Maintaining a deck or patio goes beyond improving the appeal of your living space, it also increases the value of your home by 35 percent when selling. Over time, the structural integrity of these outdoor structures and living spaces depletes. Hence continual maintenance is required not only to ensure your patio or deck’s appeal and safety for its intended purpose but the market value of your home too.
According to the North American Deck and Railing Association, about 30 million of the patios/decks in the United States are in need of replacement or repair. Although some of these repairs may seem insignificant, handling them by yourself may lead to serious structural damage of your patio/deck. In most cases this is usually due to a failure to account for factors like uneven surfaces, drainage, and even the weather. As such, patio/deck repairs are best left to professionals nearby to ensure that the job is correctly done, and also to avoid preventable injuries and fatalities from falls and collapses that usually occur when a patio/deck is improperly repaired.
When hiring a patio/deck repair contractor near you, it is important to ask the following questions. This is to enable you hire the contractor that is best suited to the project you wish to undertake:
Are You a Licensed Patio/Deck Repair Contractor?
Hiring a licensed patio/deck repair contractor goes a long way in ensuring that your patio/deck is properly repaired, structurally sound, and safe for use. Licensing requirements when it comes to patio/deck repair vary by state. Some states like New York, Colorado, Indiana, and Kentucky do not require state-level licensing, while some states like California, North Carolina, Ohio, and North Dakota require contractors to get a general contractor license for projects that exceed a certain amount.
Note that states that do not require state-level licensing typically require some form of local-level licensing. It is always a good idea to contact your local consumer protection agency to find out any licenses that may be required before commencing a patio/deck repair project. These offices also allow you to verify whether any license presented to you by a contractor near you is valid and up to date. You can also look up and verify contractors' licenses online through the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies' licensing information webpage.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Patio/Deck Repair Contractor?
Workers in every occupation are susceptible to injury. In 2019, 2.8 million non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses were recorded in the private industry by the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also recorded 438 fatal occupational injuries amongst installation, maintenance, and repair workers during this same period.
These statistics drive home the importance of hiring a patio/deck repair contractor that is not only insured but is also bonded. When you hire a patio/deck repair contractor near you that is licensed, insured, and bonded, you protect yourself from any financial liabilities that may arise if anyone happens to sustain an injury during the repair project or if the contractor fails to properly complete the job per the terms that were discussed and agreed upon before hiring.
Always ask your contractor for proof of their insurance, and make sure that the contractor has both general liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. In addition, make sure that your contractor is properly bonded according to the requirements of your area of residence. Note that bonding requirements vary by state. For example, states like California and Georgia require that all contractors be bonded to the tune of at least $15,000 and $25,000 respectively while other states like Illinois and Texas regulate bonding at a county, city, and municipal level. As such, you should contact your local consumer protection agency to find out the specifics of these requirements
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
Even though patios and decks are both outdoor living spaces, there is a fundamental difference between these structures. Patios are always built at ground level and can be made using a variety of materials like concrete, brick, and paver, while decks are typically not built above ground level and are mostly made from wood and composite materials.
Even though most contractors near you can build and repair both patios and decks, it is always a good idea to ask if they are specialized in any of these outdoor structures. For example, although patios require extensive ground surface preparation before their initial installation, they are generally easier to install than decks. This is because decks require additional supporting structures and considerations like railings, stands, and a proper attachment to the house itself. As such, it is important to find out whether a contractor is specialized in handling and repairing the specific type of outdoor structure that you need to repair and the materials that it is made of before offering them the job.
Who Will Do the Work?
When it comes to patio/deck repair work, it is always important to know who will be doing the actual work onsite. Patio/deck repair jobs are typically handled by a single worker, but in some cases, the contractor may involve other workers in the project. This is usually the case for patios/decks that require extensive repairs or a complete overhaul. Always ask the contractor the total number of workers that will be involved in your project, and make sure that you are duly informed if additional workers may be required.
Also, regardless of the number of workers involved, it is important that you make sure each one of them is properly insured, licensed, and bonded according to the requirements of your area of residence. This is necessary because it ensures that you are not held liable for any injuries that may involve these additional workers.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
When it comes to construction and repair projects, contractors typically offer various warranties relating to the job performed. These warranties may be oral, implied, or written, and they act as a type of guarantee given to the consumer to assure them of the quality of the service and the materials used.
In patio/Deck repair projects, contractors generally offer two types of warranties, a labor/craftsmanship warranty, and a manufacturer’s warranty. A labor/craftsmanship warranty covers the actual repair job while a manufacturer’s warranty covers any materials that were used for the repair. Note that the specific items/incidents covered by these warranties differ by contractor, and so it is always a good idea to properly read any warranty you are offered. Ensure that it specifies the type of damages it covers and the length of time it is valid. For example, most warranties do not cover damages that may occur as a result of lack of maintenance or misuse, even if the damage occurs during the period covered. Finally, always make sure that warranties are put in writing and properly signed by you and the contractor.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Carrying out a home improvement project without obtaining the necessary building permits can result in fines and other penalties. One of the reasons why it is important that you hire a professional and licensed patio/deck repair contractor is because they typically know whether any permits will be required for the type of project you wish to undertake.
Generally, patio/deck repairs do not require a permit, especially if the project does not substantially alter the dimensions of the original structure. However, it is always a good idea to contact the building/city planning department office near you and make sure that your project does not require any permits before your contractor undertakes the repairs.
Will You Provide References?
Before hiring a patio/deck repair contractor, you should ask the contractor to provide you with a list of references. In fact, the Federal Trade Commission recommends that you ask for a minimum of three references from any contractor you wish to hire for a job. You should consider it a red flag if your contractor refuses to provide you with this information when you request it. Many professional patio/deck contractors readily offer this information through their official websites or via pictures stored in binders. You can also search for independent reviews of patio/deck repair contractors near you online through third-party websites like Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and Google Reviews.
Do You Have a Business License?
Many patio/deck construction and repair businesses are considered small businesses and they generally require a business license that allows them to operate legally in an area. Requirements for obtaining a business license in the patio/deck construction and repair industry are usually dependent on the local rules of the area where the company is located and intends to operate. Generally, a patio/deck repair contractor that is licensed, insured and bonded also has a valid business license. However, you should never make this assumption. Always ask your contractor for a copy of their business license and verify its validity by contacting the office of the Secretary of State or the consumer protection agency in your area of residence.
What Are Common Patio/Deck Problems?
According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, only 40% of all existing patios/decks in North America are completely safe. The safety of your patio/deck can be compromised by several problems that if left unchecked, can lead to structural weakness and eventually to severe injuries. The most commonly reported patio/deck problems are:
- Water damage
- Dirt and mold
- Broken, uneven, and sunken pavers
- Wood rot
- Board gaps
- Loose ledger boards and railings
- Fading deck color
- Poor drainage
- Leaning edges
- Weed growth in joints
How Much Does Patio/Deck Repair Cost?
The average cost of repairing a patio/deck is $1,100 - $1,500. This figure is affected by a number of factors, like the extent of damage to the structure and the type of material that the patio/deck is made of. As such, you may end up paying as low as $500 or as high as $4,000 when carrying out these repairs. Note that this fee typically includes the time and labor of the patio/deck repair contractor that carries out the repairs.
Some of the average costs for repairing a patio/deck are:
Deck-specific repair costs:
Patio-specific repair costs:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of a Patio/Deck Repair?
The primary factor that affects the cost of a patio/deck repair is the extent of the damage. This determines the type of work, time, and labor that will be required for the job. Replacing missing nails in decks and filling cracks and holes in patios are less expensive than replacing damaged boards or leveling sunken pavers.
Another factor that affects the total cost of patio/deck repair is the type of material used for the structure. Patios are typically made from concrete, tiles, bricks, and flagstone. These materials are generally more expensive wood and composite, which are the types of materials most decks are made from.
What Qualifications Should Patio/Deck Repair Contractors Have?
Although patio/deck repair does not typically require any formal education, many patio/deck repair contractors have either a high school diploma or its equivalent. Generally, patio/deck contractors learn on the job through apprenticeship programs with already established contractors. Many contracting firms also offer their contractors certification and specialization courses. Note that patio/deck repair contractors are required to obtain either a state-level or local-level license before they can legally operate. The requirements for this licensing vary by state.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Patio/Deck Repair Contractor?
According to data published by the National Safety Council in 2018, falls are the leading cause of emergency room-related non-fatal preventable injuries, accounting for 32% of these types of injuries. Considering the risk of collapse involved in improperly repairing your patio/deck, it is always a good idea to hire a professional patio/deck repair contractor instead of choosing to undertake the repair project yourself or hiring a handyman near you.
A professional patio/deck repair contractor is likely to be more experienced, and therefore do a better job than a handyman, who typically does not have any specialized knowledge. Instead, handymen perform general unspecialized household repair jobs. In addition to this, professional patio/deck repair contractors are usually licensed, bonded, and insured. This serves to protect you from any financial liabilities that may occur because of a job-related injury or non-completion of the project.
What Are the Common Post Patio/Deck Repair Expenses?
Common expenses that you may incur after repairing your patio/deck are:
You can ask your patio/deck repair contractor if they provide any of these services and if they do, whether the cost of these services will be included in your bill or charged separately. For example, many contractors typically incorporate the cost of waste disposal in their total bill.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Patio/Deck Repair Expenses?
Homeowner’s insurance is a type of insurance policy that pays for unexpected damages and losses to an individual’s property. In 2018, 5.7% of all insured homeowners filed a claim, with property damage accounting for a very significant majority of these claims. Patios/decks are generally considered as part of the main structure of a house, therefore they are covered by homeowners insurance. Note that homeowners insurance does not typically cover patio/deck damages that occur as a result of lack of proper maintenance or pest infestations. Also, if the patio/deck was built without the necessary permits or by an unlicensed contractor, then your insurance claim may be denied. It is important that you find out the specific terms and limits an insurance policy offers before purchasing one.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Patio/Deck Repair Contractor?
Like most small businesses in the US today, patio/deck repair contractors near you, are willing to accept Digital payments. These are fast becoming a popular means of monetary transactions. This is because they are secure, easy to perform, and enable accurate record-keeping. However, you should note that not all patio/deck repair contractors may be comfortable with digital payments. As such, always ask your contractor if they are willing to receive payments digitally before doing so. Also, make sure that you collect a receipt for any cash transactions you perform.