Welcome to Deckbuilders by Benchmark. Ross Ungaro, owner (416) 293-3325 info@benchmarkbuildingservices.com

  • Please visit our photo galleryQ: What are the costs of owning a deck?
    A: There are two costs associated with your deck. First is the initial cost of building your deck. Second is the cost of maintaining your deck. Carefully consider both. The following examples should help.

    A wood deck may be the least expensive initially (depending on the type of wood you choose), but it is the most expensive over its 20+year expected life, because you must clean and stain your deck every year to maintain its beauty and prevent rot. This will cost an additional $1.00 to $2.50 per square foot per year.

    If you choose a composite decking material, the initial cost is a little more than some woods and about the same as others. However, composite material requires very little maintenance —just clean it twice every year; this means it costs significantly less than wood over its 30-year expected life.

    Concrete pavers and stone are the most expensive initially, but they are the least expensive in the long run, because they last virtually forever with no maintenance required other than cleaning.
  • Q: Does my deck need railing?
    All deck surfaces higher than 24 inches must be enclosed with railing. However, in some jurisdictions anything above 18 inches must be enclosed. Check with your city or county building department. Building codes (laws) vary depending on your local government.
  • Q: Do I need a permit to have a deck built?
    A: In Toronto, and GTA, if the deck is under 24 inches no permit is needed. All decks over 24 inches high need a permit.
  • Q: How should I choose a contractor?
    Hire a contractor who specializes in building decks. Today, decks require expertise that the average contractor normally lacks. A contractor who focuses exclusively on decks will have the necessary skills to provide quality workmanship, attention to detail, and creativity in design. This contractor will know what materials, tools, and techniques work best for deck construction. Perhaps most importantly, this contractor will understand the problems unique to deck building and how to solve them. The contractor you hire should be licensed, bonded and insured.
  • Q: When is the best time of year to build a deck?
    Here in the Southern Ontario any time is a good time to build a deck. However, the best time to build a deck may actually be during the fall and winter months. In the spring and summer your deck builder may be booked out for a few weeks, or even months, and unable to build your deck as soon as you would like. Also, the great thing about building in the off-season is that come spring, construction will be over and your new deck will be ready for your enjoyment throughout the summer.
  • Q: What is the best way to clean my deck?
    Periodically rinse your deck with a garden hose, to help reduce the dirt, dust, grime and other residues that build-up.

    In addition, a thorough semi-annual cleaning of your deck is recommended. First, rinse your deck with a garden hose. Next, use a mild solution of hot water and a bicarbonate laundry detergent. (Check the label. You are looking for bicarbonate.) It is very important to not let the soapy water dry out on your deck. Use a scrub brush to provide agitation, then rinse well. For cedar and redwood use cleaners containing Oxalic Acid.

    Regular cleaning may not eliminate all dirt and grime all the time. If necessary, a pressure washer may be used. Avoid damaging your deck by using a fan-tip nozzle “at a pressure not exceeding 1,000 psi” making sure that the tip stays 6” away from your deck.
  • Q: How do I remove rust stains from my deck?
    Metal outdoor furniture can leave rust marks on your deck. We recommend that you apply appropriate plastic or vinyl tips to the feet of your metal furniture to prevent staining. If rust stains do appear on your deck, they can often be removed using deck cleaners containing Oxalic Acid or Phosphoric Acid. Test a small area first in out of the way site to see how it will react to your decking.
  • Q: How do I remove oil and grease stains from my deck?
    To keep your deck in the best possible shape, we recommend the use of grill mats to reduce the risk of grease stains associated with grills. Should grease or oil stain the deck's surface, it is important to clean the stain immediately using a commercial degreasing agent such as Gojo® Natural Orange Pumice Hand Cleaner or Castrol Super Clean. Dawn Soap can be used for removing suntan lotions or oils. Be sure to remove as much of the lotion spill as possible with water before using cleaning agents.
  • Q: Can mold and mildew stains be removed from my deck?
    Mold and mildew stains are a natural result of moisture. These stains can often be removed using cleaners containing Sodium Hypochlorite.
  • Q: What tips can you give for maintaining my deck’s beauty?
    Remove food, spills and other debris and clean immediately to minimize the possibility of staining.
    - Always test any cleaner on a small portion of your deck before cleaning the entire deck.
    - Always follow manufacturers' application instructions when using any cleaner.
    - Please note that any cleaner can lighten the color of your deck.
    - Place mats under metal objects to protect against rust stains.
    - Place grill mats under your grill to protect your deck from grease spills.
    - Never mix two or more cleaning agents when cleaning your deck.
    - Do not use a metal shovel to remove snow or ice from your deck, as you may cause damage to the deck surface.
    - Clean the leaf litter from the gaps between the deck boards to prevent rot.
    - Keep the area under your deck clean and well ventilated.
    - Never apply harsh solvents such as acetone, gasoline, benzene, carbon tetrachloride or paint thinner to your deck.
    - Sanding the surface to remove stains is not recommended.
    - Search the Web for important information. Sites like ecodeck.ca were created to help educate home owners on decking options.


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