General Carpentry

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Q & A

Answers to commonly asked questions from the experts on Thumbtack.

How do I find a contractor to build a deck?

First, conduct an online search so you can see a list of the best deck contractors in your area. This makes it easy to compare the top-rated pros, and you can quickly view their ratings. 

Next, click on several contractors’ profiles so you can read their customer reviews and view photos of decks the pros have completed. When reading the reviews, look for information that highlights the contractors’ quality of work, their ability to build the deck on time and their pricing methods. As you’re looking at the before-and-after photos of completed decks, pay attention to the craftsmanship, materials and style so you can get a sense of the contractors’ skills and experience.

After identifying several deck contractors who seem capable of building your deck, look into their credentials. Confirm the requirements in your state and city, and try to verify the pros’ licenses online. Or, you can ask the contractors to provide you with an overview of their credentials.  

Your last step: start asking for free estimates from several contractors. Give them as many details about your project as possible so the pros can give you an accurate estimate. What type of material do you want for your deck? How big will it be? Where should it be built — your front yard or backyard? When do you need it built?

Make your final decision after comparing quotes and analyzing the research you’ve conducted. Ultimately, you should pick a contractor who has experience building your desired deck, the necessary qualifications, mostly positive reviews and fair pricing.

How much does it cost to build a deck?

The cost of building a new deck or porch is $1,500. However, this price can vary depending on a few different factors. The square footage of the space, the type of materials to be used, the intricacy of the project and your specific region can cause the price to fluctuate. To find out how much your new deck will cost, get free estimates from the best deck contractors near you.

For more information, read “How much does it cost to build a deck or porch?

Does a deck increase home value?

A back deck may (or may not) increase your home’s value or attract potential buyers if you’re looking to sell. According to the Remodeling Impact Report: Outdoor Features, a new wood deck with an estimated construction cost of $10,000 recovered $8,000 for the overall recovery of 80%. Still, 9% of realtors suggested that home sellers should add a new wood deck before putting their home on the market, and 4% said this project has helped closed deals. 

The impact of adding a new deck will likely depend on its material (wood, composite, etc.) and where you live. For example, if you live in an area where people rarely spend time outside because of the weather, it’s reasonable to predict that prospective home buyers might not rate a deck highly on their list of must-haves when looking for a new home.  

When in doubt, consult with your realtor or a real estate expert to figure out if adding a new deck to your home is the right move to increase your home’s value. If it is, contact the best deck contractors near you to get free estimates and start planning your project.  

Who is a carpenter and what do they do?

Carpenters are skilled craftsmen who build things out of wood. Depending on what the carpenter builds, they may be referred to by various names. A framer is a carpenter who puts up the framing on a house. A trim or finish carpenter installs the finishing touches of prefabricated or custom trim and detail work once a house has been built and the walls are up. A furniture maker or woodworker builds furniture — such as tables, beds and dressers — out of wood. A cabinetmaker is a carpenter who builds custom and semi-custom wood cabinets. If you’re having a home built or remodeled, your general contractor will either provide or subcontract the carpentry work for the framing, cabinets and trim. You can hire a carpenter directly to update the trim in your home, build you a piece of custom furniture, or repair or replace your wood cabinets.

What does a finish carpenter charge per hour?

On average, finish carpenters charge $60 per hour. However, this hourly rate will vary depending on where you live, the scope of the project and other factors. For a more accurate estimate, ask for price quotes from at least three finish carpenters in your area.

What’s the best way to set up a consultation or an appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic?

To set up a consultation or appointment with a general contractor during the COVID-19 pandemic, start by performing an online search for local professionals near you.

Message the contractor, and see if they are willing to set up a video consultation call instead of an in-person site visit. With video chat, the contractor may be able to assess the scale of the project, give you better information on what needs to be done and perhaps provide an estimate. Be sure to discuss virtual payments, as well as general strategies for staying safe.

What should I ask a deck contractor?

One of the first questions you should ask is whether the contractor has the proper license or insurance. To be a licensed contractor in many states, they must have the experience and knowledge to pass the requirements from your state’s licensing board. 

You should also inquire if they have done work related to your specific project. Just because they’re a contractor, that doesn’t mean they’ve built a deck or an addition like yours. Ask for photographs of decks they've built in the past, and go online to read reviews from past clients.

You also need to ask for a free estimate from several contractors so you know how much the project will cost you (and so you can pay the best price).

Get started today by contacting the best deck contractors near you

Can I use digital payments to pay for general contractor services?

Currently, many general contractors are using common digital payment services like PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, Zelle, Google Pay and more. And more will likely adopt these and similar platforms as coronavirus continues to force companies to take on digital capabilities.

Contact general contractors beforehand to discuss whether they accept digital payments, and take all necessary measures to meet social distancing recommendations. You can also compare general contractors side-by-side online to see which ones accept digital payments.

Do general contractors offer remote or virtual services?

General contractors perform manual work and typically need to be present to complete their projects. However, if you come across a profile that states the contractor is offering remote services, ask what those services include. You can also ask if they can perform a consultation via video call and if they can do the job while following guidelines from the CDC and local agencies.

Does a general contractor need to enter my home?

Provided the project is located inside your home, completing the job would require a general contractor to enter your home. But if your project is located outdoors, a general contractor will likely not need to enter your home. Discuss your options with general contractors in your area before hiring.

Reviews for Ashburn decking professionals
Dawn G.
We love the deck turned out. Brad and his team did great work!
Brad schiltzBrad schiltz
Kevin M.
Carlos and his team did an excellent job power washing and staining our deck as well as building and installing a new gate on our fence. They were thorough, very professional, and reasonably priced. Our deck looks great. They even went above and beyond and repaired some loose bricks on the steps approaching our deck without me asking. I would definitely use Carlos again and refer him to friends and family.
Mark J.
Brad did a nice job staining my deck. The work quality was excellent and he was very professional.
Lanaville ContractingLanaville Contracting
Scott S.
Brad and his team did a wonderful job power washing, sanding, and re-staining our 15'x15' deck. Highly recommended. Its important to note: As with all deck staining jobs - to do it properly requires mother nature to cooperate. At least two days of dry weather that is > 50 deg f. Brad and his team abides by this and communicated it well in advance.
Lanaville ContractingLanaville Contracting
Thumbtack Customer
Kosterna was a pleasure to work with for my deck. He was honest and did a fantastic job building, staining, protecting and clean up! I would definitely hire again!
Kosterna ConstructionKosterna Construction
Cheryl a.
The weather delayed this project again and again and again. I really appreciated his flexibility to get this job done. The deck looks great. I highly recommend Hunter Cleaning.
Hunter Cleaning Services LLCHunter Cleaning Services LLC
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What you need to know about deck builders and contractors.

What does a new deck cost?

To have a new deck installed, you’ll pay anywhere from $12 to $40 per square foot. Your costs could be much higher or lower, depending on the condition of the site, the materials you choose and the deck’s size. There are some other variables that will affect your final price, including local real estate values, your contractor's rate for labor and whether you can complete some of the work on your own.

For a personalized cost estimate, reach out to several deck contractors near you.

How much does it cost to build a pressure-treated deck?

A pressure-treated deck costs around $12-$18 per square foot to build. Your final costs depend on the contractor's rates, the size of the deck, how much preparation is required to get the site ready, the materials and any extra bells and whistles you choose. Get price quotes from deck builders near you to find out how much you’ll pay for your project.

How do you build a deck?

Since so many of the details of your project depend on the site, your local climate, building codes and your deck builder's recommendations, it's difficult to give a step-by-step explanation that applies to the majority of deck-building scenarios. 

Talk with your deck builder to better understand exactly how they plan to approach your project. They can help you understand the materials they'll use, the steps they'll take and any upkeep required to keep your deck in good shape.

Does a deck add value to a home?

In general, a well-built deck that's properly maintained and meets local building codes may add value to your home. Past surveys and studies have shown that homeowners could see around 60%-80% return on investment after adding a deck. Talk to a real estate professional in your area to find out if adding a deck will help increase your home’s value.

What should I look for in a deck builder?

There are a few things a good deck builder should do. First, they should visit the site and meet with you in person to help create a plan. They'll listen to your ideas and walk you through the process on paper. 

Look for a local deck builder who has experience, a license and references from people living in your area. Ask for proof of their insurance, license and other credentials. You should also get price quotes from at least three deck builders near you to be sure you’re paying a fair price. 

Lastly, your deck builder should have good communication skills and a reputation for showing up on time and getting projects completed as promised. 

What questions should I ask a deck builder?

Here are some questions to ask as you interview deck builders for your project:

  • How much experience do you have building decks?
  • Do you have local references for your work and can I contact them?
  • Are you licensed and registered in my state?
  • Do you have insurance?
  • How long will it take you to complete my project?
  • What kind of decking materials can I choose from?
  • Can you help me navigate the permitting process?
  • How much do you cost for materials and labor?
  • Can you provide an itemized list of costs?
  • What kind of lumber do you use?
  • What kind of fasteners do you use?


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