Archive for the 'Contractor Issues' Category

Want the inside scoop? Eavesdrop on the pros

Let's face it, we neophyte remodelers know so little. What kind of fasteners are compatible with synthetic roofing underlayment? Can you put tile backer board over OSB? Or is plywood better as a base? What is best window flashing?  So many questions. So little innate wisdom.  So what if you were a fly on the [...]

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Lead testing made simple

Whenever I’m told to test my house for lead or radon or mold or asbestos, I get a bad case of the “yeah buts . . . .” As in: Yeah, but . . . who do I call? Yeah, but . . . how do I collect samples? Yeah, but . . . what [...]

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Book Report: ‘Screw It! I’ll Be My Own Contractor’

I think of contractors like orchestral conductors. The symphony members (subcontractors) are each experts in playing their instruments (hanging drywall, laying tile). Still, for all their talents, these musicians or subcontractors need a conductor, a leader, someone holding the baton, to coordinate the whole effort into a beautiful symphony, or into your new house or [...]

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How to talk to a contractor

Speaking with a contractor or subcontractor can be difficult, especially when your remodeling project is already in progress . That's because your house is likely torn apart, and the place you go for comfort is no longer a refuge. It will be a refuge after the remodel is done, and better than before, but it [...]

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Will your remodeling contractor go bankrupt?

The last thing you want is for a contractor to go out of business in the middle of your remodeling job.  Imagine it: Your old kitchen has been torn out and hauled to the dump or recycled. The crews have just begun to run new plumbing lines when, one day, they stop coming. You call [...]

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California’s most-wanted unlicensed contractors

News from the California Contractors State License Board: Worst of the Worst — Avoid These Contractors In our ongoing effort to protect California consumers, the CSLB has identified the worst unlicensed violators who are known to prey on vulnerable and unsuspecting homeowners that are involved in new home or home improvement projects. Complaints against the [...]

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Guest Blogger: Why you should hire a licensed contractor

Our guest blogger today is Pamela Mares, an information officer with the California Contractors State License Board. Pamela is responding to a recent post titled: When a job goes bad, is the contractor the only one at fault?). Here’s what she had to say about it: You are so right in your analogy about how [...]

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Two readers looking for contractors

The economy might be picking up. Folks are looking for contractors: Palm Desert/Coachella Valley Thanks for your words of caution regarding tips to research a contractor for remodeling. I am considering buying a property that was foreclosed upon while a remodel was in process. Whether it is for this house or another, I will need [...]

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Dispatch from New Orleans: SoCal contractor moved there after storms

After I wrote about a green home renovation in New Orleans (see it here), I heard from contractor Tom Borland, who had made that home’s beautiful wood countertops. The counters are notable for the warm beauty that came from old, salvaged pine with super-tight grain. It turns out Tom was a SoCal builder who moved [...]

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When a job goes bad, is the contractor the only one at fault?

There’s a story being reported in newspapers and TV stations around Southern California about a solider who returned from Iraq to find his house in Highland, California, a disaster from a remodel gone bad. You can see different versions of the story on Contractor bails on soldier’s renovation on KABC-TV, Who do you trust? Not [...]

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When a remodeling contractor goes under, who suffers?

The story I read today about the demise of Tim Davis’ remodeling company played out in Lakeland, Fla., but it could have happened anywhere. Davis started his company 19 years ago with a pickup truck and a toolbox, according to the article in the Lakeland Ledger newspaper, and grew to a $4-million company. Here’s what [...]

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Contractors license board cites 32 in Coachella Valley sting operation

According to a press release from the California State Contractors License Board: “The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) and partners from the Palm Springs Police Department and the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office are warning Coachella Valley residents to be aware before hiring people for home improvement projects. The warning comes after a two-day undercover [...]

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3 SoCal contractors named to Remodeling magazine’s Big 50

Three SoCal contractors — in El Cajon, Fullerton and San Diego — have been included in the 2008 Big 50 list compiled by Washington, D.C.-based Remodeling magazine. According to the website for the respected magazine, which has named 50 top contractors each year since 1986, this is an "elite group of remodeling professionals . . [...]

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Got plans, need contractor

Julia and Mark are planning a remodel but are missing one critical piece of the puzzle: a good contractor. Here’s what they wrote: We live at the top of Beachwood Canyon in a cantilevered home circa 1955 and plan to add a second story, go green, add a roof garden, etc. We are not interested [...]

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Green Builder Profile: DAD’s Construction (Orange County)

Company name: DAD’s Construction Inc. Website: www.dadsconstruction.com Principals: Dan Derkum and Lori Derkum Contact info: Lori Derkum, 25422 Trabuco Road, Suite 105-220, Lake Forest, CA 92630, phone: (949) 380-0177, e-mail: lori@dadsconstruction.com or dan@dadsconstruction.com Years in business: 25-plus Specialize in: Kitchens, bathrooms, and full interior remodels Professional memberships: National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry (NARI), National [...]

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Remodeling association chapter starts up in Los Angeles

A new chapter of NARI (the National Assn. of the Remodeling Industry) has started up in the Los Angeles area. There is an active NARI chapter in San Diego and more than 60 chapters nationwide. Members of NARI include contractors, interior designers, architects, product suppliers, manufacturers and service providers. Several contractors in Southern California have [...]

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Ask Kathy: How much contractor markup is too much?

Question: My contractor just handed my contract to me, and I’m in shock! He wants 22% of the cost of materials, 22% over the cost of labor, 22% for subcontractors and 22% for labor management crew. I think this is way too much. First, the subcontractors are making a profit, and now the builder wants [...]

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Fun facts about building permits

If you live in the city of Los Angeles and are planning some home improvements, the city’s Department of Building and Safety offers some fascinating FAQs: Do I need a permit to build a fence around my property? A permit is not required for any type of fence under 3’6″ in height. A permit is [...]

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10 brilliant things homeowners do . . .

. . . to create awesome remodels. Based on my experiences, here’s my list: 1. Being clear about what you want 2. Becoming clear about your budget 3. Getting professional design advice 4. Checking out the companies you’re considering 5. Not taking the lowest bid 6. Sticking to the plan during construction 7. Not overestimating [...]

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When to sue a contractor? When to let it go?

A tragedy occurred last week in Walnut Creek and the thought of it continues to haunt me. Here’s what was reported yesterday in the San Jose Mercury News: Murder and other felony charges were filed Tuesday against a Martinez contractor who prosecutors say killed a Walnut Creek man during a confrontation over a home remodeling [...]

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