5 Steps To Turn Your Composite Decking Dreams into Reality
So, you love the look of the beautiful new DuraLife® composite deck you saw online – or in your neighbor’s yard? Great! Adding a beautiful composite deck to your home is a wonderful way to increase both the living area and the resale value of your home. But for some homeowners, the hardest part is simply knowing where to start.
In this post we’ll walk you through everything that needs to get done in order to put your dream deck in your current yard.
1. Start with Sizing
Start by making a list of the features that are most important to you in a deck – things like an outdoor kitchen, hot tub, or dining area. This list will give you a better idea of how big the deck might have to be. One option is to ask a contractor or landscape designer to provide guidance on the size, shape and features that would best accommodate these types of activities. Or, if you’re not planning to engage a designer, you can also start by mapping out the size of the deck that you’re envisioning by using a long piece of rope or string. Stake out the corners of the area that seem appropriate to the size of the home and your property and take a measurement to determine the approximate square footage of the deck.
This measurement should give you a basic idea about the scope of the project you have in mind when you start reaching out to contractors or decking/lumber retailers. Other items that you’ll want to think about include the layout of the deck, the number of stories (if you’re planning a multi-level deck), where the access points should be located, what type of railings you’ll include (or are required to include per local building codes) and if there are any special features – built in benches, outdoor kitchen, fire pits – that you want included in the design plans as well.
2. Order Composite Decking Samples
Once you have an idea of what you’d like your dream deck to look like, go online and request FREE composite decking samples from DuraLife. Sometimes colors and textures can appear different on your computer screen than they do in person, so you should always look at the product in person. And, since your new deck is going to be a part of your home for a long time, you definitely want to make sure you absolutely love it!
Once you’ve got a handle on what it is you think you want in your new deck, the next step is finding the right contractor for the job.
3. Find the Right Deck Builder
With your preliminary plans in hand, locating reputable deck builders is a lot easier today thanks to the internet. Spend some time researching deck building contractors in your area through professional review sites such as Angie’s List, Home Advisor, or by simply typing “deck builders” and the name of your town into Google search. There you’ll often see reviews posted by local homeowner clients of that business too.
Another option for finding highly reputable contractors in your area is to reach out to composite decking retailers such as local lumber yards. Often, they’ll have a number of contractors that they’ve built relationships with and would be happy to pass along their contact information to you. At the end of the day, these guys want their materials installed correctly… and putting customers in touch with the builders they know do a good job is the easiest way to make sure that happens. Retailers are also often able to recommend contractors that have experience working with specific products, like DuraLife.
Of course friends and neighbors are another great source of contractor referrals. Keep in mind that the deck building season in many areas of the country is short – and the best contractors are always in high demand. So start reaching out well before you’re ready to build.
4. Interview the Contractors Who Made Your Short List
After the research phase, you should ideally narrow your list to three or four potential deck builders. Contact them to schedule a preliminary meeting, and be prepared to ask the following:
- How long have you been in business building decks?
- Are you licensed?
- Is your business insured? Who is your insurance carrier?
- Can you offer me a warranty on your work?
- Have you worked through the permitting process in “town” before?
- When are you able to begin work on this project?
- How long do you think it will take to complete?
- Who will be on-site supervising the work being done on the project?
- Are you comfortable working with composite decking materials? Have you ever worked with DuraLife before?
- Are there a few people that I could call as references?
Once you’ve checked references and made your decision, work with your contractor to create a work plan and contract to help eliminate any confusion about what needs to happen before, during and after the job is completed.
5. Get it in Writing
Once the specifics of your project are all worked out, the next step is to get everything that’s been discussed in writing. So many homeowners skip this step, and it can be costly in the event of a mix up. In particular, the following information should be discussed, documented and agreed upon before any work begins on site:
- The total cost of the project
- A scheduled breakdown of payment amounts and dates
- Detailed description of the complete scope of work
- Cost estimates for any changes made to the original scope of work
- Proof of insurance and documentation of the contractor's license
- Project schedule and anticipated completion date
- Information pertaining to securing building permits
- Clean-Up details after the project is completed
Finding a local contractor to build your dream deck can take some time, but the benefits of choosing a quality company with a reputable crew will pay home equity dividends for years to come.
Order your Samples of DuraLife Composite Decking now and have them shipped directly to your door!
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 warranty. It is stain 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 Visualizer, or contact DuraLife now to learn more.