U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 09-10-2019, 05:58 PM
 
6,168 posts, read 3,187,941 times
Reputation: 4201

Advertisements

My deck is falling apart and needs to be replaced.



The size is 10' x'14 with a small landing (3' x 3') and one set of stairs and some railings. The frame and posts are fine and do not need replacing.



Considering doing Trex decking/railings


Note: I can pretty much Guarantee the time it takes to replace the deck would be no more than 20 hours.







Quote #1.


$9,800 and would not separate the labor costs and material costs. Also would not say how long it would take him and a helper to replace the deck.


Quote #2


$12,800 and again would not separate labor costs and material costs. Also would not say how long it would take him and a helper to replace the deck.


Quote #3


$15,000 (same)


Quote #4


$9,100. Actually itemized labor as $2500 and material as $6000. Dumpster and permits were $600.




I did my calling around and was able to get mid grade trex decking, railings and stairs for $2,500 from a lumber company. Now take in mind the lumber company is the middle man and already marks up the product between the manufacturer and the consumer.


Now contractors are doing another markup at double, or more, the cost from a lumber company?!




Shenanigans.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 09-10-2019, 08:13 PM
 
1,938 posts, read 666,362 times
Reputation: 2163
I can understand your frustration but don’t agree that’s it a scam! Contractors providing estimates can price a job as they see fit and are not obligated to separate labor and material costs as well their total labor hours. You could always price and purchase the lumber yourself and just request a labor price, however some contractors might not be interested in just suppling the labor.

You are getting high prices due to supply and demand. Contractors are busy, work is plentiful so their estimates reflect that and unless you get lucky and catch a good one who’s looking for some work, you will be left paying top dollar to refurbish your deck.

Your best option might be to hire or obtain a price from a working carpenter who does side work on his own. You could purchase the material while he gives you an hourly rate or a lump sum estimate for all of the labor needed to complete the work.

This might be your most economical option at this point in time.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-10-2019, 08:34 PM
 
1,187 posts, read 795,056 times
Reputation: 2112
Buy the material. Remove the old decking. Install the new decking. Pocket the $8k difference.

Problem solved.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-10-2019, 09:15 PM
 
144 posts, read 21,588 times
Reputation: 305
Build it yourself. Pretty easy. All the hard stuff (pilings) are done.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2019, 09:27 AM
 
1,135 posts, read 1,549,850 times
Reputation: 1544
Not suggesting your estimates are high or low, as I'm not a contractor, but:



As a reminder if you do the work yourself and when evaluating your estimates: Composite decking materials (including Trex) generally have a shorter maximum span between joists than wood, and a lot of people don't like how they turn out if you are trying to stretch it to the max (bouncy/sagging after a year or two). The material can last a long time if installed right, but it has different structural properties than wood has.



Don't take this as gospel, but IIRC it's typically 12" between centers for diagonal installation and 16" for horizontal installation if you're doing composite.



So it's quite possible that you may need to move the joists/add additional joists.



You also may need additional stair stringers for the steps for the same reason.


You may want to talk with those contractors who are giving you estimates about what they think the work is actually going to involve, and consider if you've factored that additional possible work into your own assumptions.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2019, 09:58 AM
 
5,995 posts, read 6,847,475 times
Reputation: 15513
On the surface (no pun intended) it is a small job. Double the price just to get someone to come out and "waste their time" (no insult intended; just facts).


Then, there is the issue of what is under there. Framing good? More than likely there are some things which will need to be addressed/replaced. Takes time and materials.


Permits.


Dumpster.


Miscellaneous things like flashing against the house, corner/railing posts, unscrewing old planks (ever do it? PIA and time consuming), etc.


You have four estimates. Average them and that is in the ball park of what it is going to costs you, value aside.


Yes, a good contractor will break it all down, but for a small job which they know you have shopped to multiple contractors they are less inclined to invest time detailing their estimate unless they know they are going to more than likely get the job.


You simply have a number of things working against you. No fraud or scam.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2019, 11:08 AM
 
613 posts, read 712,778 times
Reputation: 776
Contractors that break things down to line items are doing their customers and themselves a disservice. It only encourages unproductive scrutiny and creates a sale tax burden for the contractor. I'm not much of a coffee drinker but I know I can make a whole pot of coffee for about 25 cents. Does anyone actually waste their time bothering the barista at their local Star Bucks with language like "scammed" or "gouged" or ask for line item break downs for a cup of coffee that cost 20-30 cents to fill and sells for 3 or 4 dollars?

I'm a heating contractor, not decks, but I only bid projects and repairs as lump sum or flat rate and charge middle of the road prices. If a person objects to my prices or methods, the free market system affords us both to do business with someone else. They might not care if I didn't make enough last year to keep the doors open this year but I certainly do.

To expand on the idea of the free market system, why would a contractor take on a low profit margin job when more lucrative projects are available? If a contractor can routinely get $20 per sq/ft for a project similar to yours, why in the world would they jump thru hoops and arm wrestle you for a chance to make $15 per sq/ft? It doesn't make sense.

The people who think contractors walk on a road paved with gold to the land of milk and honey never seize the opportunity to become one. Why is that? Are they afraid of easy money and the trappings that come along with it?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2019, 01:51 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
7,350 posts, read 12,899,315 times
Reputation: 22561
Quote:
Originally Posted by btuhack View Post
Contractors that break things down to line items are doing their customers and themselves a disservice. [blah blah blah]
Come on, the OP wasn't asking for a breakdown of all line items -- simply asking for a breakdown of 2 things, the parts and the labor. That should NOT be too much to ask for. (Really?!!)

This is why I ONLY use contractors who charge me by the hour. If they waste my time (e.g. seem to be slacking off or whatever), I can simply choose to not use them again, but it hasn't happened.

Example: I got estimates on taking a load-bearing wall down as the first step in a major kitchen remodel ... and yes, that's an incredibly important job but not particularly difficult. The first contractor's estimate was something like $6,000 just for taking down the wall (and no breakdown of time/materials). I was flabbergasted and went with another company, which simply charged me by the hour for the labor they provided. They did the job for less than $2,000 AND of course they made a profit. (AND they did the job perfectly, according to my town's code officer!) Their "profit" came in the hourly wages that I paid -- they didn't have to make 100%-200%-300% profit on the materials (which was mostly just a beam, which wasn't actually expensive -- a few hundred dollars IIRC), since I simply had the materials delivered to my house.

I HATE it when contractors charge by the "job" -- I have simply stopped using them. The consumer usually VASTLY overpays that way compared to, say, buying the materials and having them delivered, then paying for labor. (Of course, if something weird is found, then the labor charge will go up because more hours will be required -- but my experience has been that that is very rare. And honestly, even if it happened, I would not begrudge the company the extra labor hours.)

Perhaps I have just been lucky to find both GOOD and HONEST and REASONABLY PRICED contractors, but my handyman company charges by the hour and they are fine with using materials that I have ordered and had delivered. They will even pick them up on the way to my house and simply charge me for their time to pick them up, which is totally fine. AND they make a good profit doing this. It really is a reasonable business plan.

(Oh, and my plumber and electrician charge the same way. That's why I choose to USE them!)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2019, 02:26 PM
 
10,638 posts, read 12,559,147 times
Reputation: 15035
Quote:
Originally Posted by westcoastforme View Post
My deck is falling apart and needs to be replaced.

The size is 10' x'14 with a small landing (3' x 3') and one set of stairs and some railings. The frame and posts are fine and do not need replacing.

Considering doing Trex decking/railings

Note: I can pretty much Guarantee the time it takes to replace the deck would be no more than 20 hours.


Quote #1.

$9,800 and would not separate the labor costs and material costs. Also would not say how long it would take him and a helper to replace the deck.

Quote #2

$12,800 and again would not separate labor costs and material costs. Also would not say how long it would take him and a helper to replace the deck.

Quote #3

$15,000 (same)

Quote #4

$9,100. Actually itemized labor as $2500 and material as $6000. Dumpster and permits were $600.


I did my calling around and was able to get mid grade trex decking, railings and stairs for $2,500 from a lumber company. Now take in mind the lumber company is the middle man and already marks up the product between the manufacturer and the consumer.


Now contractors are doing another markup at double, or more, the cost from a lumber company?!

Shenanigans.

Time to get out the tools and show them how you can get it done for $2500!

I'd bet you can't finish it in 20 hours either (2 full days, 10 hours a day). It is summer time, guys are probably busy and NOBODY works for free/cost.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 09-11-2019, 02:27 PM
 
10,638 posts, read 12,559,147 times
Reputation: 15035
Quote:
Originally Posted by btuhack View Post
Contractors that break things down to line items are doing their customers and themselves a disservice. It only encourages unproductive scrutiny and creates a sale tax burden for the contractor. I'm not much of a coffee drinker but I know I can make a whole pot of coffee for about 25 cents. Does anyone actually waste their time bothering the barista at their local Star Bucks with language like "scammed" or "gouged" or ask for line item break downs for a cup of coffee that cost 20-30 cents to fill and sells for 3 or 4 dollars?

I'm a heating contractor, not decks, but I only bid projects and repairs as lump sum or flat rate and charge middle of the road prices. If a person objects to my prices or methods, the free market system affords us both to do business with someone else. They might not care if I didn't make enough last year to keep the doors open this year but I certainly do.

To expand on the idea of the free market system, why would a contractor take on a low profit margin job when more lucrative projects are available? If a contractor can routinely get $20 per sq/ft for a project similar to yours, why in the world would they jump thru hoops and arm wrestle you for a chance to make $15 per sq/ft? It doesn't make sense.

The people who think contractors walk on a road paved with gold to the land of milk and honey never seize the opportunity to become one. Why is that? Are they afraid of easy money and the trappings that come along with it?
Spot on but............Starbucks = Six Bucks, not 3-4!
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > House
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

2005-2019, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 - Top