If you’re thinking about adding a new deck to your backyard or updating your existing one, you’ve probably caught yourself daydreaming about the time you’ll be spending relaxing outside in your new space. We hope you’ll choose Contract Exteriors to make those daydreams become a reality!
But, before you decide on a local contractor for your new deck, you’ll need to ask some important questions, both to yourself and potential deck contractors. Reference this guide to help ensure that you choose the right contractor and get the perfect deck for your home that will last for years to come.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
Before you can start meeting with companies, you’ll need to know the answers to some key questions. Take a few moments to think through these questions so you’re better equipped to communicate your wants and needs with potential deck contractors.
1. WHY DO I WANT A DECK?
Think about how you are planning to use your deck: Do you want a place to grill out, a place to put a hot tub, etc.? If you have a clear idea of what you want to get out of your deck area, contractors will be able to give you a more accurate idea of how much it will cost and which materials should be used.
You’ll also need to think about how you plan to access the deck, which will help you determine the layout you’ll need for your space.
2. DOES MY CURRENT DECK NEED TO BE REPLACED?
Do you have an existing deck? If so, you’ll need to determine whether you want to add on to it or replace it completely. First, look for signs of wear and tear, wood rot, and peeling paint. If your deck has seen better days, it may make more sense to tear it down and start from scratch.
If you are able to provide details about the condition of your existing deck when you meet with potential deck contractors, it will help them give you a more accurate idea of whether your deck needs to be fully replaced.
3. DO I NEED A BUILDING PERMIT TO BUILD A DECK?
Whether or not you’ll need a permit depends on your specific location, and you should always check with your local municipality first before moving forward with a project.
That said, in our experience, permits aren’t typically required when refinishing a deck. New deck projects, on the other hand, always require a building permit. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered. Information for Charleston, Hilton Head, and Myrtle Beach permit requirements are readily available.
4. WHAT MATERIAL SHOULD I USE FOR MY DECK?
The two most popular deck materials are treated wood and vinyl or low maintenance composites. There are pros and cons to each, so you’ll want to consider what is most important to you before deciding which material to choose.
At $15-25 per square foot, the initial cost for wood is significantly less than vinyl/composite. Also, it can last a long time, but only if properly maintained. Additionally, wood comes in a lot of color and staining options so you can choose a look that complements your home.
Vinyl, or low-maintenance composites, can be more expensive, ranging from $30-45 per square foot, but it comes pre-finished, so it doesn’t need to be stained or painted and it requires very little maintenance. It’s also a more environmentally friendly option, as up to 95% of the materials are from recycled sources. Vinyl tends to be more durable and last longer than wood, and you won’t have to worry about it rotting over time.
5. WHAT IS MY STYLE?
Before meeting with a contractor, start thinking about the colors and styles you like the most as well as what will look best with your house. You want your deck to complement your home, not stick out like a thoughtless addition.
6. HOW MUCH MAINTENANCE DO I WANT TO PERFORM?
The type of material you choose may ultimately come down to how much time and effort you want to spend taking care of your new deck.
If you don’t want to deal with maintenance, or if it’s physically difficult for you to perform the necessary upkeep yourself, vinyl is probably the best choice for you, although keep in mind that the cost will be a bit higher than it would be for wood.
7. WHAT IS MY BUDGET?
As we mentioned above, the material you choose will be a significant factor in how much your new deck will cost. Other factors include size, shape, and design. Come up with a budget range that you’ll be comfortable spending so that when you meet with contractors, you can be upfront about your budget.
QUESTIONS TO ASK POTENTIAL DECK CONTRACTORS
Now that you’ve asked yourself important questions about your new deck project, it’s time to start contacting vendors to find the right company to do the job. Ask the following questions to ensure that you pick a trusted, experienced company who will give you exactly what you want.
And remember, these are all standard questions that any legitimate company will be happy to answer. If you find yourself talking to a company that is hesitant to answer any of these, it may be a red flag that they have something to hide.
8. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN BUILDING DECKS?
All companies have to start somewhere, but you can avoid potential issues by choosing to work with an established company that’s well-versed in building beautiful decks in your area.
9. CAN YOU SHOW PROOF OF YOUR INSURANCE?
Any reputable home improvement company will have liability insurance and will be happy to provide you with proof when asked.
10. IS THERE A WARRANTY? IF SO, WHAT IS COVERED?
You’ll want to know upfront if your deck comes with a warranty and what all will be covered. Having this conversation before getting started can prevent a headache later.
11. WHEN CAN YOU START AND HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO BUILD A DECK?
How quickly do you need your project completed? Ask potential deck contractors to give you an estimated timeline so you can adjust your expectations appropriately.
12. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
Ask about any specials they’re running and clearly communicate your budget with the decking specialists when discussing cost so that everyone is on the same page.
13. DO YOU HAVE ANY REFERENCES THAT I CAN CONTACT?
The best way to know what to expect from a company is to hear from past customers. Many home improvement companies will have a few references that you can contact for an honest overview of their experience. You should also look for customer testimonials to see the good, and bad, of what people have experienced with a given vendor.
TALK TO CONTACT EXTERIORS ABOUT YOUR PROJECT
Ready to move forward with your deck project? We’d love to talk to you! We’ll be happy to answer all of the above questions, and any others you may have. We’re confident that we can build the deck of your dreams at the right price. Contact us today for a free estimate.