Quality Deck Craftsmanship


When a contractor begins to heap the promises of the perfect deck, lookout!

One of our projects last year was to replace the wooden deck that extended out from the den and sun room. Just like everything else, when the money for home repairs became  tight, the deck project was the perfect candidate to be moved back and rescheduled.

Meantime and while waiting for a financial break, the once mighty redwood deck planks and rails fell into disrepair, victims of humidity, oppressive heat and the monsoon rain.

We had a break at year’s end when we received some money back from our taxes. We searched online for deck building companies, checked with friends for referrals, checked bulletin board postings at the local laundromat and shopping centers. We even checked with our parish church bulletin for advertisements.

A family-owned construction company based in nearby Santa Rosa county submitted a bid of $1800.00. For a small 15′ x 20′ deck that included railings and a four step stairs, the bid seemed reasonable. The job began with a targeted work duration of four days.

“You’ll be barbecuing on your deck in four days,” declared the contractor’s wife. She beamed as she promised the railings to be all plumb and straight, the planks spaced evenly and secured with aluminum screws.

We took all the promises in stride neither doubting nor rejoicing.

After the first day of work we received a phone call. It was the contractor. “Hey listen,” he said. “I have another job on the other side of town and unfortunately the owner changed his job schedule on us. I have to go and complete that job or I won’t get paid.”


Small, simple deck but built right.

My wife and I looked at each other in disbelief. My wife’s face registered puzzlement. Her arm gestures began to resemble airplane propellers in motion. I signaled to her to remain calm.

“How about the deck job you’ve contracted to do for us? When do we expect you back?” I asked.

“I don’t rightfully know. But I will get it done as soon as I can.” The contractor hung up.

We looked up the other company that submitted a bid for $2100.00, called them up to determine if they were still interested in doing the deck job. To cut a long story short, this second company did excellent work. Quality craftsmanship is their signature. We learned a valuable lesson. Saving a few dollars to get a job done often compromises quality of the finished product. When going over job bids, it is best to go with the average price bid, somewhere between the highest bid and the lowest bid.

Of course the company’s references are a great help specially if they don’t mind you taking a look at the finished product done for them.