What To Ask A Contractor

Are you planning a home project that requires you to hire a contractor?  Do you know what to ask before you begin?

Five questions you must ask a contractor:

  1. How long have you been doing this kind of work?
  2. Are you Insured?
  3. Will you provide a written estimate and warranty?
  4. Are you a licensed and registered contractor with the state?
  5.  Can you provide references I can contact?

Many honest, long time contractors won’t hesitate when you ask them these questions.  They probably expect them and would be more than happy to answer them.  A long history in the community doing the job you are hiring them to do speaks volumes and build trust between the parties.  If the company you are trying to hire has a long history in your community doing great work, the references request you are supposed to ask won’t be a problem for them.

Now, if you call the references they provided, what are some of the questions you may ask?

  1. Are you satisfied with the work they did?
  2. How long ago was the job completed? Is the job holding up?
  3. Was the price agreed upon the final price, or were there other expenses not specified in the contract?
  4.  Were they clean and orderly? Did they arrive on time?
  5. Would you work again with this contractor or company?

The secret to finding a great home contractor

Right now, renovating a home is much, much easier than it was during the real estate bubble. So how do you pick a contractor?

I recall back during the bubble how often I’d get calls from homeowners complaining they couldn’t get a call back from contractors. The frenzy around housing values going up and up and up drummed up plenty of business for contractors at that time.

During the bubble, I even heard of contractors who were so successful that they wouldn’t even give price quotes. The price would just be whatever it would be and you’d have to be in a position to pay it when the bill came due.


 

 

 

 

 

How to Look For A Good Contractor For Your Home Project?

Children are in school now.  Yes, they do bring homework and projects and other chores we sometimes help them to do, but we do have a bit more time to do those chores the summer months were too short to let us do.

The autumn is a season where there are many chores we must do to prepare for the winter months. from putting away our gardening tools to preparing our home for the winter, the fall months can be very active.  And , if you are thinking about tackling a more serious project, where do you need to start?

You need to first find what project you really want to do and a budget you are allowing yourself to have. If you need to do a project that is indispensable to the well-being of your family – A new roof, or a basement waterproofing project- then you need to first start choosing the best contractor you can find.

If you are doing a home remodeling project for purely aesthetic reasons, then, you still need to follow the steps of how to choose a contractor for your project.

How to choose a good contractor

If you have no family’s references and no friends recommendations of a good contractor, then you will probably google it to get a list.  Here are some of the things you should be looking out for:

  • Contact contractors that are locally owned and operated-make sure they have been in the business for a long time
  • Check their Business Bureau Status
  • Ask for references that are not from friends or family members
  • You Must call those references and talk to the homeowners and ask them about the craftsmanship and other related issues concerning the job they did.
  • Make sure that they are fully bonded and insured
  • Ask for an estimate in writing
  • Ask them about the form of payment they require

For more about home remodeling projects and other news, follow the links below.


Contractors swamped with home remodeling projects in central Ohio

Central Ohio homeowners are spending a record amount of money building additions, updating kitchens and renovating bathrooms.

Fueled by a robust economy and rising home values, which allow homeowners to pull cash out of their homes to fund improvements, Americans are expected to spend more than $300 billion on remodeling this year.

“I’ve been doing this since 1981 and have never seen it this busy,” said Todd Schmidt, owner of the Grove City remodeling firm Renovations Unlimited.

While the remodeling boom is good for contractors, it means longer waits for homeowners eager to polish up their properties.

Bill and Marcia Miller tried for two years to get a contractor to update the laundry room of their Dublin-area home.


 

Home Improvements For The Fall

There are many home issues to keep mind when buying or remodeling  a home.  The biggest home tickets are the roof, a foundation stabilization problem, basement waterproofing and the installation of an Air condition and heating system.

A roof in need of repairs can be visible from the outside.  Loose shingles or other issues like water getting into some parts of your home are visible to you and do not need a home inspector to tell you that.  A new roof is an expensive project for the homeowner, but one that cannot be postponed.

For the foundation of your home, there are two types of foundation problems: cracks that are visible to you and can become a bigger issue if ignored.  And the  displacement from unstable soil, faulty construction, old concrete , tree roots that are too close to the foundation, or the foundation has been exposed to too much water through out the years and has deteriorated over time.  Some of the early signs that you have a problem with the stability of your home are: Uneven flooring, cracked tiles or windows, and windows and doors not closing properly.

Like the roof, a foundation repair can be costly.  And if you had problems with the foundation and ignored the issues, the problems likely got worse, and so will the price.  The roof and the foundation are issues that if ignored can be costly later on.  The damage will be more and the work and material needed to solve those issues are going to cost you more.

The air conditioning and heating system is an expensive addition  to any home, but the financing is almost always available through the same companies that offer you the system.  Nowadays, the refinancing for a heating and cooling systems is about three years.  After that, you only need to maintain the upkeep of the system. With a new system, it is only a yearly checkup for the AC and the furnace in the home .

You can follow the link below to read more about home repairs.


Home Improvement May Be More Affordable Than You Expect: 3 True Stories

Would you love to upgrade or repair your home? Is there a home improvement project you’ve had simmering on the back burner for ages … but never got around to because you assumed you couldn’t afford it? Well, think again. Home repair and upgrade may be more affordable than you thought. You just need to be a little flexible, do your homework, and find a contractor who’s right for you. Read 3 true stories of homeowners who discovered that high-quality home improvement didn’t have to bust their budget.

WE GOT THE “NEW DECK” LOOK WE WANTED AT A PRICE WE COULD AFFORD

When we bought our home a year ago, we really wanted to rip out the ugly old deck (which was splintered, with loose boards and peeling paint) and do brick pavers instead. However, we couldn’t afford everything on our “to-do” home repair list all at once.


 

Home Care Tips and Solutions

The home improvement industry is expected to surpass the $300 billion mark by 2017 according to research done by Harvard University.  The many projects done by homeowners and the expenditures they are willing to spend   doing those projects increases every year.  A leaky roof is a necessity for some of these homeowners, but the projects more likely to be done are kitchen and bathroom renovations that they have wanted to do for many years. Are you thinking about doing a home project on your own?  Read the advice some experts give us by following the links below.


13 Ridiculous Home Improvement Fails That Will Make You Cringe

Everyone loves saving money, but not all DIY projects are a savings in the end, as these homeowners found out the hard way.

Renovations are stressful, especially when you have to re-do DIY projects because of mistakes. In the rooftop vent photo, the owner had expanded and remodeled their kitchen, removing an old wood stove Their mistake, according to explains Brian Fish, owner of WIN Home Inspection Mount Vernon, who had to fix the mess: “They opted to run the new exhaust for the range up through the existing vent cap from the wood stove and then attach it to the box vent and screw it to the old stove vent cap. Needless to say the new range vent was not secure or properly installed and so it was prone to leaks.” These are the secrets contractors wish all first-time homeowners knew.


Rightway Waterproofing Helps Homeowners Prepare for Change in Seasons

Philadelphia, PA — (SBWIRE) — 08/15/2017 — Rightway Waterproofing Co., the leading mold removal company in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, wants everyone to make sure their house, specifically the basement and cellar, are ready for the change in seasons that is quickly approaching.

“Although it is still August, heavy rain during August and September and snow right around the corner can still cause water damage to the lower areas of the house that you may not think is possible until winter hits,” said Al Grabov of Rightway Waterproofing Co. “Flood damage can happen anytime with no warning whatsoever. The common thought that winter is the only time for flooding can be very problematic to homeowners.”

For over 25 years, Grabov and his crew of professional technicians have been the leading mold contractors in the area. They specialize in eliminating unwanted moisture, black mold, mildew and fungus. Rightway Waterproofing Co. goes above and beyond to eliminate any water damage, as well as prevent any further water damage from occurring.


Top tips to protect your home against termites

MOST people are unaware that termites cause more damage to structures compared to all calamities combined. The Philippines is a country where termite infestation is common everywhere. Termites are those nasty critters that feed on cellulose materials such as paper and wood.

“I-Solignum mo”

For many of us, wood preservative means Solignum. Solignum is recognized as a superbrand and has been in the Philippine market for over 50 years. It has been proven in protecting against termites, wood borers and fungi. Solignum has become a household name; thus we hear people say, “I-Solignum mo” when faced with a termite problem.

To complement Solignum, it is likewise important to apply a soil termiticide such as Soilguard. Termites come from the soil, and so it is a must to create a “barrier” to prevent termites from entering your home. Termites that come in contact with soil treated with Soilguard are killed through contact, ingestion or inhalation of the active ingredient; thereby providing protection from the entry of termites.




 

Inspecting Your Home For Damages

After a nice holiday break, how about making a through inspection of your home?  Many of the issues we have at home can be remedied right away with a through inspection of its surroundings. Water sitting around the foundation of your home because the drainage system in your home is faulty, can be remedied by cleaning the gutters, replacing them or fixing them if damaged, and making sure the water drains away from the foundation of your home.

Tree branches that are too long are okay if there is not wind during a storm, but you do not want them damaging windows, roof or siding during a storm.  Trimming all bushes that are growing too big around the foundation should be taken care of as well.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Waterproofing Basements

Learn how to spot a water problem in your basement, and get tips on how to resolve the issue before it causes serious damage to your home.
“Wet basement” is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most homeowners. More than half of U.S. homes have this problem, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The most typical causes are condensation, runoff and groundwater swelling. Solutions depend on the cause of the problem and can range from using a dehumidifier to installing a perimeter drain system. If you notice dampness and a musty odor when you enter your basement, you may be experiencing the first signs and should make it a priority to combat the water before more serious damage occurs to your home.

Considerations

  • Never ignore a persistent musty smell.
  • Find out the cause of a wet basement before beginning any modifications to your home.
  • Seek professional advice before attempting to combat a groundwater swelling problem.

5 tips to keep your home safe from nature’s tricks

All it takes is one storm to cause damage to your home. You need to make certain your house is prepared to withstand rain, wind and other possible damage.

The following are five suggestions to keep your home safe from natural damages. These are simple tips to get your house on the path to safety.

  1. Keep surrounding trees healthy

Unfortunately, the same trees that give you shade during a sunny day can give you damage on a stormy one. Make sure your trees are healthy and appropriately pruned. You may want to consider removing the tree if it is dead or too close to the house without a good root system.

A little maintenance and upkeep now may save you from a tree or branch falling on your home later.

Remember to always be careful when trimming your trees. Better Homes and Gardens points out, “Trimming branches that threaten power lines avoids serious problems, but leave this task to the pros. Large dead or dangling branches should be removed, as well as branches that could interfere with vehicles or lawn mowers. Branches that contact the house on windy days should be cut before they cause damage.”


House Works: Drying basements with dimpled membrane and wet wood with fans

Dimpled Drainage Membrane Really Works

Q: Is dimpled drainage membrane worth putting around a basement wall? We’re installing weeping tiles this year to make a wet basement dry, but the contractor doesn’t want to use dimpled membrane. He says they only use it in southern areas because they put sand around basements. He wants to use gravel only. Does this make sense?

A: The short answer is “no”, this advice doesn’t make sense. It always amazes me how some contractors can latch onto ideas that have no merit in reality. They’ll usually say something like “I’ve been doing it this way for 25 years and never had a problem,” even though it’s difficult or impossible to thoroughly check previous jobs. The fact is, dimpled drainage membrane offers a huge advantage for keeping basements dry no matter where a person builds. I’ve seen it cure wet basements everywhere.


 

Protecting Your Home

Flood Insurance is not included in your policy in most cases.  You need to verbally ask and be offered flood insurance by the Insurance company and go from there.  Insuring your home is not only advisable but extremely important.  It can be a financial catastrophe if a natural disaster occurs and you are unprepared to face the consequences.  If you are in an area where flooding is likable, make sure you have flood insurance to make sure your home is protected.

Structural home problems start with a leaky basement that is not taken care of and is left unattended.  Cracks on the wall and bowed walls are serious problems that can play havoc with the structure of your home.

Mold and mildew are dangerous pollutants in your home. Clean air becomes a luxury if you have a wet basement.  Water seeping into the basement of your home jeopardizes the stability of the foundation, making your home less valuable in the long run.

Basements have served many families as storage facilities for many years, but leaky basements can damage and ruin your belongings.  With flood insurance you can protect your personal belongings and replace them in case of a flooding.  Make sure you talk to your insurance agent and understand the type of insurance you need and for the quantity you need to insure your home and your belongings.

There is a minimum amount you need to insure your home, but it does not include your personal property.  Ask questions before you agree to sign anything.  Make sure you have enough insurance to be properly covered.

Nobody can protect themselves from natural disasters, but it does pay to be protected in case the need arises.  Don’t procrastinate and leave something as important as your home for another day.  If you have a basement or foundation problem, call today to make sure your home and your family are safe.


What To Do If You Have Basement And Foundation Problems

One of the most widely given advice for any homeowner is to take care of a problem right away before it escalates in time and money spend.  For a basement or foundation problem, this advice holds more truth than for any other home problem.  Leaving a leaky basement problem till you have saved enough money to pay for repairs is not something that is advisable.  Considering cracks on the basement walls as something unimportant can jeopardize the home you live in.  Taking care of these problems right away can save you time and money in the long run.

Call us, we will be happy to work with you.


Stone and rubble foundations: What to do if there’s a leak

The experts at H&N Basement Worx in Hamilton want to share some information about stone and rubble foundation damage to help you hire a contractor that has the knowledge and expertise to provide the proper repairs.

Stone and rubble foundations create the worst type of leakage once a leak has begun, and the reason for this is simply that stone or rubble foundations are generally old and were built before it was code to have a proper drainage system.

Not all stone foundations are without a proper drainage system, and not all leakage with stone foundations is the same. The type of repairs, and the extent of the job to execute these repairs, will depend on several factors, including if a drainage system needs to be installed or an existing one repaired, and how much damage has already occurred.

The H&N Basement Worx team will gladly come to your home to do a complete inspection, explain their findings thoroughly, and communicate their recommendations for repairs.


Don’t Dally On Foundations

There’s one bill that many Republicans and Democrats do agree on in this year of particularly nasty partisan sniping. It would help homeowners in eastern Connecticut replace their crumbling foundations. And yet the bill could be caught up in cruel political wrangling as basement walls crack and bow.

The bill would set up an assistance fund with bonded money from the state, and the hope is that insurers, banks, mortgage companies and the construction trade would contribute to it. It also would also establish a low-interest loan program to help homeowners with their deteriorating foundations.

The size of the fund and the state’s contribution haven’t been determined yet because the bill is still being worked on. It’s apparently a substitute for a fund that would have been created by charging homeowners $12 yearly on their insurance policies. That bill never made it out of committee.


Soil expansion may cause basement wall to bulge

Dear Jerry: While preparing the basement of our 1950 home for two bedroom additions, each with an egress window to be installed at the locations of existing basement windows, I removed the finish plywood and discovered on the east wall a large horizontal crack about 32 inches (four blocks) below the top of the foundation. Some of the mortar is loose, and the wall bulges in a little over one-half inch at the center of the crack.

Outside the house, there are two large trees about 10 feet from the house, with large roots headed straight for the center between the two cellar windows. The theory is that the roots have pushed in the blocks. Our arborist looked at the root structure, and said that he hasn’t seen proof of roots pushing against the foundation.


 

Declutter Your Home by Starting Small

We, at some point or another have a messy home.  It is inevitable.  With the busy lives we lead, cleaning our homes are relegated to the weekend, and only if we have no children that have sports meets during those two days. We are busy, there’s no doubt about it.  But, a messy home is very different from being a hoarder.  Clutter is somewhat expected, but hoarding to the point of having no space in your home to live in, is something different.

We tend to do many home improvements in our home that are purely aesthetic, and that’s good.  But, decluttering a home can be, for sure, the beginning of having a beautiful home without spending money.  Getting rid of stuff is good.  Start small.  A closet, or even a closet shelf is all you need to do  to begin the process of decluttering your home.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Declutter Your Home: Clutter Busting Tips & Tricks!

When your home is cluttered, it doesn’t just feel like your living space is unorganized and messy. It also feels like your life is unorganized and messy. In this “How to Declutter Your Home” guide, we take a look at several decluttering methods to help you find one that’s manageable for you!

Why Is Your Home Cluttered?

This is an important place to start when thinking about decluttering your home. Whether your struggle is that you don’t have an effective organization system, your number of possessions has grown but your living space hasn’t, or a combination of reasons, identifying why you have clutter will help you determine the tips, tricks, and methods that will most effectively help you get started toward a cleaner, more organized home.

You Don’t Have Enough Space

Maybe your home doesn’t have the amount of space necessary to hold all of your things. Or maybe you don’t know how to effectively utilize the space you have. Either way, you need a space-saving solution and/or storage solution.


As Jenny Lee decides 2017 is the year to tackle the clutter in her home, she seeks advice from County Down declutterer Gwen Montgomery.

I AM a hoarder. I’ve always tried to deny it, but now that I’ve admitted it I am determined 2017 is the year I’m going to tackle it and declutter my home.

My home really doesn’t look too cluttered – every now and again I do clear out – the problem is I take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, and rather than bring stuff to a charity shop or skip, it all just goes into storage upstairs in the attic.

Our house has the potential to be expanded upwards but my dream of our attic being converted into a much-needed office space and playroom is being hampered by it being crammed with clutter – my clutter.


Thinking about decluttering? Start small to build your confidence

Professional organizer Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton joined Post staff writer Jura Koncius last week on our home front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

What is the best room of the house to start with when trying to declutter?

I always recommend starting with a smaller area (coat closet, pantry or linen closet). It will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and will also help you build confidence! Most people get discouraged because they start with larger projects and tend to lose steam after having to make decisions when encountering all of the stuff. By starting small, you avoid the decision fatigue, and it sets you up to feel good about your project and organizing in general.


 

Home Repairs That Can Save You Money

Maintenance is the key to keep your cars running smoothly, your appliances working, and your house looking beautiful.  There are a few maintenance tips for your home that can help you avoid costly repairs later.  Cleaning the gutters of your home and making  sure they are not loose or clogged can save you repairs  due to leaking water to the basement, or damage done to the roof. Making sure the water downspouts adapters are firmly attached, and are taking the water away from the foundation of your home, can save you from having water sitting around the foundation and eventually finding a way to the basement. Prevention is the key to saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


5 Home Repairs to Make Now to Avoid Problems Later

If you put off fixing a wobbly fence post or squeaky door hinge, it’s probably not going to end in a homeowners insurance claim. Other home repairs, if left unchecked, can quickly domino into major disasters. Water is a factor—if not the primary cause—in the majority of high-risk situations. Here’s how to identify priority home repairs and handle them at their source:

Runaway Rainwater

Telltale signs: Rain pouring over gutters and puddling along foundation walls.
Why you need to act: Water can deteriorate siding and foundation walls, eventually finding its way to interior spaces and damaging them.
What to do: Inspect the entire gutter system for clogs and corrosion; you can clear clogs yourself, but if your gutters are corroded, you’ll want to talk to a pro about having them replaced. Check that the soil around your home’s foundation slopes away from the house at least 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more. Regrade the soil if the slope is insufficient.


Tips from the happy homeowner playbook: Don’t let your cash go down the drain or out the window.

Whether your live in a 19th-century farmhouse or 1990s colonial, chances are you’re leaving real money on the table each year in the form of excessive energy consumption. Simple behavioral changes, such as turning off power-hungry video game consoles, can add up to serious savings. The following energy-efficiency advice also includes high-hanging fruit, like upgrading your water heater and making the investment in rooftop solar.

Eliminate Drafts

Here’s an easy way to pinpoint air leaks in your home that make for drafty rooms in the winter and can drive up annual heating costs by $100 or more. First, turn on every exhaust fan in the house, including a whole-house fan and kitchen range hood, and hold an incense stick up to suspected leaks around windows, doors, and even electrical outlets. If the smoke blows sideways, you have a leak large enough to undermine your home’s comfort and efficiency. For around $30 worth of caulk, weatherstripping, and expandable foam sealant, you can plug the leaks for good.


How to Afford All Your 2017 Home Improvements

A leaky roof or a sagging gutter can be hard to ignore. The same goes for some old-school wood paneling in your den or that hideous palm tree wallpaper you put up in a (misguided) attempt to recreate your honeymoon. Unfortunately, most home improvements don’t exactly come cheap.

In fact, it may even feel like you’re basically saving up another down payment on your home to fix it up. There are some ways, however, to sock some dollars away and have your new sink and bathtub in the new year, too.

Here’s how to work some much-needed home improvements into your 2017 budget.

1. Save

Sure, you may feel inclined to rush into renovations — and when it comes to certain home repairs, things must be readily done. But it still behooves you to save where you can before crossing things off the to-do list. One trick?

“[Set] an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account to take place every two weeks on your payday so that the money leaves your account before you ever have a chance to spend it,” Brian Davis, director of education for real estate blog SparkRental, said.


 

Is Your Sump Pump Working?

This winter in Northeast Ohio hasn’t been bad.  Temperatures are nothing compared to what they used to be a few years back, and snow accumulation has been minimal — my daughter is still waiting for enough snow to build our annual igloo — and unless February brings too much snow to make up for January’s, the climate in Northeast Ohio is not too shabby.

Spring will come sooner than you think.  The rains will undoubtedly come too, and with the rains come flooded basements in many homes around here.  We are humans, and busy humans to boot.  We don’t check many things around the home, unless we have an emergency or pay someone to do it for us.  For example: When was the last time you checked the sump pump to make sure it works? Do you know if you have one?  A sump pump can be an incredible help if you have a flooded basement, and making sure is in working condition can be very beneficial for your whole family.

If you have a sump pump and are wondering what to do, these are some of the basic things you need to check to make sure it’s working properly.

  1. The electrical system of the sump pump can suffer from damages over time.  Power surges during storms can damage it and leave you with a sump pump that no longer works.
  2. If you are testing the sump pump, make sure you go outside to make sure that is discharging the water.
  3. Replace the battery every couple years.
  4. Make sure the motor of your sump pump is not making strange noises when running it.  If it is, follow the manufactures’s instruction to fix the problem, or call a knowledgeable company to fix it for you.
  5. Make sure the drain lines are clean, and will not block the water exits.
  6. Maintenance is key for your sump pump.  The manufacture’s instruction booklet can give you clear instructions on how to properly maintaining your sump pump, and keep it working for years.

If you have already one installed, checking it before the rains arrive can be a very helpful aid when you most need it. Look into the manufacture’s booklet to know what steps to take before you test it, or call a knowledgeable person or company to do it for you.

Looking at any Home Depot, or Lowes store, you will find that there are hundreds of sump pumps to choose from.  Make sure that if you are going to replace the one you have, you need to make sure it is the right one for your home.  A too little or too big sump pump for your home cannot be good and even shorten its life. Talk to a professional if you are unsure what to buy.