Upper Canada Carpentry
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FAQ:



What is your price per square foot?

Every project is different, therefore, such a number tends to be meaningless. Materials costs, and sometimes labour costs, can vary widely for projects of equal square footage. We quote each project individually by calculating the total costs of labour, materials, taxes, and permits. Our estimates are free.

Do I need a building permit for my project?

It depends upon your location and the project details. A deck less than 24” above finished grade requires a building permit in some towns, but not in others.
Kitchen cabinets do not require a permit, but a finished basement does. A building permit protects you from poor and unsafe workmanship, maintains existing home insurance, and is very beneficial if you sell your home. We secure building permits (which include plumbing and HVAC) and schedule and handle inspections as required. Also, we organize underground utilities locates, when needed, prior to construction. Electrical permits are separate from building permits, and are issued by Ontario Hydro. Our electrician obtains them and schedules those inspections.

Patio Staircase Sun Room Addition

Do you frame your decks with Pressure treated lumber?

Pressure treated (PT) lumber is the best choice for deck framing because it is stronger, less expensive, and more rot–resistant than cedar when exposed cut ends are treated with two coats of a brushed–on preservative. Most of our decks are framed with pressure treated lumber which is entirely concealed by the finish materials, except for some raised decks that can be seen from below. Sometimes a raised deck is framed with more expensive cedar lumber for appearance. However, it is possible to stain PT framing lumber to look reasonably like cedar. It is not necessary to stain/seal concealed PT deck framing against decay. (See “Vycor Deck Protector” under “Special Techniques & Products”).

Partial Deck Frame With Sunken Hottub Finished Partial Deck With Sunken Hottub Entire Deck Frame With Sunken Hottub Finished Entire Deck With Sunken Hottub

Is there an alternative to Pressure Treated lumber for deck framing?

Yes. It is called “EcoPrem StayTru” ( www.ecovantagewood.com). The manufacturer subjects #1 grade southern yellow pine to an extremely high temperature and pressure that alters the structure of the wood, giving it resistance to mold, rot, decay, and insects. The result is a low–maintenance, weather–resistant lumber product that is very stable and will not warp, cup, twist, or split when exposed to the elements. Also, “EcoPrem StayTru” lumber is chemical–free, and offers a 30 year material warranty. (Neither PT nor cedar lumber carry any warranty). Expectedly, “StayTru Select” lumber costs considerably more than PT lumber – nearly three times as much. It even exceeds the price of cedar lumber by about 20%.

Do you finish decks with Pressure Treated lumber?

Very rarely. PT decking & handrails will crack, split, splinter, cup, bow, twist and warp over time. It performs very poorly as a finish material, so is understandably the least expensive choice. Nevertheless, we understand that some customers’ budgets, or other conditions, allow only this option. Staining or sealing of PT decks can be performed after about six months of drying time. However, yearly staining/sealing of a PT deck will do little to prevent the problems stated above, especially if the deck is un–shaded and faces south or west. “EcoPrem” (see above) offers a thermally modified southern yellow pine decking called “EcoDeck”, that has overcome the problems of PT decking, and carries a 30 year materials warranty. Of course, these advantages cost more: about 2 ½ times PT decking. “EcoDeck” is about 75% more expensive than cedar decking too, but is much harder and does not require the high maintenance of cedar.

Pressure Treated vs. EcoPrem Deck Finishing

Do I need to stain/seal my cedar deck?

Western red cedar decking is more expensive, but far superior to PT decking for finish material. Cedar decking turns silver–grey if left untreated in the weather. Also, it will absorb moisture that freezes in the winter causing cracking along the grain. This is a yearly, accumulating concern. We recommend staining/sealing our cedar decks to reduce moisture penetration and to prevent greying of the cedar boards, if that is the desired look. We do not provide this service. Our customers do this themselves or hire a professional painting contractor. Be certain that the stain/sealer selected penetrates the cedar and does not form a film on the surface, otherwise it will peel. Be warned that over time, even with careful annual application of a UV protective stain/seal, the difference in colours in the cedar tends to disappear and a somewhat uniform darkening develops. The mill glaze must be sanded off (we do this for you as the deck is built) and the raw cedar allowed to dry for about six weeks before the first treatment. Cedar decks, especially the horizontal surfaces, require re-application at least once a year. This is an increasing annual investment of labour and/or money. That is one reason why low-maintenance decking products have become so popular. (See “AZEK” under “ Special Techniques & Products”).

Deck And Staircase Deck With Planters

What are the travel limits for your projects?

If the project scale is large enough, there are no limits. So far, our work has taken us to about a two hour radius around Orangeville, Ontario. (See “About Us”).

What guarantee do you offer?

We honour a lifetime guarantee on our workmanship. The warranties offered by manufacturers on their products also apply. Also, the last cheque is not payable until the final inspection is signed off (where applicable) and the customer is satisfied.

How much do you charge for your designs?

There is no charge for our designs. They are included in the contract price. We will charge for a design if the customer or others are building the project.

Why should I contract Upper Canada Carpentry?

Please read “Testimonials” and “ Special Techniques & Products”.

Deck And Staircase Walled With Stones Deck With Vines Growing Through Cut Hole

How do your prices compare to your competitors?

Generally, if you get three quotes, we will be the middle or highest one. However, we are licensed, and take great pride in providing the highest quality craftsmanship. The best costs more to make. We would rather explain the quality than apologize for its absence. Our careful attention to detail on every project borders on obsession. Also, we hand–select all materials, where quality varies. Our customers never have to worry about whether or not we will show up to work. We always keep our customers well–informed every day, and are very conscientious about maintaining a smooth schedule. We stay with one project exclusively until completion. Our construction site is neat, safe, and well–organized all the time. We treat your home, inside and outside, with respect, and your family with courtesy. All of our subcontractors offer these same qualities. We offer the best workmanship guarantee, and twenty years of problem–solving experience. Some of our lower–priced competitors may not offer all of this. Finally, we are not a franchise that changes ownership every 5 years.

Wood-Screened Kitchen Cupboard Doors Window Bench

Are you covered by insurance?

We carry two million dollars in liability insurance, with no claims made.

How about references?

We have a long list of very happy customers. We are pleased and proud to arrange meetings between past and potential customers to discuss and examine our work and work ethic.