If you want to have a deck added to your home, the first step you'll need to take is to reach out to a local deck builder and get a quote. This should involve more than just letting the deck builder look over your home and then hand you a number. Ideally, you'll want to have a conversation with them about the kinds of decks they can build and what their visions are for your project. Here are some specific questions you can ask during this conversation to make sure it's a productive one.
What materials do they use or offer?
People often assume their decks will be made from wood. A wood deck may, in fact, be what you want. But wood is not the only deck material anymore. Some deck builders use composite, which basically a mixture of wood fibers and cement. Others use vinyl, which makes for a really low-maintenance deck. Talk to the deck builder about the material choices they offer, and the pros and cons of each one. Ask for a quote for each material, too. Having prices in front of you helps a lot as you compare your options.
Do they warranty their work?
Some deck builders only offer warranties on the materials. Others offer warranties on the labor, too. If possible, it is best to hire a contractor who warranties their labor. This not only ensures your costs are covered if something goes wrong, but it also helps assure you of the quality of the builders' work. They're not going to offer a warranty on their workmanship if they are not confident in their workmanship!
Will the deck be finished?
This question is most important to ask if you're having a wood deck built. Some deck builders install a raw wood deck and then leave the homeowners to finish it a year or two later once the wood has cured. Other deck builders install pre-finished wood decks. Still others will include the price of finishing in the contract, but they'll come back after a year and do the finishing for you. Make sure you know how the builder handles finishing and that you're comfortable with their approach. If you need to save on your deck, this is a place where you can negotiate. For instance, see if the builder will offer a lower price if you do the finish work.
Ask these questions to a deck contractor, and you'll get a lot out of that deck quote appointment!