Adding a new deck to your home is a great way to increase its value while also providing you with the perfect platform for outdoor parties and an ideal place to relax and unwind. Of course, the quality of the workmanship will go a long way towards determining whether or not the deck is structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. A new deck can easily last for decades as long as it’s built by someone with the knowledge, skills and tools to do the job correctly. Although any contractor or handyman may claim to be able to build you a new deck, it is essential that you do your research and choose an experienced, qualified contractor to ensure that you’ll be satisfied with the finished result.
Finding Reputable Local Contractors
Obviously, the first thing you’ll need to do is find someone to build your deck and there’s no better place to start than in your own community. A quick online search or even browsing the phone book should provide you with numerous local contractors who might be able to help. However, it generally isn’t as simple as hiring the first contractor you come across. Instead, you’ll need to do a bit of research on at least a couple of contractors to ensure they are up to the task.
Focus on Qualifications and Credibility
When researching local contractors, the very first thing you’ll want to check is whether the company is properly licensed and insured. Most states require deck builders and other contractors to comply with certain licensing regulations, and any reputable contractor will always be willing to immediately show you proof of their license. In addition, they should also be able to show you that they carry the proper insurance, which is extremely important as it will protect you against any possible liability should any of the builders get injured during the course of the job. If a contractor can’t show you proof of their license and insurance or tries to give you some excuse, it should immediately be seen as a red flag.
Read Reviews and Research References
There are numerous websites where you can read real consumer reviews of building contractors, and these reviews can be an excellent way of helping you to determine how reputable each company is and what their level of customer service is like. One problem with online reviews is that some people tend to only leave reviews when they’re not satisfied, and a few bad reviews doesn’t necessarily mean a contractor is bad. This is why it’s also a good idea to ask each of the contractors you’re considering for references. Any reputable contractor should be able to provide you with references to allow you to speak with their previous satisfied customers and potentially see examples of their work.
Budgeting and Estimates
It is always important to have an approximate budget in mind before you start looking for contractors. One of the biggest problems many people have when hiring a building contractor is that they have no idea how much things actually cost. Although you might have your heart set on a beautiful 500+ square foot deck, your budget will ultimately dictate the size and quality of the new deck. This is why it is important to be upfront with each contractor and tell them exactly how much you’re willing to spend and what you’re looking for.
A good contractor should be willing to work with you and provide a free estimate based on your budget and your requirements. The type of materials used is equally as important as the size in determining the final price, and any reputable contractor should be readily able to give you a full overview of your options for materials and how each material choice would affect the overall price.
Choose a Contractor You’re Comfortable With
Getting estimates from at least three or four qualified contractors will give you a better idea of how much the job should cost and help to ensure that you don’t end up paying too much. It can also allow you to save yourself a bit of money or get more bang for your buck. However, you shouldn’t choose a contractor simply because their estimate is much lower than the others. Some things are too good to be true and you should always be wary of estimates that are too low. Instead of choosing solely based on price, it is important to go with a contractor that you feel comfortable with and who seems to understand exactly what you want. Choosing a contractor you dislike or that is unreachable or won’t listen can easily lead to a bad experience.
At the end of the day, choosing a contractor to build your new deck doesn’t have to be all that difficult. However, it does take a bit of time and effort on your part. There is simply no way to know what kind of quality you can expect from a contractor unless you first do the research and see examples of their work.