You’ve decided to build a screen enclosure. Whether it be for your pool, lanai or front porch enclosure, there are certain things you will need to know ahead of time to ensure you are hiring the right contractor for the job. As with any project, you may want to get a few different bids, but a lower price and faster job completion date does not necessarily provide the proper grounds to choose a company on. The more knowledge you obtain ahead of time, the more informed you will be in your selection, prior to entering into any agreements. It is recommended that you have a plan of action before even beginning the search process.
First and foremost, contact your local zoning department and ask what you can build where. You must be informed of you zoning laws, and restrictions if any. These could cause major setbacks if not discovered early. Next, you will need to know the exact property lines so setback rules are adhered to properly. This is of extreme importance, and almost always requires a professional survey of the land. If you have an HOA that you are regulated by, you must get their permission to build as well. Sketch out a layout of what you’d like to see built, even if it’s a very rough draft. With this information in hand you should be well equipped to begin shopping around a contractor.
If you are looking for information on vetting contractors I recommend this post on Home Improvement Cents: 10 Step Guide To Hiring A Top Notch Contractor.
Here are a couple of the questions you will want to ask before hiring a screen enclosure company:
Are you a licensed and insured company?
Of the utmost importance. If you only ask one question, this is it. Are you a licensed and insured company? Ask this question, then do your follow up research. Look at their google ratings, facebook ratings, and the BBB, as well as previous jobs that were done by the company. You will not want a fly by night company working on your home, or a company whom you give a deposit to that will not show up to do the work. A licensed and insured company is actually mandated for the work permit, as well as the law for all construction projects.
What type of foundation will be you be using for the screen enclosure
Standard concrete is grey and 3000 PSI is most commonly used. Getting a custom finish such as a paint, texture, pavers, or concrete stamping will be additional charges.
What type of screen do you use, and what do you recommend for me and my needs?
Choosing the right screen for your enclosure is often a personal preference. There are a wide variety of screen options including: special screen for pets, screen for keeping out mosquitoes and gnats, screen with custom designs that also offer privacy, and solar screen. In addition, there are different brands that offer longer coverage, and stronger hold against winds. It is well advised that you become fluent in screen types so make a well informed decision.
What is the time line for the project and the estimated completion date if started ASAP
If you are told for under 4 weeks completion time by anyone, be suspicious. It is quite common in the industry for companies to low ball or underestimate the time frame just to secure the job. Do not fall for this! The permit time alone could take 2 months, then there is the engineering of the designs, and the actual construction.
What type of contract do you use, and what is your deposit process?
Do not be embarrassed to ask for a blank copy of the contract so that you are familiar with all the terms you may be signing. Most companies require a deposit upon signing, then additional money down before breaking ground on the project.
Do you offer financing?
Inquire about the financing options offered at each company you interview. You are about to invest a good chunk of money towards the value of your home, and often times it is beneficial for homeowners to look in into the possibility of financing the project, allowing them a little more flexibility of a freed up cash flow.