As people look at getting work done on their homes they usually have several questions. Over the years we have heard just about every question that could be asked. Listed below are several questions that we hear from customers just like you.
A: Yes. Building permits are required by all local counties and municipalities in order to build or replace an existing deck.
Q: Do I have to have a permit to repair my deck?
A: Sometimes. A permit may be required depending on the scope of the repair. In most areas replacing the handrails and/or stairs does require a building permit.
Q: Can I get the Permit myself?
A: If you are going to perform the work yourself then you can apply for the permit yourself. If you are paying someone to do the work then that person/company is required to take a copy of their license and insurance in to apply for the permit.
Q: Another contractor said we needed a property survey to get the permit.
A: For most projects you will only need the land plat of your subdivision which which can be obtained from the county clerks website.
Q: Do deck builders have to be licensed?
A: Yes. Deck builders are required by state law to have a builders license. The State does background checks and has a series of testing and continuing education for persons and companies they license to help protect consumers.
Q: My contractor says he works under the license of another builder. Is this OK?
A: No. Georgia Law requires that the contract match the license. They don't want people who can not get a license because of background or lack of knowledge to use a friends license to get work.
Q: I've had bad experiences with contractors before how can I make sure I don't get ripped off again?
A: Licensed, bonded, and insured. Licensed contractors run the risk of loosing their license if they don't take care of their customers, Bonded means that the contractor has an insurance policy that covers homeowners if the contractor doesn't finish the job or does a bad job.
Q: I'm going to list my house for sale. What do I need to do to make sure my deck is up to code?
A: Unless there is an serious problem don't do anything until you get an inspection report from the buyer. We get inspection reports all the time from homeowners and real estate agents. each inspector has their own "pet peeves" you'll spend more money than you need to trying to fix everything they might find ahead of time.
Q: I heard Georgia has new building codes for deck building. Where do I get a list of the New Codes?
Q: I really like the composite decks but aren't they 3x the cost?
A: No. The deck boards themselves can be 3, 4, even 5 times the cost but the framing, and labor are the same so they typically run 40-50% more than a pressure treated deck but they also don't require staining and the newest products really are pretty much maintenance free.
Q: I hate staining my deck every year. is there something I can do to make the stain last longer?
A: Oil based stains soak into the wood and are more resilient than water based stains. PPG, TWP and Olympic make good quality Oil based stains that after the first two coats will last several years between stainings.
Q: I have a builders deck that is in really bad shape after only five years. Is there something better than pressure treated other than expensive composites?
A: The builders use the lowest quality products they can get there hands on. Just about anything will last longer than what they put on your deck. Stay away from the big box stores too. They carry on hand what sells well and that tends to be the low end. True lumber or deck supply companies will carry a much better product usually for a similar price. A good quality old growth 1 pressure treated pine will still last 20+ years.
Q: Do you really have to build a deck by code. It's so much more expensive. My old deck is 30yrs old and none of it was built that way.
A: If you could still buy arsenic preserved old growth pine and if you could find a person to put it together with all hand driven 12 and 16 penny nails then probably not. Today the wood is softer, coming from younger trees and it no longer contains arsenic to help preserve and harden the wood. The nails are smaller and softer nail gun nails that get destroyed quickly by the higher levels of copper in new wood. The new codes are there to provide safe installation of the materials that we have today.
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