Frequently Asked Questions - Wood Decks

Q: What kind of wood does Heritage Design work with?

A: We work with two main types of wood -- pressure treated and cedar. The pressure treated wood that we carry varies in species, depending on the application. Posts come in red pine, while lodge pole pine is used for decking. The balance of our PT wood inventory is SPF (spruce-pine-fir mixed). We use western red cedar as well.

Q: I heard pressure treated wood is bad for you; should I avoid it?

A: Well, I wouldn't eat it. Pressure treated wood includes chemicals for preservation and to resist rot. Older treatment methods included arsenic, but those methods were banned in North America. Modern treatment methods use copper. Experts agree that consumers should not worry about having a pressure treated wood deck in the yard.

Q: What is 5/4?

A: 5/4, pronounced "five quarter," is the standard name for a deck board. Around 15+ years ago most decks were built with 2x6 decking. Modern 2x6 is used as framing material and lacks the final finish that 5/4 deck boards offer. 5/4 boards present a nice beveled edge, which adds a delicate touch to the look of the deck surface. As a plus, Heritage Design uses lodge pole pine decking. This wood species tends to lay flatter, has a tamer grain, smaller knots and retains its sap better.

Q: Do I need a permit?

A:  Each city/township has its own rules. The general rule across Ontario states that any deck over 24" off the ground at any point requires a permit. Some cities say that every deck construction must begin with a permit, some say it is only required if the deck is actually attached to the house.

Q: How long can I expect my wood deck to last?

A: A well-built wood deck should deliver 15 to 20 years of life. This applies to both pressure treated and cedar decks.

Q: The base of my deck seems good and solid, but the top is getting old. Can I replace just the top?

A: Yes, for sure. We would generally come out and inspect the base or framing, just to confirm that it is in good shape structurally. From there we can remove the old decking and install a new surface.