A deck can be a great way to relax, socialize and enjoy meals with your family and friends. Before you can enjoy your deck you will need to hire a contractor. You will learn the basics of hiring a contractor for building a deck to ensure that everything runs smoothly and you have the deck of your dreams.
- 1 Things to consider before you hire a deck contractor
- 2 How to find a contractor to build a deck
- 3 Questions to ask a contractor
- 4 Get an estimate from a deck contractor
- 5 Talking with former clients
- 6 Red Flags for Deck Contractors
Things to consider before you hire a deck contractor
You won’t be able to hire a designer unless you have a good idea of the things you want. You will need to establish a budget in order to know how much you can spend. Here are some things to keep in mind when you plan a deck.
You can use rough dimensions to help you decide what is possible and what is not. This will give contractors a clear understanding of the scope of work from the beginning.
Are you looking for a single expanse of deck space or multiple levels? Do you want two deck areas linked by stairs or a passageway? The deck will lead to a garden or pool. The cost of a deck with additional levels will go up.
Deck Flooring Materials
The only option for outdoor deck flooring was pressure-treated wood. The wide range of materials today allows you to be creative in both composition and appearance.
While pressure-treated wood remains a popular choice, wood-composite decking has become increasingly popular. Some are entirely made of plastic while others combine wood fibers and polymer bonding agents.
Extra Deck Features
Do you want a firepit? What about a water feature? A water feature with built-in seating and/or planting areas You can choose from metal, wood, or composite railings.
You can make a list of the things you cannot live without on a deck and discuss it with your contractor.
How to find a contractor to build a deck
Now it is time to look for a contractor. Asking friends, family, and colleagues to recommend a decking contractor is the best way to locate one. The contractor’s past clients are the best indicator of his quality.
Another good resource for decking contractors is HomeAdvisor. HomeAdvisor’s cost-based Cost Guides allow you to see the prices that other homeowners have paid for their decks. Angi, formerly Angie’s List, is another resource for information on decking contractors. You can also connect online with contractors before you meet them.
Questions to ask a contractor
- How many decks have you constructed?
- Who will manage any permits required?
- Who will contact public utilities to have underground lines marked and who will call them?
- Can I visit a site that you are currently working on?
- What time of the day will workers arrive?
- How would you design your payment schedule?
- Which type of insurance do your have?
- What happens if you find something unexpected? What if you discover something unforeseen?
- How much is the deposit?
Get an estimate from a deck contractor
- You should send deck estimates in writing.
- It is important to clearly describe the work that will be done.
- Include a rendering of the deck project.
- It is important to identify the materials and quantities that will be used on the deck.
- It is important to set a time limit for the completion of the work.
- It is important to estimate the price.
Refer to the references of the deck contractor. Ask homeowners to visit the deck contractor’s home and inspect the work.
Talking with former clients
It is also a good idea look at previous work done by contractors for clients. Although it is not always possible to speak with clients, some might be open to the idea.
- Was the contractor able to complete the job within budget? What caused the excess?
- Did you know the cost of these items?
- What was the contractor’s approach to dealing with setbacks and glitches?
- These setbacks and glitches seemed to be inevitable. Did they seem to be a natural result?
- Did the deck contractor make it easy to work with you?
- How did the crew of contractors behave? How respectful were they? They cleaned up after themselves every day.
- Are the plans changed during the course of work? Or was the contractor not flexible?
- Would you ever hire the same contractor again?
Red Flags for Deck Contractors
Avoid deck contractors who:
- You must pay all the money upfront
- You are pressured to make an immediate commitment
- Can’t provide or haven’t provided proof of insurance
- It is not licensed
- You will need to obtain the permits required
- There is no other deck portfolio.