Diamond Certified Blog

How To Choose a Contractor

Here are eight steps you can take to hire a reputable remodeling contractor:

1. Obtain multiple bids (if possible). Getting multiple bids is a great way to ensure you’re making an informed choice. If you sign a contract, you have exactly three days to rescind in writing. Upon rescission, the contractor must return your deposit. If your area has been declared a disaster area, the three-day Right of Rescission extends to seven days.

2. Check license information. By law, anyone who undertakes to improve your home or property must have a contractor’s license if the cost from start to completion will exceed $500. You can check contractors’ licenses at cslb.ca.gov. Continue reading “How To Choose a Contractor” »

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Posted in Consumer Events, Consumer News, Consumers, Customer Service, Diamond Certified News, Home improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Dealing with Foundation Problems

Abrew Repair and Construction recognized that this fireplace mantel was a warning sign that the home’s foundation was uneven.

Recently, I spoke to a homeowner who hired a contractor to demolish and re-build a chimney, as well as repair cracks to stucco and drywall. That contractor abandoned the job. The homeowner then hired a Diamond Certified company to patch cracks in the stucco and reinstall the mantel, which the homeowner had removed from around the fireplace.

What went wrong?
When the incoming contractor remounted the fireplace mantel, it looked crooked. The contractor explained that the problem wasn’t the mantel—the house was uneven. This explanation was not received well. Continue reading “Dealing with Foundation Problems” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

Castles on the Ground: How to Build Your Dream House

Remodel Your House in 2017

A dream house doesn’t have to be entirely out of reach. Photo: Tori Atwell – Alain Pinel Realtors, 2017

“If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” ―Henry David Thoreau

Welcome to January. Last month, you cooked up your dream home in a heady mix of holiday punch, gingerbread and champagne. Now, both metaphorically and literally, it’s time to build those foundations. We’ve written often on this blog about how to get started on a house remodeling project (for examples, see “How to Choose a Contractor” and “Choosing Appliances for a Kitchen Remodel”). Carefully choosing a licensed contractor, budgeting attentively and understanding local building laws are all important preliminary steps, but they aren’t the first things you should do. So, how do you actually start? How do you translate the airy structures of December into your very own castle on the ground? Continue reading “Castles on the Ground: How to Build Your Dream House” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement, Home Tips | Tags: , , , , ,

Moving Targets: Exposing the World of HVAC Scammers

When looking for an HVAC company, trustworthiness is one of the most important attributes to consider. Photo: Ortiz Heating and Air Conditioning (2016)

With the many heating and air conditioning companies operating in the Bay Area, it’s natural to assume that some are better than others, with each possessing varying degrees of experience, organization, customer service and technological proficiency. However, when it comes to choosing an HVAC company, there’s more at stake than its level of skill or service: if you’re not careful, you could pick a fraudulent one. Like many service industries, the HVAC industry is rife with dishonest businesses out to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

Too outrageous to be true? Not according to Bryant Kearney, service manager at Moore Solar/Heating/Cooling, who is very familiar with the handiwork of these conniving companies. “Scams are a major problem in the HVAC industry,” he affirms. Continue reading “Moving Targets: Exposing the World of HVAC Scammers” »

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Start Fresh: A New Year’s Checklist

It’s no wonder the custom of adopting annual resolutions coincides with the year’s beginning rather than its middle or end. A new year means a fresh start—a milestone that signals an opportunity for positive change. Like a blank canvas to a painter, the New Year invites us to entertain new possibilities, inspires us to innovate upon the past and fills us with “momentum of purpose.”

While this sense of positive propulsion is often directed toward personal development, it can also be useful for accomplishing tangible goals, which is why the New Year is an ideal time to review and renew your to-do list. Whether you need to catch up on overdue maintenance, have a project you’ve been putting off or simply want to start off on the right foot, it’s best to get moving while the coals of inspiration are still hot. Here are some areas to address: Continue reading “Start Fresh: A New Year’s Checklist” »

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Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2016

Followers of our Facebook page know that we post daily tips for Bay Area consumers. Whether these tips concern home improvement, auto care, health or something else completely, we strive to make them relevant, practical and helpful. Here’s a sample of 10 noteworthy tips from 2016. For more, be sure to “like” our page at www.facebook.com/diamondcertified.

Tip of the Day: While materials and workmanship are crucial factors in a fence’s longevity, another important aspect is preventative maintenance. To protect your fence from rot and premature wear, make sure fence posts are kept out of contact with the soil, and adjust sprinklers so their streams don’t hit the fence. To further promote fence longevity, apply a stain every two to three years. Photo: Arbor Fence, Inc., 2016 Continue reading “Diamond Certified Tips of the Day: Best of 2016” »

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Posted in Auto Tips, Consumers, Health Tips, Home improvement, Home Tips, Real Estate Tips, Savvy Tips, Window Tips | Tags: , ,

Avoid Plumbing Emergencies over the Holidaze

Take care of plumbing maintenance before you open your home to holiday guests. Photo: Drain Doctor, Inc., 2016

I vividly remember one Christmas Eve when toilet water backed up into my shower and flooded the entire bathroom floor and laundry room. Our many houseguests were taking showers every day and both toilets were being flushed more than usual. What we didn’t know (until it was too late) was that our main sewer line was clogged with tree roots. With extra stress on an already compromised drainage system, it was a recipe for disaster. Since that expensive and embarrassing emergency, I’ve had a professional clean my drains every year to make sure the roots are cut and the water has an easy path to the main line. I haven’t had this problem since. Continue reading “Avoid Plumbing Emergencies over the Holidaze” »

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Understanding Carpet Cleaning Methods

Due to the variety of carpet cleaning methods in use today, it’s important to know what you’re getting when you hire a professional. Photo: Precision Cleaning Services (2016)

It’s often assumed that all carpet cleaning companies use the same cleaning techniques, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The reality is that today’s carpet cleaners employ a wide range of methodologies, each of which utilizes different concepts, sciences and machinery. That’s why, prior to calling a carpet cleaner, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the different cleaning methods out there so you can make an informed choice. Here are the four most common carpet cleaning techniques being used by professionals today:

Hot Water Extraction (Steam Cleaning)
The most prevalent method in professional use today, hot water extraction relies on heavy-duty machinery to provide a deep, powerful cleaning. Continue reading “Understanding Carpet Cleaning Methods” »

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Tip Sheet: 5 Steps to Prepare for Remodeling

If you're planning to remodel in 2017, you'll need to get the ball rolling early. Photo: Case Design/Remodeling (2016)

If you’re planning to remodel in 2017, you’ll need to get the ball rolling early. Photo: Case Design/Remodeling (2016)

Like many Bay Area homeowners, you may be planning for a remodeling project in the upcoming new year. Since preparedness is the name of the game in remodeling, it’s best to start addressing the preliminary details well in advance. Use the following tip sheet to make sure all your bases are covered:

1. Get multiple bids. Getting estimates from at least three contractors will enable you to compare bids and make a more educated choice. Continue reading “Tip Sheet: 5 Steps to Prepare for Remodeling” »

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Posted in Consumers, Home improvement | Tags: , , ,

Video: Mold Remediation Procedure

Earlier this week, we posted an article featuring expert tips on mold prevention and remediation. One of the aspects mentioned was the rigorous procedure that remediation professionals follow when removing mold. To learn more about what this procedure entails, watch this informative video by Terri Barlcai of 911 Remediation LLC, speaking on behalf of Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Erez Gilad.

 

 

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Posted in Diamond Certified Experts, Health Tips | Tags: , , ,