Decks and porches that are built of wood do not last forever, but they will last much longer if they are treated properly. If your deck has seen better days, it may not be in your best interest to try to save it if the wood is beyond help. It is far better, safer and in the long run cheaper to hire a professional deck builder and have a new one put on and then properly care for it before an accident occurs.
What to Look For in a Professional Deck Builder:
- Certification as a professional.
- A license to provide professional services in Florida.
- Excellent references and professional referrals.
- Experience with this type of project or supervision of an experienced deck builder.
Additional questions to ask:
- Are you bonded and insured?
- How many employees do you have?
- How many people will work on this project?
- Do you give written estimates? And, do you guarantee that your final price will not exceed 20% more than this estimate?
- How long will this project take?
- What happens to excess materials after the project is over?
- Do you use green practices wherever possible?
Once the project is hired out and started, make sure that the movement in the work area is kept to a minimum for the safety of everyone involved. This also cuts down on the delays to the workers as well. Address any problems you notice with the crew chief before they get out of hand.
- During the project, make sure the workers can use the restroom as needed.
- Offer cool drinks or coffee, although most workers will bring their own.
- Make sure that clean-up is being done on a daily basis.
After the project is completed, make sure that you get a written warranty that will cover the workmanship of the deck as well as the materials. Ask the deck builder for recommendations about the future care and preservation of your deck, including how to clean it and how often it should be treated. Other questions you might be curious about with your deck could include:
- What is the maximum weight bearing of this deck?
- Are there any products that you recommend that I do not use on this deck?
- Can I stain or paint this deck if I want to change its look without hurting its durability?