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Chris Breen

Chris Breen, Principal Owner of Legacy Decks and Outdoor Living and has been serving families in Upstate South Carolina since 2005.

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An experienced deck builder, building a deck

Are you in the market for a brand-new deck? It’s difficult to know exactly what questions to ask a deck builder before hiring. You don’t want to end up with a deck that’s not right for you, or even worse, one that falls apart after just a few months.

Knowing the right questions to ask a contractor when building a deck is essential in ensuring that you get the deck you’ve always wanted.

The answers will allow you to gauge the contractor’s level of experience and expertise. You will also get a feel for their process and what kind of deck they can build for you.

Is The Contractor Licensed And Insured?

firepit on a deck with aluminum pergola by expert deck builders

This is the first and most important question you should ask any contractor you’re considering hiring.

Any project over $5,000 must be completed by a licensed residential builder. You want to make sure that they are licensed and also insured in case anything goes wrong during the deck building process.

If the contractor is not insured, you could be left with a massive bill if something goes wrong in your home. For example, if the contractor accidentally damages your property while building the deck, you would be responsible for the repairs. Workers’ compensation is also important in case any workers get hurt while working on your property.

Ask What Materials They Use And Why

Materials can vary in terms of price, durability, and even the level of maintenance they require. Different materials have different benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to know what your contractor is planning on using. Some contractors stick to tried and true methods while others are always on the lookout for new and innovative materials.

a beautiful outdoor deck with outdoor seating

Your contractor should be able to tell you why they are recommending a specific material and how it will benefit your deck.

If wood is the only recommendation, ask why. Sometimes, this means that the contractor doesn’t have experience with newer materials – which you need if you want your deck to last for decades to come.

Also, keep in mind that not all composite decking is created equal. There are some contractors out there who use subpar materials to get the job done for cheaper. Make sure your contractor uses high-quality composite decking products from well-known brands like TimberTech, Deckorators, Fiberon, or Trex.

Will They Be Pulling A Permit?

If your contractor is not pulling a permit, that’s a huge red flag. Not only does it mean that they might not be licensed, but it also means that they could cut corners during the construction process.

The point of pulling a permit is to ensure that the deck meets all the required building codes and regulations. The local building department will inspect the deck to make sure it is safe and up to code. If your contractor does not pull a permit, the deck might not meet these standards. This means your property could be at risk and won’t increase in value.

Ask About The Construction Process

You should also ask about the construction process so that you know what to expect when the crew arrives at your home. Find out how long the project will take, what kind of equipment they’ll be using, and how they’ll deal with the situation if any problems happen.

Swimmingpool deck around the house by expert deck builder

Delays are sometimes unavoidable, but you need to know that your contractor has a plan in place for dealing with them. Also, will they use heavy machinery? How noisy will it be? Find out what times of the day you (and your neighbors) will have to deal with noise.

Is There A Warranty Included In The Contract?

A warranty is important in case something goes wrong with your deck after it’s built. Most contractors will offer a warranty on their materials, but not all of them will offer a warranty on their labor.

If the contractor you’re considering doesn’t offer any kind of warranty, that’s a red flag. It’s important to have a written contract that includes a warranty so that you’re protected in case something does go wrong.

Don’t be tempted by low upfront costs if it means you’re taking on all the risk. It’s not worth it in the long run. In the world of decks, cheap can be expensive.

Ask About The Design Process

Every deck builder has a different process for designing and building decks. The building is only one part of the whole equation – another part of being a good deck builder is to be a great communicator. The design process is where great communication starts.

aesthetically designed deck in the backyard with swimming pool

The important thing is that you understand the company’s process and feel comfortable with it. Find out the steps they’ll be taking to take your project from concept to completion, from the initial consultation to the final walk-through.

This will help you get a feel for their level of experience and professionalism. If the contractor is not able to provide a clear process or is vague about the details, consider looking elsewhere.

Questions To Ask References

When you’re considering hiring a contractor to build your deck, it’s important to do your research and ask for references. Most contractors will have no problem providing you with the contact information of past clients.

Once you have the references, give them a call and ask the following questions:

  • Did the contractor show up on time and finish the project on schedule?
  • Did the contractor stay within the budget?
  • Was the contractor easy to work with?
  • Did the contractor clean up after the job was done?
  • Was the contractor polite and professional?
  • Did the contractor prioritize your satisfaction every second of the process?
  • Did the final product live up to its expectations?
  • Are you satisfied with your investment?
  • Is your deck showing any signs of wear and tear? If so, when was your deck built?
  • Would you recommend the contractor to others? Why or why not?

If the references are all positive, then you can feel more confident about hiring the contractor.

You’re One Step Closer To Your Dream Deck

Don’t take any chances when it comes to your dream deck. Be sure to ask the right questions so that you can avoid any potential problems and end up with a deck that you’ll love for many years to come.

Keep reading our blog to learn more about decks, including how to choose the right materials, how to care for your deck, and more. The Legacy Decks blog is here to help you make the most of your outdoor living space.

Ready to take the next step? If you want Legacy Decks to transform your dream outdoor deck into reality, get your free in-home estimate to get started!

Recommended read: A Deck Buyer’s Guide To Decking Types And Design Options