How To Hire A Good Home Improvement Professional

home improvement

Unless you’re an extreme DIY-er, there will probably come a time when you need to hire a home improvement professional. Whether you want to have your entire house redone or just need some touch-ups, you’ll want to make sure that anyone you hire for the job is definitely the right person. Before you sign a contract or hand over any money, make sure you do the following to hire a good home improvement professional:

Ask for recommendations. Family, friends, neighbors, and other acquaintances can be a great source of information on the quality of a home improvement professional. You can also look online for reviews of a professional and his/her services. A good subcontractor will be easy to contact, ready and willing to answer questions, and know how to connect with general contractors and other subcontractors in the area. Ask for customer testimonials, samples of the professional’s past work, and contracts you can read through in advance.

Shop around. Remember that you get what you pay for — sometimes the cheapest option is not the best. On the flip side, you don’t necessarily have to pay a mint to find a quality contractor or subcontractor. Plan ahead and give yourself time to find the right home improvement professional at a good price. If you’re unsure what a good price is for your particular project, do some research online and ask for a cost breakdown for your project.

Make sure your professional is fully licensed and credentialed. Most subcontractors, such as electricians and plumbers, need to be licensed according to state and local laws. Their license information should be either on display in the office or readily available when you ask. You should also look for professionals who are certified or recognized in their field — look for membership in groups such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry or the National Association of Home Builders as well as professional niche associations (plumbing, electrical, home design, etc.).

Don’t hire an uninsured contractor. Insurance protects you and it protects them in case of any unforeseen disaster or problem. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance or have it written into your contract.

Be honest about your budget. The last thing you want is to have to bail on a home improvement project halfway through or go into debt to finish it. Know what you’re able to pay before you sign any contract and make sure that your contractor knows as well. Make sure that your professional respects your limits and will not make financial decisions on a project without your input and approval.

Make sure anyone you hire is easy to contact and communicate with. You should be in touch with a lead person on any large project and be able to ask them questions and contact them as needed (during business hours). A contractor or subcontractor that doesn’t communicate or is hard to get in touch with may make your project harder to complete on time and within budget.

Do your due diligence before signing a contract. Make sure you read a contract in full and are completely happy with the terms. Check with the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce to make sure there are no complaints against the contractor or the company itself.

Ask if the professional offers a warranty. If anything about your home improvement project fails or breaks after completion, you need to know how to fix it. Not all home improvement professionals offer warranties on their work, but remember that it may be worth paying a little extra for the warranty.

Jessica Kane is a professional blogger who writes for Scaffold Store, the favorite and trusted scaffold supplier of the largest contractors.

Why To Consider Wheel-Chair Accessibility When Remodeling Your Home

Why To Consider Wheel Chair Accessibility When Remodeling Your Home

Whether you’re on the verge of retirement or still enjoying your youth, you might find yourself suddenly facing a wheelchair scenario in your home. An unexpected health emergency can happen at any time and leave you or a loved one temporarily or permanently unable to walk. A visiting family member or friend might also suddenly need to use a wheelchair. Given these possibilities, it’s important to make certain that your home is wheelchair accessible.

Here are three areas that you should definitely update during your next remodel:

Home Entry And Exit

A short incline ramp leading to your front or back door can make it much easier for you or a loved one to access and exit your home as needed. A ramp can also make it easier for emergency services personnel to wheel you or a loved one out of your home on a wheeled stretcher during a major health crisis. To prevent wheel slide-offs and make walking easier for someone transitioning from a wheelchair after an acute health event, make certain that the ramp is outfitted with rails and thin, non-slip permanent mats or runners.

Mobility In The Kitchen

When someone must use a wheelchair, they often experience problems with moving around a kitchen and accessing storage and appliances that are at counter and upper wall level. To make your kitchen wheelchair-friendly, open up the space so that all foot traffic areas are wide enough for a wheelchair. Additionally, install cabinets and storage that offer features that allow you to make future wheelchair adjustments. For example, you might install an island that has a hidden folding tabletop that when unfolded allows someone in a wheelchair to use it as a work space.

Bathroom Ease Of Use

Many homes have small bathrooms with cabinet-style sinks and full bathtubs that are almost impossible to use with a wheelchair. Create more wheelchair space by moving a bathroom to a larger room, taking out a wall or installing a low pedestal sink. It’s wise to contact bathroom upgrade specialists like the team at Four Seasons Home Products to help you design a wheelchair-accessible bathroom. They can recommend and install a seat-style low-threshold shower or walk-in tub to make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to access and use a shower.

There are many other ways that you can make your home more wheelchair accessible. These areas are typically the ones that initially cause the most problems when someone must transition to interacting with a wheelchair.

Leaking Roof: What Causes It & How to Fix It

roof repair

If you notice water or water stains on the roof, it could be the telltale signs of a leak. Roofs leak for a variety of reasons, so it is important to have it inspected quickly to diagnose the issue. From there, it is critical that you have the leak fixed to limit any further damage to the roof or to the rest of the home. Before you try fixing it, here is what you need to know:

The Causes of a Leaky Roof

Roofs can leak after a long winter in which rain or snow penetrated through the shingles or roof deck. In many cases, water will back into the shingles because gutters were clogged by debris or covered with ice during the winter months. Roofs may also leak because there is a lack of air circulation, which allows humid air to be present near the roof and in the attic.

How to Spot a Leaking Roof

If you see water actually dripping from the roof or from your ceiling, it is likely that there is a leak that needs to be fixed. However, the source of the water and the source of the leak are not necessarily the same thing. Therefore, you may need to take some time tracing the water back to where the roof is actually failing.

Call a Professional for Repairs Immediately

As soon as you see signs of a roof leak, it is a good idea to call a roofing professional to formally diagnose the problem. From there, he or she may be able to make suggestions as to how you can remedy the situation. Even if you think that you have the experience to make the repairs on your own, it may be best to let a professional, such as one from Stevens Roofing Corporation, do any necessary roof work instead.

Repairing

If water or other damage is prevalent on the roof, it may be a good idea to replace it instead of repairing the damage. A new roof may last for up to 50 years, which could make maintaining your home much easier. You may also be able to get a warranty on both materials and labor, which means that you won’t have to pay for repairs in the future.

A leaky roof is something that you need to take care of immediately. Otherwise, you risk damage to ceilings, walls and even the foundation of the home. While roof work may be costly, it is almost always less expensive than repairing water damage throughout the entire home.

Dealing with Damage: Tips to Restore Your Property After a Fire

Dealing with Damage, Tips to Restore Your Property After a Fire

After a fire sweeps through your home, you might think that there is no way that you can restore the home back to what it looked like. While it won’t be exactly the same, there are tips to getting your property back to a condition where you can live in the home once again. Use the time to design the home the way that you want it to look and to create a space that you can relax in.

Scrubbing And Washing
As soon as the dust and smoke settle, you want to begin washing the soot from the walls and the floors. You also want to begin washing the items in the home that can be saved. A pressure washer is ideal for using on the outside of the home and on the inside once everything is removed. A steam cleaner can also help in getting the soot from cracks and other small areas.

Linens And Clothing
The clothes that can be washed should be stored in a bag or box until you can get them laundered. Items that are damaged beyond repair can be tossed into a trash can or even a dumpster as the smell of smoke can linger. Even if items like linens or towels don’t seem to be damaged because they were in a different part of the home, you still need to wash them as the smell from the fire can settle into them.

Disinfecting
Once everything is cleaned, you need to use a disinfectant on everything to get a fresh scent in the home once again. A professional restoration company like Icon Property or someone similar in your area can help with eliminating the smells that are present by using fans and air fresheners. The company often has items that can get deep into the structure of the home to remove odors.

New Flooring And Walls
Avoid replacing the carpets, paint and other large components of the home until it’s completely clean and the smell is gone from the home. Once everything is stripped to its base, you can begin adding new flooring and paint. This is when you can get the floor that you want, such as a hardwood look in the home with linoleum or new colors on the walls.

A fire can be devastating. It can take away everything that you own, but if you are prepared, then you can save some of the items that are in the home. Once the property is safe to enter once again, you can begin the process of restoring what you can and getting the house back into a condition to sell or live in with your family.

House Remodeling Tips

kitchen

You bought a new house and it requires some adaptations in order to meet your needs? Or your old house simply needs some refreshment? Regardless of which situation you are in, home remodeling can be overwhelming, especially if you haven’t planned everything well and chosen your battles carefully. When selecting renovation projects, you have to consider usability, investment and potential return of investment (e.g. the project should either save you money in the future, or should increase the value of your home should you decide to sell). Sounds pretty complicated, right? We’ll help you with these clever remodeling tips.

Find good workforce

If you manage to find quality workers, you have already done the most important part of the job. Experienced remodelers will be able to give you advice on the most prudent projects, best materials and do their job efficiently at a fair cost. Consult the web, but also ask your friends and family for word-of-mouth recommendations. When you choose them, make sure you communicate all of your ideas and write a detailed contract.

Make extra space

Almost all remodeling projects have one clear goal: to add more space to the property. That can be done by tearing down the wall between the kitchen and the living room. If you want to go beyond that and make an extra room (family room, guest room, bathroom…) you can either go up or down. One of the greatest intricacies you can face here is enabling easy access to the space, so if you’re upgrading your attic, you’ll need more than step ladder.

Do the kitchen remodeling first

This is a project that meets both ROI demands: if you do it with energy-saving on your mind, you can cut your bills in the future, and regardless of the size of your project, you will still be able to increase the value of your property. Namely, even a minor kitchen remodeling can recoup about 80% of the invested money, says  research done by Remodeling magazine. Some small-scale projects you can pull off are repainting the cabinets, replacing the handles and pulls, painting, replacing the ordinary light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, getting a new countertop and adding a backsplash.

Do other projects that increase ROI

It’s an unwritten rule that the projects that add to the total price of your house, also increase its functionality and improve its aesthetics, so even if you’re not selling, you’ll benefit from these renovations:

Increase the curb appeal

Finally, the house’s exterior also plays a major role in the overall picture. Here are some things you can do to improve the appearance of your outdoor space:

  • Pool restoration: There is nothing cooler than owning a pool in your backyard, but if it isn’t updated for decades, it is about time to do it. The best thing about this project is that you don’t need much to do it: a bucket of swimming pool paint can instantly revive it. You can go beyond that and build a deck around the pool, make a mulch or rock border and plant small bushes and perennials, etc.
  • Wooden deck addition: Adding a wooden deck is one of those projects that can add value to your property, but it can also present a beautiful place to spend time with your family, read a good book or simply enjoy the fresh air.
  • Fixing the driveway: A cracked driveway is not a very appealing sight. Solve this by applying a driveway sealer.
  • Painting the exterior: painting a worn out façade will instantly transform your house and make it look newer.

House renovation is indubitably a major project. It can require a lot of time, money and patience, but take it one step at the time, and you will make it.

Guest Post By:

Amelia Atkins

“Amelia is an author on the site Smooth Decorator and now a fresh architecture student.  Love for architecture and design runs in her family ever since she can remember.”