When building a deck or other outdoor platform, don't use lumber wider than 6 inches. Ponding water on wide boards can lead to eventual cupping problems. For example, use two 2x6's instead of one 2x12. Pros advise installing the boards crown-side up to help minimize cupping and shelling of grain layers.
When working with a contractor, don’t make final payment or sign an affidavit of final release until you are satisfied with the work and know that subcontractors and suppliers have been paid. State lien laws may allow unpaid subcontractors and/or unpaid suppliers to attach your home.