Preparing for a Consult With Patio and Deck Contractors

About the Author

About the Author

Mike Mitchell

Mike Mitchell is an award-winning deck builder and designer who specializes in urban decking, transforming cityscapes with his creative constructions. He is a second-generation deck builder.

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Whether you’re replacing your aging deck or getting ready to add one to your Frankfort home, the first step is always a consultation with patio and deck contractors. To get the most from your consultation and make sure the contractor you choose delivers your dream deck, it pays to be prepared for the meeting. Here’s what you need to keep in mind.

Start With Your Wishes

It may seem like a deck is a deck, but the truth is that there are a number of ways your outdoor living space can be customized to your needs. Make a few notes about how you envision yourself using the area, and be as specific as you need to be.

For example, if you’re anticipating lively nightlife outside on the weekends, your deck contractor should know. Or, perhaps you’re hoping for a private place to collect your thoughts while you sip your morning coffee and enjoy the outdoors.

Do you want to get into stargazing? Would you like to include a TV for entertainment? Would you prefer to enjoy a covered deck? Even if some of your ideas seem conflicting, write them all down. You may be surprised by the creativity of your deck builder.

Continue With Your Must-Haves

If your wish list is long, that’s a good thing. It gives you and your contractor lots of ideas for making your new patio or deck all your own. Of course, budget constraints, space allowances, and availability of materials have a way of deprioritizing some items on every wish list. For that reason, create a separate list of things you must have in your deck or patio design.

For example, you may wish for an entire outdoor kitchen area, but you must have at least some space to set up a grill and cooking area. Or, perhaps you have pets or small children and need locking gates to prevent escapes. Maybe you would love to have an area next to the pool to sunbathe and relax. But, if it’s outside your means, you need a set of steps up to the pool, a locking gate at the top, and a walkway for entering and exiting the pool.

Send Some Info Ahead of Time

The more information your contractors have before the consultation, the better prepared they can be to meet your needs. If you can, take a few photos of the area where you’ll be building, and anything that needs to be removed, and take some measurements of the site.

Take a look at the contractor’s website and see what types of materials they offer. If it’s confusing, there’s no problem with waiting for your meeting. However, you may be able to narrow down your options from the start. For example, you may already know that you want to use composite decking and not a natural wood deck.

Lastly, browse the web for some photos of finished spaces that capture the look and feel you would like to achieve. They don’t have to be perfect enough to make the point. Maybe one photo has the right materials, another has a nice deck design, and you like the planters featured in a third one.

It’s OK To Talk About Money

For some people, talking about the cost of a project or what their budget is can be stressful, but it shouldn’t be. You’re hiring a crew to do a job; your crew works hard for their money. You may be wary of revealing your budget, thinking that the patio contractor will find a way to use up every penny and then some.

For this reason, it’s always advised to get three estimates for the project and talk to your contractors about any discrepancies between them. The bottom line is that trustworthy deck companies want happy customers at the end of a project. Swindling people by overcharging is not the way to achieve this!

Your contractor needs to know upfront what your budget is and how flexible you are with that number. It’s the only way to custom-design and build an outdoor space that meets all your must-haves while including as many wishes as possible.

Start Your Project With Confidence

We understand that a major investment like adding a custom deck or patio isn’t a decision that can be made in a day. We want you to get the outdoor living space of your dreams, not rush you through a project that you have to live with for the next two decades! Our experts are happy to walk you through every step of the process, explain all your options, and give you the most for your budget.