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Tag Archives: contractor

Point of Entry: Getting Rid of an Uninvited Rodent

I named it Lucifer because it couldn’t help being evil. I’m talking about the rat I could hear scrabbling around beneath the heater vent in my kitchen every morning. It didn’t mean any harm, but the rustles and occasional squeaks were too much for me—it had to go.

As it turned out, my first move didn’t involve a pest control company. Before I could set traps, I had to deal with the brand-new front door dug directly beneath my front door.

Rats dig under stairs

Rats dug two new “front doors” underneath my front stairs. Photo: American Ratings Corporation, 2017

Before the rains came, these holes were caked with tufts of fur, eliminating any doubt that they were at least one major point of entry. Continue reading “Point of Entry: Getting Rid of an Uninvited Rodent” »

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Posted in Home improvement, Home Tips, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Experts: Bathroom Remodeling 101

When it comes to home remodeling, the bathroom is a perfect place to start. Photo: Bay Bathrooms and Kitchens (2017)

It’s a new year, which for many Bay Area homeowners means it’s time to start thinking about their next remodeling project. While there are several areas of the home to consider remodeling, an ideal place to start is the bathroom. Since the bathroom tends to be one of a home’s smallest spaces, it’s typically more affordable to renovate than larger areas like the kitchen. However, along with the kitchen, the bathroom is considered one the most lucrative areas of the home to remodel in terms of increasing resale value. Furthermore, since the bathroom is statistically considered the most dangerous room in the house (due to the increased chances for falls and other accidents), remodeling provides an opportunity to improve safety.

However, even though remodeling a bathroom offers many benefits, it can be a surprisingly complicated endeavor, which is why a successful result depends on a careful approach. To gain further insight into the process, we’ve asked six Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in on a few key areas. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: Bathroom Remodeling 101” »

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Posted in Consumers, Diamond Certified Experts, Home Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

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: , , , , , ,

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: , , , , ,

Diamond Certified Experts: How to Hire a Remodeling Contractor

When choosing a remodeling contractor, there’s a lot more to consider than the bottom line. Photo: Ryan & Ryan Construction, Inc. (2016)

When choosing a remodeling contractor, there’s a lot more to consider than the bottom line. Photo: Ryan & Ryan Construction, Inc. (2016)

Considering the stakes involved, it’s no surprise that a large-scale remodeling project can be a bit unnerving. After all, you’re entrusting thousands of dollars to a contractor’s promise to deliver a product that currently only exists on paper. That’s why, prior to hiring a contracting firm, it’s critical to confirm it’s worthy of your trust. To gain further insight, we’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in on what to look for when hiring a remodeling contractor.

A Current License: Diana Connolly, Montclair Construction & Structural, Inc.
All building and remodeling contractors in California are required to carry proper licensing. Unfortunately, not every working contractor conforms to this legal obligation, so you’ll need to make sure yours does. To verify a contractor’s license is current, look up the license number on the California State Licensing Board’s website (www.cslb.ca.gov), which keeps a record of all registered contractors in the state. Continue reading “Diamond Certified Experts: How to Hire a Remodeling Contractor” »

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Three Questions to Ask Your Future Contractor

Good general contractors are good managers of not only their talent, but also their money and their clients’ priorities and expectations. The best don’t mind an opportunity to set upfront expectations with serious customers. Here are three questions you can ask that will give you some insight on your prospective contractor:

1. Can you give me an example of a conflict that came up on a recent job and describe how you resolved it? Murphy’s Law works on building projects just as well as anywhere else. You can tell a lot about a person by how fair-minded they are when they retell a conflict resolution story.

2. Will you work until my project is finished, or will you stop and start with some time in between? Having an understanding and expectation of a contractor’s routine is vital to your own happiness throughout the construction process. Also, make sure you know what time of day the contractor will start working. Continue reading “Three Questions to Ask Your Future Contractor” »

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A Surprise Question

You don’t hear this too often. “What could I have done differently, if anything, to win your business?”

The owner of a kitchen cabinet showroom sincerely wanted to know why I had purchased cabinets elsewhere. I had visited there weeks before while putting together a plan for my kitchen. I returned to his store to buy countertops because he was knowledgeable and friendly, AND not pushy. I wanted to give him at least some of my business.

I explained that my contractor and I had decided to go with custom cabinets instead, for a variety of reasons. He told me that asking that question repeatedly and listening to customers’ answers helped him improve his service.

And that’s why he’s a successful local business owner.

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