A new deck is a substantial investment and a very visible addition to your home and landscape. All that being the case, it's important that you take time to find a deck builder with the experience and know-how to get your job done right. Doing so means talking to a number of contractors, checking references and qualifications, and looking at examples of their previous work. Once you've gathered all this information you're in a much better position to find a deck builder who is going to meet your specific needs and that you'll be comfortable trusting with this significant home improvement.
Generally, it's never a good idea to hire someone without testing the waters first, and deck construction is no different. Contact at least three different contractors to start with, and ask them all the same questions. How much experience do they have? Do they have a list of references? Are they licensed and insured? Also, be sure to have preliminary measurements and materials picked out, and ask for a general estimate from each builder. Even if your deck ends up doubling in size and completely changes in design, you'll have a baseline to compare contractors to when it comes to cost.
Don't just ask for references, check them! One of the most important resources you have to help you find a deck builder you can trust are their past clients. Remember, their references have seen the builder working first hand. They will be able to tell you how efficient, reliable, and hard working your potential builder is, as well as whether they stayed on budget or not. Maybe more importantly, they will be able to tell you whether they enjoy their deck and how it's holding up, which are the two most important factors when it comes to being happy with deck construction.
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Don't Just Take Their Word for It
Checking references to help you find a deck builder is a good idea, but it's an even better idea to ask to see a sample of the builder's work. If they do good work, they'll be more than happy to show you both finished projects and those in progress. From a client standpoint, seeing the actual product will give you a much better idea of how well each builder matches deck designs to homes and landscaping, and will also give you an opportunity to inspect their craftsmanship.
Finally, make sure to hire a contractor that you can get along with. They might do excellent work and have solid references, but if they rub you the wrong way and there is a suitable alternative, choose the person you feel you can trust the most. A deck builder is going to be a part of your life for several weeks to a month, depending on how extensive your deck construction project is. That being the case, choosing someone you like is no laughing matter.
By following these general guidelines when hiring a deck builder, you'll be well on your way to building a new deck you'll be able to enjoy for years to come.