Ms. Chester, NJ
Deck Guardian Review
We bought our house in Chester, NJ two years ago. We closed on the house on June 11, 2018 after looking for houses for probably 8 months. If you are looking for a house, take your time. It is not an easy find and you are going to make the biggest decision of your life. You will most likely not find a perfect house so make sure you have your non-negotiables. The moment I walked into this house, oh, he was away, and I made an offer on the house without him seeing it , LOL, ANYWAY, I knew right away. It is completely open concept which is what we were looking for and I personally wanted something different. Our family room was the garage so it is very big and had tall ceilings. The kitchen was closed off but then there was a leak and the previous owner completely opened it up. You will have a feeling when you find the right house, don't jump the gun and be patient.
Even before we moved in, we knew the deck would have to be replaced in the near future. It was old wood, the steps were not stable, the paint was worn away and it was just ugly to be honest. I am not sure if you know this, but decks are EXTREMELY EXPENSIVE. Whatever you "think" it will be at your house, multiply it by three, no exaggeration. Save your money y'all.
In March of 2020, while being home during the pandemic, we decided it was time to pull the trigger. We got four estimates: one for $65,000, HUH, WHAT, NO, and then the next three were for $30,000 - $40,000. Everyone who came to the house was very nice, yes wearing masks and social distancing Susan. I met with two and then Mr. Chester met with two, why we weren't both there for them, I couldn't tell you. There was a clear difference between Deck Guardian and the rest. Ion, who is a manager, worked with Mr. Chester's cousin on his deck and they were very happy. Ion came to the house, Mr. chester gave him the details and idea on what we wanted and within 48 hours, he had a 3-D, extremely clear, mock up of what he had in mind for us. The clear mock up was the real game changer for us. We are not engineers, we don't know what it will look like when it is all done with just an explanation. Once we saw the mock up, it was so clear on who we wanted to go with. We went back and forth on a few things and then boom, we were set and ready to sign on the dotted line.
There are a lot of decisions to make when building a deck. We chose Trex because the wood needs to be treated and all very often. The extra cost of Trex, we think is worth it. We saw a deck we loved on the Trex website and sent it to Ion and he let us know the colors, etc. See below for the color we chose!
Deck Guardian took full control of the project: getting permits, speaking to the town, etc. We did run into a hiccup as our land is considered wetlands in the second acre. There is a stream running through the backyard therefore we needed an engineer to come and delineate the land and state the wetlands would not effect the deck. Good thing 50% of his family are engineers.
Here is a timeline of our deck construction so you can get a better idea of how long it may take. We were of course in the middle of a pandemic therefore the time might not be completely accurate.
April 20 - Deck Guardian visited the house
April 22 - 3-D mock up sent to us via e-mail
April 23 - mock up with minimal changes sent to us via e-mail AND signed the contract!
April 24 - first invoice of 3 paid
May 18 - ran into the hiccup with the wetlands
June 24 - permit approved and sent to the construction office
July 15 - started deck demolition at 12 pm
July 16 - demolition of deck complete with the framing started
July 17 - more framing put up
July 20 - framing finished
July 21 - stair framing started to go up, flooring becoming permanent
July 22 - posts starting to go up surrounding the deck
July 23 - stairs and lights put on, railings going up
July 24 - nearly complete with lattice, lights, stairs finished just a few finishing touches and clean up
July 27 - deck complete, or so I am assuming!!!
A few things I would recommend if you hire them:
Talk about how the building of the deck will actually go. I got an e-mail at 3 pm on 7/14 stating they will start our deck on 7/15 - OH OK, OK. Also, just a weekly update or a "it may take 2-3 weeks". Perhaps he told us in the beginning but I forgot. We did not hear from the manager again until we were told someone was coming to approve the base of the deck.
Ask to be more informed of the schedule. While maybe you don't care about it, we were told they would be here in the morning on 7/15. I took the day off just for the first day to see how the dogs would be. The men didn't show up until about 1 pm because they were on a previous job. Listen, I am ok with that, I just want a bit more communication. This happened again the next week. I reached out and we were told they had to go fix something on another project. Again, I am ok with that, but shoot me a quick e-mail that morning.
Speak with the men who are working on the deck more. I should have spoken to the amazing guys who were working on the deck, only 2 of them. They were magicians!! It would be good to talk about making sure the gate is closed at night, which they did do all days except one day, or making sure to clean up food or drinks due to the dogs being sniffy a-holes. Anything little like that, you should talk to them.
In the end, do we recommend them? 1000% !!!!!!!!!!! The men who came to the house were extremely nice. They worked 10 hour days! They were meticulous and got the work done! The deck is more beautiful than we could have imagined. We highly recommend. Go to Deck Guardian and get your estimate now! Tell them Ms. Chester sent you! You won't get a discount or anything but just for fun, LOL!
If you want to see more about the deck and progress, go to my Instagram page and go to my main profile and click on Deck! Our deck is the following colors.
Main portion of deck: spiced rum
Divider color (which is the surrounding color on the deck): lava rock
Steps: lava rock
Fascia and risers: white - between the steps, between deck and lattice
Posts: PVC white
Railings: aluminum black
Lattice: dark brown
Lights: Trex lighting on a timer
The deck is not 100% complete yet therefore I will update this blog when complete.