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.

Wood is a less costly option, but requires more maintenance over the years than recycled plastic. Owners should also know that it is not recommended to stain a deck the first year.

Lastly, it is important to choose the right fastening device according to the construction material used. There are treated wood screws, screws for cedar, galvanized fasteners and treated screws.

It is important to keep in mind that additional amounts will be required to build the stairs and guardrail, as there is a multitude of options.

Owners should also keep in mind that landscaping work could be necessary if the machinery for the construction work damages the landscaping.

For more information, Protégez-vous magazine discusses building a deck in its latest edition. Cost, material, installation work, advantages and disadvantages, and maintenance. Experts help you draw up a list of questions to ask if you want to hire a professional.

If not, we recommend the following documents:

Construire sa terrasse en bois, Wilfried Andres, Eyrolles, 2010, 144 pages

Patios, terrasses et jardins de toit, collectif, Éditions de Lodi, 2014, 490 pages

Patios & Walkways, Idea Book, Peter Jeswald, Taunton Press, 2008, 185 pages

The complete Guide to patios, 3édition, Black and Decker, Editors of Cool Springs Press, 2014, 240 pages

Photo: iStockphoto Yvan Dube