Build & Design With Natural Wood | Resource Center


Selecting a Contractor

Finding the right contractor is an important step for any building or remodeling project. Here are a few steps that can help ensure you’re happy with the end results:
  1. To find a contractor, contact friends and neighbors who’ve had work done on their own homes. Then check with the National Association of Home Builders if you’re starting new construction. (If you’re remodeling your home, consult the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for a list of members in your area)
  2. Once you’ve got a list of potential contractors, visit the Better Business Bureau to look up the histories of the contractors you’re considering. Or visit, Angie’s List,, Houzz or another third-party resource where you can find other contractors near you.
  3. Check to see that any contractor you’re considering working with is licensed and insured. In this way, you’ll be protected if any accidents or mishaps occur, as their insurance should cover it.
  4. Check to see if your potential contractor is a member of or has been certified by an industry group like NARI, the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), or the NAHB Remodeling Council. Membership and/or certification by these associations show a level of commitment to professional standards.
  5. Ask for a list of customer references, ask questions about the work, and maybe plan a visit to see the contractor’s work firsthand!


Project Calculators

Estimate the cost of your dream deck with the Fine Homebuilding Calculator that helps you consider multiple factors such as framing, decking and railings, before beginning your project.

This Deck Designer calculator from Lowe’s helps you create your dream deck.

Need to know how much material you will need for your deck? Use this calculator from Home Depot.

The Span Calculator lets you determine joist and rafter spans for common loading conditions for all species and grades of commercially available softwood lumber.

The Connection Calculator lets you calculate capacities for single bolts, nails, lag screws and wood screws.


Need some inspiration and know-how to kick start your next project? Check out these design plans and installation guides.


American Wood Council: Prescriptive Residential Deck Construction Guide California Redwood Association:

Calistoga Spa Surround

Free Standing Deck

Southern Forest Products Association:

Compact Deck

Ground-Level Deck

Western Red Cedar Lumber Association: Raised Deck & Trellis

Siding Installation

Northeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association:

Application of Exterior Wood Finishes

Siding Installation Information

Western Red Cedar Lumber Association: Siding General Installation Western Wood Products Association: Natural Wood Siding

Outdoor Structures

California Redwood Association:

Lake Tahoe Gazebo

Windsor Shade Shelter

Southeastern Lumber Manufacturers Association: Porch Bed Swing Plans and How-To Video Southern Forest Products Association:

Storage Shed

Wood Trellis

Western Red Cedar Lumber Association:

Classic Gazebo

Louvered Sided Pergola

Other Outdoor Applications