Before You Hire a Roofing Contractor Read This

Before You Hire a Roofing Contractor Read This

Roof repairs or replacements are big investments so before you hire a roofing contractor read this and make sure that you get the best value for the money that you will be spending.  It doesn’t matter if you need a new roof for your business or home it is still a complex job requiring a skilled tradesman.  Here are some tips to help you get the best bang for your buck.

Is Your Roofer Online

Getting a referral from a friend or family is great but at the same time it is 2020 and your contractor should have some type of presence online.  They need at the very least a website outlining their service but they should be present on Google as well as the other platforms that offer reviews for local businesses and tradespeople.  Despite having a reference you still need to check with sites like Home Advisor, Yelp or Angie’s List.

Licensed and Insured

Your contractor should be licensed by the state or some other local authority and they should also have the proper insurance.  They should have no problem showing you these documents at any time.  If a contractor offers you a lower price because they don’t have insurance then you need to walk away.  If anyone gets hurt or any property gets damaged then you can be held liable and your own homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the cost.  Never deal with anyone who doesn’t have insurance.

Are they Local?

If you do a Google search for roofing contractor a number of those listings will be national companies and referral agencies.  They probably do adequate work, but with so many middle men involved the price will go up.  Find a contractor who not only operates in your local area but is actually based there.  Not only will you get a better price but you will help to contribute to the local economy.

Can They Handle the Project?

Many residential roofing projects are fairly small and the average roofing company can manage the upfront labor and material costs, the job is finished in a couple of days or so.  Bigger homes or commercial projects are a whole other beast.  A roofing contractor needs state of the art tools, a big enough team to get the job done and enough materials to complete the job.  Not every contractor can handle a big roof so choose  a company with a record of working on these types of projects.

Giving an Estimate

Before giving you an estimate for a repair or a replacement the roofing contractor should come out to your property and do a thorough inspection.  They should discuss with you what your options are, whether you can get away with repairing part of your roof or if it is really time to replace the whole thing.  Roofing contractors are busy but they should still be able to give you a timeline of when they can start and how long it will take them to complete the job.  The estimate should list the payment terms, never pay the full amount upfront but rather payment should be made at different stages of the project.  All of these things should be agreed to before you finalize your agreement.



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Finding an Emergency Plumber

Finding an Emergency Plumber

Sooner or later every homeowner has to call a plumber and chances are good that you will end up doing it during an emergency. The last thing you want to wake up to is a basement full of water or clogged pipes on a long weekend. If you have never dealt with this before you may not have any idea who to call or how it works. That’s okay, we will help you get the right plumber in an emergency and getting everything running smoothly again.

1. Call an Actual Plumber

You want to bring in a professional, not your neighbor’s brother’s nephew who happens to be a handy guy. Everybody knows someone who “might” be able to fix it but who isn’t actually a plumber. If you have a tiny leak, the wrong person can leave you with a bunch of holes in your walls and that small leak turns into a big one. A licensed plumber who spent years training knows how to fix your leak or any of the other plumbing problems that may plague you.

How do you decide if the plumber you call is competent? You can start by asking to see things like licenses and insurance. You want a plumber that has at the very least a web site and a telephone that an actual person answers. You can check their reviews on Google, Yelp or a couple of other sites to see what past customers have to say.

2. Get Recommendations!

There are dozens of plumbers that come up when you do a Google search, doesn’t mean any of them are any good. You can always check with any local family members or friends that own their own homes to see who they use. Ask them why they called a plumber and how the experience went. Plumbing covers a lot of area, you want to make sure that you get someone who does what you need.

If your friends and family don’t know any local plumbers, no big deal you can still rely on Google to help you out. Google and a bunch of other sites all have reviews from previous customers and you can check out the best ones. You also want to have a look at how long they have been in business, generally if they have been around awhile and built a good reputation then they are probably your best bet.

3. Get an Estimate

No matter what type of home services contractor you need to deal with, sticker shock can be a real thing. Find a plumber that will give you a price for the entire job. If it is an after-hours emergency many of them will have a minimum call out rate. Most will give you an idea of the price over the phone, but that will be just a guess. Ideally you want a written estimate of what the job will cost, including parts and labor. You also want to find out if they guarantee their work and if there are any terms and conditions to that guarantee.


And always Encapsulate the Crawlspace!

Avoiding Emergency HVAC Calls


Your HVAC system controls how comfortable your home is, it keeps you cool in summer and nice and warm in the winter.  But like any other system in your home they will break down and calling an HVAC contractor in the middle of the night when you have no heat is going to cost a fortune.  Regular maintenance is how you keep avoiding emergency HVAC calls and keeps your system running smoothly.

Here are some tips on maintaining your HVAC system:

Get a Maintenance Program

If you subscribe to a maintenance program with a local HVAC company they can make sure that your air conditioning, furnace, boiler will continue to work as it should. In your maintenance package the company should make sure that all of the filters in the system are changed regularly, the coils in the system are cleaned and that the system is operating efficiently.  If you have commercial property, regular maintenance is doubly important and you are going to need a commercial HVAC contractor to maintain it.  At the very least your system should be inspected at least once a year, but in commercial property it is recommended that you have your system inspected at least twice per year.

Ignoring Regular Maintenance

Most homeowners and even commercial property owners ignore their heating and cooling system until something goes wrong.  As long as the heat comes on when it is supposed to, all is right with the world.  The last thing on your mind are filters or coils but when the monthly bills come in and the cost to keep your building comfortable is twice as high as it should be then you’re scrambling to find an HVAC contractor.  A complete breakdown of your system can leave you sitting in the cold and then you will be scrambling to find an emergency repair service that will cost you an arm and a leg.

Never Try and Fix it Yourself

It goes without saying that you should never try and fix your furnace or air conditioning systems yourself.  Not only are these complicated pieces of equipment but trying to fix your own heating system is dangerous.  Do not mess around with gas lines, and mistakes can mean carbon monoxide leaking into your home which is deadly.  Always call an expert that is licensed to repair your HVAC system.  It is not only safer for you but it is more cost effective.  Ideally calling during regular business hours is what you want but if you are a homeowner in Minnesota and your heat goes out in January then you need a company there NOW. There are many companies that will offer emergency service for just such a case.

You want your home to be comfortable all year long at the same time you don’t want to be paying outrageous utility bills in order for that to happen.  Getting your HVAC checked on a regular basis will help keep repairs at bay and your costs where they should be.  Don’t ignore your HVAC system or you can find yourself out in the cold.



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Finding the Right Patio Installer

Finding the Right Patio Installer

Every year when spring rolls around you get excited about the warm weather and all the things that you can finally do outside.  Summer is the time for barbecues and family gatherings in the backyard, but all of that requires that you have a good patio.  Installing a new patio or deck is a big project but it is something you and your family will enjoy for years to come. Finding the right patio installer to make your home complete isn’t easy.

A good patio installer can help you select the right design that works with your space.  Here is a look at what goes into installing a new patio.

The project is expensive so you want the right combination of good materials and quality work. Here are some things to look for when selecting a patio installer.

Materials: What materials do they work with?  Do they only build wooden decks or can they work with concrete, interlocking stone, pavers or bricks?  Do they work with the best manufacturers or will you end up doing repairs year after year.

Previous Work:  A good contractor will have a history of previous work, preferably on their website, where you can browse through and select the features that you like.  They will go over with you what is involved in the project and how hardscaping works.

Local Knowledge:  Is your contractor familiar with local building codes and gets all of the permits and such in order.  Are they willing to go over the rules of any homeowner’s associations to make sure your new patio is compliant.  Do they belong to any local associations such as the local Chamber of Commerce or the BBB in your town?

Warranties:  Do they guarantee their work?  Not just the work but the materials as well, always go over what the warranties include and what it will cover if something should go wrong.

Before you start your project there are some other things that you need to keep in mind.

  • Get at least 3 different quotes along with the materials and any extra services such as removing the soil that you may need. The quotes should include the total cost of the project and how they will be working in your yard.
  • Make sure that any contractor you work with has the right licenses and insurance, how long they have been in business and check out their reviews. A good contractor will have no problem putting you in touch with previous clients and showing you their previous work. A good contractor won’t cut corners.

Remember that anybody can design what they want the patio to look like, the skill lies in creating the right foundation, making sure the drainage is right and putting your paving stones down properly.  A professional installer with the right experience can help you select the right colors, what patterns work best and the type of soil they have to work with.  A good patio installer will listen to what you want and the help make your dreams into a reality.

Does your patio need a little extra love? Call, they can help. 

Home Renovations that Add Value to Your Home

Home Renovations that Add Value to Your Home

Home renovations shows on television are really misleading when it comes to how house flipping and home renovations really work.  They take a dumpy house and turn it into a magazine showpiece all in under half an hour. The real world doesn’t work like that at all and many of the renovations they do on TV look great but don’t always add value to your home.  Now, if you’re considering selling or just want home renovations that add value  for the future then let’s look at what they are.

Increased Living Space

Increasing the amount of usable living space in your home always brings a great return.  There are several different ways you can add more space to your home, the most common way to do that is to finish your basement.  You can also consider putting on an addition.  You also need to consider how to use the extra space, do you want to add an in-law suite or small apartment that you can rent for extra income.  Do you want to turn your basement into a high tech man cave?  Whatever you decide to do always check with the city first and double check the zoning before you pull the trigger.

Kitchen and Bathroom

Any realtor will tell you that kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.  At the same time you need to be careful with your budget, expenses can get out of control pretty quickly.  Renovations here can be as extreme as gutting the room down to the studs and starting fresh or brightening up the room with a quick coat of paint. You really don’t have to go to extremes but things like adding an island in the kitchen or putting a vanity add great value and won’t break the bank.

New Floors

If you have old ugly carpets then get rid of them.  Even the cheapest of laminate floors is a better option than keeping the carpet.  But if you have the budget then some rich hardwood adds a flair of sophistication and wear well.  You have dozens of options when it comes to new floors but you are going to want something easy to maintain yet durable at the same time.  It also goes without saying that you want something that looks good.

Fittings and Fixtures

Updating the fittings and fixtures are a quick and cheap way to modernize your home.  Simple upgrades that you can do yourself like replacing the hardware on your cabinets, switch plates, and faucets.  These projects are under $50 and take only a couple of minutes.  If you have a bigger budget then you can bring in an electrician and upgrade your light fixtures.  It is a quick and easy way to make the home look fresh and modern.

A New Steel Door

Curb appeal is everything and your door is the first thing that visitors see.  Doors aren’t that expensive but if you’re selling a new steel door makes potential buyers see your home as a safe place to call home.

Any and all of these renovations will help to boost the value of your home.  Whether you want to sell and get top dollar or just want to make improvements for yourself.



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