The Top 10 Questions You Should Ask a Deck Contractor in Rhode Island

Adrian Belly
Adrian is an active blogger, also a frequent guest post writer having major interests are in sports, travel, travelling tips, arts, designs or home improvment ideas or gardening, opinions on top stories, food and events.

If you’re in search of a deck contractor for your Rhode Island home, you can be sure that there are many of them. However, picking the right one out of the many can be challenging, especially because there are many things to look out for. With the right questions asked upfront, you can narrow your search and make the choice that will get you the best outcome. 

In this article, we highlight the top ten questions you should ask a deck contractor in Rhode Island. For further info on hiring a deck contractor, visit the website at

Do you have a license?This is one of the most important questions to ask any contractor you are considering hiring. Should the project turn out unsatisfactory or incomplete, the deck contractor’s license protects you and gives you the opportunity to take legal action. 

Also, asking if your contractor has a surety bond is a way to insure against disputes. If they do, it is important to get a copy of it before you proceed to sign any contract with them. Due to differences in state law, bonds may not necessarily be your sure protection from services you are not satisfied with. However, any contractor that cannot produce the required documents shouldn’t be considered for your project – that’s a red flag. 

Are you insured?

Insurance is very important because it not only protects the contractor; it protects you too. It is expected that any contractor you are considering hiring should have general liability insurance. Hiring a deck contractor that is not insured could make you liable for any damage, accident, or injury that happens during the project.

So, you want to ask your contractor to show proof of insurance. Read through it and ensure that it covers all employees that will be working on your deck.

What are your areas of specialization?

While years of experience is an important factor when considering which contractor to hire, there are still contractors who have not been in the business for long but are adept at what they do.

One of the questions to ask the contractor is what brand of materials and tools they prefer. The answer you get will tell you what quality of work to expect from them. Of course, you should also find out what experience they have with the specific materials you plan to use for your deck. Your question can go along the way of “Have you worked with vinyl decking before?” …or whatever the material you have in mind is.

Knowing what the contractor is comfortable working with will help you decide whether they are a good fit for your deck project.

What are your recommendations for my project?

Even if you have an idea of what you want your deck to look like on completion, you can still benefit from getting an outside perspective. 

Consider asking your contractor for advice on the project. If the contractor is experienced, they should have a good knowledge of the pros and cons of various decking materials. They should be able to advise you on whether a material option will go well with your home or the backyard.

What is your work history?

One of the best ways to measure a Rhode Island contractor’s ability and capacity to complete your decking project is to take a look at their portfolio. Ask them if they have taken up similar projects in the past. They must be able to show you proof of their past projects.

Don’t hesitate to ask for references. You want to speak with their past clients to get a firsthand account of how their project went when the contractor worked with them. For example, if you love your friend’s or neighbor’s deck, you can inquire about which contractor did the project and what their experience with the contractor was like – Of course, that’s if they happened to have commissioned the project.

How do you handle unexpected problems?

One of the most important but overlooked questions is asking a prospective contractor about how unexpected difficulties are handled. Getting answers to this is a great way to ensure that you don’t land yourself in trouble with the contractor.

The way past issues have been handled by the contractor will tell you how they might handle future challenges. In answering the question of how they handle unforeseen circumstances, the contractor should be able to give you a specific instance where something went wrong and how they were able to resolve the issues. Their response on how a potential setback was approached will give you a sense of how they are likely to respond to situations that may come up during your project.

Can you give a timeline for the project?

When timelines are set, it becomes easy to establish milestones for your decking project, thereby encouraging accountability on everyone’s part. Therefore, ask your deck contractor if they can commit to the timelines they’ve offered. This is also an opportunity to know if payments can be structured around the milestones of the project.  

Some flexibility may be required here. While the start dates of the project can easily be counted on, completion dates can sometimes be altered by unexpected situations such as delays in the supply of materials or weather conditions. Of course, the contractor may not be held liable for these.

Will a permit be necessary?

This is a fundamental question that should be asked of any contractor that you will be working with. If the contractor is licensed, they should know when your project will require permits, and in most cases, you will be needing it. Although it’s often better for you to handle your own permits, things can be made simpler if your contractor offers permit services.

What are your payment options?

It is common for contractors to require upfront payments to at least cover the cost of materials. Initial deposits can vary among contractors, and anything around a quarter of the project’s cost is normal. However, if the deposit is higher than half of the cost of the project, you may need to ask further questions.

In researching your prospective contractors, you may want to check out Better Business Bureau to see what their ratings are and what past clients have to say about them.


Asking the right questions is the starting point of hiring the best deck contractor for your Rhode Island home. If the prospective deck contractor does not give satisfactory answers, it may be time to take your project somewhere else.

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