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.

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!