Five Things to Expect From Your Deck Builder

Filed Under: Deck    by: Steve Kayhill

Hiring an experienced deck builder to construct your outdoor living space makes sense from a financial standpoint. Your money will be well spent and your backyard area designed with function and value in mind.

Some homeowners opt for the cheapest option and regret not investing in the expertise of experienced Virginia deck builders. Spend wisely and learn what you can expect from a deck builder with the know-how and skills to complete your project.

1—Modern Design

Any deck installer can build you a rectangle platform. If you’re looking for a space with modern features and comfortable, yet cutting edge design, only an experienced deck builder can deliver. With access to the latest trends and the knowledge to construct a deck that reflects your tastes and lifestyle, experienced deck installers offer much more than your average contractor.

Lighting, multiple levels, attractive railings and shapes that work with your house and yard are all features available through established builders. Hire a company that has built decks of various sizes and knows how to work with you to design the perfect Northern Virginia deck.

2—Solid Warranty

You want to invest in a company with roots in your area. A solid warranty offers you peace of mind today and far into the future. Look for a contractor that offers coverage for both the materials and installation.

Manufacturer warranty applies to materials in most cases, but experienced companies provide this information ahead of time. Depending on the deck design, this may include treated wood, composite materials, aluminum railings, tempered glass panels and other deck materials.

Installation warranty covers workmanship. Post or pier depth determines the stability of your deck through the first few winter seasons, while installation of railings, stairs, deck boards and framing determine safety and comfort while on the deck. Hire a deck builder that offers solid warranty coverage for both aspects.

3—Skilled Labor

You should expect to have at least one very experienced installer on your job site at all times. This person can supervise the entire project, work on more complicated sections of your deck design and troubleshoot issues as they arise.

Skilled labor is well worth the additional cost. Trust your contractor and lean on the years of experience available to design and build your dream deck. Challenges inevitably come up during the construction phase, and only skill can overcome these issues with creative, yet safe solutions. Skilled contractors also have knowledge of the local Virginia building code, an important consideration for any property in the state.

4—Quality Materials

New deck builders have access to quality materials, but those with experience have the knowledge to choose each piece of lumber wisely. Companies that have an established relationship with suppliers receive quality materials on a regular basis and enjoy the ability to filter out those of a lesser quality. Bank on that experience to obtain top quality deck materials for your project.

5—Timely Service

An established decking contractor has spent years building their name in the community, and they work hard to maintain that reputation. You can expect professional service from your deck builder, including timely communications, complete and honest answers to your questions and on-time delivery.

Many things are out of a contractor’s control, such as the weather and delivery times, but experienced deck builders stay in contact with their clients and maintain a high level of service throughout the project.

You can expect these five things from your deck builder, as well as many other smaller elements. Invest your money wisely by hiring a company you can trust to construct a space you will love for years.

Checklist of Essentials for Planning Bathroom Remodeling in Virginia

Filed Under: Bathroom    by: Steve Kayhill

You have a vision for your new bathroom complete with the fixtures, features and decor options to complete the room. Planning for bathroom remodeling in Virginia allows you to achieve that vision with minimal fuss and hassle. Follow this checklist and get a handle on the essentials for bathroom renovation.

1 — Form a Budget

The very first step in your renovation project involves setting a budget. All figures are preliminary at this point, but forming a budget that outlines how much you can afford and how far off your vision may be from that figure helps.

Jot down price estimates, based on rough figures gathered through your research. Consider the type of finish you require and think about any features you’re willing to splurge on. Use this initial budget to consider your financing options as well.

2 — Understand the Sequence of Events

Almost every bathroom renovation follows the same sequence during the construction phase. After all contracts have been signed, designs approved and permits applied for, the actual renovation starts.

Demolition comes first, including any removal required. Repairs and reconstruction bring everything behind the walls and under the flooring up to date. Basic framing and structural works comes next, followed by plumbing, electrical and major fixture installation (tubs, showers). Drywall and flooring installation close up the room, with toilet, sink and vanity installation bringing things together. Paint, lighting installation and other finishing steps complete the room.

3 — Read the Applicable Building Codes

You should understand the building codes that apply to homes in Northern Virginia. The Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Codes applied in many cases of new construction and structural renovation, but homeowners should also check with the county for any specific limitations and requirements.

4 — Measure It Up

Get out your tape measure and record the dimensions of your space. Take a look at the length and width of the room, as well as ceiling height, door opening and door height. Record specific window locations—measure the height of the window frame from the floor, as well as the width and height of the window.

Keep these measurements handy when shopping for showers, tubs, toilets and vanities. And use them to obtain contractor quotes for your bathroom remodeling in Virginia. Prices and schedules depend on room size and accessibility.

5 — Consider the Condition

Have a look at the existing condition of your bathroom. Is the wiring up to code? Are you depending on aged plumbing or less reliable plastic couplings and valves? Assess the condition of your fixtures and inspect the tub, sink and toilet for cracking, splitting and any other signs of decay.

All substandard electrical and plumbing elements will need to be upgraded, which pushes the budget up. Mold or mildew need to be completely removed and any building materials with mold or mildew growth should be replaced. It helps to discover some of this before the project begins, although you should expect to find more once the contractor starts demolition.

6 — Find a Reputable Contractor

Finding an experienced, knowledgeable and reliable contractor can be intimidating. Ask your friends and family for recommendations and visit contractor websites for information, testimonials and contact details. Book appointments to have your preferred contractors visit your home to inspect the jobsite and ask each of the companies to bring samples. Viewing fixtures, tiles and other bathroom elements in natural lighting allows you to make better decisions.

Planning for bathroom remodeling in Virginia can be fun. Read through this checklist and get started on this project to transform your home.

The Importance of Contractor Insurance When Building Northern Virginia Additions

Filed Under: Additions    by: Steve Kayhill

Northern Virginia additions involve several stages, from design and planning, through to demolition and construction. All of these aspects come together to create a valuable, comfortable living space, driven by the expertise and professionalism of your Virginia contractor. Protect your property and home improvement investment by hiring an experienced, fully insured contractor.

Two Important Credentials

The United States does not have a national contractor insurance requirement. Standards and requirements for insurance and licensing come in at the state level, and at times even on the county level.

Contractors working in Virginia state need to carry two different types of liability:

  • Worker’s Compensation – this protects the employees working on your property. If they become injured or ill during the course of your project, worker’s comp covers medical costs and lost time. This type of insurance protects the employees and limits employer/contractor costs, but it also provides homeowners with some protection against litigation, should an injury occur.
  • General Liability – Virginia businesses are required to carry current general liability coverage, which protects the company and clients in the case of accident, theft, and certain types of natural disasters. This type of insurance also protects homeowners from excess costs in these incidents.

What About Bonding?

Some states require contractors to carry bonds or surety bonds. While the two insurance products above cover the company and, in some small part, the client, a surety bond extends that coverage to suppliers and employees and adds emphasis on covering the homeowners against loss and damage.

Bonding is not required in Virginia, although larger home improvement projects, such as Northern Virginia additions, are well served by this type of insurance.

Contractors take out a surety bond in a certain amount, depending on the project total. An insurance or bonding firm holds this coverage for the duration of construction and often for a specified period of time beyond. Homeowners, suppliers and even employees can make a claim against that bond, based on several details and stipulations.

Most claims put in by homeowners involve damage to the property or financial loss. Minor problems, like scheduling delays and changes to the project details, may seem like valid claims, but any claims made must fall within the details of the surety bond.

It is important to note that a surety bond covers the contractor, and is not exclusive to the client. That means all claims made share the same funds. In most cases, homeowners recoup only a portion of the money lost due to damage, etc.

Contractors provide bonding as a sign of good faith and to provide some protection and accountability. Your contractor may not offer bonding as standard practice, but some Virginia contractors provide a bond for specific projects. Ask about the possibility before you make a hiring decision, and be sure each company provides proof of the insurance coverage listed above.

Home additions require a substantial investment and extend over a long period of time. They also involve several different stages of construction. Make sure your Virginia contractor carries worker’s compensation and general liability insurance as a minimum. If bonding presents an advantage to you, ask about the possibility. Insurance provides valuable, vital protection during the construction of Northern Virginia additions.