Budgeting Your Deck:
When thinking about any home improvement project, cost is a major issue for most of us but you generally get what you pay for. Lets break this decision down…
Your project will be unique in some way to your homes existing conditions and features as well as to your personal needs, specifications and preferences. In most cases what you’re looking for is a combination of material, installation and service. In each of these areas there will be a wide range of options and quality levels. Your project’s cost depends on these variables and what you select. These choices become your design specifications or requirements.
So first you must determine what your wants, needs and desires are.
- What is it that you need?
- What is it that you want?
- What is your dream?
Next, determine your size and space requirements. What space you have to work with and what space you need to accomplish what you want.
With this information, you can begin the process of contacting companies to help you further develop a realistic budget for your project and obtain an estimate. A qualified contractor should have demonstrated experience in the type, size and quality of a project that you are interested in. There are 3-types of estimates:
There is a historical estimate, which is based on the individual contractors actual experience with similar size and type of project. These estimates can be useful in checking or confirming the budget if your project is similar in size and complexity to the comparison project. It is important to consider how long ago the comparison project was completed.
Then there is a square foot estimate, which is based on quantity and unit price. These estimates can be useful when the project is of a larger scale and basic in its design requirements. The estimates are usually not accurate for similar scale projects or where custom elements are desired. The biggest problem with this type of estimate is that it often leads to inaccurate quotes based on low quality.
Last there is a “stick built” pricing estimate. This estimate is the most accurate of the three. It requires a completed design that can be itemized in detail to determine precise quantities of materials and man-hours to accomplish your specific project.
Once an acceptable budget and estimate is established, a proposal is recommended. This is the only way to be sure of what you’re getting for the price. This will provide accurate dimensions, material specifications and outline work for your specific project. Options can also be listed for review.
Most importantly it is best to check references and look at examples of the companies projects to be sure you will get quality workmanship and service. Additionally you can check the contractor comparison checklist provided.