Things You Need to Know Before Hiring a General Contractor

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractor_3It isn’t uncommon for a homeowner to begin the process of a home remodel or renovation without understanding the exact responsibilities and duties of their Virginia general contractor. It is up to you as the customer to ask the questions. With the information you gain from the questions below, you will stand a much better chance of completing you project successfully.

What is your best estimation of the schedule?

Most homeowners are very interested in this one. Whatever the general contractors that you interview say, remember that the renovation could take longer if there are snags that no one can predict.

What kinds of insurance do you carry?

The answer should be no less than public liability and property damage insurance. Verify that the policies are current and that they aren’t set to run out before the work is estimated to be completed.
How many employees work in your crew?
A general contractor should have a crew of at least a few workers to make sure that the work is completed in a timely manner. If electrical or plumbing must be done, then you must insist that licensed contractors complete it. Ask if the skilled labor will be done by actual employees or subcontractors.

Are YOU going to personally oversee the work site every day?

A general contractor can be a very busy man with more than one site going at once. The homeowner may assume that the general contractor will be there every day, but this is often not the case.

Whose responsibility is it to obtain the permits?

Obtaining all of the right permits is just part of the job. If a general contractor that you are interviewing doesn’t want to get permits, then you probably shouldn’t hire them.

Can you give me contact information for 3-5 past clients?

Talking to people who have successfully completed a home improvement project with the general contractor in question can do a lot to put your mind at ease. It will also give you a good idea of the finished quality to see what the contractor has done before.

What is not included in the price quote you give me?

This should scare off the low ballers that are just trying to get the job with a small quote. Note that sometimes there is extra expense that no one sees coming, but adding on every box of screws as the contractor gets them is over the line.

Are you registered with any professional organizations?

A general contractor is going to be much more accountable to their work if they have to maintain a good reputation with any or all of the following organizations:

• Home Builders Association
• Better Business Bureau
• Chamber of Commerce
• NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association)

How can I most conveniently stay in contact with you?

It can be very frustrating to call a contractor over and over again, just to get voicemail. Establish beforehand the best way to get a hold of your general contractor beforehand to prevent such difficulties.

The best defense against disaster and theft is knowledge. By forearming yourself you can start on the right foot towards your goal of a fully renovated or remodeled space. It takes a partnership between you and your Virginia general contractor to make your dreams come true.

Virginia Home Improvements-More BANG for Your Buck

Filed Under: Virginia Home Remodeling    by: Steve Kayhill

your-house-is-moneyA homeowner is free at any time to begin any kind of home improvement in Virginia. Usually it is for comfort or aesthetic reasons, but your home improvement should always have the secondary goal of improving the property value of your home. If and when you choose to eventually sell the house, the work you do to it will really show in the price that your buyers are going to be willing to pay.

Smart homeowners use this to guide their decision of where to begin their renovation projects. If your bathroom is in disrepair, then start there as the return on the investment for the remodel is going to pay out handsomely on the back end. That is, if you keep your budget in mind and plan carefully the schedule and materials necessary. In the end, a home that is more comfortable and a better source of future income can be achieved with a few simple steps.

Speaking of the bathroom, it is a common place to begin a value adding home improvement for a number of reasons. Technology for bathroom efficiency and comfort brings us new gadgets every season that not only sell homes, but allow you to live in luxury while you are there. These new fixtures may seem like an expense that can never be repayed, but you would be surprised exactly how much they can get you when the home sells.

Another excellent place to begin a home remodel is the kitchen. As the second most functional room in the house, it is important to make sure that every appliance is less than 5 years old at sale time. The built in cabinets must be both large enough to store everything that a person could need in the kitchen, but also they must appear stylish and timeless, to avoid having to replace them again. It is important to remember, however, that it is also a room in which people will need to move to around in, so make sure you leave plenty of work space.

Green renovations are also very popular, because you see the savings almost immediately in your own bills. Things like sealing up the cracks in your windows and replacing old inefficient appliances, anything that reduces the amount of energy it takes to run the home, and therefore lowers the cost of living in it.

Finally, there is nothing that is going to replace just plain keeping up with the maintenance to retain ass much of the value in the home as you can. Sure it is easy to let the little things slide for a while, but it only means that you are going to pay more in the long run. Preventative maintenance can be much more cost effective as well as providing you with more time to yourself and less time handling emergency breakages. Fix things just as they are starting to reach the end of their lives. Virginia home improvements of a more elaborate scale will probably require the help of a general contractor, however.

The Virginia Deck – Own Your Outdoor Living Space

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-deck-designThere is a big difference between a house and a home.  Look at it from the perspective of the common man and you’ll see that a house is just a structure of some kind but a home is where a family grows and it’s made from adoration and endearment.  It’s crafted from laughter and people.  There’s more to a home than just that however, it’s also the furniture that’s within and the accessories use even if it’s the accessories on your Virginia patio (or deck).

People tend to get attached to furniture and associate it with enjoyable living, comfort and home.  It makes sense because that’s part of your home.  It’s part of that identity you like to feel when you walk in the door.  Familiar sites that you enjoy make it easy to relax after you come home from a long day.  The perfect couch, that soft bed, that curtains that lead you outside onto your Virginia patio or deck space. Read more…

Outdoor Living : Virginia Deck vs. Patio Costs

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-deck-and-fire-pitVirginia deck or patio? That is the question. The purpose is usually to create an outdoor recreational space to be enjoyed by the whole family. Both options can accomplish this, but what about the cost? That is the determining factor for many individuals when choosing between a deck and a patio.

Of course, there is planning that you must do which will affect the cost of the project no matter which you choose:

  • The square footage you intend to cover must be considered. The space you intend to fill must be of a certain size to even accommodate a deck or patio, although a patio usually takes up less overall room. A patio is more labor intensive, however due to the fact that the land must be cleared and leveled in preparation of the stones or bricks. The deck will take up more space, but is easier to put up because it requires no landscaping.
  • You have to have your design in mind. A patio is usually either round or square and is laid at ground level. The deck gives you a few more options here, because it can be built on multiple levels and not just in line with the first floor.
  • Deciding what kind of materials to use is another big job when choosing between a patio and deck. Decks are usually made of wood, specifically cedar, redwood, or other pressure treated wood, and alternatively a composite material. The cost of composite materials is a little higher, but they are becoming popular because of their ease of maintenance and long life span. Patios usually consist of tiles or bricks made of stone or concrete,
  • Future maintenance is also an important factor. Wood materials require regular sealing cleaning and painting. The materials of a patio, being brick or stone stand up to power washing and hard scrubbing, making them longer lasting in general.
  • You must decide for yourself whether or not you feel confident handling the job, or if hiring yourself a reliable Virginia contractor might not be a better idea. The patio is an overall simpler job; it is just digging and precise leveling. Professional help might be a good idea for the site preparation, but it doesn’t take that much skill to lay the tiles down in a pattern. A patio must be able to pass code, and is more complex to construct, overall.

These variables create a situation that gives the homeowner multiple options to fit any budget. A small deck that is constructed of less expensive wood will likely be cheaper than a patio made of the finest stones and tiles. On the other hand, a multilevel redwood deck is going to cost more than a simple brick patio.

Ultimately, the right project depends on what the area is going to be used for. Patios are better for outdoor cooking and other movement oriented activities, while the deck is better for sit down eating and reading. There is no price that can be put on you preferences for your Virginia deck or patio.