Beginning a custom outdoor construction project can be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time!  There are many of important decisions that go into starting any home improvement project, which will ultimately determine if the outcome will be your dream space, or leaving you wanting more.  Here at Cedarbrook, we’ve compiled recommendations for every step of your journey towards your brand new, ideal custom outdoor space.

 

Budget Phase

The first step in any new outdoor construction project is knowing what you can afford and determining how much, if any you will need to finance.  Your budget will dictate project specifications such as: material choices and quality, the size of your project, if electricity or plumbing can be included for your outdoor construction project, and otherwise any custom options you would like. If you require financing, you will want to secure funding if possible before meeting with your contractors. We recommend that you always ask what options the contractor has first, for keeping the option open of financing the project through them.  Be careful and stay informed when coming across companies offering financing, where the scheduled payment to be made is less than the amount of interest due!  Cedarbrook offers financing options for our clients and has an experienced sales staff to showcase project specifications according to your budget.

Design Phase

If you have a specific idea in mind of how you would like your outdoor living space to flow, you may not need as much assistance with the design phase. However, if you do want suggestions and ideas with designing your new space, we suggest for you to look at contractors which also specialize in design work. We recommend reviewing your design with an experienced industry professional regardless of your level of confidence with your design! Discuss your outdoor living space goals as well as what your “would like” and “must haves” are with your design contractor. Depending on the scope of your project, you may or may not require an engineer or architect. Some typical situations which may require engineer approved or architectural drawings, would be projects consisting of installing a new roof, or projects which require supporting large amounts of weight such as a hot tub. Should you require architectural services, Cedarbrook can provide this for you.  Cedarbrook is both an outdoor designer and builder.

Estimates

Once you have determined your budget and you have your new outdoor space designed, your next step will be gathering estimates.  Consider the following when comparing your quotes:

Scope of Work  Compare and review details on the dimensions quoted in your proposals, as well as all specific project details to make sure nothing was left out which was discussed. Ensure each quote is the same when it comes to the size and square footage of your project for a fair and accurate comparison of quotes. Be sure all special options are detailed in the quote!

Materials  Compare and review the materials quoted carefully.  Did all estimates quote you the brand and color decking and railing you wanted?  Ensure the manufacturers are the same for a fair and accurate comparison of quotes.  The quality and cost of materials can vary, so it is important to compare apples to apples when it comes to the material selection.

Builders should use #1 grade ground contact rated pressure treated lumber for outdoor framing. Some contractors will use cheaper framing wood, or will cut corners such as spacing the joists further apart on a deck. Some builders don’t include in their quotes building with hidden fasteners, fascia trim around the perimeter to cover exposed wood, building and trades permitting, ‘picture framing’ the project with a perimeter board, or other options which come standard with all Cedarbrook outdoor projects. You will want to analyze your quote and ask questions now, to avoid regrets later!

Workmanship  Workmanship can only be promised by a contractor and can’t be guaranteed! You will want to look the into reviews of your contractor to see what others have said about their journey with the contractor towards their new custom outdoor space. Cedarbrook has been in the industry for over 10 years and our online reviews prove to our clients the superior craftsmanship and customer service they will be receiving. Also, Cedarbrook conducts thorough quality control checks once a project is completed to ensure that not only our clients standards are met, but also that our own high standards are met before we declare a project to be completed. We highly recommending vetting your contractor by looking at the reviews from their past clients.

We recommend looking at the fine details outlined in each quote to get a sense of the workmanship you should expect with your contractor. If a contractor offers a workmanship warranty, this is a good sign of high craftsmanship and a trusted contractor. Cedarbrook offers a 5-year warranty towards any improper workmanship.

Choosing Your Contractor

Once you have determined a budget and gathered your estimates, choosing a qualified contractor will be the next move.  Ask friends, relatives and co-workers for references.  Check on-line for local companies and read reviews.  Look for the following:

Company Reputation Does the company have a good industry reputation?  Have you looked at their customer reviews?  Does the company specialize in your type of project? 

Warrantied Work  Does your contractor warranty their craftsmanship?  Reputable contractors should warranty their work for at least one year.  Cedarbrook has committed to a 5-year warranty towards the workmanship and proper installation of every outdoor project.

Communication   Communication is critical from the time you are setting your appointment, to the time you sit down to meet your sales/design person, to the end of your project.  You will want someone you feel comfortable working with and who can communicate clearly.

Licensing  You will want to make sure your contractor is licensed.  In Maryland, for example, you can check with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) to review your contractor’s license status.  Cedarbrook is licensed under MHIC #131359.

Trust  Do you trust the person understands your ideas and have confidence in their ability to deliver?

At the end of the day, trust your instincts.  The contractor you select will be working in and around your home, so you want someone you can place your confidence in.  If you feel a good connection with your contractor and all your boxes have been checked (i.e. warrantied work, licensing, proposal within budget) then you have found your builder.

Together with our customer service business model, we assist our clients from design process all the way to the finished build to create the ideal custom outdoor space for each client. Remember, you can always reach out to Cedarbrook for a free consultation, competitive pricing, a great design and sales team, clear estimates, superior craftsmanship, and so much more! We hope you will be in touch to start the process of having the Cedarbrook custom outdoor space of your dreams. Call now for a free consultation at 301-703-8728.