Archive for the 'Contractor Issues' Category

Van Nuys sting operation

It was kind of like NBC’s "To Catch a Predator" this week in Van Nuys. But instead of suspected pedophiles showing up to meet underage victims, there were alleged unlicensed contractors showing up to bid on remodeling work. And instead of being tackled by cops in front of TV cameras, they were cited on misdemeanor [...]

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Before scraping off your ‘popcorn’ ceilings . . .

. . . consider the article in today’s San Francisco Chronicle: Couple awarded $7 million in asbestos lawsuit. The case involves Joan Mahoney, 69, who lives in South Lake Tahoe. Joan had an acting and singing career in Los Angeles for many years and toured with the USO. Later, she and her husband moved north [...]

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Recommend a contractor

The question I get most often from readers is: Can you recommend a contractor? Sadly, I cannot. But you can. Have you used a licensed Southern California general contractor that did good work for you and that you would recommend to others? If so, please post below. Here’s a template you could use: City or [...]

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SoCal remodeling trivia: down payment to a contractor

I’ve called this trivia, but it’s not trivial. Here’s the question: What is the most a California contractor can collect up front for home improvement work? A. The down payment cannot be more than $1,000 or 10% of the contract price, whichever is less. B. The down payment cannot be more than $5,000 or 10% [...]

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New contractor laws for 2008

Several new laws came into effect Jan. 1 that pertain to licensed contractors and their clients, according to the California State Contractors License Board. They include (underline added for emphasis): Business & Professions Code §125.6 – In addition to facing disciplinary action if a licensed contractor refuses services based upon race, color, sex, religion, ancestry, [...]

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Contractor markups: How much is too much?

A reader sent in this question regarding contractor markups on a kitchen remodel: "A contractor submitted a bid for cabinetry (at full cost) plus electric, plumbing, etc., plus charges for supervision, overhead, and profit. The last three categories added up to 35 percent. With the cabinetry at full cost, the contractor must have expected a [...]

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Fire dangers during remodeling

About a week ago, a remodeling crew set a strand of cypress trees ablaze in the San Diego area. It seems a worker’s propane torch got too close to the highly flammable trees. That got me thinking that remodeling can bring with it fire dangers. A DIY-er might do well to explore these situations that [...]

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Angie’s List?

Has anyone tried Angie’s List to find workers and contractors for home improvement? Did you get your money’s worth? Would you recommend it to others? The website of the Los Angeles chapter shows 21,462 members and 20,690 companies listed.

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Uh, about that circular saw without the blade guard . . .

. . . maybe not such a good thing to promote on your blog. That was the viewpoint of astute reader Martin G., who wrote in response to my blog on the benefits of 24-inch framing vs. 16-inch framing. I was so jazzed about finding a photo with 2-by-6 framing lumber (which goes along with [...]

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The Green Debate: Is 24-inch framing better than 16-inch framing?

You may have heard of “advanced” framing in which 2-by-6 studs are placed 24 inches apart when building a house, as opposed conventional framing, which is 2-by-4 studs 16 inches apart. In green building circles, 24-inch framing is widely seen as being a good choice for many reasons. But the consensus is not unanimous (as [...]

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Any good contractors in Orange County?

Reader Shaun Rogers sends along this request: “Hello. I’m looking for the names of qualified, trustworthy remodeling contractors who do work in Orange County. Any advice other bloggers could pass along would be appreciated. I don’t have a way to take and pass along pictures but the work would consist of popcorn ceiling removal, bath [...]

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New service reveals contractors’ credit histories

How would you feel if a remodeling contractor pulled a report on your credit worthiness to find out if you have made late payments to other creditors, or had any bankruptcies, liens or judgments against you? A contractor considering doing work for you would want to know if you pay your bills, don’t you think? [...]

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Guest Blogger: Peggy’s vintage Burbank cottage: Part 1

Today’s guest blogger is Peggy Olearczuk, who shares her experiences retaining the vintage flavor of her Burbank cottage. She writes: I always wanted an old, Spanish-style house, because I fondly remember my grandmother’s home. I got my wish, but our 1920s-era Burbank house, although potentially charming, had so many problems that we didn’t know where [...]

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Wanted: O.C. green contractor

A reader named Kimberly sent me this e-mail: Hi, I just read an old article of yours in the L.A. Times about green remodeling. I was wondering if you have any referrals for green contractors to do a remodel in Orange County. Here’s the deal: The Times doesn’t want me making referrals to contractors. But [...]

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In remodeling, does spelling matter?

You might think I'm making this up, but I actually saw the words to your right on a contractor's website. And it is an actual licensed contractor, with a freshly minted license number. But when I saw this website, with the misspelled words, red flags went up. Is it just because I'm a writer that [...]

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State warns in fire aftermath: It is a felony to contract without a license in a declared disaster area

From a recent press release: The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) is warning consumers about the dangers of hiring unlicensed contractors following a disaster, whether it is earthquake, fire, flood or mudslide. Unscrupulous, unlicensed contractors often prey on victims of natural disasters. It is a felony to contract without a license in a declared disaster [...]

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Having ‘issues’ with your contractor?

Here’s my confession: I usually run away from homeowners and their contractors who are having disputes. The combination of home, passion and trouble is just so intense! I like to hear the story when the troubles are over. But in the heat of the moment . . . not my scene. But here’s some good [...]

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KNBC reports on Home Depot remodeling

I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with hiring Home Depot contractors and subcontractors for remodeling work. But plenty of homeowners have indicated this. Their experiences and comments are documented in a five-part investigation by KNBC-TV Channel 4. After asking viewers to send in their complaints, reporter Joel Grover presented Home Depot with those cases, based [...]

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Does your green builder run a green business?

What is a green builder? Is it a builder who recommends you install a tankless water heater and energy-efficient windows and use nontoxic paints? Yes, but . . . how about the way the contractor runs his or her own business? Is it green? Does the contractor walk the talk? Or just talk? Here are [...]

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Stuck with a disorganized contractor — who’s to blame?

Over on the remodeling forum at iVillage’s Garden Web, commenter "graciesmom284" wonders about the seemingly disorganized contractor who is building her room addition and bathroom remodel. There are several issues with this remodel, all stemming from a vague contract. In one instance, the homeowner thought the agreement was that she would buy the flooring and [...]

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