Why Homeowners Need Responsive Virginia General Contractors

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor, Virginia real estate    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-general-contractorsRenovations include countless small tasks that come together to form a brand new space within your home. And any of those small jobs can get complicated. Responsive Virginia general contractors work hard to communicate with homeowners and tackle every problem efficiently with the customer’s satisfaction in mind.

Why is Responsiveness an Important Trait in a General Contractor?

Most people hire a general contracting firm to take care of major home renovations like kitchen remodeling, bathroom renovations, roofing, siding and deck construction. These projects must be handled carefully from the design stage to completion, including all of the many steps in between. General contractors have the skills and knowledge to manage these projects well.

Do you really need to be in constant communication with the contractor throughout your project? Maybe not, but it’s important to hire a contracting firm you can trust with your home.

Look for a contractor dedicated to customer service and willing to talk with and listen to their customers. Make sure they’re willing to take the time to meet with you regularly, going over the details of the project and answering any questions or concerns that you have.

Unresponsive contractors leave their clients guessing in terms of scheduling, pricing, and even warranty issues. You’re bound to find it frustrating when your phone calls and emails go unanswered. This is especially true if the contractor does not have an office or showroom you can visit.

Clients also want their contractor to maintain good communication with subtrades, suppliers and the local building department. This helps keep your project moving along quickly. If the company has a track record of responsiveness you can be confident that they’ll stay in touch with all of those involved in the job.

How Virginia General Contractors Should Communicate

Does your preferred contractor have a cell phone, and are they willing to provide you with that number? Can you contact them in the evenings or on the weekend with questions and issues? If not, can you rely on them to respond to phone messages or emails within a reasonable time frame?

Good communication skills also mean clear and consistent paperwork. Did your general contractor provide you with a detailed estimate of the project and/or an easy to read design? When the project is done experienced contractors will provide a thorough bill detailing any extras, deposits, and draws on the project. They should also offer documentation that spells out your warranty coverage.

You can gauge the responsiveness of a general contractor by following a few easy steps. Be sure to ask for references and give those past clients a call. Ask them whether the contractor stayed in touch and how often.

It’s a good idea to check with the local Better Business Bureau as well. This organization records customer disputes and the contractor’s response, allowing you to check their track record in just a few minutes. Find out whether the contractor is involved in any local construction associations as well.

Responsive Virginia general contractors will make your home improvement project run smoothly. You’ll still need to compare price, experience and relational skills, but the contractor’s level of responsiveness is important to your level of satisfaction with the renovation.

Garage Conversions Require a General Contractor Virginia Homeowners Can Trust

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

general-contractor-virginiaMany homeowners use their garage exclusively for storage, never realizing the full potential of this space. Garage conversions transform the area into usable living space. Your home value surges with the creation of another bedroom, bathroom or playroom. When considering a garage conversion project it’s best to hire a general contractor Virginia homeowners can trust. Their experience and knowledge will drive this unique project to completion.

The Challenges of a Garage Conversion Renovation

Transforming your garage from its current state into safe and comfortable living space presents certain challenges. Many garages are not built to include the same standards of comfort that interior spaces include. A remodel project requires additions, repairs and replacements, all of which are best handled by a seasoned professional.

The garage door presents the first challenge. Once this component is removed, the empty space needs to be enclosed and insulated. Many times this is the ideal area for a window or exterior door, although that will depend on the design of your new living space.

The foundation of your garage may need work as well. Often the garage is built on a slab, which may or may not be sufficient to support all of the walls. Your general contractor will assess the foundation depth and soil condition in order to discover whether any initial repairs or additions are required.

Insulation and Damp Proofing

Wall construction in the garage is significantly different than the design and construction of walls around your home. Building standards ensure your house remains comfortable and energy efficient by specifying the amount and style of insulation used around your living space. The newly converted garage space often requires a second wall be erected, with thermal insulation between the existing and new wall.

Vapor barrier and other forms of damp proofing are added to either the new wall or the existing structure, based on your contractor’s preferred method. Hiring a general contractor Virginia homeowners can trust gives you assurance and confidence, knowing the conversion process will run smoothly and efficiently resulting in a warm, affordable home.

Can You DIY a Garage Conversion?

Converting raw, often underserviced garage space into cozy living quarters is difficult. Imagine the amount of research required just to figure out whether the foundation is adequate. Not to mention that additional insulation and moisture resistance is required and code specifies that a licensed electrician install any necessary wiring. A subfloor may need to be installed in order to bring the floor level up and provide a moisture barrier. Proper ventilation may also present an issue and renovations to the ceiling and roof could be required.

If you have extensive experience with a wide range of home improvement projects, tackling a garage conversion yourself may be possible. Otherwise it only makes sense to contact a local general contracting firm. Look for one that has experience with this type of project and arrange for a few different estimates to compare prices, experience and overall design.

Expand your living space without changing the footprint of your home through garage conversion. This type of project requires a general contractor Virginia homeowners can trust, with the expertise and skills to make your renovation dreams a reality.

How to Build a Greener Home With Your Virginia Contractor

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia-contractor-greenGoing green is on everyone’s mind these days. There is a push to recycle more, waste less and generally take better care of the planet. Whether you are building a new home or planning a renovation, your Virginia contractor can help you design and build a greener home. Move forward into a cleaner future with green building materials and construction techniques.

Contractors Offer Expert Advice

General contractors are experts in their field. Because they deal with subtrades, material suppliers and manufacturers, these professionals have an insider’s view on industry evolutions. As the green building industry expands and new products and technologies are offered your Virginia general contractors will have premiere access.

They can also help you to decide which green projects will work in your home. In some cases, a certain type of recycled material or construction technique will not be advantageous on your property. It could be that exposure or climate conditions will wear down materials quickly. Or possibly the size of your home will push the cost of a certain project element out of reach. You can trust a professional contractor, relying on their extensive experience and industry knowledge.

Elements of a Green Home

When working from the ground up, homeowners and house designers have many more options for green building. Consider advanced wall framing techniques (this style of framing cuts down on the amount of wood used, as well as reducing heat loss with comparable amounts of insulation used), high efficiency lighting and the latest window and door designs.

Interior finishing materials can also be green. Products made from renewable resources like bamboo, cork and other wood species are considered excellent choices that deliver minimal environmental impact. Think about the paint and wall treatments used, and try to reduce the amount of toxins and VOCs used. Recycled materials are popular in the kitchen and bath. And high efficiency heating and cooling systems will also help to create a greener home.

Professional Installation

Choose a Virginia contractor with a solid reputation and you can look forward to professional installation. Your new energy efficient windows will be handled with care, bamboo flooring and recycled glass counters will fit perfectly and lighting and solar panel systems will be wired well.

If your project includes an element that the contractor does not normally handle – such as solar panels – they should have connections within the industry. You can expect a reliable recommendation, at the very least.

A Warranty to Count On

One of the best things about hiring a reputable contractor for your green home renovation is the warranty. Smaller firms or handyman services do not often offer comparable coverage, and an investment of this size should come with the security a warranty delivers.

There is often separate warranty coverage for the materials and installation. Your contractor may cover the labor and installation for a certain period of time, while the materials will be covered by the retailer or the manufacturer. Be sure to obtain all of the details before the project is completed, including any paperwork or registration information you will need. Be aware that manufacturers of some products (windows, doors, lighting , etc.) will keep your personal information on file in order to validate the warranty.

Talk about how to build a greener home with your Virginia contractor. They will offer informed suggestions and help you to design a home that is truly environmentally friendly.

How Are Virginia General Contractors Different From a Local Handyman?

Filed Under: Virginia Contractor    by: Steve Kayhill

virginia_general_contractorsWhen you are planning a home improvement project it is very important to hire the right contractor. Not just the best company in your area, but the proper type of firm. Many homeowners are not clear on the differences between Virginia general contractors and a local handyman. They wonder whether hiring the handyman will save them money and what kind of specialized service they can expect from an experienced general contractor.

Let’s clear up the confusion.

The Basic Difference

Although there may be exceptions to the rule, most often a general contracting firm has a licensed tradesperson on staff. Sometimes there is more than one and several disciplines are covered. You may find a contracting firm with licensed plumbers and electricians on staff, or engineers, planning consultants and architects.

A handyman is most often a highly skilled individual who can handle many different projects, but cannot offer you the value of papers, certifications or designations. It may seem to be a trivial difference, but those credentials come with some very serious specifications and deliver immense value to homeowners.

Look at What Those Certifications Offer

When you are tackling a major Virginia home improvement project, such as a kitchen remodel or home addition, the skills of Virginia general contractors are essential. They will help you with the design stage and have the knowledge of building codes and permits that you need to get the project off of the ground. Without a well planned renovation you are not going to get approval from the municipality or state to begin the project. And that plan needs to be drawn up by a certified professional.

You are also covered under the general contractors liability, from start to finish. The plans must be written to follow building code, which will be the engineer’s responsibility and not the homeowner’s. Liability on the jobsite in case of accident or injury is also covered by the company, which is standard practice for a general contracting firm. You may find that a handyman company offers worker’s compensation or liability coverage, but most often that is not the case.

What About Small Projects?

You may feel more inclined to hire a handyman for those smaller projects around your home. Do you need your siding painted? Or a new bathroom put in? A handyman can look after that for you without the need for all of those designation and certifications, right? Possibly. But are you willing to trust their experience or would you rather know that a third party has licensed the contractor based on proper work practices and current industry standards?

The choice is yours.

It may be true that a handyman can complete these projects for less money. Since budgeting is a big part of renovations, that is a major factor. But if the handyman isn’t able to do the work properly or needs to bring in a licensed professional for inspections, planning and other stages, are you sure that you will save money in the end?

Compare the prices quoted by each type of company based on the value and services offered. Hiring Virginia general contractors will be the right choice in many cases, but a skilled and familiar local handyman may also do the trick for others.