Archive for the 'Contractor Issues' Category

Another unique way to finance a remodel

It’s not until you hear of a remodeling contractor that offers financing, as does Custom Design & Construction in Los Angeles, that you realize how odd it is that more companies don’t do this. Think about it: What if you went to buy a car and your experience was similar to how it is with [...]

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Looking for references? This L.A. contractor’s website delivers the goods

You’ve heard the drill when looking for a remodeling contractor: Get references. But what does that mean? References from a neighbor? A friend? The guy at the hardware store? Yes, yes and yes. But the kinds of references typically NOT that helpful are the glowing testimonials you might find on a remodeling contractor’s website, testimonials [...]

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Mistakes contractors make

Based on my observations of the remodeling industry during the last 20 years, here is my list of three common mistakes contractors make (feel free to add to this list): 1. A lack of well-thought-out company policies and systems. Remodeling is an enormously complicated endeavor. You’ve got all the complexities of building houses, plus the [...]

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UPDATE: Bail offered to Rolling Hills Estates man sentenced to jail for building permit violations

UPDATE: The Daily Breeze reports that Francisco Linares will not have to report to jail Monday after all if he posts $100,000 bail. Superior Court Judge Sandra Thompson ruled that Linares could remain free while appealing his six-month sentence for violating his plea agreement for municipal code violations. My original posting from Aug. 29: The [...]

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The contractor’s price: Flat fee or percentage better?

What is better? A flat fee for a contractor’s services? Or a fee based on a percentage of the job costs, such as drywall and plumbing? Frequent Pardon Our Dust commenter Sheila has a strong opinion that a flat fee is much better for the homeowner. Here’s what she wrote: my brother-in-law is a high-quality [...]

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Big box store installers get lowest marks, Consumer Reports survey says

You have several options when hiring contractors or installers to do remodeling work, including: 1. Hire independent contractors from your area2. Hire contractors through local stores, such as kitchen and bath shops3. Use certified installers for such products as Pella windows and Corian counters4. Hire installers through big box stores such as Home Depot and [...]

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Are you a difficult client?

See how the wood fails to line up on this railing? Would you accept this? But see how it looks in the bigger picture below? Not so bad? So-called difficult clients will insist the rails be lined up better, even though it’s in a far corner of a deck and will soon be covered with [...]

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Why I feel positive about remodeling companies while plenty of people don’t

It’s pretty late in the evening here, in a completely quiet house, as I troll through my computer’s hard drive and the articles I’ve written, which number in the thousands by now. I come across an article I did last year for Remodeling magazine, an excellent publication read mostly by contractors. The editors there had [...]

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Is a down real estate market the best time to remodel?

Several readers have asked lately whether or not now — while the building, buying and selling of homes has slowed to a crawl — is the best time to do a remodel. I asked four prominent SoCal remodeling contractors for their perspective. These contractors — Matt Plaskoff, John Sofio, Bob Sturgeon and Alon Toker — [...]

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Who do you recommend?

Has anyone done work on your home who deserves a “shout out”? An “atta boy” or “atta girl”? A pat on the back? It’s funny how the incompetent people get all the press, while the good ones fade into obscurity. Let’s turn that around. To help create a list of reader-recommended Southern California architects, designers, [...]

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10 stupid things homeowners do . . .

. . . to mess up their own remodels. This is a list I’ve compiled after observing people and their remodels for nearly two decades. It’s true that contractors and subcontractors and vendors all have their faults. The remodeling industry is wacky, no doubt about it. But it is your own actions that will make [...]

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Inside the contractor’s mind: The good and the bad

The Journal of Light Construction (one of the best contractor magazines, and one I occasionally write for) asked contractors to reveal the best and worst parts of their jobs. Their answers give clues to how they think: From John Morrissey: The best part is the design aspect of the project, interacting with the client as [...]

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Here’s a riddle: Why does a “construction guy” hire a general contractor for his own remodel?

Actually, it’s not a riddle, but a true story about a guy who knows all about construction, and who has worked in building for years, who nevertheless hires a general contractor to orchestrate his own Pasadena remodel. The following explanation of this phenomenon was sent in by John Beaty, who wrote a terrific guide to [...]

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Remodel highs and lows

Remodeling is an emotional endeavor. The very thing that keeps you safe and centered — your happy home — is turned into a dusty, chaotic, noisy jobsite. On top of that, you’re asked to make decisions on colors and materials that you will have to live with for a long time. The combined stress is [...]

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Q&A: When remodeling a kitchen, who ya gonna call?

Question: Help! We plan on remodeling our kitchen and opening it up to the family room, which will require removing a wall. My question is where do I start? Do I contact the architect, the contractor or the kitchen designer first? We are in the $90,000 to $100,000 budget range. — Karla Answer: Good question, [...]

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Q&A: When remodeling a kitchen, who ya gonna call?

<p><a href=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/2007/07/23/butlerkitchen.jpg” onclick=”window.open(this.href, ‘_blank’, ‘width=717,height=562,scrollbars=no,resizable=no,toolbar=no,directories=no,location=no,menubar=no,status=no,left=0,top=0′); return false”><img alt=”Butlerkitchen” title=”Butlerkitchen” src=”http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/pardonourdust/images/2007/07/23/butlerkitchen.jpg” width=”350″ height=”274″ border=”0″ style=”float: right; margin: 5px 5px 5px 5px;” /></a><strong>Question</strong>: Help! We plan on remodeling our kitchen and opening it up to the family room, which will require removing a wall. My question is where do I start? Do I contact the architect, the [...]

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How to find a contractor . . . tips from an industry insider

Reader John Beaty has a lot of experience in the building industry, working with contractors and subcontractors in many parts of the country. Now living in Pasadena (with a remodeled kitchen I hope he will share with us), John did not have a positive reaction to my recent post on Contractor Red Flags. In fact, [...]

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The trouble with subcontractors

Why is it so hard to get subcontractors to show up? Here’s what I’ve observed (and feel free to tear apart my arguments): There are two factors in this situation: The E-myth and priorities. The E-myth (based on a book of the same name) states that it’s a myth to think a tradesperson will automatically [...]

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Tips for the contractor remodeling Victoria Beckham’s home

According to a tipster quoted on the Celebrity Houses Blog, the 13,000-square-foot, $22 million Beverly Hills mansion bought by uber celebrity Victoria Beckham “still needs a bit of work inside.” That bit of work could be a tax-bracket-changing gig for a SoCal remodeling contractor. Toward that goal (get it?), here are some tips: First and [...]

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How do we remodel? Let me count the ways . . .

How should we remodel? Do it ourselves? Hire someone? It’s a very complicated topic. Much depends on us — what we can handle, what we can’t. I sat down one day and studied the most recent 100 or so remodels I’ve visited and written about. My goal was to see if I could determine patterns [...]

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