Outdoor Living Project Guide

Patios & Decks: Questions for Pros

Big or small, your project is a significant investment. That’s why we recommend interviewing at least three qualified contractors before making a hiring decision.

Ask the following questions to determine whether a pro is the right fit for your project:

Hiring a pro that offers design services may save you some time and money up front, though you can also hire an independent design consultant to draw up your plans.

Less experienced pros may be qualified to complete simple deck and patio projects. But large, multi-story and multi-material projects will require the expertise of a more experienced builder. You’re making a big investment, so you’ll want to work with someone who’s done this before.

Proper licensing and insurance will not only give you peace of mind that you’re working with a qualified professional, but it will also provide safeguards in case anything goes wrong with your project.

A good contractor will know whether specific permitting and siting requirements will apply to your project. If they don’t know off-hand, they should propose to do the research and get back to you.

Most engineered materials manufacturers will offer a warranty on their products — particularly when they’re professionally installed by a manufacturer-authorized contractor. And some contractors will guarantee their own work for a specified period following installation.

Be sure that your contractor is willing to sign a contract up front. Also, be sure that they are willing to require approval from both parties on all change orders prior to implementation.

A good website will offer a quick and easy way to see whether the contractor’s style is well aligned with your own.

Or, better yet, may I tour a few of your past projects in person? Pictures help, but going to see a project in person will give you a first-hand look at the quality of a contractor’s projects. Be sure to ask these questions of former clients:

Download PDF Checklist

Ready to Start Your Project?

Find Pros

Thanks to our contributors and sources, linked and listed here.

Go Back to PitfallsContinue to Outdoor KitchensGo Back to Pitfalls

More from the Outdoor Living Project Guide

Project PlanningFire FeaturesLighting & TechOutdoor Kitchens

All HomeAdvisor Project Guides