Questions You Should Ask Your Potential Deck Builder
You’ve made the decision to build a new deck or get a deck replacement. However, that’s only the first step in what can be a surprisingly long process. The next step is to find a custom deck builder who can get the job done and get it done right, ensuring you have a quality deck that suits all of your needs and is capable of standing up to years of use.This is extremely important to know that the deck builder you hire will install all decking and railing systems to meet the manufacturer’s installation requirements otherwise the warranty will be void.
But not every deck builder has the same qualifications and the same experience. This is why it’s up to you to do your research and, before settling on any one deck builder, ask several key questions. These key questions not only give you a better understanding of what the deck builder has to offer but can also provide you with crucial information you may need to know about that builder’s experience working with certain types of decking materials, with building certain types of decks and the background they have completing certain types of jobs. With all that in mind, here are some of the most important questions you should be asking any potential deck builder before settling down and hiring them on for your deck building or deck replacement job.
Get to Know Their Credentials
While it should almost go without saying that a custom deck builder will be fully qualified and certified, this isn’t always the case. That’s why it’s important for the process of hiring a deck builder to start with asking core questions about their background and their credentials. Some of these important questions include:
- Are you licensed and insured? – It’s vitally important that any deck builder you work with has proper license and insurance paperwork. If they don’t, take this as a sign to walk away without any hesitation whatsoever. You want to be sure that you have the protection you need in the event of any potential accidents, with your builder being covered in your state.
- Do you have references? – It’s always a good idea to ask a custom deck builder you may be interested in working with if they can connect you with past clients they’ve worked with. These references will give you a better idea of not only the final product once the deck is completed but also allow you to get insight into what it’s like to work with the company. Be sure the company is able to provide a full list of references and not just one or two past clients. Additionally, ask these references if they would be interested in re-hiring that custom deck builder for another job. If they say “yes” you can be more confident in hiring them for your own deck construction or deck replacement.
- Can you handle the permit process?– More than likely, regardless of whether you are installing a new deck or getting a deck replacement, you will need permits from the local building department to complete the process. One of the questions you need to ask a custom deck builder before making the final decision to hire them is whether they’re capable of handling the permit process. Building without a permit could potentially lead to fines and may make it more difficult for you to sell your home in the future. This also protects you as a homeowner by having an unbiased third party involved that will inspect the quality and safety of the support footings, framing and the finished product with decking, railings and stairs. If they can’t pass the inspection you should not pay them until it does.
Quality Construction and Materials
Even if a deck looks great when it’s first built, it has to be able to stand up to plenty of use and it needs to be durable enough to handle the elements. That’s why it’s a good idea to ask any custom deck builder you are thinking of working with questions that can help you determine their qualifications, the quality of workmanship they offer and the quality of the materials they will be using to build your deck. Some questions to ask include:
- How much experience do you have? – While references are important, nothing beats a custom deck builder with years of experience working in the industry. One of the most important questions to ask is how much experience the builder has overall, how many years the builder has been in business, and what kinds of experience their team members have and how many decks do they build a year. There are countless contractors that build a deck or two per year, but when it is not their specialization the finished results most likely will not be as good as someone that focuses on building decks all year long. This can help ensure you find a custom deck builder that has plenty of experience and knowledge so you’re able to get the most out of your deck building or deck replacement project.
- What materials do you offer? – While every custom deck builder will be able to offer a range of options when it comes to materials, it’s still a good idea to ask what kinds of materials they have available and what they have experience working with early on in the process. From different types of woods, to low maintenance materials like composite and vinyl, to alternative decking/railing options, be sure you know what options are available to you at the start of your project.
- Can you build with Trex Decking? – Options such as Trex decking, a composite material, can often stand up to the elements much longer than traditional wood while still having a beautiful and stylish appearance. However, if you plan to work with a material such as Trex, it’s important to find a custom deck builder who already has experience with it. Ideally, you want to find a certified TrexPro builder if you plan to work with Trex decking, as this can help ensure you get the most out of this material.
One Final Question – What’s My Estimate?
One last thing to remember is that when you’re working with a custom deck builder, you should be able to get an estimate for your project early on in the process. This estimate should cover building costs, material costs, and any other costs such as permit and inspection fees that might be associated with the project so you aren’t surprised by any hidden numbers that pop up along the way.
If you would like to ask our team at Regan Total Construction any questions about your upcoming deck construction or deck replacement project, or you would like to receive a detailed estimate for your project, contact us today! Our approach is to work with our customers to create a deck design/layout and selection of materials that meets your needs and your budget by being an open book about the associated costs and why you might want to choose one material versus another.