Adding a new deck to your home is an exciting prospect—but it’s also a decision that should be made carefully and methodically. Since you’re spending thousands of dollars and making significant changes to the appearance and functionality of your home, it’s important to find a builder who will understand your vision and work efficiently to make it a reality. Budget, workmanship, materials and safety are important considerations—and although most contractors are quick to promise these things, some score higher than others in various categories.
The question is, how do you sort through the many options available and find a company that delivers across the board? While there is no foolproof method to finding the perfect specialist to plan and construct your new deck, there are a few key indicators that will help you zero in on the best companies available in your area.
1. Experienced deck builders
Everybody has to start somewhere—but when you’re talking about a new addition to your home’s exterior, experience is the name of the game. Always look for a deck builder who has years of experience and a long track record of successful projects. A company that’s been in business more than 30 years is more likely to provide a reliable service with excellent results. If you choose to deal with a younger company, make sure that the individuals working on your project are highly skilled and experienced. Otherwise, the learning curve could end up costing you.
2. Keeping up with the times
Some deck builders have been in business a long time, but the decks they build are highly formulaic. In other words, they’re known for doing the same thing over and over. This may be what you’re looking for—but many people prefer contractors who have evolved and changed over the years. The best companies are able to use traditional materials to build simple, economic decks—but they also offer new materials and designs to accomplish more contemporary results.
3. Awards, reviews and testimonials
A good deck builder has produced tangible results. This means positive feedback from satisfied customers, detailed online galleries of completed projects, and dedicated showrooms where design features and craftsmanship are clearly displayed for potential clients. And if you come across a deck builder that has won awards within the industry (such as the NADRA deck awards), it’s a very good sign.
4. No unusual requests or stipulations
If a contractor only accepts payment in cash, demands a large upfront payment, or cannot provide an actual business address, move forward with caution. There are plenty of companies out there whose businesses are established and don’t have cash flow problems. These are usually the outfits who provide the best, most consistent results.
5. Free consultations and meticulous planning
Beware of deck builders who want to rush into your project. Delivering the deck you really want is a matter of careful preparation and feedback. Some contractors offer free consultations—and once you decide to work with them, the planning process is well-organized. You should know exactly what you’re getting and what you’ll pay before the first piece of lumber goes in.
Hitting the nail on the head
Any deck building company who can demonstrate all of the traits listed above is far more likely to make you a happy customer. Like any addition to your home, deck construction is a precision skill that requires years of experience and training. The final results are the most important thing—you want a deck that looks fantastic and stands the test of time—but you also want the project to be completed on schedule, within the allocated budget, and with a strong focus on professionalism and customer service.
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