Here you sit in Calgary and want to make some changes to your deck. Perhaps you want to add it as a new feature to your home, modify something you already have, or do a tear out and rebuild. Your problem is knowing how to find a reliable contractor that will do the job correctly.
Deck Building Credentials
The best place to start is by verifying that the contractor has met all the legal requirements. That may be a business license, bonding, or other criteria.
Insurance is one of the critical elements. They should have general liability coverage and workers’ compensation at a minimum. You should ask to see a copy of the insurance certificate and make note of the limits. Then it is not a bad idea to give your homeowner’s insurance agent a quick call and find out from them what your liability might be should something go awry.
After you have narrowed down your choices, check references. Don’t rely on the testimonials on the website. Ask for names and addresses so that you can check out the workmanship. At that time you can also chat with the homeowner to see how they felt about the job. Ask about any snags that happened (and there usually are a few) and how the contractor dealt with the problems. If the deck has been there for a few years, see how it has held up under the Calgary weather.
A good contractor will know all of the regulations around building a deck in Calgary. It probably means securing the permits, and the contractor should take care of that detail. Be sure they contact the utility companies and arrange for any inspections necessary.
Don’t agree to any work without a written contract. This should include payment terms.
Range of Deck Building Services
Most builders will have a preference of materials, but some only work with specific types like composite. Selecting a contractor that is uncomfortable with the materials can be problematic. Unless you are positive about the type of wood you want, be sure your contractor can provide you with a list of options and explain the benefits and disadvantages of each. You should be able to make a good decision based on your needs and budget. Some will offer extras like lighting, custom seating and planting options.
At the end of the design phase, ask yourself if it is really what you want and will it work for your lifestyle. Having two or three estimates and designs to choose from should make the decision easier. Making changes during the building can mean added costs, delays and other complications. Also find out about any mess that might be involved during the process like where the materials will be stored, noise, whether it will mean relocating items like a satellite dish, cables or sprinkler system.