Why Do Deck Installers Need to Be Licensed?

Contractor Licensing Why Does It Matter? - Man working on flooring
Steve Thompson
Steve Thompson
September 17, 2021

The most important question homeowners should ask before doing home remodeling is: do deck installers need to be licensed? On the surface, it seems homeowners can cut costs by letting their neighbor who's a handyman do the work in return for a dinner invitation. But what might appear to save money in such a scenario can actually be costly if the deck is incorrectly installed. Here's a look at why homeowners need to hire a licensed contractor to assure their deck is properly waterproofed.

Why Contractor Licensing Matters

Here's the simple answer to the question: do deck installers need to be licensed? Yes, homeowners are better off hiring a licensed deck installer. Any type of contractor needs proper licensing in the state they operate in and must meet other federal, state, and local government requirements. It makes no sense to turn serious professional work over to someone who is unlicensed, regardless of how much they seem to know about installation.

Chances are that a handyman who is unlicensed also lacks the appropriate insurance, tools, and gear that professional contractors use. Without these items and training to meet the specifications of manufacturers, a person is unqualified to do professional work with a guarantee of proper installation. Homeowners are simply gambling with an unlicensed handyman who may not follow industry standards. If the deck is installed incorrectly, it will be very expensive to reinstall it properly.

Furthermore, an unlicensed handyman can nullify a manufacturer's warranty of deck materials with an improper installation. Then if the handyman gets injured on your property, he can sue the homeowner. Too many negatives add up when going the handyman or DIY route, even if it initially appears to cut costs.

Getting Waterproof Flooring Right the First Time

When it comes to waterproof flooring, homeowners cannot afford to experiment by using an inexperienced handyman who might not understand the entire scope of the work. It's important for the contractor to know the difference between the subfloor and the underlayment and how they each contribute to waterproofing. Understanding subfloor underlay work is essential to a quality job. The subfloor is the bottom structure of a floor while the underlay provides floor support by sitting between the subfloor and actual floor.

There are different types of subfloors, which are commonly made of plywood while underlayment is commonly made of softer material such as foam or cork. The installer must understand how these components work together, as it's not something a handyman can just eyeball and put together making assumptions on what might work.

What You Need in a Contractor

Your deck contractor should be a firm that is specifically licensed to install decking in your state. The contractors may also be required to carry bonding. Homeowners must make sure the firm at least carries general liability insurance that covers crew members if they are injured on the property.

Most important, homeowners need a team that knows exactly what they're doing and has done it many times. Most homeowners cannot afford to experiment with the unknown when it comes to home renovation that must meet local building codes.


To ensure proper deck installation, homeowners should make sure they hire a licensed contractor in their state with proper insurance. Do deck installers need to be licensed? Yes, for those who don't want to pay for their mistakes and face various consequences. The safest choice is to work with an experienced deck waterproofing contractor. Contact us at West Coast Deck Waterproofing for more information on proper deck installation.