Decking – whether traditional timber or long-lasting wood composite – is an investment and hopefully one that will last you for many years. As such, you not only need to make sure you choose the right style, colour, and material, but also that you select the best contractor for the job. Getting this right will provide you with the peace of mind that your new decking is in good hands.
To help you make the right decision, here are a few guidelines that will hopefully point you in the right direction.
Firstly, plan your decked area
Before you start looking for a contractor, it is a good idea to have a plan for your new decked area. Here are a few factors you should consider:
Many people chose to have decking adjacent to their homes, creating additional living space and bringing the outside in. However, there may be an area of your garden that has the sun all day and you would like to make the most of it. Why is this important? Well, it may have an impact on the cost and length of the project.
How big would you like your decked area?
It is a good idea to have a think about how you plan to use your new decked area. For example, what sized furniture would you like? Will a BBQ be on display all year round? All these considerations will have a bearing on the size of your decking. The size with then have an impact on the cost of your new decking, both in terms of materials and labour, and it is good to be forewarned of this when looking for a contractor.
It is a good idea to have a rough idea of your budget. This will enable you to be realistic in terms of what you can achieve and hopefully help you not to be drawn into spending more than you want to!
There are myriad materials on the market for you to choose from, from traditional timber and PVC to quality, long-lasting Wood Composite Plastic. Which you choose will be dependent on what you’re looking for. For example, Wood Composite Plastic decking is long-lasting, slip resistant, rot resistance and virtually maintenance free, whilst timber decking looks attractive but requires regular maintenance and can become slippery when wet. Again, your choice will affect the initial cost of the project, as well as the ongoing costs of maintaining your decking.
In short, make sure you do your research before you start!
How to find and choose the best installer for you
Once you have decided on where you would like your decking, what material you would like to use, and style, you can start looking for a contractor. But what is the best way to find an installer? Here are a few ideas:
A contractor’s website is a great way of gaining an insight into their company. It should include information about who they are, they qualifications and experience, and projects they have worked on in the past. This should give you a good idea of whether you like their style and way of working.
As well as looking at past projects on websites, you can also look at social media channels to find further reviews of your chosen contractor’s work. A reputable installer will also be more than happy to refer you to their customers for first-hand reviews.
Family and friends
Finally, it is always a good idea to ask your friends and family for recommendations.
Questions for your chosen contractor
There are several questions you can ask your shortlist of contractors which may help you to make your final decision. Here are just a few:
- Have you worked on a similar project to this?
- Can I talk to your previous customers for a reference?
- Will you arrange any necessary planning permissions/building regulations if required?
- Will you source all relevant materials, accessories, labour, and machinery if required?
- Will you do a site visit again before you start work?
- Do you have a particular way of working, for example, with regards to hours, communication, etc.?
The warning signs
There are a few warning signs to look out for when dealing with a potential contractor. These are just a few, but if at time you feel uncomfortable or have any doubts, it’s probably best to walk away and start your search again:
- If they ask you for all the payment upfront
- If they refuse to give you names of previous customers or references
- If you feel like they are pressuring you into working with them
Research, research, and research again is the key to finding the right contractor for you. Follow these simple steps and you will find an installer that understands your needs and provides you with the first-class service you’re looking for:
- Research – what you want from your decking
- Research – potential contractors
- Question everything
- Walk away if you’re not happy
If you’re unsure as to the next best step, contact Ecodek and talk to an expert.