7 Questions You Should Always Ask to Find the Best Decking Contractor
Finding a qualified, reliable decking contractor can be a job in and of itself. Securing the time and talent of a skilled contractor can be frustrating for many homeowners. In many cases, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months to locate, research, interview and book a reliable deck builder. In cold climates here in New England, homeowners in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts typically must start the process long before they are even able to spend time outdoors without wearing jackets and hats. While the best way to predict how a contractor will perform on a particular project is by contacting past clients or getting a referral from someone you know and trust, these 7 questions can also help narrow your choices and find the perfect match of skill, cost and timeliness.
1. How Long Have You Been Building Decks?
Also, what are your licenses/credentials/affiliations? The longer a company has been in business, the better the chances are that they do good work. Here in Maine, only plumbing, electrical and asbestos abatement contractors are required to be licensed. Although general contractors (GC’s) do not require building licenses, a business license is still required. Check with your local building code office to determine the requirements in your state.
2. Are You Insured? If So, What Does It Cover?
No contractor should work on your home or property without showing proof that they have (at minimum) general liability insurance coverage for themselves and their employees.
3. Do You Warranty Your Work – What Is Covered and to What Extent?
Builders should provide a written statement that spells out the type and length of time that they will guarantee their workmanship. Typically, guarantees will cover a year from the date of completion. Note: While workmanship warrantees may only last a year or two, the products and materials they use and install will often have much longer warranty periods. DuraLife composite decking products have a 25-year limited stain and fade warranty that also covers the cost of replacement labor for 5 years. Homeowners should collect and save all product-related warranty information at the completion of the project.
4. What Decking Materials Do You Use – Do You Specialize in A Specific Type?
The type and condition of the tools a contractor uses to complete the job can say a lot about the quality of his/her work. The same can be said for the brands of materials they generally prefer to use. After all, a high-quality product will likely last longer and perform better than a lower cost (off brand) one. If not, the contractor will have the experience to know what will hold up over time and what won’t. Keep in mind that while no composite decking product will be 100% maintenance-free, high-quality composite decking, like DuraLife’s capped composite technology, is stain, fade, and mold resistant. While these features may increase the cost of materials for the project, the homeowner may only need to perform light sweeping and periodic washing with soap and water to keep it looking great for many years to come.
5. When Can You Start Building My Deck and When Will You Finish?
Depending on the time of year, the best deck builders may be difficult to book on a tight deadline. The best advice for homeowners who have a specific schedule in mind – a planned graduation, wedding or other outdoor event – is to start early and clearly communicate these concerns with the deck builder. While there are no guarantees (due to weather, etc.) of when a project will start, any experienced builder should be able to provide a reasonable estimate of when the project will be complete based on the size, style and location of the deck. Unlike traditional lumber, hardwood composite decking can be cut and fastened in damp weather without warping, shrinking or expanding. DuraLife’s Step-Clip™ system installs easily to deck support joists with only a roo?ng nail gun or hammer, requiring only to be snapped into place by walking on them – reducing deck installation time by half.
6. Who Will Be Working with You on The Job and What Are Their Credentials?
Composite decking contractors work hard to hire and retain the best, most reliable help whenever possible. The best deck builders should be able to tell you exactly who is working on their crew, where they’ve worked before and how long they have been working for him/her. Customers should feel comfortable with every member of the crew spending time at their home.
7. How Much Will My New Deck Cost?
While every homeowner will have a different budget in mind, when all other factors are equal, typically a quote that comes in that’s not the highest and not the lowest is typically a safe choice. Customers should also understand how and when the contractor will expect payment. Avoid paying large deposits upfront. A more realistic timetable would likely require a small deposit when the contract is signed, another (30%) payment when excavation work is completed and the decking supports are installed, another (30%) when the framing is completed and the remainder after the project has been completed to the customers satisfaction.
This article is made possible by DuraLife.DuraLife’s unique polypropylene and hardwood composite decking materials simply outperform all other wood and composite decking products.More solid and safe under foot, DuraLife decking is backed by a 25-year warrantystain and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, and is available in the colors and deck railing options you want. Get Samples, try our Composite Deck & Railing Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.