In order to create the deck of your dreams, homeowners must consider a large list of factors that do not always readily come to mind, nor do they all seem to fit together logically. That is why today’s best custom deck is much more than just a general deck contractor.
What to Look for in a Deck Contractor
One of the most important factors in choosing the right custom deck builder is their experience as designers as well as deck builders. An extensive and varied portfolio of completed projects is just one of the first steps to ensuring that they have the extensive design experience that sets them apart.
Another critical step is ensuring that they utilize the latest tools, techniques, and technology to both design and build their decks. It is only in discussions with likely candidates that you can learn whether they are driven by the latest tools, technology, and approaches to deck design and construction while also having the knowledge to work with them properly.
Most any deck contractor will help in considering how the space will be used to some degree. A highly experienced custom deck builder will be far more thorough concerning helping you parse different uses and the order of importance, location, and the overall backyard among others. Everything from the orientation of the sun to the topography of the yard and orientation of the house on the lot as well as neighboring houses are important considerations.
Questions to Ask a Deck Contractor and Their References
Upon meeting with deck builders, it’s important to gain insight into how the company handles projects from start to finish as well as review examples of their work. The best way to feel out the company is by preparing questions ahead of time. Here are some examples of questions to ask a deck contractor:
- What are your company’s specialties?
- What decking materials do you use?
- What is the lead time for a new decking project?
- Does your company help design the deck or will you need architectural plans?
- Do you handle municipal permitting?
- Do you have a business license and the proper insurance?
- Do you have references to share?
Making the best choice concerning a deck builder is not only determined by the questions that you ask and their answers but also in the questions that they ask of you. A strong and varied portfolio should always be accompanied by a long list of varied references that show a trend rather than a deck contractor picking among a few happy clients. Here are some examples of questions to ask references of deck contractors:
- Would you hire this deck builder again?
- Did any difficulties or problems arise throughout the project? If so, how were they resolved?
- Did you feel as though you were listened to and updated throughout the project?
- Was the project completed on time and on budget?
All of these and other considerations can only come to light by a homeowner doing their homework before choosing their custom deck builder.
The Difference Between Deck Contractors and Custom Deck Builders
A truly qualified custom deck designer will mesh these considerations with others, such as family size, ages, and activities as well as the types and scale of entertaining that you do and hope to do. All of these will collectively inform all manner of further design considerations.
The average deck contractor may not have the breadth of experience or the understanding of today’s materials and design options to go beyond the basics such as stairs, posts, lighting, balustrades, and railings. A true custom deck builder is well versed in much broader design possibilities such as pergolas, porches, gazebos, outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, and walls to define different functional areas and create privacy.
Demand for decks with multiple tiers are increasing, as are requests to finish the space below an elevated deck. This can also include integrated features like built-in benches, planter boxes, and storage. An experienced custom deck builder will immediately access any township or city government rules that may limit or dictate size and orientation regarding a deck on a particular property.
Today, design aesthetics, use, and performance attributes are freed or limited by design tools and construction materials. While computerized design programs are quite standard today, not all programs provide the same flexibility and quick response to design changes as others.
The use of composite materials has infinitely broadened the possibilities of deck designs, but not every deck contractor has the required level of experience and intimate knowledge of their chosen manufacturers. A leading custom deck builder will be able to show an intensive and ongoing training protocol between their company and the composite manufacturer of record. This includes extensive hands-on use and understanding of the technology necessary to create the finished custom deck design.
Looking for a Deck Contractor in PA or NJ?
XMT Construction has been specializing in low maintenance, high-quality decks. We are proud to be ranked a Platinum Contractor of Trex and TimberTech deck builders in Canada. Contact us today;we’d be happy to answer all your questions and get started designing your dream deck.