Residents of Calgary experience a harsh climate. Temperatures rise to +25 degrees Celsius in the summer and plunge to -15 in the winter. Summer is reasonably comfortable but winter is long, freezing and dry. An occasional chinook provides relief but results in a destructive freeze–thaw cycle. The first snowfall of autumn usually arrives in October and the season’s last snowfall typically happens in April or May! Once or twice a year, Calgary experiences storms with over ten cm of snow. Breezes are common in all seasons as there are few natural barriers to the wind. In short, Calgary weather is one of extremes! Most people prepare their homes and cars for these seasonal changes but is there a way to prepare your deck.
If you are building a new deck, there a number of things that you can do to cope with Calgary’s climate.
- Sink your foundation deep: To avoid frost heave (which acts like a hydraulic lift!) concrete pilings for your deck’s foundation must be sunk into the ground below the frost line. Three feet is the average frost line in Calgary but many experts suggest you dig your piles in four feet deep. If you reside in one of the places in Calgary where digging that deep is virtually impossible, you may need to consider precast concrete pier blocks. Before you install these pier blocks, make sure the ground has settled for at least two to three years, Place the pier blocks on top of sidewalk blocks to help distribute the deck’s weight evenly.
- Build with composite materials: If you want a deck that is resistant to snow and harsh temperatures, a composite deck may be right for you. Superior to wood in durability, able to withstand large amounts of rain or snow, essentially maintenance free and able to endure hot and cold temperatures, composite deck planks will get you through Calgary’s seasons.
- Use galvanized steel hardware: Weatherproof and resistant to corrosion in all conditions, high quality galvanized nails and screws will give your deck a longer life in Calgary’s climate.
If you have an existing wood deck there are ways to “weather proof” it so that it will be less prone to damage in Calgary’s extreme temperatures.
- Choose the right stain: Some deck stains minimize warping, cupping and splitting while also adding UV protection. Talk to the experts at your local hardware/paint store to find a stain that will withstand Calgary’s seasonal changes.
- Give your deck a deep clean: When fall creeps in, it is time to give your deck a thorough clean to prepare for winter. It’s important to get rid of ground in dirt and grime that can lead to corrosion. Use a stiff broom and a bleach-free cleaner.
- Apply a water-resistant finish: To protect from sleet, snow and rain, apply a water-resistant finish. Make sure your finish is also resistant to fungal growth and insect decay. Now you are ready for Calgary’s weather patterns!
Though Calgary’s climate is harsh and variable, there are methods you can use to ensure that you will have a safe, beautiful and long lasting deck.
If you are interested in building a deck or have questions about building for Calgary’s climate, contact the Calgary based decking experts; Econo Decks at 403-768-0151 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com