Before You Hire a Screened-Porch Contractor, Make Sure They Thoroughly Answer These Questions
Deck building is at its most complicated when you want to add a screened porch that requires walls and a roof. In some states and counties you even need different permits, and contractors are required to have a special designation on their license to build anything with a roof.
Additionally, any decking contractor you choose should have experience with things like wind-bracing and leak-proofing, so it’s even more important to be thorough when selecting a deck professional to work with you.
With that in mind, here are several questions to ask potential decking contractors for this kind of more complex job:
1. How do you handle wind bracing for a screened-porch?
There is a lot of different and very specific hardware that has to be used if the contractor is following regulations correctly. Almost every metal-to-metal fastener has a bracket, and they need to know which pieces of hardware go where and how to install them correctly.
2. How do you install a skylight?
Inexperienced contractors won’t be able to give you a good answer, so if this is a feature you want, be sure to inquire about their background installing a skylight.
3. Are you experienced in waterproofing the deck roof to the house?
Anytime you’re dealing with a roof, leaking is an issue, and this is doubly important when you’re attaching that roof to the existing one on your house. There are a number of very specific things that deck contractors need to do correctly to avoid problems.
4. Do you have an electrician on staff?
Often these kinds of decks will require electrical work, so you want someone who has an electrician on their staff or who works with one frequently. Why? Because there are specific permits required for electrical work, and they need to know how to work closely with electricians to get the job done right and on time.
5. What screen porch material do you use?
There are lots of options out there, but contractors without much experience will often only offer you one or two. Some will even follow the “old-school” method of simply stapling the screen up there and putting some trim on. It works, but there are far nicer and longer-lasting options available to you.
6. What roof coverings do you have experience using?
Some builders just use solid slab roofs because they are the easiest and cheapest to do, but they don’t look nearly as professional as many other options on the market.
7. Do you have experience installing doors?
It may seem like a small thing to install a door, but that’s not the case where attached decks are concerned. Think about it: you’re likely going to have a contractor cut a hole into the wall of your house. That’s a big job, and you want to have confidence that they know what they are doing and you won’t end up with a door that doesn’t fit seamlessly and causes you to lose heat or other usability problems.
8. How do you make sure that the gutters line up seamlessly?
Often, inexperienced builders will not be able to get the addition to blend in with the rest of the house. This will make it stick out and can even cause, often costly, repair problems later down the line.
Building a screened-in porch or deck is basically like having an additional room put on your house. When you hire a contractor to do this, you want to have confidence that they are going to give you something that functions in exactly that way – like it’s an extension of your current living space. By asking a screen-proch contractor these questions, you’ll get a much better sense if decking contractors really know what they are doing.