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Techno Metal Post vs Other Deck Footings

I love helping people to revitalize their outdoor living spaces, and transform their back yards into safe havens that will be a relaxing retreat for many years to come.  An important part of that is using a solid foundation that’ll last the test of time, because even the most beautiful deck is only as strong as the foundation beneath it!  That’s why I recommend Techno Metal Post to all my clients.

_DSC4770Here’s a Techno Metal Post in a nutshell: A hollow galvanized steel tube tipped with a thick steel helix that is drilled straight down into the ground.  They’re installed by trained pros using specially designed hydraulic machinery which does the job without ripping up your yard, mixing messy concrete, or creating huge piles of dirt to deal with.

So how does Techno Metal Post compare to other deck footings?  Let’s take a look.

Tradtional concrete footings are tradition for a reason: They work.  But that doesn’t mean they’re efficient or ideal.  Old timey hand-cranked drills work too, but why use them when you have a faster and more efficient alternative?  Even in ideal conditions, concrete footings require that you dig a hole deep enough to safely support your deck structure, then keep water out of it while you wait for the inspector to sign off.  After that, you must haul heavy concrete, mix it up, pour into place, and round the top to ensure water won’t be able to pool on it once it’s dry.  Then, you have to pack up and wait for it to dry, which takes at least a day.  Only then can you drill & place your saddle to start building.  And that’s if the footings are straightforward!  Sometimes you need to use a bell pier, which requires even more time.  All of this can take days to prepare and install, so while concrete looks cheaper than Techno Metal Post on paper, the money you save in materials goes right back out in labour hours (and then some).  Using Techno Metal Post, even my largest projects take less than a day to install footings for, sometimes even less than an hour!  That means I waste no time getting right into framing, leaving me with tighter timeframes and faster builds.

Deck blocks – shaped concrete blocks that sit on top of the ground like feet – are occasionally selected for very small, very low decks.  If your yard is very flat, if your deck will be very small and close to the ground, and if you don’t mind your deck shifting with each freeze-thaw cycle, these can work.  However, their shortcomings are varied and numerous!  Because they sit on top of the ground, blocks have very little shear resistance, and any kind of slope in your yard will cause the structure to tilt over time.  Is your home new?  That’s a potential issue as well, because the recently disturbed soil is more prone to settling beneath the blocks and causing the deck to shift.  Their usage is also very limited, as these blocks simply cannot be safely used for any deck that is more than a step or two above ground level.  In windy areas, a deck supported on blocks can even achieve “lift off” and rise out of the footings!!  Altogether, a deck supported on blocks will not last long enough to pass down to your kids with the house, and its fast deterioration will negatively impact the value of your house if you sell.  Nobody wants to be saddled with a deck that needs to be replaced within a few years.  With Techno Metal Post, these issues simply don’t exist.  The installation technician uses readouts on the machine that tell them when the footing has reached a significant enough depth to support the load of the deck, and once these babies go in, they stay put.  Thanks to the specially designed green sleeve, even frost can’t grab a Techno Metal Post, which protects your deck from frost heave.  This is definitely the foundation you want to turn to if you view your outdoor living space as a long-term investment to be protected.

Ground Spikes are another option for smaller, low-to-the-ground decks.  They consist of a metal spike that is driven into the ground with brute force, such as with a sledgehammer or a jackhammer.  The better quality ones also use a flat plate at the surface which helps to better distribute weight, but they still rely on soil friction and not soil bearing to support the load.  Since they go into the ground, they provide better lateral strength than deck blocks, but are still vulnerable to heaving during the freeze/thaw cycle, and are again quite limited in their application.  You must keep your structure very close to the ground, and it must be freestanding and not attach to the house via a ledger board.  This means more footings and less options! Techno Metal Post is the clear winner here.  No matter how crazy (or tall!) my design gets, the footings will be up to the job .

_DSC4694That’s not all that puts Techno Metal Post in a class all its own.  Each and every installation comes with an engineering certification that guarantees each footing is installed correctly and to the depth required to bear its load.  Plus, Techno Metal Post is 100% CCMC (Canadian Construction Materials Centre) Approved, so you can rest easy knowing that your new deck will be strong and stable for many, many years to come.

Till next time,
Paul Lafrance

bestofhouzz2017

Paul Lafrance Design of Pickering, Ontario Awarded Best Of Houzz 2017

Over 40 Million Monthly Unique Users Nominated Best Home Building, Remodeling and Design Professionals in North America and Around the World

[Pickering, Canada], February 2, 2017Paul Lafrance Design of Pickering, Ontario has won “Best Of Design” on Houzz®, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The whole-home design firm, founded in 1997 by television host Paul Lafrance, was chosen by the more than 40 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than one million active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2016. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award. A “Best Of Houzz 2017” badge will appear on winners’ profiles, as a sign of  their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.

Paul Lafrance Design was born from my dream of creating whole-home transformations that buck the trend. We don’t just think outside of the box, we dismantle it completely! The end result are designs that stand the test of time because each one is unique to the homeowners they were created for,” says founder Paul Lafrance. “We’re honoured that the Houzz community has once again voted us ‘Best of Houzz’!”

 “We’re so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals, including Paul Lafrance Design,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality.”

 

About Paul Lafrance Design
Paul Lafrance Design, founded as Cutting Edge Construction & Design in 1997, is a home improvement design firm operating in the Greater Toronto Area. To date, they have had a hand in over a thousand projects and show no signs of slowing down. From outdoor living-space design to interior design and custom furniture, they design for homeowners all over the world. For more information, visit www.PaulLafranceDesign.com.

About Houzz
Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community empowered by technology, Houzz is the easiest way for people to find inspiration, get advice, buy products and hire the professionals they need to help turn their ideas into reality. Headquartered in Palo Alto, CA, Houzz also has international offices in London, Berlin, Sydney, Moscow and Tokyo. Houzz and the Houzz logo are registered trademarks of Houzz Inc. worldwide. For more information, visit houzz.com.

Public Speaking [Featured]

Paul Lafrance, Public Speaker

Paul Lafrance, host of hit shows on HGTV Canada, loves letting his unusual perspectives on the world loose on stage!  When you’re planning an important event, choosing the right public speaker is vitally important to connect and inspire your guests.  Whether it’s a corporate retreat, home and garden show, fundraiser, or school event, your speaker has the role of engaging their audience and bringing them together.

https://vimeo.com/186442234

For many years, Paul has become known internationally as “The Deck Guy”, guided by his powerful design philosophy that allows him to connect deeply with his clients on a meaningful level.  “Most people in the world believe that not only do others not know them or their personal story, but they don’t care to,” he says.  As a result, his whole-home cutting edge designs not only reflect the unique interests and family life of the homeowners in truly remarkable ways, but by incorporating peoples’ personal stories into his designs, they become timeless!

As a public speaker, Paul’s passionate belief that everyone has a story leads him to forge a connection with his audience in pursuit of that story.  Helping others to discover what truly makes them come alive and to find their own unique abilities to impact the world around them is a constant theme when he speaks.  He has built a reputation for speaking with an undeniable mix of the deep and ridiculous, and he has proven to be both a dynamic and motivating force on stage and off.

Some of Paul’s most powerful topics include:

  • How to succeed when you don’t fit the mould
  • The importance of women in the trades
  • Why investing money and time to create places of rest at home is crucial
  • Discovering your keys for living a life without fear

Get in touch with us today to discuss booking Paul Lafrance to speak at your event.  We can’t wait to see what we can build together as we continue on an unforgettable journey!

Book Paul to Speak at Your Corporate Event, School or Convention

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2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show

Join Paul Lafrance and Regal Ideas Inc at the 2017 NAHB International Builders’ Show!  The show takes place in Orlando Florida from January 10 – 12th.  Paul will be there as Regal Ideas Ambassador on Tuesday January 10th and Wednesday January 11th.  Register as an attendee today!

Our partner Regal Ideas Inc is a finalist in two award categories: BEST OUTDOOR LIVING PRODUCT and MOST INNOVATIVE BUILDING PRODUCT! We’re proud to be working with such an amazing company and can’t wait to see the results.

Meet Paul and Regal Ideas Inc at booth #S2836, in the South Hall. This is going to be an AMAZING show!

Paul Lafrance and Regal Ideas at 2017 International Builders' Show

Paul Lafrance & Kate Campbell at Skills Canada National Competition 2016

Paul Lafrance (& his alter ego!) appears on a celebrity panel with Kate Campbell and Line Pelletier at the 2016 Skills Canada National Competition in New Brunswick. They discuss their careers, what drew them to the skilled trades, and the essential skills of their occupations!

https://youtu.be/0aIt7jg4CeY

How’d Paul get that mustache to stay on? Bonus behind-the-scenes clip here. :)

Spring Newsletter 2016 (blog)

A Message from Paul Lafrance

Dear ‘fan’mily!

I’m so relieved Spring is finally HERE! As much as I love Christmas time, fireplaces, and the look of the winter sun shining off of trees and fields covered in ice, I’m happy to let it go in favour of warmer weather and being able to run outside without first donning my parka. I wear flip flops in the winter out of sheer rebellion!

At Paul Lafrance Design, we’ve been busily expanding, forging new relationships, and creating crazy projects that I can’t wait for you all to see! We’ve partnered with some truly remarkable companies that are on the cutting edge of the design industry, creating everything from state of the art glass railings, to corkscrew metal footings that replace traditional concrete ones, to incredible wall and ceiling treatments that make my job all that much more fun!

We’ve also formed an alliance with an amazing deck company called, fittingly, The Deck Store. The Deck Store, owned by Terry Fangrad, has got six design centres in Ontario (so far), and offers both stellar workmanship and customer service. We are now working with them, hand-in-hand, to install Paul Lafrance Designs all across the province.

With warm weather upon us (did I mention how happy that makes me?) we are getting booked up quickly with new designs for folks all across the country and in the United States. If you’ve ever watched any of my shows (Decked Out, Disaster Decks, Custom Built, etc.) you’ll know that we come up with some pretty spectacular stuff (if I do say so myself!) What you might not have known is that we design custom outdoor living spaces and interior renovations for people internationally. If you’ve ever wondered what we could come up with for your backyard or any room in your house, give us a shout. We’d love to dream up something extraordinary with you.

Paul Lafrance
Paul's-Signature

Cyclone (Friends)

Cyclone Range Hoods & Fans

We’ve all tried to rid our kitchens of that sticky film on our cabinets, or the smell of burnt food from the air. When updating your kitchen, the last thing you want is to have the same issues a couple of months later. The problem is in the air. Paul found the solution for his kitchen by effectively ventilating the air using a state-of-the-art Cyclone range hood.

Cyclone is a Canadian range hood and exhaust fan manufacturer, wholesaler, and retailer that was born out of the need for a more powerful kitchen ventilation system on the market. For twenty-five years Cyclone has grown and improved, fine-tuning their range hoods into the perfect fusion of performance and design. Their environmentally-friendly filter-less system uses less energy to remove more air than those with filters, and they have machine-washable parts that never need replacing.

Nothing gets rid of airborne contaminants, grease, and odours like a Cyclone range hood. With a wide variety of canopy and island range hoods, picking a ventilation system for your new kitchen renovation or update will be a breeze. Far from the traditional utilitarian range hoods, Cyclone’s products are expertly designed and engineered to blend in with your design, or become a stylish focal point, depending on style and needs.

You may not have given much thought to which range hood you will use, but after checking out the Cyclone Gallery we are sure you’ll be as blown away as we are by their incredible products.

Cyclone is one of our recommended companies, and you can find the rest of them over on our recommended page. Make sure to check out next week’s “We <3 It” Wednesday for more information and inspiration, and as always, we are looking for more great products and services, so be sure to get in touch if you have something new or exciting to share with us.

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Wine Cellar Creations (Friends)

Wine Cellar Creations

We’ve seen it before: wine enthusiasts with their collections boxed up, hidden in tiny coolers or in crowded refrigerators. Why not store and display your passion with pride? Paul goes to the experts at Wine Cellar Creations when planning out a wine cellar, whether it be big or small.

Wine Cellar Creations is a manufacturer of wine racking systems that has been setting the bar in quality and affordability since 1997. They are based out of Whitby, Ontario and have dealers throughout Canada and the USA. They offer wine racking and cellar systems for both residential and commercial projects.

Wine Cellar Creations’ hand-made wine racks come in various wood types, including pine, redwood, and mahogany, to compliment every individual’s taste and décor. With features like a beveled front edge that is not only attractive but functional as well, and eased edges for a truly distinctive look, these real wood racks are beautiful as well as functional. From the casual collector to the serious connoisseur, Wine Cellar Creations has the perfect storage or display solution for you. The residential racking systems can maximize your storage space without the custom cost, but if you don’t have the space for a full racking system, they also carry free-standing cellars and cooling units.

If you are looking to take on the project yourself, Wine Cellar Creations has a helpful “how to” page to get you started on the steps required to install your very own wine cellar. Head on over to the Wine Cellar Creations website and check out their galleries for inspiration and a list of the dealers near you.

Swing by next week for another “We <3 It” Wednesday. For more great products and companies we have used, check out our recommended page. We are always on the hunt for more great products and services, get in touch if you have something new or exciting to share with us.

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Technilite (Friends)

TechniLite

Do you ever wonder how Paul creates those awesome backlit features on Custom Built? An illuminated onyx backsplash, a glowing bar, or a picture brought to life with light–just a few of the applications Paul has used TechniLite lighting systems for.

TechniLite is a lighting manufacturer founded in Canada and produced in North America. They specialize in T5 and LED lighting systems. With over twenty years in the business, they have both experience and a great reputation for keeping up with the latest trends. TechniLite engineers cutting edge products and provides an impressive selection of top-of-the-line display lighting systems, outdoor signs, back-lit and edge-lit signs and panels. While these can be used commercially, we have found many uses for their lighting systems within our residential builds.

The super thin panels made by TechniLite can bring opaque or clear surfaces to life and add a unique lighting element to your designs. They customize their products to fit your specific application, giving you the perfect size, brightness, and installation requirements for every project. By manufacturing their own materials in North America, TechniLite can offer dependable, affordable, high-quality products with optimal turnaround time–giving you exactly what you need, when you need it.

If you are looking to add a little light to your next project, check out the TechniLite website for more info. For inspiration on some of the alternative uses, check out some pictures of our projects below.

We have combined TechniLite systems with some other great products and you can find out more about them, and some other great companies we have used and recommend over on our recommended page. Make sure to check back next week for another “We <3 It Wednesday. We are always on the hunt for more great products and services, get in touch if you have something new or exciting to share with us.

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