5 Big Considerations Before You Build That Deck

So you’re all set to add a new custom deck or replace that aging wooden one that’s giving your home an unflattering reputation in the neighborhood and hindering your outdoor living fun. What are the key issues you should consider before signing up for a custom-designed deck?

Based on our 5-star reputation designing and building decks for nearly 30 years, here are the top 5 issues to consider:

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#1 – Price

Let’s not beat around the bush: price is the first question just about everyone asks. It’s the first line item folks turn to when they receive a proposal, and (wisely or not) it’s often what makes or breaks a deal. So let’s talk about price for a moment.

When it comes to the cost of a deck, we’re pretty big on the Goldilocks principle, meaning you don’t want to go with the cheapest proposal and you probably don’t want to go with the most expensive either (unless there’s a ton of customization involved, but that’s a different story).

Take a drive around just about any neighborhood and you’ll find cheap – er, inexpensive – decks. How do you know they’re cheap?

The contractor used nails instead of screws, which means after a full calendar year of freezes, thaws, rain, heat, and more rain, the boards already are starting to loosen.Like a bad haircut or poor-fitting suit, the deck’s design doesn’t work well with the house. This would adversely impact the resale value of the home as well.They’re made of wood (often cheap wood) resulting in premature weathering and a costly (so much for those initial savings) never-ending need to apply sealant.Non-uniform gaps, crazy angles, and other unorthodox modes of construction, telling you a contract-for-hire work crew built the deck rather than a true outdoor living craftsman.

The key here is to find a price that works with your budget and ensures you will be adding an attractive, high-quality deck to your home that will last for years and maintain (or even increase) the value of your home.

#2 – Construction Practices

You’ve decided to have that surgery you’ve been putting off and have a few choices. Do you make your decision based on the track record and expertise of the surgeon or photographs of the hospital’s operating room?

In our experience, one of the smartest things a homeowner can do is focus at least as much on how a design is to be implemented as the design itself. Yes, everyone loves looking at beautiful images of decks, but it’s in the actual build that the true character of that design will be brought to life.

A simple example: remember we mentioned using screws rather than nails? Most deck builders, particularly the cheaper guys, use nails. Nails are perfectly fine for things like internal home framing for the simple reason that they’ll never be exposed to the weather. Decks, on the other hand, take a meteorological beating and nails will corrode faster and start to lose their grip. (Don’t just take our word for it.)

So take some time and quiz your contractor on construction practices and habits. The craftsmen of the bunch have mastered the art of deck building.

#3 – Design

Now for the fun stuff. Our era of social media means homeowners can dreamily scan endless deck photos and designs on Pinterest, Houzz, Facebook, and Instagram in addition to vendor websites. Who doesn’t get excited about envisioning Bill Gates’s deck added to their home? (Bill Gates does have a deck, doesn’t he?)

But that’s the thing about design: you need to ensure the design works with your home and your outdoor living space. The key here is to find a design that:

Creates a natural complement to your home’s own designEmploys materials that work nicely with your home and its surroundingsAccommodates all of your family’s outdoor needs

#4 – Timing

Many of our customers ask us how we’re able to compete on price with lower-cost deck builders. Our answer:  we only employ true craftsman. We understand how to design and build a deck with proven techniques that save our time and the homeowner’s money.

Find a contractor who builds quality decks at a timely, dependable pace.

#5 – Professionalism

One of our neighbors recently had new siding adding to their home. Each morning and evening as we walked the dog we were able to monitor the progress of the work. What stood out most was something few homeowners consider asking about: the overall behavior of the workers on their properties. In this instance, the contractors left a disaster in their wake every day, leaving the lawn littered with scrap materials, construction equipment, and even leftovers from their lunches.

Contractors are like temporary visitors, occupying a part of a family’s lives while they’re there to perform their work. Find a contractor who respects your property and lifestyle as much as you do.

We hope these tips are useful in your quest for a new deck!

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