Q: Do I need a contractor’s license in order to build a backyard deck onto my home?

A: Generally, no. Individuals who are doing any type of construction on their own home are not required to obtain a contractor’s license. If you have any questions regarding the building of backyard decks as a commercial business, on the other hand, you may need a contractor’s license and/or other special permits.

Q: Will I need a building permit before building a backyard deck? How can I get one?

A: Prior to beginning any type of construction project, including backyard decks, you will need to request a building permit. Failure to do so may result in fines, so be sure to file the necessary paperwork at your local courthouse in the office that issues building permits. Before doing so, make sure that you have the exact size and dimensions of the backyard deck that you wish to build. If you have a drawing, have a copy with you incase you are asked to provide one.

Q: Even though I am not familiar with construction of any kind, I would like to try building a backyard deck. Should I do all of the work myself or hire a professional contractor?

A: There is no ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to this question. The bottom line is that if you feel comfortable in doing the job, you can attempt to complete the project yourself. However, if any part of the construction is unclear or becomes complicated, you should call a contractor to at least come in and inspect your work. If needed, a professional can take over the job even after you began construction.

Q: I’m not sure if I can complete the construction on my backyard deck, but I don’t want to spend the money to hire a contractor. Can I start on the construction and then call a contractor if I run into problems?

A: Yes, but this isn’t necessarily the best plan of action. If you start the job and run into serious problems with the construction, a contractor may end up charging you even more to go in and correct the problem before completing the deck than if they were to be the primary builder from the beginning. Therefore, you should only start the construction on your backyard deck if you are confident that you can complete the job.

Q: If I do hire a contractor, how can I select the best one for my backyard deck project?

A: First of all, make sure that you choose a professional who is licensed to work in your state. Secondly, check out the contractor’s reputation with the local Better Business Bureau and confirm the number of years they have been in business. And last but not least, make sure they are knowledgeable in the construction of backyard decks and get everything in writing before handing over a deposit.