What does it cost for a quality deck?
You have to think about your costs in two parts. First is the initial cost of building your deck. Next is the cost of maintaining your deck. You have to consider both. A wood deck may be the least expensive initially (depending on the type of wood you choose), but it's the most expensive over its life span because you have to stain it annually to maintain its beauty and prevent rot. 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 hardly needs any maintenance. Just clean it with soap and water. This means composites have significantly less cost than wood over your deck's expected life span.
Will I need a railing?
All deck surfaces higher than 24 inches must be enclosed with railing. This is a British Columbia building code requirement, so it applies to all areas of the province.
Do I need a building permit?
Whether or not a building permit is required varies by municipality, but in general, as long as your deck is on or near ground level you won't need a permit. These are required for second-floor decks (those above a certain height) and certain decks with specialized requirements.
How should I choose my contractor?
You should hire a contractor who specializes in building decks. Today's sophisticated decks require expertise that the average contractor typically lacks. A contractor passionate about decks and experienced in building them will know what materials, tools, and techniques work best for deck construction. He'll also know the problems unique to deck building and how to solve them. And one more thing: the contractor you hire should be licensed and insured.
When is the best time to build a deck?
In the Vancouver and Lower Mainland area, any time of year is a good time to build a deck. Surprisingly, the best time to build a deck may actually be during the fall and winter. That's because deck builders are busiest in the warmer part of the year when everyone else starts to think about needing a deck. Best of all, when you build in the off-season, your new deck will be all ready for your enjoyment when the warm weather comes, available for your use throughout the summer.
What's 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 over time. A comprehensive semi-annual cleaning of your deck is also recommended. Use a mild solution of hot water and bicarbonate laundry detergent. Never let the soapy water dry out on your deck, as that can damage the material, especially wood. Use a scrub brush for a thorough cleaning of the grooves and grain, 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 at least 6 inches away from your deck.
How do I remove rust stains?
Metal outdoor furniture can leave rust marks on your deck. Plastic or vinyl tips on the feet of metal furniture can prevent these kind of stains. If rust stains do appear, 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 your decking material responds. Sanding to remove stains is not recommended.
How do I remove mold and mildew?
Mold and mildew stains are a natural result of moisture, so they are common in the Vancouver area. These can usually be removed using cleaners containing Sodium Hypochlorite.
What other tips can you offer to keep my deck beautiful?
Clean your deck regularly, especially right after you entertain, to minimize the potential for stains.

Place mats under metal objects to protect against rust stains.

Place grill mats under your grill to protect your deck from grease spills.

Do not use a metal shovel to remove snow or ice from your deck, as you may cause damage to the deck surface.

When applying anti-ice compounds in the winter, make sure you use products that are plant and animal safe rather than salt, because the corrosive elements in salt can permanently damage the finish of your deck.

Clean the leaf litter from the gaps between the deck boards to prevent rot.

Keep the area under your deck clean and well ventilated.