"Understanding Your Home" by Building Inspector Mark Visser
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Handling cedar wood
Some people may experience an allergic reaction to the natural rot-resistant and insect-repelling properties of cedar. Always wear a dusk mask and goggles when cutting or sanding cedar wood and wash hands before handling food.
Wood rot and settlement
Wood rot is often the result of poor maintenance. Minor rot can be repaired but if the rot is extensive, it may be better to replace the entire deck. If the settlement is minor, the deck can be made level again by placing filler blocks or shims between the top of the support post and the deck.
Building permit
You may need a building permit for your deck so, before you start, check with your local building department.


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Cedar Wood Deck
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Cedar wood deck.

Many older dwellings have a front or wrap-around porch which adds character and charm to the home. Before the age of TV and air conditioning, the porch was a place where families would congregate and meet friends and neighbours. In today's society, activities take place on the ever-popular backyard deck. Style, size and choice of material for the deck depends on your needs, budget and available space. Over the years cedar has been used for decks.
Why choosing cedar. Cedar has natural rot-resistant and insect-repelling properties and has not been chemically treated like PT wood. It is environmentally friendly and it is safe for small children to play on a cedar deck. Cedar may cost more than other wood types but looks a lot nicer, doesn't split or warp easy and it will last longer. Cedar is lighter than pressure treated wood and is easier to work with. A newly installed cedar deck just looks great. Over time the deck will turn to a rustic gray shade. The last time I put up a deck I used PT wood for joists to give it the added strength and used cedar for decking and railing.



Maintenance and cleaning. A deck is a good investment but, just like any other part of the house, needs proper maintenance. A properly constructed and cared-for cedar deck should outlast it's builder.
Cedar has natural rot-resistant and insect-repelling properties. Because of this well known fact, people tend to think that their deck is maintenance free, but that is not quite true. You may not notice it, but your deck is constantly 'on the move'.

Wood expands and contracts and can loosen boards and nails. The sun's ultraviolet rays, seasonal changes, humidity and water can be eliminated by applying a top quality water repellent.
A lack of water beads is a sure sign that it is time for another application.To prevent damage to the softer wood fibers, it is not a good idea to use a power washer to clean your deck. It is better to use a solution of oxygen bleach, or another exterior wood wash solution, to clean your cedar deck. Do not confuse oxygen bleach with the more common household chlorine bleach which contains sodium hydrochloride.

Building permit. It is almost a given that you need a building permit for your deck so, before you start, check with your local building department.

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