Tips on Working Through the Design Stage With Your Deck Builder

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Building a deck requires many different steps, from dreaming and planning, through to design and installation. Your deck builder brings their expertise and experience to the table in the design stage, and the partnership between homeowner and contractor is what separates the amazing backyard living space from your average deck. Find out how to work through this vital step to transform your outdoor area into a comfortable, valuable space.


Communication Is Key

Besides looking at their credentials and examining their craftsmanship, homeowners need to rate potential deck builders on their communication skills. Your contractor needs to understand your vision for the project, and be able to translate that dream into a workable design that suits your house and property.

Good communication skills are a must.

Plan to have several meetings or conversations with your contractor before the final design is hammered out. Some of these interactions can be done via email, with electronic designs and documents passing between homeowner and contractor with mark ups and comments. But at least one or two of the meetings must be onsite, in order to properly address concerns about grading, exposure and access.

Respect Experience

Most homeowners have little experience in deck building or outdoor construction. Remember to acknowledge and respect the experience your Northern Virginia deck builder brings to the table.

An expert contractor can listen to the initial description of your dream deck with an open mind. They will take that vision and apply it to the realities of your property. Several factors affect the design and construction aspects, yet have little to do with the overall appearance of your deck. Experienced contractors will take care of those aspects for you, but if alterations to the design are required, the homeowner needs to trust that expertise.

Some common examples include:

  • Railings – depending on the grade of your yard, railings may or may not be required, despite your initial vision
  • Stairs – again, depending on your grade, the number and placement of deck stairs may have to be altered in order to create a safe, comfortable deck
  • Posts and Framing – this changes based on the contractor’s preferred style of framing and the local building codes. The contractor should let you know the location of posts (this is especially important in a walkout deck) and style of framing. Odd sizes and shapes affect the framing design, which might alter your view from certain angles.
  • Skirting – this feature encloses the underside of your deck to keep out critters and create a tidier appearance, but when your deck is more than 24-inches off of the ground, skirting costs sky-rocket. Depending on the grading and location of the skirting, this design feature might need to be altered.

Northern Virginia homeowners need to hire an experienced deck builder with excellent communication skills. Expect to have several meetings and discussions about the design and respect the contractor’s expertise with structural elements. When all parties work together to create a quality built outdoor living space, the final result is something everyone can be proud of.

Top Five Questions to Ask When Hiring a Deck Builder

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Expand your living space with an outdoor family room, kitchen or dining area expertly designed and built by an experienced contractor. Virginia homeowners need to hire the right deck builder to maximize their investment and these five questions will help to narrow down the competition, making the hiring process easier.

For quick side-by-side comparisons, write down each contractor’s answers to the following questions:

# 1 – How Long Have You Been In Business?

Experienced Virginia deck builders have the construction knowledge and design expertise your project deserves. Why spend your hard earned money to provide training for a new contractor? Invest in a deck builder that has worked in the local area for years.

Experienced companies can also supply a list of current references. Check those references, and pay careful attention to recent customers as well as past clients. This range allows you to form an accurate overall picture of the contractor’s experience.

# 2 – Will You Send Qualified and Trained Workers to Build My Deck?

Even the most established companies need to hire new staff, but try to arrange for an experienced employee to supervise your project. This ensures that complications and unforeseen circumstances are handled efficiently and with professionalism.

Ask for the lead hand’s name, if possible, and introduce yourself when the crew arrives. This establishes a good working relationship and sets a pattern for polite, upfront communication throughout your project.

# 3 – What Kind of Warranty Do You Offer on Materials and Workmanship?

Many decking contractors have warranties, but you’ll need the details of this coverage to properly compare one deck builder to another. Does their warranty cover faulty workmanship and inferior materials? What type of quality controls are in place? And how long does the warranty last?

Find out the procedure for warranty claims, and check with the local Better Business Bureau to uncover the company’s history and customer service record. You want to hire an experienced deck builder that will provide professional designs, top quality materials and skilled installation, but stay away from companies with poor service records. Hiring a reliable contractor is a wise investment.

# 4 – What Design Ideas Do You Have For My Yard?

Even if you have a clear deck design in mind, ask for advice and recommendations. An experienced, skilled contractor can offer insight and point out problems you may have overlooked. For those who need direction on design and/or material selection, this question helps to uncover the contractor with a similar vision and taste.

Consider how each deck builder presents their vision. Some will leave you with a detailed sketch, while others opt for computer designs. Hire a contractor that provides a professional presentation, since the initial design and quotation act as a fair representation of the finished product.

# 5 – What Kind of Pricing Can You Offer?

This question often comes up first. But remember that your deck will be an extension of the family’s living space. It’s worthwhile to invest in an experience professional offering a solid warranty, helpful insights and a winning design. Price should only be considered once you’ve established the above criteria.

Be sure to arrange for at least three quotes on your new deck, and compare the answers that each contractor provides. Hire the ideal deck builder to ensure your outdoor living space is well designed, expertly built and reasonably priced. And then get ready to enjoy the warm weather on your new deck.

Why Look for a Virginia Deck or Screened Porch Builder During the Winter You Ask?

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Well there are actually several benefits to exploring Virginia Deck Builders now rather than later. Below are a couple reasons:

  • When looking to invest in a deck or screened porch, make sure you give yourself ample time to create several deck plans and options.
  • Regardless of what you hear business is always slower for all Virginia contractors during the Winter. Take advantage of our cheaper prices and keep us busy!
  • Many homeowners don’t realize that in lots of cases, they must get approval from their Home Owners Association (HOA).  Some HOA’s can take up to 10 weeks to approve your application. If you do the math, that deck you planned for in the Winter months will probably get built more towards Spring (we wish we could build em for you overnight).

Don’t let another Summer pass, there are plenty of Virginia deck builders who are eager to give you a free consultation.