When it comes to a dream home, most homeowners think of a large house with a nice backyard and a deck they can look out from and either watch nature or their children play. However, to fulfill that dream of having the perfect home, potential or current homeowners need to watch out when building their decks, as there can be many problems that can occur that can later cause injury or death.
In this article, BigDecks.com covers the basics of issues that can occur and how to find the perfect deck builder.
Why is it so important to have a well-constructed deck?
It’s important to have a well-built deck because of all the injuries it can cause if it collapses. First, deck collapses are extremely dangerous and, while often resulting in minor injuries, can also result in major ones, including paralysis and death.
The growth of these incidents have skyrocketed in the last three or four years as natural storms and weather weaken and wear away at the wood, causing shoddy workmanship to fail and many people to get hurt.
The second problem is that even if your deck collapses and no one is hurt, trying to repair a deck that has collapsed is incredibly difficult and expensive, and most homeowners looking to install a deck or get their deck renovated simply don’t have the budget for that sort of repair or replacement. And if you have to replace it, getting the broken deck removed is especially difficult, as the materials can’t be lain out with the rest of the garbage to go out with the dump truck, and most junk companies that do accept large items won’t accept a deck, due to it’s large proportion and the difficulty in transport. At the very minimum, you would have to hire a contractor to come break it down and get it off your property, which is a nightmare in and of itself.
Better to get a well-constructed deck the first time to avoid damage to your house … and your wallet.
Selling the Home
The last problem is especially big to homeowners looking to rent or sell their house – if the deck is damaged or isn’t up to code, the house will be harder to sell or rent out, even as an Air BnB, because most buyers or renters will refuse to stay in it. In some cases, and in some states, attempting to sell a house with a damaged deck can be a legal issue that must be resolved before sale, due to horrendous safety issues or because a damaged deck can be constituted as junk depending on the condition, resulting in your house not passing inspection.
Either way, having a damaged or collapsed deck in your yard isn’t good, so it’s important that the deck you build or have built is sturdy and well-constructed so you don’t end up paying a pretty penny for a structure that will collapse within six months of being built.
can I build my own deck?
BigDecks.com doesn’t recommend it, and there are several reasons why the biggest and most important being that most homeowners don’t have access to the materials or processes they would need to ensure the deck and safe.
Two common problems DIY decks present are collapse and damage to the house. As sturdy as a DIY deck might look, 9 times out of 10 it is never properly designed or set up and is at extreme risk of collapse as the wood and fasteners degrade.
The other problem is only more expensive – if you don’t use the proper materials and proper methods (which aren’t readily available to the general public), the ledger that connects the deck to the house can pull away, not only damaging the wall of the house and the deck but allowing water damage to occur, which is extremely costly to remedy, often resulting in entire sections of the wall having to be removed. With that in mind, building a deck yourself isn’t a good idea, not even counting the amount of time it would take, and the necessary permits you would have to acquire.
In addition, hiring a professional will cost less money in the long term than building it yourself will, as decks are a lifetime investment and have to be built properly to last.
professional company vs. a small unknown one
Hiring a professional deck contractor is always better, and the list of reasons grows longer by the day.
For one thing, professional deck contractors will be on time with their production, and there’s no chance of them disappearing with your deposit, as some fly-by-night ‘professionals’ do.
The difference in quality workmanship is also apparent, with professional contractors being experts in design and up to date on building codes and regulations.
In addition, professional contractors can spot potential problems and address them with the homeowner, while an unknown company won’t point them out. Most contractors who work professionally in the carpentry and building field often offer liability insurance to protect the homeowner, and many more offer warranties on their work, guaranteeing peace of mind.
A good quality builder will also be able to increase the value of the design, making the deck not only more aesthetic but also raising the value of the entire property in case the homeowner ever wants to sell. Professionals in the field also have access to materials that will last much longer than someone can buy at Lowe’s or Home Depot, and higher quality tools, which often means a quicker pace and safer construction.
Finally, going with a professional contractor lessens the chances of the deck collapsing, buckling under it’s own weight, or detaching from the house because screws went through the siding, causing it to tear away. As mentioned before, many professionals also offer a warranty or a liability warranty, so if something happens to the deck, it’s easier and quicker to repair it or get it replaced (without the enormous cost paying out of pocket would put on your finances). Getting a professional company to do it also helps with peace of mind, both for you and for all your guests.
So how do I find a reputable deck contractor?
Some of the best ways are by word of mouth from friends or family, particularly if they’re someone you trust or you’ve seen the contractor’s handiwork for them firsthand.
Another option can be searching online reviews and ratings from different sources across the internet.
Other options that often aren’t used are consulting neighborhood social media platforms, where many often post good (or bad!) experiences with contractors and workers to let their neighbors know who to put their money on and who to avoid, or, if you know a good builder, they may have connections to a good deck contractor as well.
The public records office may also hold a record of any incidents that have occurred because of the work of specific companies, so it may also be possible to track down how many incidents in your area can be attributed to nearby contractors.
Now, all of those are baseline ways to find (or dismiss) contractors, but it doesn’t distinguish the good from the bad. A good and reputable deck contractor will have licensing to work in your area and insurance, as well as high reviews on the quality of his work. Someone who is also knowledgeable of the area is a good factor to look for as well, since they will have expertise in the local building codes and weather.
Once you narrow it down to one or two that you would feel comfortable contracting, all that’s left is getting multiple quotes, and comparing prices. All contractors do their work slightly differently, and you may find you prefer one’s process over another, so don’t be afraid to ask for multiple quotes and ask around.
The best way to get a professional deck is to hire a professional contractor who can provide top-quality work. It may seem tempting to try that shack across the street that offered to build it or to do it yourself to save money, but both of those paths are traps, draining your wallet of money as the problems continue to rack up with no foreseeable end in sight.
Getting it done correctly the first time can do so much more for your house than a poorly done one will, and done correctly, it can last years, as well as enhance the surrounding areas with looks. And you get more living space, which can be a big deal if you don’t have a large backyard or a patio and want some more space where you might be able to barbeque, or have a small party with friends to hang out and drink some wine.
Whatever deck you’re looking for, there are options out there that suit your specific needs, and BigDecks.com is ready to create the deck of your dreams for you. Call \to speak to one of our representatives and learn more about building your perfect deck.