career at a great construction school?

Contact North American Trade Schools to learn about becoming a home renovation technician today!

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