August 26, 2022

9 Important Questions to Ask Your Deck Builder

By The Decksouth Team // | |

If you're considering building a new deck in your backyard or remodeling your current one, it’s important to pick the right deck builder to turn that dream into a reality. But first, you need to ask yourself and any potential deck builders some essential questions. Follow our advice to help you choose the best contractor and build the perfect deck for your home.

Consider what kind of deck you want, why, and what features you desire. Do you want a spot to set up a hot tub or an outdoor kitchen? To get an accurate estimate of pricing and have a better relationship with your builders, you need to have a firm grasp on what you hope to accomplish with your deck space.

1. Are You Insured?

The most crucial question you can ask is if your deck builder is insured. Make sure you hire a contractor who carries general liability insurance for the sake of everyone involved. Get insurance proof from your contractor and make sure it covers everyone who will be working in your backyard.

In the absence of an unequivocal "yes," this is where you should part ways. The deck builder you're considering should have no trouble providing you with copies of their company license and insurance policy. Any defiance, hesitancy, or avoidance should raise some red flags.

2. What is Your Experience Level?

When it comes to hiring a deck builder, you want to ensure that you are hiring someone with experience and industry knowledge. You want professionals who will not only be able to complete the construction project but can also provide additional resources and knowledge.  Experienced contractors should also have up-to-date industry credentials and state licensure, as well as general liability insurance that covers all employees who will be working on your property.

3. Can I See a Portfolio?

Design is an important part of the construction process, so hiring contractors and designers with similar tastes to yours is important, as well. Ask your contractor how they envision your space and what design elements they would suggest.

The quality of a contractor's past work is a good sign of how likely they are to do a good job on your project. Inquire about their experience working on projects similar to yours and request examples of their work.

Notice how diverse their portfolio is in terms of aesthetics. Do most of their works share a common theme? Is there anything in their portfolio that resembles your ideal deck? Look for a deck builder with a diverse and high-quality portfolio. Remember that not all contractors can create designs from scratch and could require architectural drawings instead.

4. Will You Require a Deck Permit, and Do You Handle Permits?

In many cases, acquiring the appropriate permits is a frustrating but essential step. The contractor working on your project should be able to tell you whether or not your project requires a certain zoning permit and assist you in obtaining that permit. Ask your contractor if they handle deck permits or if they can guide you through the process. 

5. What Materials Do You Use and Why?

Many factors, including cost, lifespan, and maintenance, differentiate the materials available to you. If you know what materials your contractor plans to use, you can be prepared for any problems that might arise. Some builders like to stick to tried-and-true methods, but others may look for new and innovative ways to do things.

Research different materials, such as wood and composite decking, and discuss these options with your deck builder. You want a contractor who is comfortable and has experience working with various materials. In addition, they should be able to explain why they chose the material they did and how it will benefit your deck. 

6. Is There a Warranty Included?

A warranty will be helpful if something goes wrong with your deck after it has been constructed. The majority of contractors will stand behind their products with a guarantee, but not with their labor. It's a red flag if the contractor you're hiring doesn't provide any warranty.

If you want to be covered if something goes wrong, it's best to have a formal contract with a warranty. Don't be swayed by low upfront fees if you bear all of the risk. If you focus on better quality now, you can save yourself money and stress from paying high repair or maintenance fees later.

7. Do You Have Any Specialties?

Some contractors specialize in certain types of outdoor living spaces. Whether it's porches, pools, or outdoor kitchens, ask any contractor you speak to if they have a specialty project or if they have a material they prefer to build with. For example, Decksouth is a staple in the outdoor living construction industry, and we swear by the composite wood decking made by MoistureShield. MoistureShield uses cutting-edge Solid Core technology to ensure that its composite wood decking is sturdy, moisture resistant, and free of rotting or warping. 

8. What is Your Process for Delays?

Before you choose a deck builder, make sure that their proposed project timeline and process address any restrictions that you have. Be sure to ask potential contractors for an overview of their process, an estimated time of completion, and any contingency plans they have in place in case of mishaps and delays.

9. Do You Have Any Past Customer References?

Using tools like Yelp and Angi to review hundreds of customer reviews is a great starting point when searching for a contractor. Once you have narrowed down your choices and are reviewing proposals, it is entirely appropriate to ask potential contractors for references from past customers. 

You can also ask about the contractor's track record with other clients to get an idea of what it's like to work with them. If you have a friend or neighbor whose deck you like, talk with them to learn about their experience with the contractor who built it.

Overall, before you select a contractor, do your research and due diligence. Make sure that the contractor you select is the one you feel confident about, is communicative and open with you, and has a great track record of completing beautiful home projects.

Build with an Award-Winning Deck Builder

Decksouth is here to serve you in constructing your perfect outdoor living area. We're an award-winning deck designer and builder with experience working in various environments and families. Our reputation comes not only from our high-quality materials but also from our devoted customer service.  

Contact us today to learn how you can get your project started today!