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Porch Design Bliss
Our side porch was in need of a renovation. However finding a contractor who can do the job without breaking the bank and on our time schedule was difficult. We started getting quotes back in July. And as most of us know, contractors often quote amounts that some times blow your budget. It depends on the type of material used, how many guys are on the job, weather, their work flow about fitting you in. My husband looked at all kinds of materials. We went with Azek. Then of course, you want the job done when they say they will show up. In our case, a contractor we chose was to start the job Aug. 11th. He never showed up. He did call and say, "Well obviously I am not there."Of course we were wondering,"What happened?" Did he want the job or not? He tells us he will be there on the 15th; again he doesn't show-up. You can imagine our fury. We chose to to call and ask him where he was. We are not baby-sitting a 40 year-old, contractor. Around Aug 22nd, he had the gall to ask us why we would not return his phone calls. By the end of Aug. he hen asked if we wanted him to do the porch. Then he said he would bill us for materials he ordered for future use on our porch."Can you imagine that?"
Well in mid.Aug. we decided to get quotes from other contractors. Interestingly, they were all too busy or they quotes came in way too high. When a contractor is too busy chances are they squeeze you in and do a lousy job. They forget details and in my own experience, you end up with something that is amiss. Of course it is then too late and you are stuck paying a bill for work you are not satisfied with.
Had we known that we were gonna have so much difficulty in our local area, we would have just hired Steve from the beginning. We didn't know if Steve would even consider driving from North Carolina. We took the chance and called Steve. Boy am I glad we did. He accepted our proposal.
Steve is the kind of guy you just love immediately. I don't know anyone who doesn't like Steve. He is extremely knowledgeable and he takes his time. He is warm and friendly. Steve stayed with us for 2 weeks. We paid for his travel expenses, food and of course for the work completed.
He has built hurricane homes in North Carolina, additions and has been a general contractor for many years for commercial jobs. HIs work is outstanding and you know his work will stand the test of time.
My husband took 3 days off from work to help Steve. I offered some assistance and learned how difficult steps are to build. Precision for treads and risers are so important. We chose Azek as our material because it is maintenance free. The screen we used is a product from NC that is used there, called Screeneeze. It is far superior than the stuff I have seen up North here.
We have peace of mind and the deck and screened in porch is complete. Neighbors stopped by and asked if he was for hire. Steve responded with,"No, Thank you, I am only up here to help a friend." Steve is actually retired. All I know is that we are grateful he was up here to do our porch and deck. I wish there were contractors like him where we lived. His work is impeccable.
To finish the deck, all we need to do is paint and plant some shrubs. The painter comes next week!
Alpha Girl Advice:
1. Look at books and magazines to get the latest on decking and screen material. Drive around different neighborhoods and take photos of other peoples decks and porches.
2. When getting quotes find out what type of material they plan to use. You may not like the material they suggest.
3. Have a good idea what materials you want and find out the cost. Then you'll be able to figure out labor costs
4.Get the quote in writing and ask for details to include the type of material and hours of labor.
5.Ask the contractor how many jobs they are working on currently because you don't want to be squeezed in. many will say they can do a job, but it may not be in your definition of completed time.
6. Hire an experienced painter. A poor paint job will make the job look crappy if they leave streaks and drip marks. Ask if they fill holes and sand. A good painter will do that. After all anyone can just slap on a a coat of paint.
6.Go look at previous work the contractor has completed and get referrals.