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May 01, 2013

Safe, sound, sustainable backyards

Trendy new products to beautify your backyard

Pepper Rodriguez

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Let’s face it, Calgary doesn’t exactly have enjoyable year-round outdoor weather, some say we’d be lucky to get four months in the year of perfect sunny weather. That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy our private outdoor space in our homes to their fullest. The challenge is finding outdoor products that can withstand Alberta’s harsh climate that at the same time create an environment you want to spend time in.

Whether you live in a single-family home or in a townhome or villa, the outdoor deck is your door to enjoying the outdoors in the privacy of your home. Barbecue cookouts with friends are some of the best things we look forward to when the weather warms up. Doubling that pleasure is knowing we don’t have to fix a sagging deck or paint the fence, or mow the lawn.There are products available now that can actually make this kind of maintenance-free lifestyle available even if you don’t live in a condo. From non-wood engineered component deck systems, to real-looking fake grass, and rock-like rubber material to replace pavement, there are now affordable alternatives that are easy on the eyes and the pocket.

Sturdy deck

Traditional wooden decks are prone to collapsing as they get older due to material detrioration and may cause significant property damage and even personal injuries.

One Calgary-based company making waves with their composite decks is SigmaDek Ltd. They offer a lifetime warranty for the first non-wood engineered component deck system that allows decks to be built in a safe, strong and sustainable manner with minimal use of tools and fasteners.

The company was founded in 2008 by Tory Weber, who experienced first-hand the frustrations associated with the construction of traditional wooden decks. Weber realized that most key structural components of a deck were not protected from the elements, causing an ongoing need for deck maintenance and repair.

SigmaDek’s non-wood component-decking system was developed out of a need to simplify the building process and reduce the number of deck-related injuries caused by the deterioration of wood components. SigmaDek offers the SigmaDek System that is a complete pre-fabricated deck that includes the substructure, stairs and railing. The system is designed to accommodate any third party composite or non-chemically treated deck board, which allows the consumer to pick the deck surface that best suits their taste. They also have the Patio-in-a-box which is an alternative to concrete pads and hardscapes for patio applications. This comes in a kit form in a range of popular sizes and can be installed in a couple of hours.

Rubber sole

Resurfacing your deck, pathway, patio or even garage pad has never been easier, with trowelled-in rubber cement material.

Rubaroc is the perfect resurfacing product for Calgary’s weather, combining high tech polymer resins with rubber to create a resilient, non-skid surface that is virtually indestructible. Professionally installed over your new or existing surface, Rubaroc rubber safety surfacing expands and contracts to accommodate temperature changes and ground movement.

“It’s about $12-per-sqare-foot, but the quality is there and it will never fade or crack even under the harshest weather conditions,” says Shawn Burstyn, Calgary’s exclusive distributor of Rubaroc products. “We use primary materials and not recycled ones, which tend to crack.”

Available in many different colours, Rubaroc is the perfect solution for wet deck applications, and have been used for a wide variety of commercial and residential environments such as water parks, indoor/outdoor swimming pool decks and leisure centres. Rubaroc is mixed on site and trowelled by craftsmen to a uniform thickness over your new or existing surface to create a beautiful, seamless finish. Special rubber safety surfacing materials are skillfully used for custom logos and designs. Rubaroc can be applied to angular surfaces, like coping around a pool or stair faces.

Elbow grease

If you are stuck with the traditional deck and deck furniture for now, there are better ways to take care of these and get rid of mould stains after a long, hard winter, with new eco-friendly cleaning products. As the snow melts and spring showers appear, homes are susceptible to indoor and outdoor mould. Not only can mould cause thousands of dollars of damage to a home, it can also be a health hazard and leave unsightly stains.

To effectively treat mold, Planet People™, a Canadian manufacturer of non-toxic, high performance cleaning products and the makers of Concrobium Mold Control®, have introduced a new mould fighting system and a corresponding line of products. When mould is spotted, the company recommends following three simple steps: 1) kill the mould; 2) clean the mould and; 3) prevent future mould growth.

Planet People is launching two new products this spring to help people get rid of mould for good in common places such as wood decks, window sills, siding and more:

• Concrobium Mould Stain EraserTM ($16.97) — An innovative and powerful solution that targets and removes tough outdoor mould staining. The product works quickly and easily with no scrubbing and contains no bleach so it won’t discolour surfaces. Perfect for composite decks, wood, siding, outdoor furniture, stone — and it works great indoors too on surfaces like drywall and grout.

• Concrobium House & Deck WashTM ($13.97) — A powerful, non-toxic, bleach-free solution that quickly and easily renews outdoors surfaces. It’s safe to use around plants, pets and people and the product’s handy hose-end sprayer makes it ideal for houses, decks, patios, railings, fences and siding.

“Homeowners now have a complete mould fighting system with recommended solutions that are more effective and safer than traditional toxic cleaners,” said Brian Bacik, CEO of Planet People™. “At Planet People, we advise consumers to follow the three step system, to first kill the mould, second clean the mould stains and third prevent future mould growth on the surface.”

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