Summer is nearly upon us and there’s no time like the present to get ready for spending warm evenings outside with your friends and family. If you look outside and are less than happy with your current deck, you should book qualified deck building contractors to redo your deck.
It can be intimidating trying to find reliable deck and patio contractors, especially if you’ve never had to do that before. Even if you curate a list of contractors based on recommendations and internet searches, how do you know which one to go with?
Rebuilding or creating a deck from scratch is a big investment. You want to think this decision through thoroughly before pulling the trigger. In this guide, we’ll go over what you need to know and all the questions you should ask a potential custom deck builder before signing a contract.
1. How Long Have You Been in Business?
The longer a deck-building company has been in business, the bigger portfolio they’ll have. They’re also likely to be highly experienced with building decks.
You will also want to check what licenses the company and builders have. The laws vary from state to state, so check with your local offices to ensure they have proper certification/licensing.
For example, in South Carolina, specialty contractors need a license if they’re doing construction or repair work that’s valued at more than $200. If a company or builder doesn’t have a license, you’ll likely want to speak to another company.
2. What is Your Specialty?
A lot of deck builders only work with a few different types of decking materials. You’ll need to evaluate how experienced they are with the type of material you prefer for your deck. Your deck shouldn’t be a learning experience for them – you want them to be well versed in the process and material.
There are a few different types of decking materials:
- Traditional wood
Whatever your preference for material is, look for a builder that has plenty of experience working with it. You don’t want a contractor that’s typically built wood decks to have to learn how to build an aluminum one. They should also be able to tell you the pros and cons of the type of material you’d like to use, helping you make an informed decision.
3. What Types of Materials Do You Use?
Everyone loves to save money, but a deck isn’t an area of your house you want to skimp on. A high-quality deck can increase the value of your home. A new deck is one of the most valuable things you can do for your home.
If a contractor uses low-quality products, while it may save you money at the initial investment, you’ll likely have to replace or repair the deck sooner. A qualified deck replacement contractor will use only top-of-the-line materials.
With that in mind, an experienced builder will make well-informed recommendations of materials and products. They won’t try to sell you on the most expensive materials because they’re trying to earn extra money off of you. They’ll recommend the best quality product so you get the most out of your investment.
4. What’s the Warranty on Your Decks?
The contract you sign should include a written statement that clearly defines the length of time and ways they’ll guarantee the deck. Usually, a builder’s guarantee will cover up to a year from the date they completed the project.
While their own personal guarantee may cover a year, the materials and products they used oftentimes have a longer warranty period. Depending upon the type of material used, it can include a 25-year fade and stain warranty that also includes the cost of replacement.
Ask your builder about the warranties of the materials they use. Keep all warranty-related information in one spot so you can easily access it if needed.
5. What’s Your Schedule Look Like?
A lot of deck-building contractors have schedules that fill up weeks or months in advance. Keep that in mind when thinking about when you’d like your deck completed.
Contractors will sometimes have a gap in their schedule during busy months because of a project canceling or another reason. While a builder being able to start right away on your deck can be a good thing, it may raise a tiny red flag. You don’t want them to rush through your work because they’re trying to squeeze it in.
Ensure that your builder is reputable and they’ll be able to give your deck the time and attention it deserves. If a contractor also has huge gaps of time available in times of the year when they should be busy, that is also an area of concern.
6. Who Will Be Working On My Deck?
A qualified builder will be able to tell you who will be working on your deck and their qualifications. If your project is small, it may be one or two people, but you still need to know the experience of each person. They’ll be spending a lot of time at your home, so you need to feel comfortable with whoever is there.
If your deck is large and complicated, some contractors will hire out portions of the project to other companies. This can potentially lead to communication issues. A company that has its own qualified crew will be more familiar with each person’s character and experience.
Ask the builder if they’ll be onsite overseeing the project or if there’s a project manager/supervisor you should communicate with. Knowing who is in charge on a day-to-day basis will make communication clear.
Find Reputable Deck Building Contractors
Like with any home improvement project, finding a reliable contractor can be difficult. You want someone that is on your side and will do the best job possible. There are reputable deck building contractors out there, you just have to take the time to conduct interviews with each one to ensure you’re going with the best one.
If you’re thinking about redoing or adding on a new deck, there are local deck contractors available. Contact us today for a free estimate.