Tips for choosing your deck contractor.


A well-designed and built deck can be a great addition to your home and really increases the functional space you have. In our article “What Questions Should I Ask A Contractor?” Our team lists specific questions to help you start interviewing contractors. Now we want to tackle tips for choosing your deck contractor and the questions we recommend asking a contractor when you are talking about your deck project.

An article on the NADRA (North American Deck and Railing Association) website from May 2023 site that: “The US has over 60 million decks, with 50 million being residential and 10 million commercial. An estimated 30 million of these decks have exceeded their useful life and are in need of repair or replacement..” They recommend “visually inspecting the deck for safety concerns such as corroding fasteners, decaying materials, loose railings, inadequate lighting, and more.”

The questions from the previous article still apply. But one of the biggest challenges homeowners share is that they don’t know the important parts that make a deck safe, so they think that everyone is building them the same.

There are many hidden factors in deck construction that can make or break the safety of your deck, and most are in the framing where you cannot see them.

Here are some questions our Almar team suggests you ask when comparing professional deck installers:

Are they a professional remodeling contractor?

  • What is their background?
  • Do they have any affiliation and/or training from the major decking manufacturers?
  • Do they have a personal relationship with the local manufacturers’ representative?

These are important questions to ask because if for some reason there is a problem or a question arises, a professional with a relationship with the manufacturer can get you answers and second opinions quickly and efficiently.

Almar often works with TimberTech deck by Azek and we have a great relationship with the local distributor Cape Cod Lumber as well as local and regional manufacturers representatives.

Do they have the required state licenses?

And did they give you a copy of them upfront? In Massachusetts, contractors must have the following:

  • MA Construction Supervisors License
  • Home Improvement Contractors Licenses
  • General Liability and Workers Compensations Insurance

Will they provide a detailed written estimate?

A written estimate should outline the scope of work as you discussed it. Proposals should outline the types of materials, hardware, size of the deck, etc. It should also list other project details that are not necessarily labor or materials, such as dumpster, porta-potty, warranty, permitting, cleaning, etc. Estimates should also note what is not included, like lattice or deck skirting.

How will the deck be built?

What are the State and Local Building codes that we must comply with?

You should get an idea of the basics that go into building your deck so that you can compare the scope of work each contractor is suggesting. You should ask questions like:

  • How deep should the footings be?
  • What type of hardware will be needed under the deck (joist hangers, ledger lock bolts, footing anchors)?

How will permitting be handled?

In the Massachusetts, any project over $1,000 in cost requires a Building Permit and inspections from the town. Most towns will require the contractor to fill out a permit application, submit a deck framing plan, and a copy of the contract.

Do I feel comfortable with this company?

And will they still be in business and stand by my project if I need them in the future?

At the end of the day, you must make sure that you feel confident in the professional company you choose. A deck may seem like a simple project on the surface, but if not done correctly, it could put yourself or your loved ones in danger if it fails.

Kitchen & Mudroom project photo

Allison Guido

Almar's CEO has over 20 years of experience in the remodeling industry. She is constantly learning and looking for ways to improve our homeowners' remodeling process and experience. Her mission is to break the Contractor Stereo Type and provide a great product at a good price for our homeowners.