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.

Make Your World More Relaxing – Create a Deck with Hot Tub

deck with hot tubIf you’re feeling a bit stressed and wondering if adding a deck with hot tub to your world may help, you’re not alone. A spa with flowing water may be exactly what you need for a sense of well-being and peace. In fact, Herman Melville acknowledges our intrinsic attraction to this liquid gold in Moby Dick.

“…whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can…”

Likely, the allure of water began with time itself. Initially, it was a matter of survival. Civilizations popped up around oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. The flowing waters within are essential to life. Moreover, water calms us; it invigorates us. Notably, the word spa comes from the Latin “salas per aquam”. Literally, this means “health from water.” Hot tubs of one sort or another have been used since ancient times, and the three ways in which they heal the body have remained consistent.

More importantly, the soothing effects of water keep us from “methodically knocking people’s hats off.” While Structurally Speaking certainly doesn’t agree with knocking accessories off of each other, we would like to knock your socks off with our creative hot tub deck design!

A Deck with Hot Tub is Delightful

Obviously, we can’t install the sea into your backyard. However, we can make your outdoor space delightful all the same. Trust us, if we could bring the ocean to you, we would. Although, if you combine a deck with hot tub fun, it makes your outdoor living space a soothing water wonderland.

Before we get into the details of designing a hot tub deck, let’s consider how a spa deck enhances your enjoyment of outdoor space. First, think about how you use your outdoor space. We find that many of our clients have three common goals.

The Real Way to Relax

Whether you have a patio, wood deck, concrete pad or just a small backyard, being outside seems to soothe the soul. Getting up early and heading outside to hear the birds welcome the morning is a peaceful way to begin your day. Similarly, it’s a fabulous way to decompress and end it as well. Lounge on your outdoor furniture as the sun sinks sleepily into the horizon. Let the stress and worries of the day set with it. Read a book; enjoy some music. Or, simply sit and watch the fireflies as the sound of nature plays in the background.

Enjoy Entertaining

Perhaps, you prefer to share these entertaining moments with others. Joining friends and family in your yard space is a great way to do that. Especially, this is true now that many more folks are gathering in their yard rather than indoors. Gathering on outdoor furniture and chatting is a safe way to enjoy each other’s company. Or, playing a round of cards, board games or yard games is a perfect way to enjoy your existing deck, patio or backyard deck. Adding an outdoor hot tub to that idea makes it even more entertaining and relaxing.

Beautify Your Outdoor Living Space

Sometimes, creating an outdoor oasis is simply about enhancing the beauty of your home. We tend to focus on the inside. Extending the ambiance outdoors creates an even more pleasing environment. Plus, adding aesthetics to your yard increases the value of your house. Therefore, if you ever wish to sell, your addition will pay off. Not only is it an investment that you can enjoy while you’re there, future homeowners will appreciate your efforts as well. Hot tub installation increases this value even further.

Creative Work Space

Moreover, we’ve also noticed a new goal our clients desire. Obviously, the trend of working-from-home is on the rise. Even when our world gets back to some sort of normalcy, many people enjoy this opportunity. Having the option to work outside on the perfect deck is a useful way to add a square foot or two to your work space. Better yet, a deck with hot tub waiting for you to hop in for a quick break is a fabulous job perk!

Common Hot Tub Deck Questions

Next, let’s address a few questions that our clients have about their hot tub deck. Foremost, can you put hot tub on decking? The short answer is absolutely! However, you do need a professional who understands how to properly reinforce a deck to support the weight of the hot tub once water is in it. An existing deck may have older boards that are rotting. Rotting wood could collapse under the weight. Additionally, your existing deck may not be built to code which means excess weight could be dangerous.

Fortunately, our team at Structurally Speaking has decades of experience in deck design and can find issues that may exist. Likewise, we use our expertise to adjust your existing deck if needed. While we thrive on creative design, safety is our most important goal.

Similarly, you may wonder what size hot tub will best match your needs? Often, this boils down to your outdoor space, patio or deck size. Personal preference and budget also come into play. Speaking of budget, that’s generally a good place to start and then you can work backwards. After all, once you know how much you want to spend, it’s easier to narrow down what may work best.

The Process of Designing and Building Your Hot Tub Deck

During our free consultation, we go over these questions and more. In fact, we have an entire process to make sure that we meet your needs from start to finish.

We begin with an initial free consultation. This meeting is the most important step — it allows us to lay the groundwork for a successful construction project. During this detailed consultation, we go through a series of questions and examples. Likewise, we focus on finding the specific functional and aesthetic goals you want to meet. Getting to know you individually helps us get a better feel for what you need and want.

After taking extensive measurements and photographs, we take a physical survey of the area and the home itself. This process also includes the impact the project will have on the interior view from the home. Then, we take time to discuss your budget, making sure all parties have a realistic idea of what to expect. If everybody agrees, we schedule a second meeting.

This second meeting is your design presentation. At this point, we complete a review of your functional and aesthetic goals of the building project, ensuring we meet your needs and desires. Our owner, Jim Brennan, offers you at least two design recommendations, which are scaled drawings that show all elevations and viewpoints.

These scaled drawings are done with a laptop computer which allows you to actually visualize the drawings in three-dimensional clarity. After discussing these recommendations, you choose the design you like the most. At that point, you and the designer will make any changes needed, until it is the exact design you envision on your home. Then, and only then, a decision is made as whether or not to do business and move to the next step.

Once you verify changes and agree on the design, we move forward to project construction. From the moment our specialists arrive on your property to the minute we leave, Structurally Speaking promises to be thorough, attentive and respectful of your property. We strive to minimize the intrusion that home construction projects are to you and your family’s lives — we will do everything it takes to expedite the creation of your deck.

Types of Hot Tubs

Finally, let’s get to the fun stuff! Before your meeting, it may help to have an idea of all the hot tub options available. You’ve probably heard of many of the manufacturers. Just a few include Bullfrog Spas, Jacuzzi, Caldera Spas and Thermo Spas. They each have a wide variety of thrilling choices to choose from.

Before you get too ahead of yourself in all these varieties, think first about what size spa you’d like to have. This depends on a few criteria. First, think about how many folks you wish to have in the spa at one time. Hot tub owners sometimes prefer a cozy 2-person bubbly addition or want to go for larger fun that fits up to 8 people at a time. Second, consider each square foot your spa will take up. Make sure you’ll still have room for other activities in your outdoor space. Third, your budget may affect how large a spa you wish to purchase. If you’re not sure what you want yet, don’t worry. We can help!

Then, decide on the shape and how your spa will rest on your patio or decking. The most traditional shapes are a square or round hot tub. However, more unique shapes are available. Next, determine what sort of hot tub platform you’ll use for your new hot tub. Will you opt for a sunken hot tub or do you prefer for it to rest on your main deck floor?

To spark some design ideas, be sure to check out our gallery of past projects!

Fun Additions to Your Deck

Similarly, think about your deck as whole and other enhancements you can make to the design. For instance, a pergola is a great way to add a little shade and class to your wooden deck. Or, a fire pit to keep you toasty when you hop out of the spa is a great addition for cooler months. Plus, it’s fabulous for s’mores, hot dogs and other delightful activities year-round. Similarly, built-in benches are a great addition. They provide extra space to place towels or guests who decide not to soak!

Think about the overall look as well. You may want the design of an elevated deck that not only adds space but breaks the visual monotony of a one-level deck. Deck lighting comes into play as well. Not only is it visually pleasing, it adds to safety. For instance, lights near each stair make walking safer in the evening. Especially, this is true with slippery, wet feet that have been soaking in the spa!

Finally, consider even the smallest touches. Add some speakers for surround sound. Or, hang some windchimes to sway and sing in the gentle breezes. Planters, string lighting, candles…there are all sorts of fun and useful décor items to enhance your space!

Now that you have all these fabulous ideas, it’s time to find the perfect deck builder!

Choose Expert Project Management in the Triangle Area

Structurally Speaking is one of the leaders. For over a decade, our owner Jim Brennan has provided Raleigh-area homeowners with exceptionally designed construction. His hands-on assistance and the quality of our carpenters is a hallmark of Structurally Speaking and our work.

Jim personally oversees every home improvement project we take on and our excellent builders have worked with him for years. He recognizes that he is responsible for design, construction and overall execution!

Additionally, our team also provides assistance to clients dealing with local homeowner associations and building codes. We help prepare any drawings and other necessary documents regarding materials or appearance. Needless to say, we also acquire all necessary permits.

So, give us a call at 919-786-4825 and we can help bring a little less stress and bit of “salas per aquam” to your world!

5 Questions to Find the Best Decking Contractors Near Me

Decking contractors near me

When hiring decking contractors near me, what sets apart one contractor from another? And how can you pick the options for your deck project? Let’s talk about five questions every homeowner needs to consider when hiring a deck builder.

Which Decking Contractors Near Me Offer Custom-Designed Decks?

First, consider which deck contractor will be able to take your vision and bring it to life? And what if you don’t know what you want, beyond a beautiful outdoor living space?

Here at Structurally Speaking, owner Jim Brennan personally oversees every project from start to finish. He’ll meet with you to discuss your needs and see your outdoor space, design your deck, and oversee the building team. If you have an idea of what you want, Jim will help you achieve your goals. On the other hand, if you’re not sure what you want, Jim can explain your options. His decades of expertise in this field will always provide you with your dream deck…no matter what your dream envisions!

Our decks can be simple or elaborate. Here are just a few of the different projects we’ve designed and completed in the past:

  • Multi-level decks
  • Second-story decks with stairs leading down to your yards
  • Decks with pergolas
  • Small decks for limited spaces
  • Hot tub decks
  • Decks that are built around landscape features, such as trees
  • Combination deck/sunrooms
  • Decks with built-in benches
  • Gardener-friendly decks with built-in planters
  • Decks around a pool

Your custom deck will take advantage of all your home and garden’s unique features when it is designed by Structurally Speaking.

When designing your new deck, here are a few things Jim and our team will keep in mind:

  • What is the primary use for your deck and which family members will use it most often?
  • Will you need built-in seating for large parties? Or will you need areas where seating arrangements can be created with stand-alone furniture pieces?
  • What kind of maintenance and upkeep are you willing to do?
  • Are there any mobility issues for yourself or guests that necessitate ramps, wider stairs, etc.?
  • Do you have an existing porch, patio, or deck that needs to be demolished or incorporated into the design?
  • What direction does your home face? (i.e., when and how much sun will your deck get?)
  • Do you have a pool, hot tub, or water feature you’d like to incorporate?
  • Is it important to you that we include a fire pit or fire table area?
  • What kind of railing do you want (and what do you need to keep your family safe)?
  • Are you interested in a wood deck, a composite deck, or another material?
  • Do you have existing outdoor furniture or elements that you want us to incorporate into the deck design?
  • Will you need new doors added to your home to access the deck?
  • Do you have any construction challenges, such as an extremely sloped yard?
  • Does the deck design need to incorporate built-in lights, or will you make use of existing outdoor lights?
  • Do you want space for outdoor cooking and grilling?
  • What is the overall aesthetic of your home?

This isn’t a complete list, but don’t be intimidated. We’ll walk you through all the options in terms of size, color, materials, and more during the initial consultation.

After the initial consultation, we’ll do a design presentation with at least two different design recommendations. These are scaled drawings that show different elevations and viewpoints. You get a chance to discuss the advantages of each option, as well as make any changes.

You won’t get this kind of back and forth with every deck builder. With other contractors, you might have fewer options for customization. In fact, some only offer cookie-cutter decking solutions. Will you really use your new outdoor space if it isn’t designed well? A custom solution gives you more bang for your buck. It’s why we are a top deck contractor in the Triad area!

How Much Will My New Deck Cost?

Every deck builder has their own way of calculating how much your deck project will cost. However, when you work with the Structurally Speaking team, we don’t start with a design and then determine the budget. Instead, we start with your budget and create a design that falls within it.

Speaking about your budget will be part of our initial consultation. If you have a limited budget, don’t worry! We can still help you build the deck of your dreams. In this case, we’ll look for ways to save money while maintaining the unique deck elements that are important to you.

For example, maybe you are willing to consider a smaller deck, as long as it still has enough room for seating your family.

Or, as another example, maybe you go for the bigger deck but a less expensive material and standard decking color, instead of a material that is fully customized and more expensive.

We’ll go over every design element so we can gauge what is most important to you. Then, we’ll design a deck that perfectly fits your budget and your wish list.

Keep in mind that when you work with the Structurally Speaking team for your custom deck, we don’t present you with a surprise bill at the end of the project. You’ll know exactly how much your deck will cost before we start building it. We don’t magically find ways to inflate your bill during the project as some contractors do. The number we quote is the price you pay.

We have relationships with many manufacturers, so we’re able to offer competitive pricing. We pass on any savings to you, so you’ll be able to get a new deck without breaking the bank.

Will My Deck Project Be Well-Managed?

Deck building is our passion. We don’t sell you on a design and then pass off the project to an independent general contractor, as is the case with some companies. When you hire Structurally Speaking, you hire our in-house team. We’ll be the ones completing the construction part of the project.

This is part of the reason why it’s so important to hire a local team for the job. Larger national companies generally have subcontractor teams that take over when the sales team is done. The problem with this is that the sales team might not know much about decking design. They just know how to convince you to sign on the dotted line. At the same time, the general contractor team doesn’t know what the sales team promised. They aren’t invested in making sure the customer, is happy. They simply build what they are told.

And if they can cut corners, they often do. Subcontractors are paid a set fee to do the work, and this pay rate is often low. So, they cut corners in order to take home more money. They might buy lower-quality supplies, rush the work, or skip important steps. As a result, many homeowners who work with larger decking companies find that they need a deck replacement after just a few years.

At Structurally Speaking, Jim oversees every project to make sure it is done right and you are happy with the results. We never cut corners to make a job go faster, and our number one concern is ensuring your deck is safe, functional, and beautiful. You won’t need to replace your Structurally Speaking deck for decades after it is built.

Can the Contractor Help Me if a Deck isn’t the Best Option?

Sometimes, you might start out thinking that you want a deck. However, once you really think about it, you might want a screened porchthree season porch, or sunroom instead. If this is the case, can the contractor you choose help you?

If you hire Structurally Speaking, the answer is yes! We have experiences with all types of decks and porches. Our goal isn’t to design your deck; it’s to design your perfect outdoor living space. Sometimes, once we start talking, we determine that a deck isn’t the best choice. Or, we do a dual deck/sunroom combination.

Your outdoor living space needs to fit your family’s needs. So, if you hire a custom deck builder who isn’t flexible, you may find yourself with an end product that you don’t really use.

Which Local Deck Contractor Provides the Best Customer Service?

Our overall recommendation is to interview several potential custom deck builder companies and find the one that provides you with the best customer service. Most other issues can be handled if you have a design and building team dedicated to making you happy. Here’s how we go above and beyond for our customers:

  • We stay in close contact during your project. You never have to wonder what’s going on, and you can call any time if you have a question.
  • When we set a timeline, we stick to it. Obviously, when speaking about outdoor work, Mother Nature sometimes has other plans. However, we always stay in close communication. During the building process, our team shows up on time, so you don’t have to sit around wondering where we are or if we are coming that day.
  • We love your input. We don’t have pre-set designs that we use for every homeowner. Your home and yard are unique, so your deck should be unique too. (Don’t worry if you don’t know what you want initially. We’ll walk you through it.)
  • If needed, we’ll do the paperwork for you. Some projects require approval from a homeowners’ association or even a permit from the city. We know exactly how to deal with these needs to ensure that your deck building project is completed without any problems.
  • We’ll hunt down those special materials you really want. If you have your heart set on something, we’ll make it happen.
  • If you aren’t happy about something, we’ll make it right. At the end of the project, you should completely love your new deck.

We take pride in providing top-quality customer service every step of the way. In fact, here’s what one of our customers had to say about working with our team:

“Now that our deck is complete, I want to thank you and your team for the high level of craftsmanship and professionalism. We gave you a tight deadline for completion of the deck before a major social event and your team hit the target perfectly. The back and forth exchange of ideas and suggestions for the materials and design were most productive and our collaboration produced a beautiful deck area. As you know we connected immediately with the sense we could work well together and the whole process was well-explained and executed to perfection. The experience you possess showed itself many times over from the easy inspection approval to the look of the deck design from all viewpoints. Your crew was hard-working and very highly skilled…a rare combination that shows in the final product. Thanks for a great job and many more beautiful decks are in your future, we are certain.” – Rob and Sheila Roszell

You can read more customer reviews here.

How to Get Started

If you’re ready to start on your custom deck design, click here to contact us. Jim is happy to speak with you in a no-obligation consultation, in order to determine the best option for your home.

In the Raleigh Area – Choose The Best Deck Builders Near Me

deck builders near meNorth Carolina summers are some of the best in the world. From long days to warm air, there is so much to be enjoyed outdoors. So, why waste the whole summer stuck indoors? Make a new deck the center of your family’s outdoor living. If you’re looking for the best deck builders near me then look no further. Structurally Speaking is experienced in designing and building custom decks for Triangle-area residents. In fact, Structurally Speaking has been the Triangle area’s leading deck building contractor for more than a decade. So, get your free, no-obligation quote today. Or, give them a call to see how they can help bring your dream deck to life.

What to Look for in a Deck Contractor

Maybe you have an old deck that is too unsafe or worn out to be enjoyed. Or, maybe your house doesn’t have a deck at all but you’ve always wanted one. Either way, Structurally Speaking has the deck contractors to bring your dream deck to life. Many decks in North Carolina are beginning to show their age. Chances are if your deck is not in great shape, remodeling is out of the question. But the experts at Structurally Speaking can help on every project all the way from deck design to deck construction. 

So, what should you look for in a deck builder? In many ways, the same things you should look for in any contractor. Start by asking friends and neighbors about the experiences they may have had. Next, check out the reviews about a company online. This is one of the great things about our online access today. There is a ton of information just a few clicks away. These reviews will give you a good idea of what to expect. Finally, you should talk to the company on the phone, or better yet, in person. Any good general contractor will earn a lot of trust just in the way they treat you. They should be able to explain every aspect of the project, from design to construction. And they should be able to explain the benefits of all decking options, including wood and composite lumber.

The Best Deck Builders Near Me

From courtesy and respect to expertise, Structurally Speaking has what you’re looking for. They have the best deck builders near me for good reason. It all starts with the right approach. After all, deck building should be fun, not stressful! At least, that’s what Structurally Speaking believes. So, they make the entire process fun and enjoyable. And their highly professional team will leave no detail to chance. Plus, Structurally Speaking is family-owned, so you’ll be supporting a local company. Don’t let some national firm handle such an important project. Trust your local deck builder to get the job done right. You can even check out their gallery of completed projects to get an idea of their capabilities.

They believe that the best recommendations they can get is from other satisfied customers. That’s why they have dedicated a portion of their website to letting customers leave honest reviews. It’s one of the reasons they go above and beyond with each project. They know that customers have a choice when it comes to hiring a contractor. That’s why they strive to earn business from each and every customer. So, check out their many highly-rated reviews to see how they’ve helped other local customers.

What is a Composite Deck?

Composite decking is a regular deck that offers a number of benefits over traditional wood decks. Wood decks require a lot of maintenance and our busy lives demand easy-to-care-for materials. Instead of spending time sanding and refinishing a wooden deck, most people prefer to be enjoying a low-maintenance deck. A composite deck uses composite lumber, which is a mixture of wood fiber, plastic and a binding agent. Put together, these materials become stronger, denser, and heavier than ordinary wood. Over the past three decades, this has become a very popular and valuable material for deck building.

Benefits of a composite deck include:

  • Durability—composite decking is designed specifically for maximum durability. Unlike wood, composite decking will not fade, stain, get scratched, or grow mold. Plus, it won’t crack, warp, or produce annoying or painful splinters. That makes it an extremely good choice for families with kids and pets. Because they resist these things, they also last a very long time.
  • Low Maintenance—a wood deck requires a lot of upkeep to remain safe and attractive. A composite deck, on the other hand, does not need most of this same type of maintenance. For instance, composite deck owners do not need to worry about staining, painting, or sanding. All they ever need is the occasional rinse with soap and water. In fact, most composite decks hold their color against fading and staining for up to 25 years.
  • Aesthetics—choose from rich wood grains or saturated colors. These decks come in a range of styles, so they will match your home and your desired look.
  • Sustainability—get the look and feel of wood without the environmental impact. This lumber is made from recycled content, so it is very green and environmentally-friendly.
  • Value—a composite deck can cost more than a wood deck. However, they last much longer. Plus, there are no maintenance costs. So, a composite deck is the more value-conscious choice. In fact, they can pay for themselves in under 10 years.
  • Return on Investment—adding a deck to your home immediately increases the value of your home. When it comes time to sell, you will receive a solid return on your investment.

What is the Right Size Deck for Me?

Your dream deck should be exactly what you want it to be. Maybe you want the look and feel of a traditional wood deck. Or, maybe you’d prefer the ease and sustainability of composite decking. Maybe your family is one that spends a ton of time outdoors, especially when the weather is good. You want to use your deck as the center of your outdoor living space for years to come. No matter what you have in mind, the experts at Structurally Speaking can help build the custom deck of your dreams. Their builders are highly skilled in all materials and installation techniques and tools.

But what size of deck is right for your family? Of course, that depends greatly on what each homeowner wants to get out of their new deck. Luckily, Structurally Speaking has the expertise to help. In fact, they can guide you through the design as well as building every project. Some things to consider when determining the right size include:

  • How many people will you likely entertain on your new deck at one time?
  • What activities will your family use the deck for?
  • Will the deck be an occasional or constant outdoor living area?
  • Is it a place where you will watch the game or movies?
  • Would you like a kitchen, cooking area, or fireplace on your deck?
  • What about a hot tub or pergola? There are many options, such as stairways and built-in seating areas.

Once you have a rough idea of what you will use the deck for, it will make it easier to decide on size. For illustrative purposes, however, a 144 square foot deck comfortably fits a table and chairs for 4-6 people. If you want to up that capacity to 10-12 people, you’ll want to double the space to 288 square feet. For more activities, you’ll want to go even bigger. But Structurally Speaking can help you decide. Another factor is the size and shape of your home. The deck should be in proportion to the size of the home and complement the style and design.

How to Entertain Outdoors

Does your family enjoy outdoor living? Or, maybe you only get to enjoy it a few times a year. Well, why not make the fun last year-round? Most people think of decks only as a place to sit and enjoy the weather. But they can be so much more than that! Check out just a few ways to turn up the fun this summer with a new deck from Structurally Speaking below.

  1. Enjoy your next game night under the stars. Game nights are tons of fun, no matter who’s involved. Plus, it’s a great way for kids and adults alike to bond and make some great memories. Well, how about accomplishing all that while enjoying the sunset and the warm evening air? Your new deck will likely have an outdoor table. After dinner, clear out the dishes and bring on the games. You’ll have endless hours of fun all summer long.
  2. Set up an outdoor movie night for friends, family, and neighbors. What could be better than watching a fun, family movie? Doing it outdoors! With a new deck, this dream is well within reach. All it takes is a projector, which can be had for a couple hundred dollars—or even less. Set up the projector with an old favorite or a new movie and entertain everyone on the block. For a screen, you can either buy one or use a white sheet.
  3. Lounge around in comfortable, creative spaces. The summer is all about relaxation, sun, and fun. A new deck provides all three. Don’t waste the glorious sunshine summer months indoors watching TV. Set up a great lounging space with outdoor couches, chairs, and more. It’ll be the perfect place for everyone in the family to hang out and have fun, together.

Trust the Process

Structurally Speaking uses a three-step process on each and every project:

  1. Initial Consultation—every job includes a free, no-obligation consultation with owner Jim Brennan. Jim insists on meeting every client personally to demonstrate his respect and the importance of every client. During the consultation, Jim works to understand your specific goals for your new deck. He will ask a series of questions to help discover your desired look and functional goals. At the same meeting, the Structurally Speaking team will measure, take pictures, and take a physical survey of your yard. They will also discuss your budget and what sort of timeline you are looking at.
  2. Design Presentation—all the planning and talking can be helpful. But even more helpful is actually seeing the project. Luckily, you can, with Structurally Speaking’s sophisticated design software. They use leading technology to render three-dimensional graphics of the possibilities. Plus, they will present at least 2 options based on your desires. So, you will have choices as to which of the options best suits your needs. And every presentation includes a scaled drawing showing all elevations and viewpoints. Have a clear understanding of how the project will look before construction ever begins.
  3. Project Construction—this is where the fun really begins. Structurally Speaking takes a professional approach on every job. And they seek to make it as enjoyable and stress-free as possible for customers. This means being thorough, respectful, and attentive on every project. Best of all, they know that this type of construction can be intrusive. So, they make it a point to minimize this intrusion as much as possible. That way, your family can carry on with its normal, everyday life. Have a homeowner’s association that requires paperwork? They can help with permits, and other required documents.

Schedule Your Design Consultation Today

Structurally Speaking was founded in 2008 with the goal of helping Triangle-area homeowners. When it comes to building local projects, the national companies are there to make a big profit and move on. Local contractors want you to refer them to your friends and family. That’s why Structurally Speaking takes a customer-first approach to each and every project. And Structurally Speaking knows the Triangle area better than any other deck builder. So, they know the types of styles, designs, and materials that work best in the area. In fact, they have many satisfied customers throughout Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Chapel Hill, Wake Forest, Apex, Hillsborough, Carrboro, Holly Springs, and beyond.

Interested in learning more or even taking the first step? All it takes is filling out their easy-to-use contact form to get things rolling. Just provide your name, contact information, and preferred date and time. They will work to schedule your consultation. Not ready to take the step just yet? Or, maybe you have a question or two before you’re ready? You can also leave a question or comment on the form. They will contact you personally within 48 hours with an answer.

So, give the experts a call at 919-786-4825 to get started on your dream deck today!