Virginia Decking's Design-at-a-Distance saves average of $2000 on typical deck


Builders Cutting Corners on Materials
And How to Protect Yourself...

Question: "I've heard that sometimes builders 'cut corners' on deck or porch materials? Is that true, how does it happen, and is there any way I can protect myself?"

Answer: Unfortunately it happens... and more often than you'd imagine. If you contract with a builder for a "turnkey" job... meaning the builder buys materials and gets the permit... then the builder can buy whatever cheap materials they can find from Lowes or Home Depot or wherever. You won't know the difference until it's too late. This usually (but not always) happens from a "low ball" bidder... a guy who bids significantly lower to get the job... but then has to find ways to cut his cost in order to make money on your job.

Question: "Isn't that illegal?"

Answer: It's hard to prove. Unless you spell out in the contract exactly what materials will be purchased and from where... you are at the builder's mercy... and its your word against his. All you can do is hope he'll buy good materials.

Question: "Can you give me an example?"

Answer: Sure. Something that happens frequently now is when the builder buys an inferior composite decking that looks awesome when it's first installed... but soon begins to absorb water, fade, stain, develop mold and even decay. It's a mess. I go out all the time on estimates to replace these inferior decking boards with GeoDeck or PVC decking.

Question: "Want to name names?"

Answer: Follow the above link to one of the culprits... but any of the composite decking companies that use wood flour are subject to these problems. That's why their advertising doesn't brag about being fade resistant. The wood content creates all kinds of issues and problems. (More information on the good, the bad, and the ugly)

These inferior composite deck boards will cost your builder less and let him make more money... but a few years down the road you'll be mad at what he did. This is one shortcut many builders will take.
Angry at being taken by their builder...

Question: "Any more shortcuts?"

Answer: Absolutely. There are some very imaginative ways they cut corners with your deck or porch materials. They can use an inferior grade of pressure treated wood from one of the discount box stores (we insist on using Madison PT wood because it's the best). They can use a vinyl railing from a box store that is cheap because it was made with recycled plastic. It might be the "in thing" to use recycled plastic... but you won't think it's so cool when your beautiful white vinyl railing turns yellow, cracks, chips, blisters, peels or flakes... cause it will. We recommend Fairway Vinyl® or WeatherWise® railings... both of which use virgin vinyl and both of which have lifetime warranties.

Question: "How can I protect myself against this kind of corner cutting by my builder??"

Answer: Simple... have us build the deck! OK, OK... we can't build all the decks out there. But here's a practical, quick and easy way to protect yourself: When you get the builder's bid, ask him about how much he set aside for just the materials... you know... the actual material cost. Not labor. Not overhead. Not profit. Just the actual cost of materials. Compare that to my estimated cost of materials in my Excel Price Worksheet (line 98, column J). If his material estimate is signficantly lower than mine, you have reason for concern.

Question: "Why?"

Answer: Because he's probably cutting corners with your materials. It doesn't happen often, but I've actually heard of builders using USED materials. But more often than not, if they gave you a "low ball" estimate, they will load up at Lowes or Home Depot on that wood flour composite decking and recycled vinyl railings and you'll have something that looks good for a little while...

Then each year you'll be jumping up and down more and more... getting madder and madder because he bought inferior materials whose defects only show up years later. That won't happen with our decks because we don't use inferior materials. And our Excel Price Worksheet reflects those quality materials. Just see line 98, column J.

His price was good, but he took me to the cleaners on these crappy materials!

I should have listened to Mike!!
If I could get my hands on that Builder,
I'd wring his neck!

Question: "Anything else you can suggest?"

Answer: Yes. If you have a question or a concern, email or call me. I'll shoot straight with you.








Virginia Decking & Remodeling LLC
PO Box 41157
Fredericksburg, VA 22404
Telephone numbers below:

Note: If you are calling for a telephone estimate, that's great. I only ask that you first work with my extremely powerful Excel Deck, Porch and Sunroom Price Worksheet. Then call.



General Inquiries

540 786-3534

Design & Build Projects in Maryland
540 786-3534
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703 494-6556

Design & Build Projects in greater Fredericksburg, VA
540 786-3534
Design & Build Projects anywhere USA
540 786-3534
540 786-3324



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