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Seven keys to a great project.
"Thank you for designing and building the classiest, sturdiest, and most functional deck in all of Waltham."
– Customer in Waltham, MA - deck builder in Waltham, MA
Once you understand what you want from your deck and your builder-and you clearly communicate that to your builder-you're on your way to a spectacular deck or other building project.
- Start with function. How do you expect to use your deck? Do you need a dining area? How many people must it accommodate? What shape table do you prefer? Will you be entertaining? Do you want a separate bar area? A separate grill area? What type and size grill do you use? Do you need an area for sunning? Will you need shade? Will you be using heaters, fire pits, a hot tub? Will the structure need to accommodate anyone with physical limitations? Do you need built-in storage, seating or planters? Will you need electrical outlets? Will you need a sound system? How will your needs change over the life of your deck?
- Deciding on aesthetics may be a bit less complicated than function. Will your deck continue in the style of your home? What colors or textures are important to you? Do you prefer sleek or ornate? Clip pictures of your preferred style from a magazine or select what you like from the builder's idea book.
- Material choices should be made with your builder. He or she should know if you're going to have any issues due to dampness, shade, sun, an adjacent pool or other environmental factors. You'll need to think about how much maintenance you're willing to do each year, how much you're prepared to spend and what appeals to you visually. Remember, all materials will change over time. Discuss what the materials will look like after they weather.
- Selecting a company begins with finding someone you feel personally comfortable with. Do they act professionally? How detailed will their building plan be? Will they have a detailed written contract? Do past clients recommend them? What are their credentials? Are they financially stable? Are there any unresolved complaints lodged against the company at the local Better Business Bureau?
- Customer safeguards are important. Is your builder properly licensed (where applicable)? Are they insured? Will the workers on your property be covered by workers compensation? Do they offer a written guarantee? What does the guarantee cover and how long is it valid? Will your builder secure all the proper permits?
- Ask about the construction methods your builder will use. Will an experienced craftsman be on the job or will the work be performed by novices? Does the company follow documented procedures? Are they well versed in local building codes? What kind of finish details will be used? Will they clean up their mess or expect you to do that?
- Lastly, consider value. Are you getting high-quality workmanship and materials for your investment? How long can you expect your new structure to last? Will your project simply serve your own personal enjoyment or will it increase (or decrease) the value of your home?
Once you explore all seven of the above, you'll be on your way to a deck of other outdoor living space that should serve and please you for years to come.
For more things to consider while planning your outdoor space, download our free Outdoor Living Design Guide