Checklist for Building your Deck Oasis
We Have a Plan
Take the time to create a good plan. Start at the beginning—decide what do you need and how do you want your finished outdoor living space to look, feel and work for you and your family. With a clear idea in hand, you or your contractor can then work out all the details.
We Have a Realistic Budget
As early as you possibly can, decide how much money you want to spend building your deck—this allows you or your contractor to focus on what can be achieved within that budget. With their experience, professional contractors can provide you with good advice and recommendations. If you need to borrow money for a large outdoor living space, sit down with a lender to discuss affordability and financing options. Remember that your budget should cover everything that you may need for the build, not just the lumber and labor.
We've Thought Ahead
Thinking ahead about how you want to use your deck space in the future avoids short-term renovations to your home that may need to be revamped or expanded in the future. This would include knowing if you plan to use the deck just to watch the stars at night, if you plan to make its use part of your daily life and whether you plan to use it to entertain small or large parties on your deck. If you are using a contractor, be sure to discuss your short and long-term goals with them. They can offer suggestions on the best way to accommodate your long-term plans.
We've Made Sure that We're Protected
Make sure that your homeowner’s policy covers injuries or damage during your building process. This will protect you or anyone else working on the job. By using a reputable, professional contractor, you will save yourself a lot of headaches in the long run. True professionals will carry workers’ compensation, liability insurance and any licenses required by your locality. Hiring someone without these necessary protections in place can end up costing you much more money in the end, not less.
Moreover, if you are working with a contractor, get a written contract that spells out the agreement between the two of you. This contract should describe your building project in detail.
We Will Use Proven Products for our Deck
Using subpar building materials can ruin the finished look and function of your deck; not to mention, it could devalue your property. That adage, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well” is especially true when trying to add function and value to your home by adding deck space. So, rather than skimping on material expenses, you need to use the products that will give you the right combination of performance, durability and aesthetics. An experienced contractor can help you choose the best products within your budget.
Price Alone is Not the Only Criteria for Choosing our Builder
Though it may be tempting to go for the lowest bid on your job, you need to consider the implications of doing so. You need to assess if the contractor understands the scope of your project and whether they have the necessary experience to satisfactorily complete the job. Next, you need to ascertain if the builder offers a warranty on their work and whether they will still be in business if you need to call them back. However, the most important thing is to make sure that your contractor provides you with a full contract with all the pricing elements. Make sure to get it in writing!
We Will do Business with a Company after Carefully Checking Them Out
If someone comes to your door trying to drum up business for themselves, it is usually not a good sign because good contractors generally have a good reputation and usually have enough work because of their reputation. Of course, during a serious economic downturn, this may not be true. However, before you hire anyone, diligently check them out. One way to do so is to contact the Better Business Bureau to see if anyone has lodged any complaints against them. Another way is to check with the local Chamber of Commerce and different local trade associations to see if the company is a member—membership is usually an indication of professionalism.