Lessons Learned from Years with Options

How to Vet a Deck Builder

A well-designed deck can be a welcome addition to your home. providing you outdoor space where you can relax with family or friends. It’s important that any deck installation be done correctly with stable footings and structural supports, as well as efficient egress to and from your house.

Of course, one of the initial major decisions you should make is which deck builder to work with. Here are tips to help you make a wise choice:

Recommendations and Reviews
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If you have friends or neighbors who recently had a deck built, ask how their experience was with their experience, and if they would recommend the same to you. As for reviews, every builder has nice and not so nice things said about them, but consider the overall vibe the comments are sending.
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Candidate Interviews

After checking out a few prospects, trim down your list to at least two or three. Call them each to ask a few essential questions. For example, you want to know how long have you been in the business and whether or not they are licensed and can show proof. Note that some states do not provide licensing, so make sure to check on this. Also inquire if they offer a warranty on the work and if they will handle the permits and other legal requirements. You want to know as well when they can begin, how long the project might take, and whether or not there will be a supervisor onsite during the work. Very importantly, ask them for a few client references you can speak to.

Project Estimates

Ask two or three contractors for a written quote, which has to include a detailed list of all materials needed and, separately, the labor cost per hour; landscaping work (if any is required) and whether or not they will do post-project cleanup. Remember that comparisons are only valid when all estimates are based on exactly the same specs.

Client References

By now, you should have a clear idea of the contractor that should be first on your list. Take time to call references and ask these questions:

How do you assess the quality of their work?

Was the crew professional enough?

Did they complete the project within the original budget and deadline?

Did you end up spending more than the original budget, what percent was the excess?

Contract Signing

Before you sign the contract, make sure the following are included:

> deposit, final payment conditions and total price

> the cost of any changes to the initial plan

> the complete project scope

> details on securing design approvals and permits, and cleanup

> ground rules for the working team

> a statement that puts says the contractor is liable for damages to your property that are incurred during construction