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My Store: Hickey's TIMBER MART (Conception Bay South)
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My Store: Hickey's TIMBER MART (Conception Bay South)
In this issue:

Deck planning tool

Presented by

The first step in building a new deck is coming up with a design, and now that’s easier than ever before.

Since Simpson Strong-Tie is an industry leader in structural wood connectors, it makes perfect sense that they’ve developed user-friendly, intuitive deck planning tool.

The Simpson Strong-Tie Deck Planner Software™ is completely free to use, and it’s web-based so you don’t have to worry about downloading a new program onto your computer.

You can design in 2D or 3D environments — whichever is more comfortable for you — and there’s an in-app video tutorial that will guide you through each step of the process.

Ready to get started? Visit to start playing around with this innovative software.

Image of the strongtie deck planner with grid view at the beginning of the project.

Design your deck.

If you’ve ever played a video game like The Sims, this will seem like second nature. Use the tools to drag, drop and resize the components of your new deck.

Shape your deck so it’s the perfect fit for your home. Add wall details, board details and stairs, and even edit the railings. Change the colour, style and size of each detail as needed until you have the exact deck you’ve pictured in your mind — or one that’s even better than that!

See it in real life.

Grab a roll of painter’s tape or some old cardboard boxes and figure out the area you’d like your new kitchen island to cover. Depending on the layout of your kitchen, this could easily be anywhere from 1-4 metres long!

Image of the strongtie deck planner with more details included

Focus on the details.   

While the look of your deck is important, what’s even more important is everything that holds it securely together.

Click the “Connectors” icon to display the inner workings of the deck you designed. You can change the finish of the connectors — galvanized or stainless steel — or even swap out the specific types of connectors using the product browser.

Click the “Fasteners” icon to toggle between different types of fasteners (i.e. generic, colour-matched, or hidden) and browse specific decking fasteners using the product browser.

Generate a list of materials.

Once you’re happy with your deck design, you need to know exactly how to build it, so click “Report” to view an up-to-date list of all the materials used in your design.

The exportable shopping list describes each specific piece you’ll need, including the quantity and a description (sizes, shades, etc.) — all broken down by each section of the deck. Export the CSV file to your computer and it’s ready to be printed or emailed for your next TIMBER MART shopping trip.

Prepare for your build.

A list of materials wouldn’t be very helpful without instructions that tell you exactly how to put them together, right?

Click “Create Report” to generate the full deck plans, which include specifications and a bill of materials. The report is an easy-to-read PDF document that includes measurements, instructions, a list of required tools, and even what you need to know about securing a deck permit.

With a little know-how and this excellent deck planning tool — did we mention it’s totally free? — you’re well on your way to building the deck of your dreams.

If you have any questions, stop by your local TIMBER MART and we’ll be happy to help out.

Easily calculate how much wallboard you’ll need

Presented by
Image of the CGC Sheetrock® wallboard estimator interface

The CGC Sheetrock® wallboard estimator can help you get it just right.

Just enter the size of the area you’re covering and what panel size you’ll be using and we’ll calculate how much wallboard you need. Click here to get started.

The CGC Resource Centre is here to help you through any project, at any phase. Start estimating with our tools. Get help through installation process or learn about post installation care. Start a discussion and get help from the community or drive into our guides. For more resources like this, visit the CGC Resource Centre.

We’re looking forward to chatting with you about your project. Drop by your local TIMBER MART with any questions for us!

What to consider before building a front porch

Your porch is the gateway to your home — the threshold every guest will cross to get inside. It’s what people can see from the street, even if they’re not invited in. It’s a key part of your home’s curb appeal, which matters whether you like it or not.

So if your porch is worn-out with chipped paint and loose boards, it’s definitely time for an upgrade. From envisioning how you plan to use your porch to considering the type of maintenance it might need down the road, here are a few things to consider before you start building a new porch…

An image of water droplets on wood

Think beyond the build.

No matter what materials you choose for your new porch, it’s going to look spectacular that very first season. But what happens in the future, after months and years of rain, snow, sun, and daily wear-and-tear? Ask yourself how much maintenance you’re willing to put in to keep your porch looking good.

If you’re looking for a low-maintenance porch that’s going to look great, year after year, consider building with a composite wood alternative like Trex. It has the beauty and warmth of natural wood, but it’s made of durable recycled plastic — making it resistant to fading, staining, scratching, and mold.

Decide what best suits your home.

Porches can be small and effective entryways into your home, or they can be sprawling, wrap-around affairs designed for relaxing in a rocking chair and watching the sunset. It’s all about what works best for your home and your lifestyle.

Before you jump into full porch-planning mode, think about what you really want — and what will look best for your home. After all, there’s no point in investing in a massive porch with enough room to host a Victorian tea if you don’t plan on spending much time out there, right?

Trex online tool screenshot - build your deck tool

Design your dream porch.

When you’re ready to bring your vision to life, use deck-planning software to figure out it can all come together. (Pssst! Porches are just decks that are attached to the front of your house — it’s true!)

Trex has a free online tool where you design and price your new porch, right down to the estimated costs and a materials list. Start with a rectangle design, a beveled-edge design, or an overlook design — most porches will likely be the standard rectangle design — and continue on to select the exact size you’d like your porch to be.

Once you’ve chosen your substructure, it’s time for the fun part: browsing decking colours! What will look best next to your home? A soft grey like Foggy Wharf or Gravel Path? A warm brown like Havana Gold or Spiced Rum? Or maybe a dark and dramatic shade, like Lava Rock or Vintage Lantern?

Rein in your railings.

Porches are usually far enough off the ground they’re surrounded by railings, especially if there’s more than a stair or two. Trex lets you mix and match from predesigned railings that match the colour of decking you choose — like crisp white composite rails paired with sleek black aluminum balusters.

Once you’ve finished making your selections, pop in your email address and Trex will email you a free Deck Starter Tool Kit — estimated costs, materials list, deck plan, and a list of retailers near you. Then there’s nothing left to do except … build a gorgeous porch!

We’re looking forward to chatting with you about your posh porch plans. Drop by your local TIMBER MART with any questions for us!