Paver Deck

We have been asked by several of our followers to write about paver deck and explain the concept of paving a deck.  In simple terms, it’s a stone deck, created by a framed structure that is supported by footings, with stone pavers or tiles on top. The goal of a paver deck is to create a maintenance-free stone deck. Rather than using the traditional method of excavation, base preparation, constructing a wall system and compacting, there are alternative and more cost-effective methods available to construct your new paver deck.

The alternative methods of construction are actually more advantageous since the base of the paver deck is supported by either concrete or mechanical footings that, if installed correctly, will not move, shift or settle. Most screw pile companies can even supply engineering reports for the piles they install. So, unlike a traditional stone interlock deck that is affected over time by the freeze-thaw cycles in Canada, a paver deck is not.

When searching paver deck online, you will find an actual product called Paverdeck, manufactured by Evolutiondeck from Canada.  A Paverdeck is designed as a complete galvanized steel structure to support any stone surface. The steel panels make up the structure and require absolutely no maintenance and will last a lifetime. A Paverdeck actually comes with a 30-year warranty.

A Paverdeck comes as a kit, composed of 5 main components that are picked and shipped to meet the clients’ design requirements. The galvanized steel panels can span 12-feet from beam to beam which usually results in fewer columns and footing. The assembly of these kits is straight forward and relatively simple, creating a flat surface to install the stone, pavers or tiles on. Paverdeck even has two methods of creating stairs using their components.  When one to three steps are needed, using their box method of construction can be very cost-effective. When four or more steps are required, they have a build method and kit that utilizes a stringer to support the stair panels.  This method is slightly more complicated, but the manufacturers of Paverdeck send you complete instructions on assembly and a cut sheet for the stringers.  For both methods, once the galvanized stair base is assembled the stone cladding techniques are similar to cladding the deck. 

You should be aware that Paverdeck stair kits are limited to either a 6.25” or 7.25” rise for the steps. To overcome this barrier, you can actually use another product that Evolutiondeck has called Tiledeck.  Tiledeck is a galvanized steel panel that is designed to work with wood framing to create your maintenance free stone deck.  If part of your paver deck design calls for a very specific step rise and tread length, you can use Tiledeck and the box step method of construction to create the exact steps needed.

A Paverdeck kit is your best option when creating your paver deck in a back yard with an aggressive slope that will result in part of the deck being on grade while another part is above, or over a drainage culvert that cannot be filled in.  Since a Paverdeck is made from galvanized steel it can be buried in the ground if needed. Also, since it is supported by concrete or mechanical footings it will not obstruct any water flow or drainage.

The concept of paving a deck with stone is not a new one and there have been hundreds, if not thousands of these stone decks installed across Canada with a proven track record.  Thanks to innovative products like Paverdeck and Tiledeck the professional contractor or homeowner have some really great alternative building materials and techniques to create their beautiful maintenance free stone deck.  Welcome to the Stone Deck Revolution!

Deck Railing Systems

I am building a deck, so when do I need to or when should I consider a deck railing system. What’s the best deck railing system for me?  

First, we need to determine what type of deck you have; is it a wood or composite deck or is it a stone deck?  Is the deck permanently attached to the house and how high off the ground is the deck? Next – and most importantly – check with your municipality or local building authority for the regulations that would apply to your project.

Most building codes in Canada call for some sort of a deck railing system when the deck is over 24” in elevation and the structure is attached to the house.  In past years, a stone deck constructed by traditional interlock building techniques and not attached physically to the house would not require a railing system. But times are changing, and for several municipalities, the threshold seems to be leaning more towards the elevation of the structure itself as opposed to the construction of it.

When considering a deck railing system, the possibilities are endless – as are the costs associated with it. You can find basic kits at Lowes or Home Depot made from pressure-treated wood with minimal cost, to total custom fabricated glass or iron railings that could cost as much as your deck itself.  The deck railing system you choose will also determine the method of installation, or should I say the approved and recommended method of installation.

When looking at constructing a basic wood railing system with wood posts and spindles, you will find there are widely accepted construction and attachment guild lines and parameters within local building codes.  These will speak to the distance between, the size and attachment of posts, spindle construction, and spacing. When a custom deck railing system is being manufactured, the system will need to have an engineer sign off on the project, including the construction and attachment method of this railing system.  Most larger railing companies that manufacture their own products typically have an engineer on contract to do this, but in some cases, this responsibility and cost will fall to the homeowner.

Besides these factors, deciding which deck railing system is right for you is pretty much a combination of personal choice and the overall design of the project.  Keep in mind the type of deck railing system you install will also determine what, if any, routine maintenance is required.  Wood railings would require the most maintenance with routine applications of sealers or stains to maintain their look. Iron railings may need to be refinished from time to time due to corrosion, while aluminum or glass railings would simply need to be cleaned.

As mentioned, stores such as Lowes or Home Depot have a wide variety of deck railing systems. Choices range from wood to composite to aluminum, to glass, designed to be assembled in prescribed sections.  These systems also ensure the railing system works within various building codes in Canada, and all have engineered specifications for installation. Companies such as Titan Building Products have designed deck railing system kits making the creation and installation of a wood railings quick and easy, while reducing maintenance to a certain degree by incorporating aluminum powder coated spindles.  Railing companies or contractors usually supply and work with most types of railings available on the market and can pretty much create the deck railing system you desire.

For a stone deck, any railing system will work, the only difference will be the method of attachment. When it comes to a traditional stone interlocked deck you will need some type of anchoring system into the stone.  Depending on the size and thickness of the stone, some type of under-mount foundation may also be required. For stone decks created by some of the more innovative products out there, such as Silca System, Tiledeck or Paverdeck, the method of installation would be similar to a wood or composite deck. The main difference is the use of longer mounting hardware to take into account the thickness of the stone. As you can see, when choosing which deck railing system will be right for you will depend on the design, materials used, your budget and whether you plan on hiring a company or doing the work yourself.

Stone Deck Cost

As people across Canada strive to create low-maintenance outdoor living spaces for their homes, stone decking is becoming more and more popular.  The concept of an affordable stone deck is relatively new. A stone deck provides homeowners alternatives to traditional decking material options and competes directly with the composite decking market. Most people are surprised to learn that a stone deck cost is actually less on average to a composite deck!

In essence, a stone deck is a structure clad in stone, as opposed to traditional interlock installation methods that relies on excavation and backfill materials.  When comparing a stone deck to an interlock deck, particularly for decks above grade – you will find that a stone deck cost will be less. Not only is the stone deck cost less, but constructing one is easier and faster, and will not move, shift or settle over the years.  The simplicity and ease of construction make a stone deck a perfect fit for “do-it-yourselfers” as well as contractors.

A stone deck involves constructing a structure supported by footings or attached to the house, depending on the design, and then the structure is clad with stone.  This type of build allows for a greater selection of design options, increasing the type and style of cladding materials, ease of installation of utilities such as electrical, gas lines or lighting and can allow for storage under the deck itself.

Today you can find several products and companies that will allow you to create a stone deck quickly and cost-effectively. For instance, mechanical screw piles for footings are an excellent alternative to traditional concrete footings.  They can be installed to the prescribed depth and torque as required for each specific build and come with an engineering report. StoneDeks Silca Grates and Evolutiondeck’s Tiledeck are innovative products that are attached to the top of the framed structure to support the stone.

Evolutiondeck’s Paverdeck is a complete kit that includes the framing and top surface ready for stone. These products are a much better alternative than using plywood on top of the framed structure to support the stone. StoneDeks even have a Soil Grid product that allows for stone installation on grade to create a patio stone deck.

So, what does a stone deck cost? There are a lot of factors that determine the overall costs such as; are you using a contractor, which contractor you are using, location in Canada, access to the job site, the complexity of the build and materials you are planning on using, etc. Breaking down a stone deck cost from a do-it-yourself perspective is a bit simpler. 

The average cost of mechanical screw piles range between $200-$500 per pile depending on size and load-bearing capacity required. By using screw piles, you will not have to worry about excavation, sonotubes, concrete or backfill.  Framing your structure using pressure-treated lumber you will find framing costs will run between $3-5 per square foot.  This price varies depending on the design and support structure required for your deck design. The Silca Grates or Tiledeck will cost you between $8-9 per square foot, while Paverdeck will cost $12-$15 per square foot – keeping in mind that if you use Paverdeck you will not need to factor in any framing costs.

Stone is the aspect that will vary in cost depending on which stone you choose – you can source stone anywhere from $3 to $15 per square foot.  Combination of accessories such as lintel attachments, geotextiles, spacer tabs, polymeric sand can run you about $2 per square foot.  Note these prices are reflected in Canadian dollars and are based on 2019 costings.

Besides the advantage of a stone deck cost, another key consideration is if you already have an existing wood or composite deck – transforming it to a stone deck is simple.  As opposed to demolishing the entire structure and sending it to a landfill in order to build an interlock deck, you can utilize the existing framing. Depending on the style of stone being selected you may have to beef up the framed structure or add extra footings.  This, however, is quicker and simpler then demolishing the entire structure, excavating to build a base and build an entirely new structure.

When you factor in a stone deck cost and the fact a stone deck will last you a lifetime – a stone deck is one of your best alternatives to a beautiful, maintenance-free outdoor living space. The Stone Deck Revolution is coming.

Silca System cost

As people across Canada strive to create low-maintenance outdoor living spaces for their homes, Silca system is becoming more and more popular.  The concept of an affordable stone deck is relatively new. A stone deck provides homeowners alternatives to traditional decking material options and competes directly with the composite decking market. Most people are surprised to learn that the silca system cost is actually less on average to a composite deck!

In essence, a Silca System stone deck is a structure clad in stone, as opposed to traditional interlock installation methods that relies on excavation and backfill materials.  When comparing a Silca system stone deck to an interlock deck, particularly for decks above grade – you will find that the silca system cost will be less. Not only does the silca system cost less, but constructing one is easier and faster, and will not move, shift or settle over the years.  The simplicity and ease of construction make a silca system stone deck a perfect fit for “do-it-yourselfers” as well as contractors.

A silca system stone deck involves constructing a structure supported by footings or attached to the house, depending on the design, and then the structure is clad with stone.  This type of build allows for a greater selection of design options, increasing the type and style of cladding materials, ease of installation of utilities such as electrical, gas lines or lighting and can allow for storage under the deck itself.

Today you can find other innovative products and companies that will allow you to create a silca system stone deck quickly and cost effectively. For instance, mechanical screw piles for footings are an excellent alternative to traditional concrete footings. They can be installed to the prescribed depth and torque as required for each specific build and come with an engineering report.

So, what does the silca system cost? There are a lot of factors that determine the overall costs such as; are you using a contractor, which contractor you are using, location in Canada, access to job site, complexity of the build and materials you are planning on using, etc. Breaking down a silca system cost from a do-it-yourself perspective is a bit simpler. 

The average cost of mechanical screw piles range between $200-$500 per pile depending on size and load bearing capacity required. By using screw piles, you will not have to worry about excavation, sonotubes, concrete or backfill.  Framing your structure using pressure treated lumber you will find framing costs will run between $3-5 per square foot.  This price varies depending on the design and support structure required for your deck design. The Silca System Grates will cost you between $8-9 per square foot.

Stone is the aspect that will vary in cost depending on which stone you choose – you can source stone anywhere from $3 to $15 per square foot.  Combination of accessories such as lintel attachments, geotextiles, spacer tabs, polymeric sand can run you about $2 per square foot. 

*Note these prices are reflected in Canadian dollars and are based on 2019 costings.

Besides the advantage of the silca system cost, another key consideration is if you already have an existing wood or composite deck – transforming it to a stone deck is simple.  As opposed to demolishing the entire structure and sending it to a landfill in order to build an interlock deck, you can utilize the existing framing. Depending on style of stone being selected you may have to beef up the framed structure or add extra footings.  This, however, is quicker and simpler then demolishing the entire structure, excavating to build a base and build an entirely new structure.

When you factor in the silca system cost and the fact a stone deck will last you a lifetime – a stone deck is one of your best alternatives to a beautiful, maintenance free outdoor living space.

Welcome to Stone deck innovations!

Benefits of Stone Decking

Over the last couple of years, the term stone decking is being used more and more.  So, what exactly is it and what are the benefits of a stone deck?

Most people are familiar with the concept of a deck – a structure framed with either wood, steel or aluminium, supported by a footing system or floated, and clad with wood or composite decking.  A stone deck is a similar concept, except instead of using wood or composite decking, you clad the deck using stone. The benefit of a stone deck is realized by creating a virtually maintenance-free surface that will last a lifetime.  Stone has a natural look, is durable, and aging just increases its beauty!

The Canadian climate can wreak havoc on certain decking materials.  Sun, rain, and freeze-thaw cycles are a wood decks’ worst enemy, forcing a homeowner to spend time and money on a regular basis on stains and sealers to maintain the desired look. Composite decking claims to be maintenance-free and long-lasting but is also affected by the elements, which can lead to cracking, splitting, peeling and warping over time. The benefits of a stone deck are that stones are not affected by the elements and maintaining a stone deck is as simple as using a pressure washer to clean off the dirt. Using a pressure washer to clean a wood or composite deck is not recommended as it will lift the wood fibers or damage the wood finish on the composite.

A traditional interlock “stone deck” would be created by excavation, base preparation using granular materials and building stone walls to support the granular and then the stone. This method of construction involves tedious labor or machinery, moving materials out and then replacing them with granular, and is more susceptible to the Canadian elements over time.  The benefits of a stone deck are it does not rely on this type of base preparations that can be affected by freeze-thaw cycles.  A stone decks’ framed structure is supported by either concrete or mechanical footings that are positioned well below the frost line.  Originally, stone decks were created by attaching plywood to the top of the framing. This technique is considered subpar and can lead to wood rotting and stone sagging. 

Over the years several companies have developed unique products to help the homeowner or contractor create a stock deck quickly and cost-effectively. StoneDeks SicaGrates and Evolutiondeck’s Tiledeck are two products that utilize a traditional wood deck framing, are attached directly to the framing, and directly support the desired stone.  Evolutiondeck’s Paverdeck is a product that has the framing incorporated and is ready to have the stone laid directly onto it.  Both Stonedeks Silca Soil Grid and Alliance Gator Base are soil-based stabilizing products that scientifically reduce the installation times for stone patios. Bison and Eternoivica Pedestal systems allow you to create a beautiful maintenance-free living space on any flat rooftop, which is perfect for certain urban settings.

Regardless if you choose to use any of these innovative products or not, the real benefits of a stone deck are indisputable, particularly given its flexibility. A stone deck can be created on the ground, elevated, second story or on top of a rooftop. It can be built to allow for storage underneath and easy access to mechanicals such as a hot tub for example. A stone deck is cost-effective when compared to traditional stone installation methods and it withstands the Canadian elements beautifully. It will last a lifetime and a stone deck is the closest you will get to a zero maintenance, beautiful outdoor living space. Welcome to stone deck innovations.