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