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9 Tips To Choosing A Great Contractor
When it comes to home repairs and or improvements, many people find themselves at a loss because they are either unable to complete the needed repairs or they just do not have the time. Either way, the best thing to do is to hire a professional contractor.
But, what qualities should one look for in a contractor, and how can you be sure that he/she will be the best person for the job? These are common questions and should be answered before you hire a professional contractor.
Below are 9 tips that will help guide you through the process of selecting the best man, or woman, for the job.
1) Before hiring a contractor, find out how long they have been in business. Look for an established contractor and make sure to check out their reputation with the local Better Business Bureau for any outstanding or unresolved complaints. Click here for the Spokane Better Busines Bureau website
2) Make sure that a contractor is licensed to work in the state in which the work will be done. The best way to find out about your state’s licensing procedure is to contact your local building department and/or consumer protection agency. If your state requires that a contractor be licensed, always request to see a their contractor’s license prior to hiring him/her for the project.
3) When considering potential contractors,request a list of recently completed projects that are comparable to the one yours. Hiring a contractor that is experienced in projects like yours will ensure that everything goes smoothly and that the job will be finished correctly.
4) Ask your contractor, prior to the commencement of work, whether the job will require any type of permit. All permits must be obtained before the actual work starts, or the homeowner may face a fine. Then discuss who will be responsible for obtaining permits, either you or the contractor, before the project is started.
5) Always ask for the name of the individual who will be in charge of the job, usually called a supervisor, and the names of those who will be part of the construction crew.
6) Once you are familiar with the supervisor, ask him/her about their work crew. i.e. whether or not they are trustworthy. Then make the decision whether you want them working on/in your home. Will they need keys? If so, you need to know that they are honest and can be trusted near your family and/or children.
7) Every professional contractor should carry a certain amount of insurance coverage, which would include personal liability, property damage and worker’s compensation. You should ask for copies of all insurance certificates, confirming that they are current before the project begins. Do not do business with a contractor who cannot provide this documentation as this may result in your being held liable for any injuries and/or damages that occur during the project. Be sure to check with the contractor’s references before deciding to hire him/her for your project. This is important for all of the obvious reasons and will give you a good idea as to their work ethics and end results.
9) When you and your contractor come to an agreement on payment terms, get everything in writing, having the agreement signed and notarized. All parties involved should have a copy of the agreement for future reference.
Plumbing Problems could Require A Plumbing Contractor
Plumbing is something everyone must deal with, whether finding a plumbing contractor for new construction, a remodeling project, or just providing plumbing repair.
When Do I Need to Call a Plumbing Contractor?
Some universal problems found with plumbing include:
- Rattling pipes; may be prompted by several factors, most commonly because they are not sufficiently secured or strapped to the wall frame. The pipes might need to be accurately secured.
- Slow drains; could be partly clogged. If a kitchen sink, the dishwasher may have been improperly plumbed. The drain could need to be unclogged, or the dishwasher plumbing corrected.
- Loss of hot water when an additional faucet is turned on – particularly in older homes when hot and cold water pressures are not well balanced. A pressure balance valve may be required.
- Toilet tank leaks; plumbing parts inside the tank or seals could need replacing.
- To make sure these plumbing repair problems are accurately addressed, or when doing a remodeling project, you could want to enlist the services of a licensed plumbing contractor.
Plumbing a Remodel or New Construction
A remodeling project might include new plumbing design or new plumbing installation. You will need to get together with the plumber and all contractors concerned and develop a timeline, so everyone works together and the project goes smoothly.
Before taking bids from prospective plumbing contractors, make sure you have detailed plans. Provide each candidate with an identical copy of the plans. Rule of thumb is to get at least three different bids for a project.
Ask prospects if they are licensed plumbers. You should also ask for several references… As when they can begin and when the project will be finished. Check all references on any other projects they have completed.
To find a licensed Plumbing contractor in your area, avail yourself of references from people you are acquainted with, or confirm with a local licensing agency. Online resources are also available.
The Home Doctor Is In
The Home Doctor has the advice to your building questions.
Q: A recent storm wreaked havoc on my roof and I’m now dealing with a roof replacement project for the first time. What should I know about shingles prior to taking on the reroof with my contractor?
A: Before I answer your question, I want to be sure you’re working with a highly regarded contractor. Ask your roofer if he has insurance and get a written estimate for the work. It’s a good idea to ask for a few of references to follow up on in advance of signing a contract. The Better Business Bureau can also alert you to any complaints that have been filed against the business.
Once you are comfortable with the contractor, it’s time to investigate shingle alternatives. Interestingly, I’ve found that contractors will regularly recommend a shingle identical to the one they are replacing. There are so many new options in roofing that you’d be remiss not to look into. From dramatic color combinations to high-end “luxury” looks and outstanding warranty terms, make sure your contractor gives you a variety of alternatives.
For the majority home owners, I recommend asphalt roofing versus slate or wood. Generally, the more traditional materials are more costly and require a significant amount of upkeep over time. Asphalt shingles tend to endure the elements much better and some even come with impact-resistant features. They are more affordable in upfront costs. Plus, new styles of luxury asphalt shingles replicate the appearance of wood or slate with a likeness and affordability that are tough to beat.
As far as finding a quality shingle, CertainTeed has built a good reputation with its extensive line of asphalt shingles. This is the company that pioneered the increasingly popular multilayer shingle and is known for its revolutionary design and bold shingle color alternatives, such as variegated reds, blues and greens. When investigating shingle styles, their Web site is a good place to start.
The style of your house and your personal preference will influence the appropriate shingle selection for your house. If you want a roof built of high-quality materials and a dramatic, statement-making look, it may be worth looking at CertainTeed’s new Centennial Slate™ or Landmark TL Ultimate™ luxury shingles. The former has a look of true blended slate, the latter is a wood-shake style. Both luxury shingles come with outstanding warranties and use color and layers to capture an style.