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Three Big Errors Made by Outdoor Deck Builders

There are all types of outdoor decks being built right now across America. Some are relatively simple, straightforward decks. Others have custom features, multiple tiers, or built-in fixtures like kitchens and fireplaces. Some are made from natural wood and others from composite. Some are large and some are small.

But in the mind of an outdoor deck contractor, each and every project should be important. Why? Because the reputation of a professional contractor is built on positive customer experiences. People investing in their homes have more power than ever to voice concerns and leave meaningful feedback that sways the decisions of other homeowners.

That’s an awfully good reason for deck contractors to make sure their clients are satisfied—not only with the final results but with the service aspect of getting there.

Carpenter building wooden deck

So how do you find a contractor like this? Is it even possible? One of the best tools at your disposal is knowledge of common mistakes made by outdoor deck builders and DIY homeowners. That way, you know what to look out for and what questions to ask when you’re looking for a pro to handle your project.

  1. The builder failed to obtain the applicable permits

Uh oh. This is a very big mistake indeed—and there are actually homeowners out there who have had this experience. Highly experienced contractors will always make sure the bureaucratic/permission side of things is taken care of. Others don’t make sure of this, either because they’re ignorant of the rules or (more likely) they’re trying to cut corners. But starting a project, only to have it interrupted or stopped because the correct permits have not been obtained from local authorities, is a very costly prospect indeed. Don’t even consider working with a home renovation contractor unless they obtain all necessary building permits as a normal part of their remodeling service.

  1. The floorboards aren’t evenly placed

Of course, you’d rather have a deck that’s structurally sound, yet aesthetically sloppy, than a deck that looks great but isn’t altogether safe. But when you’re talking about a professional, you should have both. You shouldn’t have to notice glaring imperfections every time you look at your deck: There are plenty of contractors out there who can do better than that.

  1. The builder stained the deck—in the wrong way

Sometimes—particularly in situations where natural wood decks are being installed—the builder makes operational mistakes. For instance, if a builder works with metals (grinding or drilling) on or near the deck’s surface, the metal shavings can get stuck in the wood. When rain falls, a reaction between those metals and the natural wood can lead to dark staining. It’s also possible to use the wrong connectors, fasteners, or screws while installing an outdoor deck. No qualified contractor will make such a basic mistake, but if you get a less-than-reputable company without much experience, it can happen.

Doing it Your Way

By finding a reputable contractor who doesn’t make mistakes—or who makes them right at no extra cost, at the very least—you can focus on realizing the full scope of home renovation, and as a result, the full potential of your investment as a homeowner.