A perfect union of indoor and outdoor environments, a deck not only enhances your social life and family togetherness time, it can add significantly to the resale value of your home. If you live in a temperate climate that's ideal for outdoor dining and entertaining, you'll be able to enjoy your deck for most of the year. Deck construction is not intrusive. The mess remains outdoors, making the inconvenience minimal. Problems will arise, however, if you attempt to build the deck yourself without proper knowledge or if you don't know what to expect from the deck and patio builder you hire.
Knowing what you want, where and how to find the right builders, and what to expect from them will make your deck project go smoothly. Home improvement businesses in Atlanta specialize in many areas, such as concrete decks, wooden decks, or patios, among many others. Find profiles of qualified local deck & patio builders on Kudzu.com.
Follow this checklist to hire the one that's right for your job...
Check a company's previous deck installations
Look at photos of a company's work, which often are available on the company's website. This will help you decide what you want and whether they will be able to deliver.
How will you use your deck?
Deck options are nearly limitless — they can have multiple levels, detailed railings, stairs, ramps, benches and planters. They can be covered or screened in, landscaped or cut to fit a hot tub.
Decide whether you'll use your deck for quiet family dinners, sunbathing, cooling off or hosting blowout parties. See whether a company's previous jobs jive with your style and expectations for your own deck.
Ask for a deck builder's references
It's not unusual for deck and patio builders to have references handy. Don’t be afraid to ask for them.
Once you've found a few companies you may be interested in hiring, visit the Better Business Bureau to learn more about them and whether they have a history of complaints from customers.
Know the patio builder's specialty
Often, deck and patio builders also can finish a basement or build a sunroom, kitchen or other addition, such as a screened-in porch. Make sure your builder has significant experience in the type of deck or patio project you want.
Get an estimate and plan ahead
Most companies provide free estimates with no obligation. Removing an old deck or adding privacy screening or any other embellishments to a flat surface will add to the cost of your deck project.
Be aware, homeowners often complain of long waiting periods before construction begins. So, plan ahead or prepare to be patient.
Educate yourself on deck maintenance
Most decks are exposed to foot traffic, baking sun, pounding rain and, in Atlanta, the rare snowfall. Water retention and rot will alter your deck's appearance, so many experts recommend that you treat your deck annually with a sealer-preservative.
If your deck develops a mossy patina, scrub it with a mild bleach solution (wear gloves and eye protection) and restore its color with a deck-brightening solution. If nails pop up, try either hammering them back in or replacing them with corrosion-resistant deck screws.
Do it yourself?
If you're finding estimates too exorbitant, or a backlog of deck companies' previous engagements is forcing you to wait months for construction to begin, you could consider building a deck yourself.
Only consider this option if you are extremely handy. Deck wood must be cut precisely and it must account for the inevitable expanding and contracting that happens over time. You might also consider hosting a deck party, inviting friends and family over for food and drink in exchange for some of their elbow grease when it's time to build.