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If you’re thinking of a new build or a renovation where shingles are in the mix for the siding, here’s a bit of information you need to know.
In this part of the world, National Building Code mandates a 1cm gap between the shingles and the housewrap of the exterior wall.

The intent of this gap (called a capillary break) is that there is sufficient room for water to travel down the housewrap, or vent via evaporation should water get behind the shingles. Failure to install shingles this way may result in moisture build-up between the shingles and the wall, resulting in early decay of the shingles or water penetration into the exterior wall.

There are several ways to achieve this capillary break. One way is to use a manufactured “shingle backer.” One variety looks like a really big pot scrubber – see the included image.

In all areas of Charlotte and southern York County, a shingle backer of some nature, such as this purpose-built material, is required.

Another way is to line the wall with garden lattice before applying the shingles.
Questions? Give us a call at 466-7369.
Our inspection and planning department serves all the unincorporated areas between Lepreau up to the Hanwell Road north of Harvey, as well as the municipalities of St. George, Saint Andrews, McAdam and Harvey.

Here’s yet another post about decks, because decks seem to be one of those things where some improper construction takes place.

Today, we’re going to talk about beams (again.)

In a deck, the beam is the horizontal member that spans the posts (which are 6x6 in size, as we’ve pointed out before) anchored to a sonotube or screw pile for decks greater than 60cm in height, or decks attached to a building. The beams hold a lot of weight, and must be built to handle that. We have seen some situations where that load is supported on a pair of joists bolted to the side of a post. This is not good.

How not good?

Please do not build a deck using this as a "beam."

So not good one of our inspectors made a red-circle-with-line-through-it graphic.

The strength of a beam comes from having three or more pieces of wood nailed to each other (with splices ideally over supports). The load is spread across three members, which in turn should rest on top of the aforementioned column (which is 6x6 in size, not 4x4. You’d almost think that 4x4 posts aren’t Code-compliant, the way we keep mentioning that you have to use 6x6 posts.)

In the picture we show you, the load is carried by two bolts, and shared by two joists that cannot disperse loads to each other. If our building inspectors see something like this on a new deck build, it will make them very unhappy.

And we don’t want that.

We also don’t want decks falling apart. And neither do you.

Remember, if it’s new construction and attached to a house or business, a building permit is required, in part so we can make sure it’s built right.

Questions about permits, deck construction or any other project?
If you’re in an unincorporated area, Saint Andrews, Harvey, McAdam or St. George, call us at 466-7369 and ask for one of our building inspectors.


After extensive discussions in our office this morning, we have determined that the warm bright thing many of us saw throughout Saturday and for portions of Sunday was, in fact, a thing called “the Sun.” Apparently, sightings of this “sun” are common, and is associated with a number of activities, such as swatting mosquitoes, planting gardens and building decks.

We can’t help you with the mosquitoes or the garden, but we can help you with decks. Heck, we’ve got all sorts of deck-related tips.

Like the fact you should use 6x6 posts, not 4x4 posts.

And beams should rest on the top of those posts, not bolted to the sides.

Or that any new deck being attached to a house requires a building permit. Why? We want to make sure a deck attached to a house is supported on some form of below-frost foundation: sonotubes, helicoils or a frost wall.

This deck, built without a foundation, has suffered significant structural damage due to frost heaves.

We could quote Code at you, but instead, look at this picture. This is a picture of a deck, in winter. The yellow lines highlight how much the deck has lifted due to frost heaves. It is not uncommon to see frost heaves lift an improperly-built deck (on deck blocks) by six, eight inches or more during the winter, only to drop (maybe) in summer.

Repeat this cycle a few years, and the end result is a deck that is significantly weakened, putting its users at risk of injury.

We don’t want that. Neither do you.

So the bottom line: please don’t use deck blocks to build your deck if it’s attached to your house (or if it’s freestanding, and taller than 60cm off the ground.)

Questions? If you’re in our service area (St. George, Saint Andrews, McAdam, Harvey and all unincorporated areas from Lepreau to Hanwell) give us a call.