VIDEO: Top decking clips

Its decking season and people are asking...

"What's the best system for installing decking?"

Top answer:

"Whatever floats your boat baby!" 

But in all seriousness ease of use is one of the top considerations. If its tricky, time consuming or otherwise awkward the finished results will be affected.

Proper care today will avoid client enragement tomorrow

There are three main methods:
1) Face Fastening
2) Toe nailing or angle fastening
3) Hidden Clip Assemblies

Since, for whatever reason, face nailing or fastening has gone out of vogue and many of the most popular decking material choices are thinner than standard construction lumber so toe nailing and angle fastening is out simply because there is not enough meat on the board to sink a screw into the most popular choice these days seems to be the hidden deck clip.

Simpson Strong Tie makes a great one called the EB-TY. (pronounced "ebb tie") This product can be used in both grooved and profiled wood and wood plastic composite decking. It's a little finicky but has proven to be a solid choice. available at has a great system as well. It follows a similar concept.
Mantis uses a full metal system for pregrooved boards.

Manits also has a pneumatic version that brings epic speed  to a whole new level.

VIDEO Building a deck with Decks Dot Com

Another great source for diy instruction on basic deck construction is Their series of videos covers just about everything.

Video 1: Footings

Video 2: Ledger Boards

Video 3: Deck Frame

Video 4: Install the decking

Video 5: Stairs

Video 6: Railings


VIDEO How to build a deck: Step by Step video guide by Lowes Cananda

Lowes Canada offers a great six part series of instructional videos aimed at the do it yourself crowd with novice to moderate construction experience. This series covers everything from planning and design to care & handling and all stops in between. goes from Have a look and let me know what you think. Did they hit all the key points?

1) Design

2) Layouts

3) Setting the Posts

4) Framing and Decking

5) Stairs

6) Railings, Finish and Maintenance

DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK! Wood's been here for YEARS! Episode 1

Why wood is Making a Comeback

Ok... I know I borrowed the line from LL Cool J so, just it's out of your head, here is the video. Call it a soundtrack...

Now that that is out of the way...

Wood has been used for construction quite literally since a tree fell down in front of the entrance of Grok the caveman's hole in the ground and created the worlds first porte cochere. But even cave dwellers knew that as great as it is in protected interior applications it sometimes sucks for outdoor structures, particularly in humid and wet environments.

All through the entire history of "permanent" structures, the second that reliability and durability of alternative materials outstrip cost, wood gets the boot. First with brick and stone block, then with steel and later aluminum and finally with plastics and wood plastic composites. It's basic construction and building maintenance economics. But recent advances in wood preservation techniques and technologies, coupled with improvements in global transportation and distribution infrastructure have meant that wood is getting an unprecedented second chance. 

Episode 1: Next Generation Wood Preservation

ACQ is one of many chemicals added to wood in order to extend it's life
ACQ is one of many chemicals added to wood in order to extend it's life

The goals preserving wood are pretty straight forward. 
  1. Keep dead wood from becoming compost. 
  2. See goal number one above.
But as simple as the basic objectives are, the execution gets a little more complicated. Although there are two main ways that wood can be preserved, there are many, many ways of doing such.

Part One - Chemically Modified: 

Chemical modification is the process by which chemical compounds are added to wood in order to preserve it. What kind of chemicals can preserve wood and keep it from becoming the foodstuff of insects and microorganisms? Poison. One of the earliest methods for commercially preserving construction timbers on an industrial scale was to apply or treat the wood with creosote oil. If you have ever walked along railroad tracks you know the effects and likely the smell of creosote treated wood. Railroad ties, as well as old style trestle bridges were treated with creosote oil. Many different chemicals have been used over the years, each having its own unique set of advantages in certain applications and on certain species of wood. The most common commercial treatment for residential applications is ACQ, a combination of azole and quaternary acid that is effective in preventing decay from insect and fungal sources       

Stay tuned for part two:  - Thermal modification


Behind the Scenes: Online Product Display Page Video Shoot

A month or so ago I went down to the sample warehouse at BuildDirect and happened to get there just in time to catch the team shooting one of our new product display page videos. I was surprised at how much time goes into setup and shooting of these videos. I'll link to the finished product once it goes live.

Plastic Composite Decking: Enhanced Durability, Improved Longevity

Today’s composite decking is light years ahead of where it was only a few years ago. Durability has always been a key feature of composite decking and to that end, nothing has changed. With many products offering a 25 year warranty that now includes stain and fade resistance it is clear that this product is engineered to have a long service life relative to it’s traditional alternatives and designed to remain beautiful for the entire duration. Innovations such as co-extruded and polymer capped decking products were originally developed to improve performance against weathering and moisture absorption are now used to enhance the products appearance. Rich, multicolored colors and realistic high definition textures give this next generation decking the look and feel of natural wood while avoiding the drawbacks of splintering, checking and splitting. The high performance plastic shell protects the core of co-mingled recycled plastics that are reclaimed from both post-industrial and post-consumer sources. This means that every board produced effectively diverts plastic waste from landfills and keeps it out of our oceans, lakes and streams.


My uncle Filbert will build your deck for a case of beer!- Deck Collapse

First off, thanks for dropping by. I haven't posted in a while but I'm back now.
I was doing a little research and found this video of a deck collapse that was staged during a trade show as part of a display by Simpson Strong Tie.. My intention here is not to talk about using the right connectors (trez important by the way) but to demonstrate how quickly something like this could happen. Wrong place, wrong time? This could be a life changer. Want to demonstrate to clients why they need a professional to build them a deck and not their uncle Filbert who would do it for a case of beer, half of which would be gone by the time the deck was built, show 'em this video.

HEY! Be careful out there.

Vancouver Construction Connections is now on Linkedin

Vancouver Construction Connections is now on Linkedin.
What is it? It's where Vancouver Construction professionals can connect. Contractors, Tradespeople and suppliers are all connected. Vancouver is a big city but in the construction community it's still a small world.

But Weight...there's MORE! Average shipping weights for BC lumber.

Kiln Dried S/P/F: Average  
Waiting for a lumber shipment? All my trucks have GPS on 'em so give me a call and I'll track it down for you. Unless, of course you bought it from someone else...then your guess is as good as mine.
But while we are on the topic, let's talk a little bit about the "weight" of a lumber shipment.
Here in BC we deal with a couple of main species, Douglas Fir and S/P/F which is primarily spruce with some pine and some fir allowed. Most lumber shipments for framing and forming purposes will be in one of these two species unless we are talking about Pressure Treated lumber. In that case, the typical will be Hemlock.
In addition to species the other factors that will determine weight are moisture content and dress. A 12 foot chunk of green, unseasoned, rough Douglas fir 2x10 will weigh much more than a Kiln Dried, S/P/F, S4S 12 foot 2x10. So how can you calculate the total weight of a mixed size and species shipment?

You'll need to know 3 things in addition tally. The species, the dress and the moisture content.

Hardwood shower enclosure? Shocking pics revealed!

I recently swiped one of my clients i-phones and dumped all the photos so that I could spy on what he had been up to. What I found was both shocking and unusual.
He had been purchasing an unusual amount of tropical hardwood recently and after sneaking a peek at his photo gallery it became immediately and shockingly apparent why.   
He was actually creating an very unique and stylish interior shower enclosure. The shower stall was schlutered and tiled as normal but as an added twist he created a floating deck surface, flush to the surrounding floor, over the tile using tropical hardwood and stainless steel hardware. The water flows down between the "decking" and runs under the structure down to the drain. The entire assembly is modular, allowing for easy cleaning. This counter intuitive use of wood gives unique warmth and contrast to the smooth, hard surrounding cast concrete and tile. For continuity,  he created a wall assembly that carried the look of the "deck" up the height of the wall. The finished product looks brilliant and very unique creating a "zen spa" type environment that fits in well with the homes overall theme of mixed natural and man made materials.    

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