Tag Archives: construction

Building a deck?


Decks are great. You can lie in the sun or shade and dream, breathe fresh air, have a glass of wine or share a meal with friends. It also increases property value. There’s also the fact that, on nice days, the deck becomes an extra room. The house becomes bigger.

So why not build one? It looks so easy! Well, yes and no. If the deck looks more like a smaller porch, okay. But if you opt for a big, beautiful, friendly deck, roll up your sleeves and be patient.

A passionate do-it-yourselfer can build any size of deck, as long as they are serious, patient and organized. Even better if they enjoy team work.

Before you start the work, take the time to consider the following advice. Continue reading

Before building a fireplace

Do you want to add a fireplace to your interior? We can already guess what your first question is: “Where do I start?” You may be good with your hands, but building a fireplace is not the same as renovating a hardwood floor or building a wall. Not many handymen can boast that they built a fireplace in their home.

If you’re looking for a guide to build or renovate a fireplace, Marie-Pierre Dubois Petroff, architect by training, shows the steps to take in her book, La cheminée, plus de 120 réalisations.

From the beginning, she obligates you to ask the fundamental question. Do you want a central fireplace, a fireplace connected to the wall, one that is built-in or suspended? Or do you want to install it in a corner of the bedroom, the kitchen or the living room?


All these fireplaces have their have their decorative charm, but each one imposes its limits on renovators, due to their location and the structure of the building, especially if the idea is to add a fireplace in an existing room. Questions arise as to the evacuation of the smoke, the air intake, the heat radiation if the fireplace is more oriented towards heating than the spectacle of the burning flames. Continue reading

Let’s build a deck!

Used on a regular basis in summer, the deck has practically become a room on the same level as the living room or gaming room. It is widely considered to be a living space, even in the spring and fall when the temperature is nice and mild.

If you plan to add or transform a deck on your property, the Association des professionnels de la construction et de l’habitation du Québec (APCHQ) provides advice before you start on the layout and construction:

If the deck can be located in different places, its location initially depends on municipal regulations. Most cities only authorize the construction of a balcony or deck in the side yard or back of the house. The authorized height and surface could also be the subject of a municipal regulation.

It is suggested that you determine the desired amount of sunshine. The orientation, neighbouring constructions and high trees are factors to consider to obtain a sunny deck or one that has more shade.


There are many styles of deck, including rectangular, multiple level or “L” shaped. A series of levels allows for more effective integration of a deck to a property’s landscaping, while eliminating the need for railings, under the condition of course that these levels are less than 0.6 metres (2 feet) from the ground.

Several materials can be used as flooring for a deck. If the owner wants to avoid regular upkeep, a recycled plastic surface can be a good option. However, keep in mind that if the deck has strong exposure to the sun, recycled plastic becomes hotter than wood. Continue reading