"As a contractor with 16 years of experience and speaking on behalf of professional contractors. I want people to be aware of the warning signs that they may be dealing with the wrong contractor."
Not every contractor is out to get you. The majority are honest, reputable business owners who strive to do quality work, using good materials at a reasonable cost. In fact, many of these contractors are members of associations such as the NAHB (National Association of Home Builders) or the BBB (Better Business Bureau).
For the past three years, I have conducted investigations in contractor/homeowner relations. I have heard numerous stories of why homeowners feel taken by home improvement service providers. Even though we have our own formulas on choosing a contractor the nightmare stories continue to stockpile. On the other hand, I have heard from several contractors of how they feel undercut by the competition and taken advantage of by the homeowner. Yet still, the bickering goes on.
While Mr. And Mrs. Jones wondered when there newly hired contractor would return, they would be able to use their kitchen for nothing other than a sloppy storage room. The Jones's thought that the contractor they hired to completely remodel their kitchen was superior because he was highly recommended by a friend. They didn't know that his license had expired along with his insurance and that he had a criminal history. They assumed that he was reputable and failed to check his credentials. So as the Jones's wait, the contractor holds their money and left them with a completely destroyed kitchen.
How many times have we made a mistake like this and looked for someone else to blame?
After three years of research, it has been proven to me that the famous terms "contractor" and "nightmare" don't always go hand in hand. Just as we use protection to keep our homes safe, we can use certain tools and resources for successfully screening contractors as we welcome them into our home. Typically, we teach our children to not open the door for strangers, as the same rule should take affect in interviewing a contractor.
During my research, I myself was licensed and bonded as a general contractor. I was also involved with an online contractor referral service. This online service was located in Colorado and promised homeowners in Washington State they would deliver; prescreened, pre-qualified and licensed service trades people at their request. As a contractor I was sent up to 20 job leads a day via email, for jobs I had no experience in. I accepted several of these leads and sold services, by contract, to the majority of these homeowners. At first I was quite successful until my company started to grow. Before I knew it I had an office in Mill Creek, an office staff and 12?15 employees. I was considering the development and expansion of new divisions within my company however, my mistakes were soon to be revealed. I received a phone call from a client complaining of the help that I had placed on the job and our progress. My client proceeded to tell me that my employees were taking 2 hour lunches and taking several 5-10 minute breaks a day. Later another client phoned in with the same concern. Both of these projects were finished late, as I started to focus on weeding out the spoiled help. During this process I had lost control of the remaining projects. As I was firing and disciplining the remaining staff, I was receiving at minimum of three calls a day from angry customers. I felt there was no way out. I finished the last of the projects myself and with the help of my last employee.
While my license had already expired and I was no longer insured however, I was still receiving 20 job leads a day from this same contractor referral. This contractor referral service that promised to screen contractors and deliver them to an already "in fear" public, would refer my company and others I knew who were of the same caliber, licensed or not, insured or not.
Families Online Magazine -Parenting advice and family fun resource. Expert
parenting advice for babes to teens from doctors, teachers,
psychologists, nutritionists, Special Need Children and Child
Development Specialists and a Nanny. Family Fun includes crafts,
games, party ideas and family vacation travel. Families Online
Magazine also provides answers to those important questions, What's
for dinner and Are We There yet?
Warm & Toasty Outdoors with Patio Heaters
The Heat is On with Patio Heaters
Any outdoor lover will tell you that the right patio heater will allow you to extend your love of the open-air life all year round.
A 15-20 foot circle of heat can easily increase the outside temperature by 10-25 degrees Fahrenheit and that makes all the difference between having to stay inside and eating out.
As with most patio equipment, the choice of the right heater for your needs isn't always such an immediate process. First thing to know is whether you really need or want one. Some factors to consider are your lifestyle. How often do you eat or entertain outside? What is the weather predominantly like?
Now a few words concerning your budget.
How much are you willing to spend?
Prices for free standing models generally start at around $200-$250 and can go up to and over the $1000 mark. For normal domestic use, most sources indicate a $300-$400 model as being perfect.
The more expensive models are generally intended for commercial use. The newer, better-made patio heaters offer a selection of safety features and temperature controls. They will allow you to entertain in the early spring evenings. Just take a family breakfast set outside, or simply have a barbecue anytime you feel like it.
Modern patio heaters are:
so safe, you needn't worry about fire
really make having a patio or deck worthwhile
Freestanding heaters are usually about 7 feet tall and resemble a lamppost with a conical umbrella type housing on top. This helps radiate heat downwards. Some electric models are available but the majority use propane or natural gas, and these are by far the best type to consider. The gas canisters are contained in the base of the heater.
A quality patio or garden heater will generate around 45-50,000 BTUs, and that would be enough to keep you warm when you sit anywhere within a 20-foot diameter.
Most models now come with wheels, which facilitate moving your heater from one place to another while some even come with carrying cases. When it's not in use, you can put the patio or deck heater in its carry case, or under an appropriate cover, and just wheel it away!
Many retailers are also able to offer smaller tabletop, or footstool, versions of the freestanding models.
So, apart from the price, the main things to look out for are the BTUs and temperature controls. The rest is really just design. Choose something you like ... and prepare to enjoy more quality time outdoors.
In summary, garden or patio heaters will allow you to enjoy the outdoor life all year round.
The Benefits of Radiant Heat, Comparison
What are the Benefits of Radiant Heating and how do they compare to other heating applications?
Sparkling, Clean Lighting Will Add The Perfect Touch To Your Home
When one thinks of the many factors that affect the look of a room, most people think only of the paint and furniture. In doing so, they overlook the most important factor: Lighting.
Your Building Your Dream Home, But Where Do You Start?
You have finally found the perfect lot, in the neighborhood of your choice, and at a price you can afford. Now you have to decide what type of house you want built. In fact you may even know the house you want, be it a big rambling farmhouse, with a wrap-a-round porch reminiscent of your grandmother's home, a rustic log cabin or a more modern luxurious home. Whatever you choose, the first thing you will need is a set of house plans.
A Lasting Scent
Look no further for long lasting perfumes. House of Rose makes them and they last more than twice as long as the other perfumes. The secret is simple. They contain no alcohol which causes quick evaporation. Instead they use a base that is actually good for your skin. They also contain laboratory certified human pheromones, which are attractants. Harrods of London pipes them through their store HVAC system to encourage customers to feel good...and make more purchases. House of Rose buys from the same manufacturer as Harrods.
Conventional Steam Saunas vs. Infrared Saunas
The health benefits of steam saunas have been recognized for centuries, beginning with sweat lodges, traditional Finnish saunas, and other methods of heating the body and producing perspiration that cleanses the cells and pores. Typically, a heat source such as a wood, electric or gas sauna stove is used to produce the heat in a sauna. But in recent years, a technology known as far infrared has been used to replace the traditional steam sauna with infrared saunas, and some people feel that the result is superior.
Electric Radiant Floor Heating
Electric radiant floor heating systems are heating systems designed for use under carpeting, area rugs, tile, stone, and laminate wood floors and have been used in Europe, South Africa, and Australia for over 20 years.
Homeowners ? Here is a Step by Step Guide to Help You Hire a Quality Home Improvement Contractor
Before talking to any contractors the first thing to do is create a budget for the project. Without a budget you will be flying blind and may end up over spending. Having a tight budget will also help you make decisions about what kind of fixtures, and materials to purchase. Most products have a wide price range and having a budget will help keep you in line when making buying decisions.
At Last You Can Customize Your Pegboard As Much As You Want
Customizable metal pegboard is set to revolutionise utensil storage. For forty years the limitations of fibreboard has narrowed our imagination in utensil storage.
Glass Sinks ? 4 Unbreakable Rules of Buying a Glass Vessel Sink
1. Know your sinks
How durable are these sinks? These sinks are tempered. Tempered glass is regular glass that has been heated to a very high temperature, and then quickly cooled. This procedure strengthens the glass, making it 5-7 times stronger than regular glass.
Your Shower Door Can Have A Huge Impact On The Look And Feel Of Your Bathroom!
These days shower doors come in a wide variety of styles and designs. It's worth putting some thought into finding one that both suits your needs and looks great. Installing a shower stall enclosure can bring your bathroom bang up to date in terms of style and functionality. But careful consideration is important when choosing which type of shower door would work best in your particular bathroom. As well as choosing a door that looks sleek and modern, the size and layout of your bathroom must be taken into account.
Why Not Add a Shower To Your Bathroom?
If you are thinking of remodeling your bathroom and redoing or adding showers to them, consider all of your choices. The age we live in has allowed us many choices in what we want in our homes. We can choose from high end, high quality items to comfortable old favorites. When looking to redo or install a shower in your bathroom, you have many things to consider.
Useful Home Products Will Help Your House Sale Profits
Even if you've never been involved in the sale of house before and yours is about to go on the market, you probably know enough about the process to be able to repeat, like a litany: clean it; paint it; fix it. But do you find yourself asking: How clean does the house have to be and how do I tackle the job? Do I really have to paint? What are the best colors to choose? What do I need to repair?
When considering these questions, it's good to remember that most prospective home buyers are an unimaginative lot. Your house may be immaculate but if the rooms are cluttered, crowded, and dark, they may appear to be less clean and much smaller than they really are. Picture this: an old, seven-piece mahogany dining room suite plus a rocking chair and seven boxes of books packed in anticipation of your move are wedged into a dark green room with a brown rug and a window covered by heavy velvet drapes. Why is this decorating scheme a mistake? It's because most people are unable to imagine how big and beautiful the room would look if painted off-white, everything removed but the dining room suite, a pastel tablecloth and a fresh flower centerpiece on the table, curtains stripped from the window, the rug removed, and everything spotlessly clean. In the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, you must "make it so"; otherwise, it might take you a very long time to sell your house and the offers to buy will not only be slower, but lower.
Clean, Clean, Clean
Your best friend when cleaning your house for resale will be tri-sodium phosphate (TSP) or its equivalent. TSP is one of the home products that top the list of must-haves, and it's not expensive. Roll up your sleeves, put on your rubber gloves and scrub your walls and ceilings, and anything else that needs your elbow grease. Unless you can afford professional cleaners, there's no way out of this one.
Carpet cleaning is another must and there are home products for the do-it-yourselfer or you can hire a cleaning company to take care of this job. If you have shabby rugs scattered throughout the house, forget cleaning them; it's probably better to remove them altogether.
There are home products to clean things that require special care ? ceramic tile, porcelain, stainless steel, wood cabinets, aluminum siding, etc., and you can find whatever you need at your neighborhood hardware store. Ask questions and read labels. When using commercial cleaning products, wear gloves and a mask. It's wise to be careful.
Paint for a Pristine Finish
As thorough as your cleaning job is, it won't have much impact on sagging, faded wallpaper, gouges in the walls, or cracked and peeling paint. Repainting is the solution, and interior painting jobs start with stripping off old wallpaper, attacking cracks and gouges with filler, and then getting to work with your roller and brush. This is also the time to do all the small repairs that need your attention: hammer in nails; repair the broken step; replace the broken glass.
When selecting paint, the best colors for your walls and ceilings are white, off-white, cream, creamy off-white ? you get the picture. A light, cool, neutral color can fit into everyone's decorating scheme. (You want that young couple to see your home as the perfect setting for their red plush love seats.) If you have recently painted one or more rooms in quite dramatic colors, leave them as they are. As long as the walls and trim are clean and fresh, prospective buyers won't mind a bit of repainting if they want to change the colors ? the main thing is not to overwhelm them.
If you need to paint the outside of your house, it's not necessary to restrict yourself to neutral colors for exterior paint; however, a bright color is not a good choice. Something fairly subdued is better, but be creative when painting the front door; a dramatic touch might be needed to make your house memorable. It's easy for a buyer to repaint a door if he or she doesn't share your love of Christmas red or purple passion.
Remove the Clutter
It's time to say goodbye to your high school chemistry notes, the clothes you outgrew five years ago, the playpen your twelve-year-old no longer needs, and everything else your family will never use again, read again, or wear again. Be tough! Do it! Take it to the dump; hold a garage sale; donate it to your favorite charity. Don't let it take up any more of your storage space ? you're going to need it all to store the things that are currently stacked on shelves and floors and cluttering up counter tops throughout the house.
Important home products that can help you deal with this part of your preparation are closet organizers. They come in every size and style imaginable, and you are sure to find something suitable. When you have everything neatly stored in your closets and cupboards, walk through the house and pick up and put out of sight everything else on your counters and table tops that don't need to be there. "Clutter-free" means clutter-free and it won't kill anyone in the family to have to reach under the counter for the dishwashing detergent or the toothpaste for the next few days or weeks.
You probably don't think of furniture as "clutter," but clutter is anything that unnecessarily crowds a room, a doorway, or a hall. If your home has very small rooms and you can manage without some furniture items for awhile, arrange to use a friend's garage or basement to store them. It will "open up" the rooms and make your house appear larger and brighter, and that's a good thing.
Let There be Light
Sunlight is a friend to the house seller, and you should try and let as much of it into the house as you can. Wash windows inside and out and wash or dryclean the window coverings: curtains, drapes, and blinds. Before showing the house to a prospective buyer, replace burned-out light bulbs, turn on the lights, open the windows, lift the blinds, and pull back the drapes.
Ask a non-smoking, non-pet-owning friend to come into your house when you have finished cleaning and painting. Are all the pet odors and smoking odors gone? If the house passes the sniff-test, place some potpourri in open dishes to add a fresh, clean scent; otherwise, get back to work.
Finally, step outside and see what a prospective buyer's first impression of your yard is likely to be. Mow the lawn, trim the hedges and bushes, weed the garden, edge the flowerbeds, and sweep and clean the walkway, deck, or patio. Your yard is another selling feature of your house, and must be clean and tidy, too.
Home products can help make your house appear big, bright, clean, and ready for a prospective buyer to move right in, which is exactly what you want.
How To Know If Interior Design Is Right for You
Have you ever seen a beautiful house or office building and wondered who did the work? Have you ever wished that you could do some of the work that you've seen elsewhere? Many people wonder what it would be like to be an Interior Designer, but they rarely ever go beyond thinking about it.
Removing Old Aluminum Windows
This week we are going to talk about the process of actually removing your aluminum windows in preparation for installing vinyl replacement windows. Let's start with a horizontal sliding window, which is pretty common nationwide. There is going to be a sliding panel and a stationary panel. You want to remove the slider first. All you do is slide the panel open, grab the sides of the panel with your hands,lift up and swing out. Under ideal circumstances, it would be that easy. However, there are small obstacles that can prevent you from lifting out the panel.
Discovering Fiberglass Roofing Panels for Your Roofing Needs
Roofs are an integral part of the house. The design of a roof tells a lot about the structure. They can be stylish, grand, historical, modern, versatile and so much more. When designing a house, building or any structure, the roof cant be taken for granted, they must be complimenting the whole design and yet, will be very durable and resistant to nature's elements. That is why; designers take into consideration a lot of things like the weather, the winds, the location of the structure and much more, all of them makes an influence on the design of the roof and what kind of roofing materials to use. There are many forms wherein roofs are designed and constructed. They could either be flat, pitched, vaulted, domed or combinations of those types. As stated, these designs are influenced by considerations regarding technical, regional and aesthetic factors.
Replacing Aluminum Frame Single Pane Windows
In our past articles I talked about all the steps required to properly replace your old wood sash windows with energy efficient vinyl windows. I told you how to measure for the new windows. Then we discussed the removal of the wood sashes and parting bead. Finally, I told you how to install, seal, and trim the vinyl replacement windows. But, what if those old windows in your home are made of aluminum instead of wood? Is the process the same? No, it's not the same at all. So, the next few articles are going to explain the differences between replacing wood windows versus aluminum windows.
Tips for Choosing Log Furniture
If you just love that rustic look, and are finally ready to finally buy log furniture for your home, there are a number of "rules of thumb" that can help you in making good choices.
Do You Have a Master Bedroom? You Shouldnt! Tips for Remodeling Your Bedroom
The word "master" is an antiquated term that suggests control, domination, and inequality, and in today's cooperative partner and/or single parent household, the label "master suite" has become obsolete. In that light, master bedrooms would more properly be called "main bedrooms" in today's society.
How To Choose House Style Mailboxes
Your mailbox is not simply a receptacle for your mail; it
is an extension of your home and a statement of your good
taste. You can find extraordinary house style mailboxes
that will be a beautiful addition to your outdoor dcor.
There are many choices in house style mailboxes and you are
sure to find one that captures the spirit of your home and
your life. You can choose from metals such as copper or
brass, choose a smooth or hammered finish, or you may want
to have a mailbox that matches the color of your home
perfectly. Any color, finish, and shape you desire can be
shipped directly to you, and you will be delighted with the
new look your mailbox gives your home.