5 Red Flags When Hiring Deck Builders – Durham, NC Beware!

backyard deck installerBefore you start planning your dream deck, you’ll need to find a decking contractor you can trust. Here at Structurally Speaking, we have decades of experience with the custom porch and deck design process. However, before blindly hiring us, we want to make sure you feel absolutely comfortable working with our team. When exploring options for deck builders, Durham, NC residents should ask a lot of questions and watch out for these five major red flags.

Subcontracting the Construction of Your Deck

Many large deck builders are actually just deck designers. They’ll design you a custom deck, but then contract the actual construction work to an outside team while they move on to the next project. This creates a number of problems:

  • There’s no consistency between subcontractors if the deck designer uses someone different every time. One person might have a great experience while another person has a bad experience.
  • You don’t get to vet the subcontractors to make sure their work quality is up to your standards.
  • The subcontractors might cut corners or use cheaper materials than the design promises in order to make more money. You don’t want your deck to be falling down after just a few years. We build decks that last.
  • No one from the design team is on site to ensure that the vision is carried out. Deck designs can be complicated, and subcontractors can’t always understand exactly what they are supposed to build.

Instead, work with a team like Structurally Speaking who handles the job in-house from start to finish. Our owner, Jim, will design your custom outdoor living space with top deck recommendations and then be at your home during the building process to oversee our workers.

Lack of Insurance

You might think that you homeowner’s insurance will cover any issues with your new deck, but this isn’t always the case. If a worker is hurt while building your deck, they can actually sue you if their employer doesn’t have proper insurance. Additionally, you could be on the hook if the contractors damage your property or a neighbor’s property while building your new deck. Sometimes your homeowner’s insurance will cover these unexpected expenses, but sometimes they will not.

It’s always in your best interest to work with an insured decking contractor instead. Ask for proof of insurance and call the insurance company to make sure the insurance is still valid.

Poor Reviews from Past Clients

Bad reviews can be a huge red flag. However, as companies grow, it is inevitable that not every review will be glowing. It’s important to listen to exactly what people are saying. Do they have legitimate complaints? Even more importantly, did the contractor respond? Did they work with the homeowner to fix the problem?

Sometimes mistakes happen or things are out of a contractor’s control. That said, the best deck builders will always work hard to make things right. Click here to see what our customers are saying about us!

Not Committing to a Firm Price

As you’re searching for the right decking contractor near me, you’re probably getting price quotes for your project. Not all price quotes are created equally. Sometimes the best deal can end up costing double or triple the price in the end.

With a deck quote, there’s the expectation that the price could change as you nail down the details for your unique deck design. For example, if you choose a more expensive decking material, the price is going to increase. However, once you’ve decided on all the details, your deck designer should give you a firm price for the project. They should be willing to sign a contract stating the price, and as long as you don’t make any changes along the way, that price should stand.

When hiring unethical deck builders, Durham, NC homeowners may find themselves with a giant bill at the end of the project. Worse yet, you may receive surprise bills along the way, as the price inflates little by little. At Structurally Speaking, we never do this to our clients. The price quote you get is the price you’ll pay.

No Experience Building Custom Decks

It’s a major red flag if a contractor has no experience building custom decks. We all have to start somewhere. However, most deck designers work under another design and construction team first in order to gain that valuable experience needed to design safe, beautiful decks.

Custom decks are not a beginner project for an inexperienced contractor. You may be able to build a DIY wood platform, but our custom decks are so much more. They truly reinvent your backyard space. Plus, building any kind of deck requires knowledge. Do they know if you need a permit to build the deck? (The answer depends on your exact location and size of the deck, but in most cases: yes!) Do they know how deep the footers need to be? (It depends on the deck itself, but 20+ inches is common.) Do they know how to design a deck that is safe once built?

When you work with a beginner, you may find yourself with an unstable deck that is not up to industry standards. Additionally, you may find that the deck ends up not looking good or you go over budget because there are mistakes to correct. It’s always better to work with deck builders who have experience with custom work.

FAQs About Hiring Deck Builders Durham, NC Homeowners Can Trust

We’d love to design a new custom deck for you. You can ask us any questions you have before hiring us. Here are a few FAQs to get you started:

Does my contractor need a license?

In North Carolina, the state requires a license on projects worth more than $40,000. So, it depends on the budget for your deck. It’s often the best choice to go with a licensed contractor, which indicates you’re more likely to get quality work.

How do I get a permit for my deck project?

We handle this process for you. The permit system can be difficult to navigate, so when you work with our team, we take care of it.

What is the process like when I work with your team?

We start with a no-obligation initial meeting so we can see your space, talk about what you want in a new deck, and make sure we’re the best fit for your project. Then, if you decide to move forward, we’ll design your deck and present our ideas so you can make tweaks before construction starts. Contact us today to set up your free meeting!