Our Top Maintenance Tips for Beautiful Triangle Decks

triangle decksHere at Structurally Speaking, we build beautiful custom decks to perfectly suit your family’s needs. With a little deck maintenance, homeowners can make their Triangle decks last longer. Luckily, annual deck maintenance doesn’t have to be hard. Both wood decks and composite decks are fairly easy to maintain.


Decking Material and Maintenance Requirements

Two common decking materials are pressure-treated wood (typically pine) and composite. Some homeowners also like to consider exotic hardwoods, redwoods/cedar, and pvc vinyl. All decking materials have pros and cons when it comes to maintenance.

Pine is an extremely common option because it is less expensive. However, keep in mind that this material requires more upkeep over time, so it may not be the least expensive option in the end. Pine will fade to a gray look over time and needs to be repainted or restained every few years. This type of wood is susceptible to splitting and splintering if not maintained.

Exotic hardwoods give you beautiful, rich colors. These are extremely hard, which makes it more difficult to replace individual boards when needed. The good news, though, is that you won’t need to replace boards often. These types of woods resist rot and insect damage. You’ll still need to paint/stain occasionally if you want to maintain a certain color, but not as often as with pine. Redwood and cedar are similar, though these are softer woods that may need extra care in areas of high foot traffic.

Composite is a decking material we recommend if you want as little maintenance as possible while still maintaining the look of wood. This product is made with a combination of plastic and wood fibers. It doesn’t splinter or rot easily, and you don’t have to paint or stain it. PVC vinyl is also a low maintenance option, but unfortunately doesn’t give you the look of wood. However, many homeowners love this material for railing.

Spring Cleaning for Your Deck

No matter what type of decking material you choose, all Triangle decks need a little spring cleaning. This is a great time of year to give your deck a quick visual inspection and call us if any repairs are needed.

You’ll also want to wash off your deck to remove any dirt and grime that has built up during the winter. Pressure washing will really make your deck shine. If you don’t have a pressure washer, you can also use a scrub brush and regular hose. Remove any loose debris like leaves first so you don’t scratch your deck. Remember to use cleaning products specifically made for decks, so it helps resist mold and mildew.

If you are going to use a pressure washer, make sure you are constantly moving the nozzle. Especially with pine, pressure washers can cause gouges in the wood if you stay on one spot too long.

After you clean your deck and allow it to dry, it is a great time to apply a coat of sealant. We can recommend a product that works with your specific deck material. Both wood decks and composite decks benefit from a coat of sealant.

Maintenance Throughout the Season for Triangle Decks

Over the spring, summer, and fall, a bit of quick maintenance can help your deck stay in great shape. We recommend sweeping away any debris that collects. If puddles collect in any area, you can sweep them away. Keep plants trimmed back so they are not settling against your deck, and make sure birds and other critters are not building nests, especially if your deck has a pergola.

In general, deck maintenance is pretty easy. The most difficult type of deck to maintain is a hot tub deck, because you have to ensure the hot tub water chemistry is correct, as well as drain the water and scrub the hot tub regularly. That said, many homeowners find the maintenance worth the reward of being able to soak in their own private hot tub whenever they want!

FAQs About Deck Contractors

If you don’t currently have a deck, we can help! Here at Structurally speaking we build custom decks to match your home and lifestyle. We’ll take maintenance into consideration when helping you select the design and materials for your deck. Here are some other frequently asked questions about working with deck builders:

Who are the best deck builders in my area?

We might be a bit too biased to answer this question! However, what we will say is that the best deck builders in any area will take your needs into consideration and design a deck just for you. Our owner, Jim, does a free consultation with every client to ensure that he creates the perfect deck for you. You deserve more than just a cookie-cutter wood platform. With custom Triangle decks, your backyard can truly be an oasis that you want to use every day.

What if I’m not happy with my deck?

When you work with Structurally Speaking, we’re not happy until you are. Our building team can perfectly translate the design from paper to real life. Jim oversees the process every step of the way, so there are no surprises. What you see in the design presentation is what you get, period. Of course, if you are not 100% in love with the design, we can make changes. We won’t start building until you are happy with the deck design

Do you have more questions about building a custom deck? Contact us today! We’d love to help you build the deck of your dreams.

Our Triangle Deck Builders can Create an Outdoor Paradise

triangle deck buildersAre you itching for a vacation? When you have a beautiful backyard oasis, every day can feel like a vacation! Here at Structurally Speaking, we help our homeowners build the perfect outdoor paradise that’s always just a few steps away. Our Triangle deck builders turn your dreams into reality.


Complete Customization – No Boring, Cookie-Cutter Decks Here!

One of the biggest advantages of working with our team is that you’ll get a completely customized deck or other outdoor living space. We don’t build boring, rectangle decks that look exactly the same as every other deck in your neighborhood. There’s nothing wrong with a simple deck. However, these cookie cutter “solutions” don’t really give you the true functionality your family deserves.

Every new deck project we take on starts with a no-obligation consultation. We’ll listen to your ideas for your backyard space, and ask you questions about how the space will be used. Then, our owner Jim designs a deck just for you.

Your deck can be simple or complex. It can have stairs, ramps, or multiple levels. We can build a hot tub deck, add pergolas, build planters and benches, and more. In other words, we’ll build the perfect deck for you based on how you plan to use your new deck.

A Personalized Experience from Start to Finish

When you work with Structurally Speaking, we don’t just design the deck and then subcontract the work to a third party. Yes, some deck contractors do this, and it means you’ll have no idea if what you see on paper will translate into a real life deck. You might not even know when the builders are going to show up.

We oversee every project, which is built by our in-house team of experienced Triangle deck builders. We’re on hand during the entire construction process so you can ask questions. You’ll never have to wonder what is going on when you work with our team.

Our builders have experience with a wide range of materials, including both wood and composite. Composite decking gives you the look of wood, but is longer lasting. It is made from wood fiber, plastic, and a binding agent to give you a long-lasting product that works well for many homeowners. Whether you choose wood, composite, or another material, we’ll make sure it beautifully complements the look of your home.

Does Customization Come at a Cost?

You might be wondering how much your new backyard paradise will cost. Here’s the good news: we can work with most budgets!

When it comes to decks, you can find a very wide range of prices. Customization always costs a little more, but this slightly higher cost means that you can get the exact deck you really want. In turn, this means you’ll use your deck more often. We can also help you save money in other ways. For example, we use the best quality materials on the market, so your deck will last longer.

Keep in mind that adding a deck also adds value to your home. You’ll generally recoup over 70% of the costs if you add a deck to your home, according to Remodeling’s Cost vs. Value report. This makes adding a wood deck one of the best renovations you could do, financially speaking. Not only does it increase your home’s value, but it can also help you sell your home faster. So, someday if you decide to sell your home, you’ll be glad it has a beautiful outdoor living space.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hiring Triangle Deck Builders

If you have any questions about building a new deck or renovating an old deck, we are happy to help. Here are a few frequently asked questions we get from homeowners here in North Carolina:

  • Do I need a permit to build a new deck?

It depends on your county/city building codes and the scope of the project. We’re extremely familiar with filing the right paperwork before we build your deck. You can leave this part to us! We’ll let you know exactly what permits you need and apply for them on your behalf.

  • Will I need permission from my homeowner’s associate?

Again, it depends. Every homeowner’s association is different. Generally speaking, decks are fine because they are in your backyard and add value to your home. However, we can help you navigate this situation if you have a homeowner’s association.

  • How long will it take for my new deck project to be finished?

We’ll talk about your timeline during your initial consultation. Typically, we can complete deck projects fairly quickly. Smaller decks take just a few days, while larger decks and more complex decks can take a week or more. Rain can also hinder the project. We’ll discuss this with you so you know exactly what to expect with your deck.

  • Which decking material is best?

This answer will vary depending on your needs. Wood is typically cheaper upfront but does have more upkeep costs, since you’ll have to paint or stain it regularly. Composite materials are more expensive upfront but have lower upkeep costs over time. Within these categories, there are also a range of prices and features. We’ll help you chose what makes the most sense for your deck based on your needs and budget.

If you have more questions about Triangle deck builders or your deck project, contact us today. We can answer your questions as well as set up a free initial consultation to discuss your deck needs.

Deck Builder Near Me – Why Choose Structurally Speaking?

deck builder near meThe new reality 2020 has created involves significantly more outdoor living and gathering among families and friends. Not only does it give everyone fresh air, but allows for everything from social distancing to playing games without breaking anything valuable inside. Outdoor living spaces are at an all-time high in popularity among homeowners this year. Best of all, there are many approaches to create and utilize outdoor living areas. If you’re looking for the best deck builder near me in the Raleigh area, you can end your search right here! Structurally Speaking is ready to help with your project, from design to construction.

One terrific choice for outdoor living spaces is building, or adding onto, a backyard deck. This space is the perfect spot for relaxing, wine with friends, a family fun day, or simply enjoying nature. Fortunately, there are many methods to create the deck of your dreams.

Now that you have found the best deck builder near me – Structurally Speaking – we’ll tell you why you should choose us. We have the experience, customer service, professionalism, and talent to build your dream deck. Call us today at 919-786-4825 to request your free, no-obligation consultation.

Advantages to Outdoor Living Spaces with Decks

Ready to learn about all the amazing benefits of outdoor living spaces? Well, there are four big advantages to building a deck or adding onto an existing one. Those are:

  1. Increased Home Value
  2. Additional Living Space
  3. Safe Outdoor Spot for Entertainment
  4. Amazing Enjoyment of Mother Nature at Home

Increased Home Value

A top priority for every homeowner is maintaining and increasing their home’s value. Adding on a deck and creating a new outdoor living space at home is a great and cost-effective way to add value to your house. Outdoor projects are unlike common indoor home additions in some important ways. Adding on an in-law suite or remodeling a kitchen, are often costly and very time-consuming. Additionally, no one likes having an entire construction crew inside the house making a ton of loud noise and a mess. Outdoor additions are usually quicker and not as hard on your bank account!

According to recent data from Remodeling Magazine, in south Atlantic states a wood deck potentially adds on up to $10,000 to the resale price of a house and an expected 74.8% of costs is recoupable to homeowners. Whereas a composite deck possibly adds up to $13,000 to the house’s resale price and the costs recouped to homeowners are typically 65.3%.

Additional Living Space

Whether you have a growing family or want more room to spread out, adding usable living space to a home is often a smart, useful, and necessary decision. Adding on only indoor living space is a thing of the past, as outdoor living trends continue to grow. Options for decks now include features like outdoor kitchens, hot tubs, and outdoor entertainment centers. Additionally, a sturdy railing and lockable gate can turn a new deck into a great play space for children.

The ideas are virtually endless for deck uses. Here are a few fun ways to utilize a deck:

  • Meals
  • Parties
  • Teen Gathering Spot
  • Relaxing or Napping
  • Reading
  • School or Work
  • Family Game Night
  • Cocktail Hour
  • Movie Night
  • Stargazing
  • Art Projects
  • Vegetable Garden

Safe Outdoor Spot for Entertaining

In today’s world, social distancing is a new fact of life and the ‘new normal.’ This means outdoor gatherings of friends and family are increasing to allow for spreading out and adhering to current state maximum gathering regulations. A deck has quickly become the perfect spot for virtually any type of celebration at home this year. Spreading out chairs in a circle on the deck is a great and popular way to gather now.

While pandemics do not last forever, everything we have learned during them will remain. We have all seen and learned first-hand how great it is to gather outside in mother nature and enjoy one another’s company during these difficult times. So, even after the pandemic ends, your new deck is still a wonderful gathering place that should continue on for all the years you live at your house.

Amazing Enjoyment of Mother Nature at Home

Nothing brings a smile to someone’s face faster than envisioning spending time with family and friends and enjoying our nice Carolina breezes while doing so! Luckily, in North Carolina the weather tends to be enjoyable a large majority of the year. A patio cover or umbrella provide shade from the sun during the summer months and a hot tub or outdoor fireplace provide heat during the colder months.

One of the best qualities of North Carolina weather is our four mild seasons. We might all complain that it seems spring and fall get shorter, but regardless, they are still here. Nothing beats the view of spring flowers or fall leaves. An amazing deck allows you to view all mother nature has to offer every single day of the year! Your scenery changes every single day.

Building Your Dream Deck

At Structurally Speaking, we work with our clients every single step of the way from designing their dream deck to building the deck. Finally, at the completion of building we leave them with a beautiful deck they love and will enjoy for many years! Design is the first, and arguably the most important, step in creating a new deck. This is the step where you bring your dreams to reality with the help of our experienced team.

The four major aspects of designing a deck are:

  • Materials
  • Size
  • Layout
  • Options

During our free, no-obligation consultations we discuss all these items in extensive detail. But here is a quick rundown on what to expect for each item, so you are prepared for the discussion.


The two most common types of deck building materials are composite decking and wood decking. Both have their advantages and disadvantages. Wood decking is cheaper, but composite decking tends to last longer and is easier to maintain. If you choose a wood deck, then you will also need to consider what type of wood and if you plan on staining the wood. The wooden deck will require annual or bi-annual sanding and staining to keep the wood in good condition. A cedar deck is a popular choice for its dimensional stability and beautiful look. If you choose a composite deck, you have many products and types to choose from. A Trex deck is among the most popular composite decking choice. These decks require very little maintenance in addition to periodic washing. A final choice is pavers. Some homeowners choose to place stone pavers over a wood frame for their deck.


It is important to factor in the size of your house and backyard and how you plan to use the deck when considering what size would be best for your needs. If you are planning to use the deck for entertaining, then you will want something larger. However, if you are empty nesters just wanting an outdoor space to read and relax a smaller deck is a great choice. Our professionals can guide you through some of the decisions based on their experience. A deck also needs to be proportional to the size of the home.


In addition to size, another aspect of design is the layout of the deck. During our initial consultation we will discuss what type of layout you envision on your dream deck. We will need to consider where the door, gate, and stairs will be on the new deck. If you plan on additional options for your deck, then those factor into the layout as well.


A few popular and fun additions that are available for your deck include:

These are only a few of the many deck additions available. The sky really is the limit!

Tips on Maintaining and Cleaning Your New Deck

Now that you have imagined your perfect new deck, it is time to learn how to maintain it and the various ways to clean your deck. The answer to knowing how to maintain and clean your deck depends on if you choose wood or composite decking. Certain chemicals that you may use to keep a wood deck looking new could be harmful to composite decking. Often all you need to clean a composite deck is water, a mild dish detergent, and a softer bristle brush. In contrast, common chemicals used to clean a wood deck include oxygen bleach or powdered oxygen laundry cleaner. Typically, a wood deck needs cleaning regularly to look new. Not cleaning a wood deck regularly can lead to maintenance issues. However, a composite deck requires less regular cleaning and usually you will only need to clean up food or beverage spills.

Why Structurally Speaking is the Best Deck Builder Near Me!

At Structurally Speaking, we operate by, and provide, four core values to every single client. Those are:

  1. Personalized Custom Design
  2. Competitive Pricing
  3. Professional Project Management
  4. Excellent Customer Service

Personalized Custom Design

The first step for every project we work on is a free no-obligation consultation with the owner, Jim Brennan. He listens to your needs and desires for your deck building project. Then, we make recommendations for design based directly on your individual needs. No matter the project – we always provide a custom design to create an outdoor space you absolutely adore.

Competitive Pricing

In our initial consultations we always discuss price, so our clients know exactly what to expect from the beginning. We will discuss your budget and work together to provide you with the design that you want, while keeping within your spending limit. No two projects are ever alike; therefore, there is no one set cost for any deck. Here are some factors that go into determining a new deck price:

  • Excavation Requirements
  • Footings
  • Materials
  • Size
  • Additions
  • Obstructions (For example, a fence)

These are only some of the many variables that contribute to the calculation that a general contractor must use to determine a specific price for a deck installation.

Professional Project Management

From deck design to deck construction, Jim keeps a close eye on every step of each client’s project and job site. It is important to us that we complete every deck installation properly and safely. We are more than just a general contractor or deck building contractor. In fact, we are a team of professionals who will be there every step of the process to ensure you receive the deck you have always wanted.

Excellent Customer Service

Our commitment to our clients is of the utmost importance to us at Structurally Speaking. We treat our clients as if they are family. From communication to providing a top-quality deck, our attention to detail is impeccable. Check out some of our past client reviews to see what people have to say about us and our work.

More Than Merely a Deck Contractor

We offer multiple building services for any type of outdoor living space you can dream of creating.

First, we can build the following types of decks:

  • Wood Deck
  • Composite Deck
  • Two-Story Deck
  • Pool Deck
  • Hot Tub Deck

In addition to deck services, we design and build all of the following outdoor structure projects for clients:

If you are looking for a patio builder or porch contractor, we have you covered!

Design Your Dream Deck Today with Structurally Speaking

Why wait any longer? Stop searching for a deck builder near me and learn first-hand all Structurally Speaking has to offer you. Start today by calling us at 919-786-4825 or filling out our simple contact form. We will walk you through the entire process, discuss your needs, and provide recommendations on the design of your custom deck project in our free, no-obligation consultation. As a top NC deck building company, we are committed to creating an outdoor deck that you and the entire family will love!

Can a Custom Deck Builder Design the Deck of Your Dreams?

Custom Deck Builder

A custom deck builder can give you that awesome outdoor living space your family loves. However, if you don’t know exactly what you want, you are not alone. Many homeowners feel the frustration of not knowing how to improve their back yard.

We can help! At Structurally Speaking, we specialize in building custom decks. Our team can help you develop the plan for your space based on your needs, budget, and current landscaping. You don’t have to have a perfect deck in mind to begin your project. We’ll walk you through the process to bring your vision to life, even if your vision isn’t crystal clear at the start.

The Structurally Speaking Process

We have three phases to the custom deck building process. This helps us ensure we build an outdoor living space you love, rather than a deck that is “just okay.”

First, we’ll sit down with you to discuss your needs and budget during an initial consultation. Sometimes, a simple deck is best. Other times, a more elaborate design will work better. We’ll ask you a lot of questions about how you plan to use the space. Additionally, we’ll talk about your current outdoor space and the biggest frustrations you have about it. We’ll also get a sense of your style by showing you many different options. We also consider the shape of your property and the style of your home…a deck must complement the space to add value.

Next, we’ll create a custom deck design based on our initial meeting. Actually, we’ll create a few designs with variations so you have options. Most people don’t know exactly what they want when we start this process. Our design phase will help us bring the project to life so you can envision the final product. Don’t worry if we don’t hit the nail on the head the first time. We can make tweaks until you are completely happy with the design.

Finally, we’ll start the building project. Up until this point, you can walk away. There are no strings attached during our initial consultation and design. However, once we enter the building phase, we’ll sign a contract so you know exactly what you’ll be paying and the construction timeline. Our team will turn the final design into a reality.

Deck Cost and Timeline

The cost and timeline for your deck project will depend on several factors, including the materials you choose, the complexity of the design, and the time of year. That said, one thing is certain; hiring a professional custom deck builder is always going to save you money and time versus doing it yourself!

At first, it might seem like a deck DIY project is the way to go. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you build the deck yourself, will the money you save go toward fixing mistakes later? Most homeowners make several mistakes while building their deck. Not only does this take time, but the mistakes you make could cost a lot of money later on.
  • Are you getting the best prices on materials? Sure, you’ll save on labor if you do the work yourself, but we get contractor deals on composite decking, wood, and other materials. We pass those savings on to you.
  • Do you know what permits and permissions you need from your local city/county and homeowner’s association? It depends on your location and the scope of your project. When you work with us, we can handle this for you so you don’t have to worry about fines.
  • Are you building on a solid base? Most deck projects work best with a layer of stone or cinder blocks to prevent moisture. If you build directly on the ground, you’ll have to repair or replace your deck sooner.
  • How valuable is your time? You’ll be amazed how fast we get your new deck built. We’re professionals, and our team does this every day. Plus, we have several people working at once. If you do it yourself, it can take several days or even weeks to finish your deck.

Here’s the good news: we talk about budget on day one. We don’t want to start the design, let alone the building part of the project unless you are comfortable with the numbers. You won’t get a surprise bill at the end of the project when you work with Structurally Speaking. Our goal is to create the deck that you want, while staying within your budget.

Custom Deck Design Materials

One of the first decisions you’ll need to make for your new deck is the building material. The deck installation process is roughly the same for all types of materials, but the material you choose can affect pricing and will definitely impact the overall look for your outdoor space.

A classic wood deck is a choice that’s hard to beat. We have both pressure-treated wood and composite options. Looking for an even more unique deck material option? During the consultation, let us know what you’re thinking, and we’ll let you know if it is possible!

If you do choose the more traditional option of wood or composite decking, we have a variety of options. Pine is a very affordable option that you can stain or paint in almost any color. We also have options such as cedar and exotic woods such as Ipe.

Features Your Custom Deck Builder Can Design

Maybe you want a simple deck that just provides a flat surface for your outdoor furniture and grill. If that’s the case, we can create the deck of your dreams. However, we also can add special features to your custom deck. These features make your deck more functional and beautiful. Here are a few of the most popular options for homeowners looking for something special for their deck:

Imagine relaxing in your very own hot tub at the end of a long day at work. We can create a beautiful hot tub deck that allows you easy access to your new spa.

Add some shade to your new deck with the addition of a pergola. As an added bonus, pergolas offer a great structure for climbing plants such as ivy and various vines. So, if you love the idea of using your deck for plants, a pergola is a great option.

  • Other Plant-Friendly Features

In addition to pergolas, we can include other plant-friendly features. For example, we could include built-in planters. We can also build your deck around trees or other plants that are already part of your landscaping. Additionally, if you love to garden, we can create raised beds as part of your new deck.

  • Built-In Seating

Built-in benches, chairs, tables, and other seating can be a beautiful and functional feature to add to your deck. During the deck design process, we’ll talk to you about how you’ll use your new deck. Maybe you envision small family gatherings and intimate dinner parties. Or, maybe you like to host large reunions and gatherings. It might make sense to have one large seating area, or it might make sense to have several smaller seating areas. We’ll create a design that makes sense for your specific needs.

Multi-Level Deck Installation

Most people think about their decks as a one-level outdoor space. We can build these decks, but we can also expand the vision to include multiple levels.

A multi-level deck allows you several access points from your home. For example, you can exit from your kitchen to the lower level of your deck while also enjoying a balcony-level exit from your upstairs master bedroom.

We can create your multi-level deck using ramps, stairs, or a combination. Don’t forget the built-in lighting. As part of your custom-built deck, we can include solar lights or we can run electrical wiring for lights you can control via a switch or remote instead. These lights keep your family safe while using ramps and stairs to enjoy the multiple levels of your deck.

Building a Deck and Sunroom or Porch Combination

A deck gives you a beautiful outdoor living space to enjoy with your family. However, the weather doesn’t always allow you to spend time outside. We can create an indoor-outdoor combination space by adding on or attaching to a sunroom or screened porch.

Here are some top benefits of including a sunroom or screened porch as part of your deck project:

  • You can enjoy time “outside” even if it is raining. During the spring and fall, a porch or sunroom can also provide shelter from some chilly wind.
  • An indoor-outdoor space provides maximum shade from the sun on hot days. We can even install overhead fans to help keep the space cool.
  • You dream deck could also be a mosquito buffet if your home is near water. A porch or sunroom is a place to get some relief on especially buggy nights. For the same reason, it’s also a great place for the food during a party.
  • If your yard doesn’t have a fence, a screened porch or sunroom is a more secure play area for young children.

Keep in mind that a screened porch or sunroom will also add value to your home, as will a beautiful deck. Even if you currently have no plans to move, you will probably want to sell your home someday to either upgrade or downsize. When you’re ready, you’ll be happy for a backyard that increases the sale price.

Until then, the added equity means that you have the ability to get a home equity loan or line of credit when you need it. This money is nice to have for very large renovation projects, such as installing a new room. The FTC has some great information about home equity loans and credit lines if you’re interested in learning more.

Common Deck Mistakes Homeowners Make (and How to Avoid Them!)

As you are considering the type of deck you want, we urge you to avoid these common mistakes when hiring a custom deck builder.

First, the most common mistake we see is hiring a deck building company that isn’t licensed, insured, and experienced. We get it; a custom deck can be expensive. However, if you hire an inexperienced deck builder, your dream deck could turn into a nightmare. These companies often cut corners, which means you’ll spend twice as much to fix mistakes. They also don’t have insurance, so if anyone has an accident during construction, you could be liable. Don’t hire the first cheap company you see on Craigslist. Do your research and hire a company like Structurally Speaking. A local company strives to please its customers and relies on their recommendations to friends and family. We want your project to appeal to all of your guests and add value to your home. Read some reviews from satisfied customers to see how we value our customer service.

Another mistake we see homeowners make is not solidifying a total budget with a contract. Often, less scrupulous deck contractor companies won’t give you a contract. Then, at the end of the project they present you with a bill that is much higher than you thought it would be. Always get the total cost in writing. Here at Structurally Speaking, we don’t start a project until we are all in agreement about the price.

We also see homeowners make the mistake of hiring a deck contractor that doesn’t have experience with design. Building the deck is just one part of the project. If you know exactly what you want and have a very simple design in mind, these contractors can probably handle it. Although, you could have problems if they don’t get the appropriate permits or have insurance and a license. Some of these national companies will be leaving the area after they complete your project and will not be available if problems occur later on. Therefore, for a more complicated design or just for your peace of mind, always hire a professional with design experience. When you work with Structurally Speaking, you get the full attention of our owner Jim Brennan who has decades of decking experience. He has designed hundreds of decks and looks forward to designing yours as well. Click here to contact us today.

Be Wary of Red Flags When Finding Decking Companies Near Me

decking companies near meIf you do a simple Google search for decking companies near me online, you’ll find many options in the Raleigh area. It can be overwhelming. However, it is only through asking questions that you can find the best decking contractor for your project.

Here at Structurally Speaking, we put the homeowner first. The result? Gorgeous decks that are exactly what our customers wanted. (Yes, even if they didn’t know exactly what they wanted when we started working together!)

But don’t take our word for it. If you’re considering hiring us – or any deck builder – for an upcoming project, we encourage you to ask a lot of questions. You should feel completely comfortable with the deck company you hire. Here are a few notable red flags that should make you run the other direction when you are choosing a contractor for your new deck.

They Don’t Have Much Deck Building Experience

General contractors are a dime a dozen. If you want the best result, find a contractor that specializes in outdoor projects.

Here at Structurally Speaking, every project is overseen by Jim Brennan, who has been designing and building decks since 1999. After ten years of being a top designer for the largest deck and porch builder in the United States, Jim decided to form his own company. He based Structurally Speaking on his approach to the deck building process, which is to individually design custom decks instead of giving you a cookie cutter solution that doesn’t fully meet your needs. We have been serving the greater Raleigh community since 2008. When you buy from a local company, you know that they want satisfied customers to recommend them to friends and family. That is our goal…satisfied customers who love their new outdoor spaces.

When you hire a general contractor, they may do the work, and it may even be a good job. However, you’ll probably find that your deck isn’t taking full advantage of everything your outdoor space has to offer.

Simply put, Jim has been doing this for over 20 years. He knows exactly what questions to ask about your lifestyle, budget, and personal aesthetic to create the deck of your dreams. To us, your home deserves so much more than a slab of concrete or wood. You deserve a true outdoor living area that your entire family can enjoy.

When You Ask Questions, They Side-Step

It should be a huge red flag to you if a contractor doesn’t answer your questions directly. It typically means one of two things:

  1. They don’t know the answer and are trying to make you think they do.
  2. You might not like the answer, so they’re misleading you.

Some people talk a big game, so to speak. They are great at sales, but lacking in the knowledge department. The honest thing to do is to simply say, “I don’t know.” Otherwise, they might be giving you incorrect information. We learn new things every day. Even though we are deck building experts with more than two decades of experience, sometimes a homeowner asks us a question and we don’t know the answer. If that is the case, we’ll always tell you the truth – that we don’t know, but we will find out. We won’t sidestep a question to try to seem smarter.

It’s even more upsetting that a deck company may try to mislead you because they are worried about your reaction about something. Here’s the thing: when we talk about certain topics, especially budget, it’s a little uncomfortable. We might have to break the news to you that a certain type of wood won’t fit into your price range. Or we might have to tell you that a certain design isn’t possible.

Whatever the case may be, you can always count on us to be 100% upfront about your deck and the building process. If something isn’t possible, we’ll work together with you to find an even better solution. We believe this is the only way to ensure you are in love with your new deck at the end of the project. Ask a lot of questions! (Here are five questions we recommend to get started.)

They Push You in a Certain Direction

Don’t let any deck contractor push you around. A contractor might try to push you toward a certain decking material or design for any number of reasons. Remember, this is your home, not theirs. Your opinion is the one that matters.

The most common way a deck contractor will try to push you in a certain direction is with a tactic called “upselling.” This is when a salesperson tries to convince you to upgrade to spend more money. Often, they do this in a sneaky way by getting you to agree to small upgrades and continuing to push you more and more. Suddenly, you could find that your price quote triples, and your deck project has morphed into something you don’t even want.

Our team here at Structurally Speaking will always present you with your options, including different decking materialpergola options, built-in features like a fire pit or outdoor kitchen, screened-in porch designs, and more. However, we are always, first and foremost, conscious of your budget. If you want to go wild with a custom deck that has room for a hot tub, we’ll make it happen! What we won’t do is talk you into a hot tub that you don’t even want.

You Get No Direction at All

Although you don’t want someone to push you in a certain direction, you also need at least a little input from the contractor. A deck company should never expect you to be the designer of your own dream deck. After all, who is the expert here?

We work with many homeowners who have a good idea of what they want. In this case, we’ll still make some suggestions, which you might want to veto or which you might love. When an expert looks at your outdoor space, they probably see possibilities that you don’t. So, we’ll always give you our suggestions.

If you have no idea what you want, beyond a functional outdoor living space, we can help you as well. In this case, we’ll ask you many questions about what you like and dislike. We can even look at pictures of our past projects together to get a better sense of your personal style. Then, we’ll design your dream deck with various options.

What we’ll never do is expect you to just tell us what you want with absolutely no guidance. We’ll walk you through the design process every step of the way.

Their Deck Construction Timeline is Unclear

Over the years, we have worked on hundreds of projects. It’s a simple fact that deck and porch jobs sometimes get delayed due to unforeseen circumstances, such as poor weather. However, all decking companies near me should be able to give you at least an idea of the timeline.

When you work with Structurally Speaking, we commit to:

  • Giving you an accurate and honest timeline from the start
  • Working with your schedule to ensure that the project fits into your life with as little upheaval as possible
  • Staying in close communication about any delays, such as bad weather in the forecast
  • Showing up on time on the days we will be working, so you never have to wonder where we are

Any deck contractor you hire should be able to commit to these things as well. If someone won’t set a firm schedule/timeline with you, we recommend working with a different contractor.

They Can’t Show Proof of Insurance or a License (All Decking Companies Near Me Should Have Proof!)

When you’re comparing price quotes from several builders, you might notice one thing the cheapest companies have in common: they have no license or insurance.

In North Carolina, a contracting license is required for larger jobs. If your deck job will cost more than $30,000, it would be illegal for a deck builder to take on that job without a contractor’s license. That said, all companies need to have a regular business license, even if your deck will cost significantly less. Companies who operate without a business license are attempting to bypass certain fees and taxes that the law requires.

It’s also important that you work with an insured contractor. Insurance protects both you and the deck builder. Let’s say, for example, that one of the people working on your deck gets injured. If the company isn’t insured, they could turn around and sue you, the homeowner! While your homeowner’s insurance does protect you in some cases, it is always best to work with an insured contractor. That way, you know you’re covered and you aren’t personally at risk.

Don’t be afraid to ask for license and insurance paperwork when you are interviewing companies and collecting quotes. If they sidestep the question or say they don’t give out this information, you shouldn’t work with that company.

Additionally, we recommend never paying “under the table” for a deck job. If a contractor requests this it is because they are trying to illegally avoid paying taxes. Make sure you have a paper trail to show what you paid and when. If you’re paying with cash, have the person taking your money write out and sign a receipt.

You Don’t Have a Good Sense of What Your New Deck Will Cost

Speaking of money, our last piece of advice is to always work with a contractor who is upfront and transparent about pricing. Otherwise, you could find yourself with a surprise bill at the end of a project.

You should speak with your contractor about your budget at your initial meeting. This budget should be the driving force behind their design suggestions. At Structurally Speaking, we always have an honest conversation at the start of a deck project about budget, so we can set realistic expectations. Then, we’ll show you designs and options that fit into this budget.

A price quote from any deck builder should not be a vague range. Before any money changes hands or any work begins, make sure to set a clear expectation about the price. Sign a contract to ensure that everyone is clear about the amount due and how much you’ll pay upfront versus how much you’ll pay at the end of the project.

During the work, your total cost should not increase unless you add new features. Some companies will try to scam you by telling you that there were unforeseen issues or that the price of their materials went up. Any professional deck builder won’t have these “problems” and can complete the job on budget.

The Structurally Speaking Process

If you’ve been getting a lot of red flags with other companies, we would love to take on your project. Here’s how we work:

  • First, we sit down with you to determine your budget and what you want in a new deck. This initial consultation is completely free with no obligation to hire us.
  • Next, Jim will take this information and complete some designs custom-created for your home. He’ll sit with you to present these designs, so you can choose the best option for you.
  • Only after you’ve chosen a design you love, will we start the building process. We’ll stay within the budget and communicate closely with you. If you have any questions, we’re always available.

Jim oversees every single project to ensure the quality of the work. We don’t hand you off to a third party. Your home is important to us.

Are you ready to begin with a free consultation? There’s absolutely no obligation to sit down with Jim and discuss your decking needs. Click here to contact us today. Or, just give us a call at 919-786-4825.