What Questions You Should Ask Deck Contractors
Questions to ask contractors:
How long have you been in business?
Many home builders “framers” that build porch and deck projects, are in the market now because of the total absence of home construction. They will go back to home construction when the market returns. At that point you will not have any warranty on your project.
Are you members of the Better Business Bureau?
Do you have a Georgia Contractor’s License?
Over 70% of the contractors building construction in Georgia do not have this license. They cannot pull permits and if caught working without permits, significant fines go to the homeowners.
What materials do you construct your projects with?
The materials that contractors buy at lumber yards are frame grade lumber because the preferred market for the lumber yards is home builders. Ask your contractor if he uses Paraffin Enhanced Kiln Dried After Treatment #1 clear boards. We believe that customers prefer superior lumber because of its looks and longevity. For the installation of composite decking or railing, the project must be built by a contractor certified and approved by the manufacturer or material warranties will be void. Archadeck is an approved contractor for every composite company.
Do you use 2×6 decking or 5/4 decking boards?
5/4 costs less and cracks and warps without the structural integrity of the 2×6 board.
How do you connect the deck to the house?
If they are going to carriage bolt through the band, will they have to cut through the drywall, redo the drywall, and repaint the entire wall in the room below the porch. Is this price figured in their estimate?
What fasteners will be used on my deck? (Screws, staples, or nails? Will they rust?)
Premium materials matter. Even the small ones!
Do you have any customers who you’ve built for that I could call?
Someone other than his mother or girlfriend.
Do you have projects that we could go see?
Again no relatives.
What are your Warranties?
Has the company been around long enough for you to believe the warranty to be of value? What is covered, how long, and who will be responsible for fulfillment of warranties or contracts if something happens to their business? If they ain’t around it ain’t happenin’.
On materials, warranties need to come from the contractor not the lumber yard. Manufacturers don’t have the man power or the inclination to recognize you to fulfill warranties, but they will recognize a large company like Archadeck.
Will you handle all of my building permits?
Have it put into the contract.
Will you give me copies of material liens?
This proves that the materials have been paid for and protects you against having a material lien placed on your home because of slow or non-payment by the contractor.
Do you carry insurance? Would you provide me with a copy of your general liability and workman’s compensation policies for my project?
Call the insurance company and they will fax you a copy to make sure that the coverage is in effect during your project. Many contractors have dropped their insurance to lower prices, lower costs, or because they can no longer afford it.
How strong is your floor structure?
Georgia code is 40 pounds per square foot live load capacity. Archadeck builds to 60 pounds per square foot live load capacity which is code in 48 states. This is another reason our projects will not need to be replaced and will last longer.
How long will my project take to build? Will you work every business day until completion of the project except for bad weather?
Many contractors will work on more than one project at a time to receive more draw payments, leaving you with gaps in the completion of your project. Archadeck will work from the beginning to the completion of your project with out break except for foul weather.
Are you cutting through my concrete patio to add support for the tremendous weight of the new project?
If not, the patio below may crack!!!
Now for the lightning round:
How are you finishing the house to block the view of the existing roof at the interior gable?
Do you use custom screen inserts?
Do you place rolled screen above the joists and below the decking to seal the deck off from insects?
The information above is intended to educate and help you make a better informed decision regarding your decking and porch contractor.
To find out more, please visit us at Archadeck of Greater Atlanta.