20 Questions to Ask When Hiring Deck Building and Maintenance Services

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A well-constructed deck not only provides an ideal space for relaxation and entertainment but also adds value to your property. So, pursuing a project to build or maintain a deck is a substantial investment in your home, offering both functional and aesthetic benefits. However, the success of such a project heavily relies on the expertise of the professionals you hire. With a myriad of deck building and maintenance services available, it becomes paramount to select a team that not only understands your vision but also possesses the requisite skills and reliability to bring it to fruition.

In this article, we present 20 critical questions to guide you in hiring the right deck building and maintenance professionals. These inquiries are thoughtfully designed to cover all bases – from assessing the contractor’s experience and qualifications to understanding their approach to design, materials, and sustainability. 

1. How long have you been in the deck building and maintenance business?

A company with a long history in the business likely has the expertise and knowledge to handle various types of deck projects. Experienced professionals can also provide valuable advice and solutions for unique or challenging situations.

2. Are you licensed and insured for deck building and maintenance?

Ensuring that the service provider is licensed confirms their legitimacy and adherence to building codes. Insurance protects you from liability if there are any accidents or damage during the project. This is fundamental for any construction-related work.

3. Can you provide references or photos of previous deck projects?

Seeing their past work or talking to previous clients can give you an idea of their work quality and design capabilities. Satisfied customers and a portfolio of well-constructed decks are good indicators of a service provider’s reliability.

4. What types of materials do you recommend and why?

The choice of materials (like wood, composite, PVC) impacts the longevity, maintenance, and appearance of the deck. A knowledgeable contractor can recommend materials based on your climate, usage, and aesthetic preferences. Here are more details on the common types of materials used for decks:

  • Pressure-Treated Wood – This is the most commonly used material for decks, primarily due to its affordability and availability. Pressure-treated wood is typically treated with chemicals to resist rot, fungus, and wood-boring bugs. While it’s cost-effective and has a natural appearance, it requires regular maintenance, like staining and sealing.
  • Composite Decking – this type of decking is made from a mixture of wood fibers and plastic. It mimics the look of wood but requires less maintenance, as it doesn’t need to be stained or sealed. It’s more expensive than wood but is durable, resistant to rot and insects, and available in various colors.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – PVC decking is made entirely from plastic and thus doesn’t contain any wood fibers. It’s highly resistant to rot, insects, and weathering and requires minimal maintenance. PVC decking can sometimes be more expensive than wood and composite materials but offers a longer lifespan.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum decking is durable, weather-resistant, and doesn’t rot, rust, warp, splinter, or crack. It’s a more expensive option but requires very little maintenance and has excellent longevity. Aluminum decks are also cool to the touch and slip-resistant.

5. How do you handle permits and local building codes?

In most areas, deck construction requires permits and must adhere to local building codes. A professional contractor should handle the acquisition of permits and ensure that all work is compliant with local regulations.

wooden frame deck being built in front of pond

6. What is your process for designing a deck?

Understanding their design process helps in assessing whether they can cater to your specific needs and preferences. It’s important to know how they incorporate client input into their designs.

7. Can you provide a detailed written estimate?

A written estimate should include all costs, like materials, labor, and any additional fees. This transparency in pricing helps avoid surprises and facilitates the comparison of bids.

8. What is the projected timeline for the deck project?

Knowing the duration of the project helps in planning and setting expectations. It’s also useful to discuss how they handle potential delays due to extreme weather conditions or other unforeseen circumstances.

9. How do you ensure the quality and safety of the deck construction?

The safety and durability of the deck are paramount. The contractor should follow best practices in construction to ensure the deck is safe and long-lasting.

10. Do you offer any warranties or guarantees on your work?

A warranty or guarantee provides assurance of the quality of work. Understanding what is covered and for how long is important for your peace of mind.

11. How do you approach deck maintenance and repair?

Regular maintenance is crucial for the longevity of a deck. Knowing their approach to maintenance and repair can help you gauge if they are suitable for long-term service needs.

12. What is your policy on changes or modifications during the project?

Changes are common in construction projects. It’s important to know how they handle modifications to the original plan, including the impact on cost and timeline.

13. Who will supervise the construction on site?

A designated supervisor or project manager ensures that the project proceeds smoothly and is the point of contact for any issues or questions. This person should be experienced and responsive.

14. How do you handle cleanup and disposal after completion?

Post-construction cleanup is important for your convenience and the safety of your property. The contractor should include cleanup and disposal of materials in their service.

15. Do you have experience with eco-friendly or sustainable decking options?

If environmental impact is a concern for you, it’s important to know if they offer sustainable decking materials and construction practices.

16. What are your payment terms and conditions?

Discussing payment terms upfront avoids financial misunderstandings. Clarify the payment schedule, acceptable methods of payment, and any deposit required.

17. Can you accommodate special features like built-in seating or lighting?

If you want special features on your deck, it’s important to know if the contractor has the capability and experience to implement them effectively.

18. How do you ensure privacy and minimal disruption during construction?

Construction can be invasive. A considerate contractor will take measures to minimize disruption and maintain your privacy during the project.

19. Do you provide follow-up services after the project’s completion?

Post-completion services, like inspections or follow-up maintenance advice, are valuable for the long-term care of your deck.

20. What sets your services apart from other deck builders?

Understanding their unique selling points, such as their craftsmanship, customer service, or innovative designs, can help you make an informed decision.

These questions are designed to give you a comprehensive view of a deck building and maintenance service provider’s capabilities, ensuring you choose a company that meets your specific needs and expectations.

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