Contractor Tips Blog


Flood Protection With Home Elevations

Posted in Home Elevation

If you own a home located in a flood prone area and your home has been damaged by flooding, you are facing an important choice.  You may be required to take steps to reduce your future flood damage.  Some homeowners simply move away, but if you want to stay in your home there is an excellent alternative.

A home elevation can permanently protect your home from future flooding.  In a home elevation, a shoring contractor with house raising experience will lift your entire home and build a new foundation under your house. As a result, the next time floodwaters rise, your home will be above the floodwaters which will pass harmlessly underneath.  Home elevations are a very effective way to reduce future flood damage.

An experienced house raising contractor can lift almost any type of home including homes built on a slab, homes built on blocks, and homes built on pilings.  The lift can be anywhere from a few feet to more than ten feet.  In some cases a useable parking or storage area is created below the home. No matter how high the lift, make sure the contractor uses a modern unified jacking system that will evenly and safely raise the home.  If the house is not raised evenly, cracking and other damage can occur.

Depending on where you live, you may qualify for federal grant money to help pay for the home elevation.  Residents in flooded areas of Louisiana, Mississippi, Kings County Washington, and other areas may be eligible for federal or state grant money to help raise their homes.  A reputable home elevation contractor will help you find any grants you are eligible for and assist you with filling out the paperwork.


When a Roofing Contractor Knocks on Your Door

Posted in Roofing

The May 25 hailstorms have brought waves of fly by night roofers to the Dayton, Ohio area, especially hard hit Centerville and Xenia.  These storm chasers have a reputation for shoddy work, high pressure sales tactics, and unscrupulous practices.

Conventional wisdom is to avoid using any roofing contractor that shows up uninvited at your door.  Most of the time this is good advice.  Storm chasers don’t have a local reputation, they don’t get any referrals from satisfied customers, and they are not in an area long enough for advertising to be effective. The primary way storm chasers get business is by sending high pressure salesmen to knock on doors and use scare tactics to sign up new roofing contracts. 

On the other hand, the reputable local roofing contractors are so busy they don’t need to use door to door salesmen to get new work.  Good local roofing contractors with a solid reputation for high quality work get most of their business from referrals from satisfied customers. 

With that said, there may be some instances when a reputable local roofer is working in a neighborhood and takes a few minutes to knock on the doors of neighboring houses if it looks like they may have had hail damage but have not had their roof replaced. 

The bottom line is to use your common sense in these situations.  Don’t sign a contract with the first roofer that knocks on your door.  Get their business information and check them out like you would any other business.  Look at their vehicle to see if the name of the business name and license number is painted (not just a magnetic stick on sign) on the side.  If everything checks out, then you can hire them with confidence.


Choose a Roofing Contractor Wisely

Posted in Roofing

Thousands of Ohio homeowners in Fort Collins CO and the surrounding areas are faced with the task of choosing a roofing contractor to repair or replace their hail damaged roofs.  The hail storms that hit the area in May and June caused widespread damage to roofs throughout the area and homeowners have been scrambling to find a good roofer to handle the repairs to their roofs.

Unfortunately, a large number of “storm chasers” have moved into the area and are busy going door to door soliciting roofing work.  Storm chasers are roofers from out of state who move around the country like gypsies, traveling from one storm ravaged area to the next, undercutting the local roofers, then moving on when the work runs out, too many disgruntled customers begin to complain, or their creditors catch up with them.

To be fair, some storm chasers are good roofers, but the majority of storm chasers either do poor quality work or are just downright dishonest.  When you use a storm chaser to replace your asphalt shingle roof, you are taking a significant risk that the roofer will either simply disappear with your money or, if they hang around and install a new roof, they will do a poor job and the roof will start leaking with the next heavy rainfall. 

Your roof is too important to take this risk.  When you choose a roofing contractor for an asphalt shingle roof replacement, try to pick a contractor with a permanent local office.  Ask to see proof of workman’s compensation insurance and liability insurance.  Ask for references and check with the Better Business Bureau to see if they have a history of unresolved complaints.


Fire Alarm Inspections

Once you have made the investment in a fire alarm system for your home, office, or commercial building, it is important to have the fire alarm system inspected frequently.  No matter how great the fire alarm system is, it will not do any good if it does not work.  Seconds make a big difference in the event of a fire.   In an emergency, you need to be able to count on your fire alarm system working properly.  In addition, depending on your situation, an inspection may be required by your local building codes, fire department, or your insurance company.

The best way to make sure your fire alarm is in top working order is to have it inspected regularly.  Atlanta fire alarm inspections are best performed by a local professional fire alarm company. The National Fire Protection Association sets the national standards for testing and inspection of fire alarms.  A professional fire alarm inspector will be familiar with these standards and will make sure your system is in compliance with local codes and national fire alarm standards. 

There are several different brands of fire alarm system so be sure your fire alarm inspector is familiar with your system.  You can expect the inspection to cover your alarm system as well as compliance with other local and national fire codes and standards.  The inspector will not only be able to determine if your fire alarm system is in need of service or repairs, but also whether any other fire safety issues are noted. 

Regular fire alarm inspections are not only required by law, but they provide peace of mind and can save lives in the event of an emergency.


Removing Red Wine Stains From Carpets

Posted in Carpet Cleaning

A clean, fresh carpet enhances the beauty of your home.  Regular cleaning by a reputable carpet cleaning professional such as your Alpharetta GA carpet cleaners will help keep your carpets and entire home looking great and fresh smelling.  Between professional carpet cleanings, every carpet will acquire a few hard to remove stains. 

If you do any entertaining, you will probably eventually have a few red wine stains to contend with.  These can be particularly challenging to remove, but according to the experts, there are a few things you can try to remove these stains or to at least clean them up well enough to make it to your next professional carpet cleaning.

With red wine stains, prompt action is important.  You want to get as much of the red wine out of the carpet as possible right away.  Blot the red wine with a towel, then add water to the stain and keep blotting until most of the red wine is out of the carpet. Some experts suggest using white wine or club soda instead of water to help lift the red wine out of the carpet.

Many people suggest using salt to remove spilled red wine.  Blot up the spilled wine with a towel, then cover the spill with a pile of salt.  Give the salt a few minutes to absorb the wine, then brush it up and repeat as needed.  Remove residual salt with a vacuum. 

If these techniques don’t get the job done, there are several commercial products such as Oxy Clean and Wine Away that do an excellent job of removing red wine stains from carpet.  If all else fails, it time to call a professional carpet cleaning company.


Contractor Licensing and Insurance Considerations

Posted in Landscaping

When selecting a contractor for handling a home renovation, landscaping, roofing, or any other home improvement project, protect yourself by making sure that you are dealing with a reputable local contractor who is fully licensed and insured.

Almost anyone slap a magnetic sign on the side of their truck and claim to be a contractor, but if you want a professional, high quality job done with a minimum of hassle, you want to make sure that you are working with an experienced professional contractor like Tri County Pavers and Design, a Florida contractor that does excellent work in the design and construction of custom outdoor kitchens and other landscaping work.

Before hiring the contractor, ask to see their license and proof of insurance.  They should have both liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.  Their liability insurance will protect you if the contractor damages your property or your neighbor’s property while working on your home. 

Workers compensation insurance protects you against claims by their workers who may be injured on the job.  Remodeling and landscaping work can be hazardous and workers can easily be injured.  If the contractor does not have workers compensation insurance, you could be on the hook for the worker’s injuries.  Your homeowner’s insurance may cover such injuries, but you would still be responsible for the deductible and handling the claims.

Save yourself some headaches by only dealing with a professional landscape contractor like Tri County Pavers and Design.  You will not only get top quality workmanship, but you will avoid any potential hassles.


Is Mold Inspection and Remediation Necessary?

Mold inspection and remediation has become into a popular topic in recent years.  With all the hype about the effects of mold in your home, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction.  Key questions that many homeowners would like to see answered include when mold remediation is necessary and whether the homeowner can handle the job themselves or should it be left to a professional.

Molds occur naturally and mold spores are present in every home floating through the air.  For most of the population, these low, naturally occurring levels of mold do not cause any problems.  However, in some cases, mold spores will land on a damp spot in your home and begin growing.  The damp area can be caused by flooding, a leaky roof, broken pipe, or some other source.  Once mold starts growing it can cause allergic reactions in many people and should be addressed.

According to the EPA, if the moldy area is less than about 10 square feet, a homeowner can tackle the problem themselves.  If the area is larger or you don’t feel up to the task, a professional mold remediation contractor should be called in to handle the job.

Proper remediation of mold includes cleaning up the mold and also removing the source of moisture.  Otherwise, the mold will probably come back.  Whether you handle the job yourself or use a professional mold remediation contractor, the EPA has published guidelines that should be followed.  Also, if you suspect mold is present in your HVAC system, avoid running it until the ductwork has been inspected and cleaned by a professional contractor.

Call a professional New Orleans mold inspections contractor to see if your home needs mold remediation.


Tips For Finding A Good Contractor

If you are contemplating any large home improvement project like remodeling, roofing, painting, or pressure washing, you will need a good contractor.  A great contractor can make the job go smoothly and will make sure you are happy with the results.  A bad contractor can be an endless source of headaches. 

To find a good Alpharetta pressure washing contractor, start out by asking friends, neighbors, co-workers and family members if they can recommend a contractor they were happy with, or warn you away from a contractor they had a bad experience with. 

Other potential sources of contractors are online ratings sites such as Angie’s list and Yahoo.  Remember that anyone can post on some of these sites, so read the reviews critically. Your local home improvement warehouse will also have contractors that they can recommend. 

Once you have a list of candidates, interview each contractor.  Explain the job and ask if they have experience in this type of work.  Ask to see proof of liability insurance and workman’s compensation insurance.  Find out if they have a permanent business address and telephone number and be sure to ask for a few references from recent clients.  During the interview, you should get a sense of whether this contractor is someone you can work with. 

Call each of the references and ask if they were happy with the work done and if they would use the contractor again.  With all of this information in hand you are ready to choose the contractor who meets your requirements.


Fire Alarm Repairs

Posted in Home Security

If you are a homeowner, own or operate a business, or you own or lease a building and have invested in a fire alarm system, it is very important to keep it in good operating condition.  A fire alarm that does not function properly puts your family, employees, customers, and property at risk.  Avoid an unnecessary tragedy by keeping your fire alarm in good repair.

In addition, a fire alarm that malfunctions frequently can lead to complacency.  A fire alarm that gives frequent false alarms is almost as dangerous as a fire alarm that does not work at all.  Just like the boy who cried wolf, if a true emergency arises there is an increased risk that your family, employees and others will assume that the alarm is just another false alarm.   Frequent false alarms also cause lost work hours and negatively affects productivity.

Ignoring known issues with your fire alarms system not only endangers your family, employees and customers, but there is potential for exposure to not only civil liabilities but criminal penalties as well.  Also, your insurance coverage could be affected by any failure to have your fire alarm repaired as quickly as possible.

Regular service and repair of your fire alarm system should be part of the routine maintenance schedule.  Never attempt to repair or service your fire alarm system yourself.  This could invalidate any warranty and could result in an unreliable fire alarm system.  You should have any necessary fire alarm repairs and service performed by a trained fire alarm technician who has experience on your system.  Even the most basic fire alarm systems are complicated and require special skills.


Choosing a Home Alarm Monitoring Service

Posted in Home Security

Your choice of a home alarm monitoring service is a very important decision that should not be taken lightly.  Many people make the mistake of choosing a home alarm monitoring service based on price alone, but there are many considerations that are much more important than price.   No matter how inexpensive the monitoring service is, it’s not worth a dime if it does not provide the protection you need.

First, you should ensure that the monitoring service offers the type of monitoring you need.   Most monitoring services offer standard monitoring using a standard phone line, but not all offer cellular monitoring.  

Next, make sure that the monitoring service is UL approved.  There are no laws regulating monitoring services so independent organizations provide approvals or certifications that a monitoring service meets certain standards.  UL approval is one of the highest standards in the industry for alarm monitoring services.  Alarm monitoring services that are UL approved have to meet strict guidelines and undergo regular inspections to ensure they provide the highest quality of alarm monitoring.

Some alarm monitoring services have additional certifications such as the CSAA Five Diamond Certification.  To earn this certification, an alarm monitoring service has to meet additional standards beyond their UL approval.

Finally, check with the Better Business Bureau and online ratings websites to see if any complaints have been registered against the company.  Keep in mind that anyone can post a complaint, including an unscrupulous competitor or vindictive customer.  A few isolated complaints may not mean anything, but if you see a pattern of complaints or bad ratings, you may be better off with a different monitoring service.

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