Ah, the back deck – it’s a beautiful place to relax, unwind and enjoy the full value of your property. A newly renovated deck is an investment in both home value and quality time. Whether you’re hiring a contractor to build a deck from scratch or simply for some basic (but important) deck maintenance, the following tips will help get this home improvement project started off right.
1. Outline your project plans and budget before getting quotes from contractors
While a contractor will help plan the actual project details, you’ll want to have your deck design outlined in advance. Be sure to give the same project specifications to each potential contractor, for equitable comparison purposes.
So before you jump online to search for “deck companies near me“, make sure you’ve considered the following details: the layout of the deck, any additional stories or staircases, deck materials (like composite, wood, and metal), and the styles of railings, if needed. If you have a bigger budget and deck makeover projects in mind, there are plenty of fun deck design ideas to consider, like benches, built-in bars, fire pits, and pergola.
2. Get at least three different project estimates
Getting multiple estimates for the same project allows you to compare local deck companies, so you have a good idea as to what your project will cost generally. Once you receive the project estimates, you can adjust as necessary, to accommodate design and budget goals.
You’ll also get a good sense of how the different companies operate, and whose customer service style you prefer. Remember that you’ll be working with this contractor for some time, and challenges in communication now likely mean challenges down the road.
3. Check references, and read customer reviews
Your network of friends and family are a great resource for your deck renovation – they can recommend contractors, and personally attest to the quality of their experiences. Another helpful source of customer feedback is Renowaze, where you can search for deck contractor reviews and read up on local pros.
Some homeowners prefer to reach out to previous customers directly. If you’d like to go this route, ask your contractors for a few references whose projects were comparable to yours (like deck size, flooring and railing materials), any special design considerations, and budget. Ask about the quality of the end result, and the renovation experience itself. Was the crew professional? Was the project completed on time and on budget? Would you hire the same contractor again?
You can also check in with local and regional industry boards, and associations like the Better Business Bureau. Confirm any and all licensing, insurance and bond guarantees. It’s important to check these references with their issuing bodies, as occasionally contractors claim to be licensed and insured, and are neither (be wary – these are often the companies whose bids are the lowest).
Once you’ve compared your project goals with multiple contractor estimates, and checked customer references along with professional credentials and insurance coverage, you can make your very well informed final decision. If all estimates and credentials are generally equal, your hiring choice may come down to whose communication and customer service style you like best. Whomever you choice, when keeping these deck contractor hiring tips in mind, you can rest easy knowing your home improvement project is on the road to success.