Don’t over or under do it.

If you don’t plan to keep your home too long don’t put too much of you into it. A pink house will not have the same turnout as a neutral tone home with less to offer. Of course if this is where you plan to be until your last days, do as you wish or will. Not only is the “to do list” important but the “don’t do anymore list” sits high as well. Within the kitchen, bathroom and basement lies a great investment and often a money pit if we don’t realize when to move on to the next project. I have to say that in today’s market it’s very hard to recoup anything yet to make someone interested in viewing your property we must make it attractive from the first site.

Invest in you and better your investment.

As we purchase a home to live in or for rental purposes we should also invest in ourselves. When I speak of an investment in self, I’m referring to an acquiring a knowledge base of what we have purchased and what it’ll take to maintain its value and general upkeep. The more you do with your home which can consist of simple weekend projects, theirs you’ll learn about yourself and your property as well.
I’ll never be able to stress enough the importance of purchasing tools and become familiar with when and how to use them. The only way to acquire the understanding of the tools is through application which will stem from reading , watching and asking questions.
You may have a reliable contractor that does all of your work yet you’ll save money when he does only some of your work. I’d your goal is to het to the point where a contractor does almost none of your work, I want to assist you. It’s like learning math. Through addition we learned to multiply and through learning your tools you’ll learn carpentry. Do I know it all, NO yet I constantly read and study new ways and ask fellow carpenters and tradesmen questions. This is a journey from which there is no return. Come enjoy it, the art is on the start.

Inch by inch it’s all a cinch.

Learning to add leads to multiplying just as learning to use tools leads to basic carpentry. If you wish to do it yourself, the most important part is the start. Learn the do’s and don’t do’s and you’ll take a good step but go further by learning to operate your tools properly.
Start with your basic tools such as a hammer, tape measure, level, framing square, pencil and a tool pouch. A juggler first becomes accustomed to 3 balls then goes up to four and five then throws in a bowing pin. Do the same and slowly add your circular saw and the battery powered drills.
My suggestion is grow at your own pace but don’t sit still, keep safety first and continue to build.

A little goes a long way.

Hiring a contractor is a stressful process.
We pick through the bunch and we try to keep those who do good work close and near for recommendations or our next project.
We inspect their work and make sure their doing everything that was in the contract.
We complain about where they park and the employees that may smoke or speak as if they are in a bar.
The question I have is do we say “Thank you” throughout the process? I’ve spoke with contractors and worked in places where the customer has talked down or treated the guys poorly and also where they treated them good and there is a difference in performance on both sites.
They say you van catch more with honey than vinegar, needless to say I’m a believer.
Customer #1 Suburban couple doing well for themselves. They don’t speak, wave or acknowledge the workers. Ninety nine degrees in the shade and not a cup of water offered. Complain quite a bit about small things yet not once gives off a compliment or a sign of appreciation only speaks to the Owner and Foreman.
Customer #2 Another suburban couple digging into savings to do a necessary repair on the home. They place of picture of lemonade on the back porch for the workers and on the last day they cooked on the grill as they were so satisfied with the work. Allowing the workers to use the restroom in the basement as long as they removed their boots before entering. Have the greetings and once in awhile asked “How’s the family?”.

Which one of these customers do you think will have the better results from the contractor? If something extras was needed, one customer would get it for free while the other would be charged for it. If trash or crap was stuffed in the walls of one of these projects, I want you to guess which one it would’ve been.

You owe your contractor nothing but what’s in the contract. It’s not necessary but if not why not? Customer service is a two way street. Its not different than talking to your waiter like crap and them sending your food back. Think about that.

Who you know depending on what you know.

About ten yrs ago I remember helping a friend pour out a patio. Me not knowing his capabilities and him not knowing concrete turned into an issue quickly. We were using wheel barrels and going downhill. Coming back to get another load was more work than taking a full one to dump. Him making his 17th trip, he went down and never came back up. Panting, huffing and puffing laying in the grass he quit. His words were “Send the truck back, I’ll tell the homeowner that I’ll pay for it”. Needles to say I emptied the truck out, pulled the screed board across it, bullfloated, edged, broomed and finished the job. The homeowner came home not knowing what happened and said “Wow, this looks amazing!”. I say that to say this. If you don’t know ask questions or have a friend with you with experience. Take good notes and do your research because knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what to do. The surface doesn’t tell the story of what goes into a job. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it yourself, I dumped several wheel barrels on my first day but they gave me a shovel and told me to pick it up and keep going. I tell you the same.

Q&A from our inbox #001

Here’s a question that recently came to the askabuilder@thebuildersbuilder.com inbox.

Q: I have recently had someone help me put up Sheetrock and finish it and it actually came out great (well my help applied and sanded the Sheetrock compound). Due to my budget I waited to paint and thanks for the tip with the oops paint because I found something close to what I was seeking. My question is do I need to prime or can I just apply several coats.

A: Many people today are buying into the all-in-1 paint that has the primer include. Being that you already have the paint I truly recommend that you apply a coat of primer and have it tinted to the tone that your applying or very close. Some painters use a contractor grade flat paint as a substitute for primer, this doesn’t have the sealing properties (acrylic resin)of a good grade primer so I wouldn’t recommend this on fresh walls but a good way to save money when changing colors in rooms. Primer acts as a sealant on fresh walls and helps to give you a consistent even coated paint job. Often you’ll see where the compound was applied when a wall wasn’t primed because the compound and Sheetrock absorbs the paint in different manners. Tinting your primer decreases the miner of necessary topcoats to cover the area at hand while also bringing forth a more durable finish. The primer may not be exact in color as the base may be a different white don’t get nervous as the color of your primer and paint differ in tone. Good luck and please send pictures along with any other questions you may have.