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Things To Consider


The most common deck material in order of cost:

Treated deck boards in 41/2 or 51/2 inch widths
Cedar deck boards in 41/2 or 51/2 inch widths
Vinyl decking over plywood sheathing
Composite deck boards 51/2 inch wide
Treated and Cedar decks, with good regular maintenance, will provide 20 years of service.

Vinyl decking is commonly utilized for elevated decks that require a weather proof area below.

Composite deck material of which there is a variety of manufacturers with a diverse price and color range. These products are relatively maintenance free.


Stairs are generally constructed of the same material as the deck.

Decks above a walk-out basement with a sloping grade can be challenging to find an ideal stair location, to avoid windows and existing house and yard features.

Each step requires a minimum 10 inch depth with a rise of some 71/2 inches, therefore, the overall length can become considerable.

A good space saver could be a spiral stair, however, they come with a relatively high price point.


Guard rails are required by the Alberta Building Code for all decks that are greater than two feet above the adjacent grade with a top rail height of 3 or 3.5 feet, dependent on the height above grade.

Similar to decking you have a choice with a comparative price range:

Wood pickets, posts and rails to match the deck
Wood posts and rails with aluminum pickets
Aluminum rails, posts and pickets, limited colour range
Aluminum rails and post with glass panel inserts, clear or obscure glass
Panels are available in 6 foot heights for wind or privacy screening

Composite railings, of which there are a variety to choose from

This is purely a cosmetic decision, however, it provides the finishing touch to the overall appearance of the deck, particularly if elevated. Material used typically reflects the deck, however, you have the opportunity to be creative.

Although the space below is not weather proof it offers the opportunity to provide storage for garden equipment, toys,etc.


Depending on the major function of the deck and configuration of the house the most common features are:

An opportunity to consider enclosing an area of the deck by extending the roof and incorporating privacy screens to provide a multiple season space
Introduce a pergola to feature and provide partial shade to an area
Design privacy screens to provide a more intimate space, wind break or sun screen
Incorporate low wattage LED lighting to accent stairs and change in deck level
Install a weed barrier and washed rock below the deck