What To Ask Before Hiring a Deck Maintenance Company
Hiring a company to clean and apply protectant to your deck, fence, dock, siding or playset can be confusing and at times misleading. You should find out some basic information about the company and the products they will be applying. When obtaining several estimates, make certain you are comparing apples to apples.
- Does the company carry liability and workers compensation insurance?
If your property is damaged or an employee is injured on your property and the Company hired does not carry insurance, your homeowners insurance could be responsible for the claim.
- Is the company offering a guarantee?
If so, make sure you know exactly what is guaranteed and what to expect if the product does not hold up. Will they reapply for nothing, is it prorated, etc?
- How long has the company been in business?
Be wary if the company has not been in business at least as long as they are guaranteeing the product for.
- Are the cleaners and protectants environmentally safe for your grass, plants, pets and children?
Make certain they will not be cleaning your wood with chlorine bleach. This is not a good cleaner. It strips the wood of its natural color.
- Is the product they will use to protect the wood a penetrating product or surface sealer?
If the product sits on the surface instead of penetrating, it will wear off much quicker. It has a tendency to chip and peel.
- Is the finishing product a solid color or semi-transparent?
Solid color products hide the natural look of the wood and tend to show more of a wear pattern as they begin to break down and wear off. Semi-transparents will show the beauty of the wood grain and give your wood a more natural look.
Ask for references, including an address of a job you could look at, to get an idea of what the finished product will look like. Call the reference and ask if they were pleased with the work, did the contractor show up as scheduled
- Ask how often you should have a reapplication applied.
If the company offers a guarantee or warranty for a certain amount of time find out the details. Is the water repellency, color retention, uv protection, mildewcide guaranteed for that period? If not find out exactly what is guaranteed. If it is for a long period of time 5, 10, 25 years find out if they have even been in business that long.
- Is the company involved in the community through Chamber of Commerce, Homebuilders Association, Contractors Associations, Better Business Bureau, Rotary, etc? This is a good indicator you are working with an upstanding, reputable company.
Keep in mind cheaper is not always better, but the most expensive is not always the best. Proper insurance coverage, quality of products, training/experience of employees all plays a huge roll in prices a contractor charges. In addition there are companies out to make a lot of money quickly and they will be gone when it’s time to have a reapplication, or even worse when you call for them to fix an unsatisfactory job. Asking plenty of questions and checking references are a good way to protect yourself from an unhappy experience.