Many people get a great deal of satisfaction from completing a complex project. Home improvements are always a benefit to the homeowners for everyday enjoyment as well as resale value. That is why you often hear of folks adding an Ottawa deck to the outside of their home to expand usable space, entertain, and just relax.

However, you may also hear tales of woe when they have made some mistake that causes extra work and expense.

Here are some things to be aware of when building an Ottawa deck.

Deck Building Codes

Cities enact building codes to ensure the project’s safety and those individuals who are using it. There are also local restrictions as well as possible homeowners’ association regulations. These can be due to the area’s climate or the community’s specific needs.  

DIYers often overlook these codes or don’t pursue them carefully enough to realize there could be amendments that have changed the original document. Always check with the department that issues permits to be sure you will be in compliance.

Post Footers

One end of the Ottawa deck is attached to the house by a ledger board. The other extensions of the deck rest on vertical support posts that are on the ground. To assure that the structure will adequately handle the deck’s weight, furniture, accessories, and people, those posts must be placed on footers that are completely solid on the ground and won’t move. Here are some common mistakes to avoid.

  • The footers must be on undisturbed soil. If the soil has been worked in any way, the footers must be sunk deeper.
  • Footers must extend below the frost line at least 12 inches.
  • Tops of the footers should be at least one inch above grade to keep them dry.

Beam and Support Posts

Previously, attaching the horizontal beam (girder) to the vertical support posts was acceptable. However, the time has proven that this is not safe, and the deck can collapse.

The currently acceptable method is to rest the beam on top of the support posts. That means it can rest on metal column caps, or the posts can be notched, so the beam rests in a pocket. Attach the beam with galvanized carriage bolts, washers and nuts.


A joist is a horizontal beam that allows weight to be safely distributed over a surface. Composite and PVC decks are not as sound as hardwoods, and so joists are generally required to be placed closer together or tighter.


Floorboards vary in price. There are many to choose from, including imported ipe to PVC-based products. Be sure you are using the best for your project.

Ledger Board

The ledger board anchors the deck to the house. In order to do this, it must be attached with screws long enough to penetrate into the rim joist. All the siding must be removed and the exterior secured with tar paper and insulation.


If you are not careful, the deck can block access to exterior outlets, dryer vents, and all sorts of things.


You should only use fasteners approved for outdoor decks to be sure they will hold up under the elements. This is generally stainless steel, polymer-coated, or hot-dipped galvanized.

Decks Handrails

Even though they may not be required for a deck under 30 inches high, handrails are more than a convenience. They ensure safety.

Contact Decks Ottawa today!

The best way to be sure you are fully compliant and safe is to hire a professional deck-building company to complete the project for you. If you live in the Ottawa area, contact Decks Ottawa. We are a full-service deck company and can take care of everything from start to finish, ensuring that your deck is both beautiful and safe. Give us a call today to get started!