Building a deck requires many different steps, from dreaming and planning, through to design and installation. Your deck builder brings their expertise and experience to the table in the design stage, and the partnership between homeowner and contractor is what separates the amazing backyard living space from your average deck. Find out how to work through this vital step to transform your outdoor area into a comfortable, valuable space.
Communication Is Key
Besides looking at their credentials and examining their craftsmanship, homeowners need to rate potential deck builders on their communication skills. Your contractor needs to understand your vision for the project, and be able to translate that dream into a workable design that suits your house and property.
Good communication skills are a must.
Plan to have several meetings or conversations with your contractor before the final design is hammered out. Some of these interactions can be done via email, with electronic designs and documents passing between homeowner and contractor with mark ups and comments. But at least one or two of the meetings must be onsite, in order to properly address concerns about grading, exposure and access.
Most homeowners have little experience in deck building or outdoor construction. Remember to acknowledge and respect the experience your Northern Virginia deck builder brings to the table.
An expert contractor can listen to the initial description of your dream deck with an open mind. They will take that vision and apply it to the realities of your property. Several factors affect the design and construction aspects, yet have little to do with the overall appearance of your deck. Experienced contractors will take care of those aspects for you, but if alterations to the design are required, the homeowner needs to trust that expertise.
Some common examples include:
- Railings – depending on the grade of your yard, railings may or may not be required, despite your initial vision
- Stairs – again, depending on your grade, the number and placement of deck stairs may have to be altered in order to create a safe, comfortable deck
- Posts and Framing – this changes based on the contractor’s preferred style of framing and the local building codes. The contractor should let you know the location of posts (this is especially important in a walkout deck) and style of framing. Odd sizes and shapes affect the framing design, which might alter your view from certain angles.
- Skirting – this feature encloses the underside of your deck to keep out critters and create a tidier appearance, but when your deck is more than 24-inches off of the ground, skirting costs sky-rocket. Depending on the grading and location of the skirting, this design feature might need to be altered.
Northern Virginia homeowners need to hire an experienced deck builder with excellent communication skills. Expect to have several meetings and discussions about the design and respect the contractor’s expertise with structural elements. When all parties work together to create a quality built outdoor living space, the final result is something everyone can be proud of.