You could throw a dart at a random list of contractors and easily hit one that has built a deck at some point during their career. But just because a contractor has built a deck, it doesn’t mean that’s who you want to do your job. Decks–whether they’re a simple square or span several levels and require fancy woodwork–require special attention to how the space will be used, as well as how the deck will work in relation to your home and garden.
What to Ask Before You Hire a Deck Contractor
The easiest way to find a contractor is to ask your friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. If you’ve seen a deck you like, don’t be shy about asking the homeowner who built it. They’ll be flattered you like their deck, and you’ll begin your search with a solid list of contenders. Contractor directories, some including ratings and other feedback, offer another good place to get started.
Ask every deck contractor a short set of questions including:
- How long have you been in business?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Do you have references I can check?
- Can you complete a free estimate?
Some contractors might charge for an estimate, but many are confident enough in their prices and quality of work, they don’t. Be sure to obtain at least three written estimates that include what kinds of materials will be used.
If you don’t already have a deck plan from which to work, ask whether the contractor will complete drawings. The drawings should specify all construction details, including the foundation, railings, benches, and stairs.
When you and your contractor are on the same page, what you want is what you’ll get.