Best Practices in Choosing A Patio Cover Contractor


by Contributor

Photo: kabaldesch1, Pixabay, License

(Mar. 24, 2020) — Choosing a contractor to work on your home requires a little time and effort into making sure you pick the right one. It’s not easy, but it is not very difficult either considering there are many ways in which you can review a contractor, chief of which is doing an online background check.

Apart from making sure that the contractor you ultimately choose can deliver the solution you need, it is also about ensuring that you get someone that is capable, easy to communicate with, and trustworthy. Here are some tips to help you source and pick a formidable contractor to install your patio.

Decide on the kind of patio you want

Before looking for contractors, you first need to decide on the kind of patio you want, or at the very least, have an idea of what you want. You can go online to get some ideas on what would look good on your home. Once you get a rough idea of what you like, you can narrow down your selection for patio cover installers that do the kind of work you want.

Create a list of the features you want in your patio.

  • Do you want something low maintenance?
  • What is the warranty for the finished product?
  • Can the installer offer different materials for you to consider?
  • What about the coating?
  • Which section of the home do you want the cover on?
  • Stronger shade? Lattice?

Having a basic idea of what you want enables you to find the right contractor. Plus, it makes it easier when you speak to them as you already know what you want.

Background checks on Your Contractor

Nobody wants to get scammed, so finding someone experienced, with a good reputation and trustworthy is essential. When checking on the background of your contractors, here are things that you can request and if they are hesitant to provide this, that’s a red flag:

  • Most states in the US require building contractors to have the appropriate licences. Make sure your contractor has the required licenses to operate and build.
  • This is another important characteristic to look out for in your contractors. Your contractor should have a valid worker’s compensation insurance and liability insurance. These protect you as well as your contractors from potential damages.
  • Familiarity with the patios. A patio cover installer that has been in the business for a long time should have experience in assembling a wide range of patio covers. They should also have a good knowledge of engineering procedures and building knowledge to ensure structural integrity.

Other crucial things good patio installers offer:

  • Written contract. Verbal agreements are a big no, and a handshake is also not sufficient. You need to ensure that your contractors put in all the details the work to be done, measurements, size, color, type, start date, estimated finish date, cleanup requirements, price, and payment terms.
  • The written contract should also specify what warranties are applicable, what’s covered, and for how long.
  • You have every right to know how much the entire project will cost you, the materials as well as the features you add on. You should also have an idea of the costs involved for unexpected conditions that require additional work or if there’s a delay in project completion—in writing. Prices should be competitive, not necessarily the lowest.
  • Check online for reviews, feedback, social media comments and also to make sure your potential contractor is not being sued in court.
  • A real address showcases the credibility of your contractor as it is an indication of a registered business. It is best to not hire someone who operates from a pickup truck. You should be able to visit the office to check out their projects—if customers like the contractor’s work, they’ll often allow visitors.

Do You Need a Permit for a Patio Cover?

Depending on what and where you plan on erecting your patio cover; you may need a permit for it no matter what material you use. It also depends on where you live and the kinds of permits you may need. Building permits vary according to the state that your building is in. Also, there could be some permit differences between the county you live in and the municipality that the property is in.

Also, if two properties are on opposite corners of an intersection on two different municipal boundaries, this could mean that the property owners need to collectively get a permit from their own municipality. The general rule is the more urban a setting, the higher the likelihood of needing a permit. Most cities require a permit; however, rural areas do not require permits. Certain patio covers are allowed in some municipalities, whereas some are not allowed. It all depends on how the land use zones are in these neighborhoods.

Also, in some planned communities and homeowners associations require a municipal permit as well. Whatever the issues are, do not start building without a permit. You just do not want to start building and then run into the issues of tearing down, getting a fine or requiring to start over again only after you get a permit. This is a waste of time and money for you and the contractor. To find out if you need a permit, you just need to go to the municipal website and look under ‘permits, building permits or constructions permits’.

Whose Responsibility Is a Permit?

In most cases, getting a building permit is merely just filling out a form, paying a fee and presenting this information to the officials. Some patio providers also have this information on their website, so it is worth checking this out too. In your contract with your installer, ensure who is to get the permit- it could be the building owner, or it could be the contractor, but this depends on where the property is located and the municipality it is under. An experienced installer will be able to advise you and in most cases, help you complete the form, submit it and start on the paperwork.






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