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Building a new deck
Replacing an existing deck
Adding a sunroom
Adding a screened porch
Creating shaded areas
Designing an outdoor kitchen
Adding a hardscape, paver patio or walkway
Creating a design plan for my outdoor space
Other
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Comparing Charlotte Deck & Porch Contractors

It's so hard to compare contractor quotes. When we're purchasing a consumer product out of the box, we can put the 2 boxes next to each other and check that each has the particular feature or functionality. But with contractors, certainly no 2 decks are alike. In fact, if one deck contractor tells you he is going to build you a 10 x 12 deck out of Trex composite wood with iron railings, we can guarantee that 10 deck contractors would build that completely differently. Not only would they build it differently but their cost of materials would be different and the workmanship would be different.

For example, if you walk underneath a deck that "comes with the house", you will see a big difference from one that was homemade and a huge difference between one that was done by an professional outdoor contractor. Not only would you see a difference under the deck, but there would be a considerable number of differences that you wouldn't notice upon quick inspection. For example, are the concrete footings up to code and are the joists the correct distance apart to meet the manufacturers requirement in order for the warranty to be valid? Then take a look at the top of let's say 2 Trex decks built by different contractors. Are the boards laid the correct distance apart for the manufacturer's warranty to be honored?

The bottom line is that it's incredibly difficult to compare contractor's and make sure you're comparing apples to apples. Below is a checklist of 26 items to check for each contractor before making a decision. That sounds like a lot of work - and it is! But let's say you purchase a $10,000 deck, just as an example. Then each question alone is worth $384 - just for the asking. Here's the list. A reputable contractor will provide this information clearly and readily to make it super easy for you to compare apples to apples.

  1. How long has the builder been doing business under their current name?
  2. How do they rate with third-party sources like the Better Business Bureau?
  3. Will they secure all the proper permits for you?
  4. Will experienced workers be assigned to your project?
  5. Does the company carry general liability insurance? How much?
  6. Does the company carry Workmen’s Compensation insurance where required by law?
  7. Does the company warranty their work?
  8. Will your project’s completion be assured by a third-party guarantee? If so, who?
  9. Is the company affiliated with professional organizations?
  10. Does the company know and follow all building codes?
  11. Do they have the ability to design and plan an integrated project with multiple features?
  12. Will the company act as a one-stop-shop through your entire project so you don’t have to hire and coordinate additional suppliers?
  13. Is the company responsive to your service needs, promptly answering phone calls, getting back to you when promised, etc.?
  14. Do they utilize detailed, professional drawings and construction documents?
  15. Do they provide a contract and specifications for your project with all the details stipulated in writing?
  16. Are their relationships with their vendors strong? Are they vendor-approved and/or trained on proper installation procedures?
  17. Have they been featured or won any awards for their work and/or design capabilities?
  18. Have they shown you projects that excite you?
  19. How do homeowner references feel about the company’s service and professionalism?
  20. Do you feel personally comfortable with the responsiveness, professionalism and integrity of the owner and/or staff members you’ve dealt with so far?
  21. Do they work to a pre-defined process and follow established building practices?
  22. Are they licensed (where applicable)?
  23. Is final cleanup of all construction debris included as part of the job?
  24. Does the contractor listen to you and understand your needs and desires to ensure the plans for your project meet your expectations?
  25. Are you satisfied with the level of detail and scope of the proposed project plan?
  26. Which contractor do you feel will deliver the best overall value for this investment in your home?

 

 


how can we help? I'm interested in:

Building a new deck
Replacing an existing deck
Adding a sunroom
Adding a screened porch
Creating shaded areas
Designing an outdoor kitchen
Adding a hardscape, paver patio or walkway
Creating a design plan for my outdoor space
Other
Comments