As you may know, decks are not just a place to store your lawn chairs. A properly constructed and maintained deck adds value to any home. While it’s a project that requires plenty of planning and expertise, hiring the right contractor doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. In fact, the right contractor can make the process as smooth and stress-free as possible. But how do you know if the contractor you’re considering is the right one? Here are some helpful tips on what to look for when hiring a deck installer.
Ask for References
Before hiring any contractor, it’s a good idea to ask for references. A contractor who has good references can tell you what an existing customer’s experiences were and will likely be able to provide you with similar feedback. If you hire a contractor who has no references, you’ll have no idea as to whether or not they’re good at their job and if they’ll be a good fit for you. Make sure to ask for at least three references from each contractor and follow up on those references. Keep in mind that references usually come from people who have a financial stake in the contractor and therefore may not be as honest or dispassionate as you’d like. You should also be aware that a “bad” reference may be more an issue of communication than actual work. For example, if someone says they’re very unhappy with the contractor but doesn’t explain why, it may just be a case of poor communication. If you’re uncertain how to read a reference, you’re better off not hiring that contractor.
Check for Licensing and Insurance
While a contractor’s references may give you an idea of the quality of their work, it doesn’t tell you if they’re qualified to do the job. Before signing a contract, make sure the contractor you’re considering is licensed and insured. Not all states require contractors to be licensed, so if your contractor’s not licensed, don’t hire them.
Make sure the contractor is insured for however much the project is expected to cost. If you’re hiring a contractor for a small project, such as a deck repair, make sure they’re insured for that amount. You don’t want to get halfway through a project and have to start over because the contractor isn’t covered for the full amount of the project.
Look for Reputable Brands
If you’re having a new deck built, it’s smart to look for brands like TimberTech and Alcoa. These are reputable companies with a proven track record of quality products and service. While it’s true that every company makes claims about their products, only a few have the track record to back up those claims.
Being selective about the brands you buy is one of the best ways to protect yourself against shoddy materials and unqualified workers. Always make sure to ask your contractor where they get their materials. A contractor who buys their supplies from the same place as these brands is unlikely to use inferior materials.
Don’t Hire Too Cheap
As with anything, you get what you pay for. If the contractor you’re considering is too cheap, there’s a good chance they’re cutting corners and using shoddy materials. When it comes to deck building, hiring a contractor who’s just a little more expensive than the cheapest option is often money well spent. A good contractor will pay for themselves in reduced repair and maintenance costs over the years. On the other hand, be aware that expensive doesn’t necessarily mean high quality. Make sure to follow the other tips on this list before hiring a contractor simply because they charge more.
Check For Quality Materials
It’s important to check for quality materials when hiring any contractor, but it’s particularly important with deck builders. A lot of people neglect this step and end up regretting their decision to hire a particular contractor. If you hire a contractor who uses quality materials, your deck will last a lot longer and probably need less maintenance. You can look for quality materials by asking the contractor where they buy their materials from and checking for certifications. It’s also a good idea to take a look at the materials yourself. If you can see the materials are of good quality, they’ll most likely be better than materials you can’t see.
Decks are an excellent way to add value and functionality to your home. They’re also a big project that requires a lot of planning and expertise. When choosing a contractor, make sure they’re licensed, insured, use reputable brands, don’t cut corners, and use quality materials. By following these tips, you’ll increase your chances of hiring the right contractor and enjoying a stress-free experience.