If you are a deck lover, this blog post is for you. I may digress ad nauseam on the game changer a proper deck brings to one's back yard game but I think this is a good story so I'm going to tell it.
I reached out to KAYU CANADA via Instagram a few months back and inquired on their interest level in collaboration on a Squamish Deck Project. Their response was fast & friendly, and the ball got rolling. I'm a firm believer in first and last-ing impressions and from the initial point of contact to the finishing communications, Kayu Canada has been a real pleasure to work with. Professional, time sensitive, informative, efficient, and an attention to detail builds respect in their business presence which leverages just how awesome the product they're providing really is. And it IS.
In the world of the Pacific North west, we live in a wet zone. We get a few (thank GOD) months to dry out, but we are a tropical rainforest climate, so moisture is a reality landscapes must accommodate for. When it comes to decking materials, the common choice I see in most of my projects is pressure treated lumber or Cedar (typically Western Red). For about twice the cost, you can bump up to Composite decking, such as Trex, or go with a natural material such as exotic hardwoods. Pressure treated lumber is the cheapest option but has a "green" appearance and therefore must be painted or stained. Cedar costs more but has a lovely natural aesthetic immediately, though it benefits from annual treatment to protect it's longevity. Trex, though maintenance free, is a composite made from essentially plastics and though I can appreciate it's usage in some scenarios, it retains heat like no body's business. If you think about when/where you want to enjoy a deck, the last thing you want is for it to be a HOT surface in the sun. So, if you're going with Trex, you want to factor in site orientation / sun / deck usage / and colour of Trex decking.
But if you really want a high end natural and sustainable harvested decking option, the exotic hardwoods are the way to go. If you hold a sample of KAYU's products in your hands (IPE, BALAU BATAU, BANGKIRI BALAU, etc) you can feel the density of the hardwood compared to Cedar. The density of these exotic hardwood is what makes them essentially maintenance free. Exotic hardwoods are the most expensive decking material choice but they also last the longest and are best suited for applications where the deck is an extension of living space. Think, hardwood floors but outside.
For this Squamish deck project, we wanted to update a back yard area, which had previously been a 2'x2' concrete paver patio and garden beds. By implementing an on-grade deck, living space was extended and the landscape aesthetic was minimized and streamlined. The homeowners wanted the deck to serve as a gathering place with a fire pit as critical part of the deck. For this deck, we used Kayu's 1x6" boards in the Bangkirai Balau. The deck joists and framing were comprised of pressure treated lumber and we did not opt to skirt the deck in the Kayu product (though it could still be done post install). Nor did we skirt the inside of the fire pit feature. The 4'x4'x8" deep fire pit allows for safe burning and hopefully not too much hot sparks on the deck surface. We floored the fire pit with 2"concrete pavers and then laid river rock to complete the fire side zone. We were able to use existing natural stone boulders as flex seating adjacent to the fire pit providing that on-demand seating option without complicating the space with fixed furniture placement.
Kayu recommends treating each board with a product that seals and protects the wood so we treated all sides and edges before installing the boards. Kayu also recommends joist caps for low ventilation / high moisture / 1x6" board applications however finished grade was a concern on this project and every inch mattered so we opted to use a joist cap protection tape to manage moisture transfer. The sub grade below deck was excavated and landscape filter cloth was installed with gravel on top of that to prevent weed growth. We installed the deck using the Kreg hidden fastening system because it's a stronger hold, easy to use, and keeps the surface splinter and screw free for barefoot enjoyment, not to mention it looks amazing having the fastening system hidden from view.
As a designer, my role is to recommend the best material choices for each projects unique traits -often this is guided by budget but also length of investment in the property as well as what each clients values in priority sequence. I cannot rave highly enough about working with Kayu Canada on this project - from their customer service, to their installation guidelines and attention to detail, to the product itself, Kayu Canada and the products they provide are the best and would be my preferred supplier and material choice for decks in the Sea to Sky Corridor for projects with a budget to spend on exotic hardwood decking.
Thank you Kayu Canada for the great experience! I can't wait to see more projects using these exotic hardwoods and elevating their deck game to the next level. Stay tuned for the video recap all well later this month. Happy Summer!