HOME REMODELING – Do-it-Yourself or Not?

READY, SET, DO-IT-YOURSELF – OR NOT

Do It Yourself Remodeling

Have you ever watched a home improvement show and decided “I can do it myself.” The shows make it look so easy – and the whole house is renovated in just 30 minutes!

It’s time for a reality check to see if you should really tackle a do-it-yourself (DIY) project. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) created a simple yes-or-no quiz that you should take before you tackle a DIY project.

Take this quiz to find out!

Answer yes or no:

1.  Do you enjoy physical work?

Most home remodeling projects are labor intensive.  You may discover muscles that you didn’t even know exist!

2.  Are you persistent and patient?

This reminds me of the a homeowner who decided to tackle removing the old flooring in his home. To his dismay, there were multiple levels of old flooring that had to be removed, he needed to rent special equipment to remove the flooring, and it delayed the completion of his renovation/addition by more than a month.

3.  Do you have reliable work habits—meaning that once the project is started, will it get finished?

How many times have you started a project and then life takes over?  This happens to the best of us.  How much time do you truly have to devote to a project?

4.  Do you have all the tools needed and, more importantly, the skills required to do the job?

Not only do you need to have the tools and the skills, you also need to know the building codes.  Additionally, if the project required a permit, and you do not get one, you can be fined, receive a stop work order, and worse yet – be told to remove all changes you made to your home.

5.  What quality level do you need for this project? Are your skills at that level?

Even painting is not just about getting a paint brush,  a can of paint, and painting the walls.  You need the right type of brush, the right type of paint, and the knowledge of how to prepare the painting surfaces.

6.  Do you have the time that will be required to complete the project?

Time… if only there was more of it. Just because the DIY shows make it look like a project takes no time at all doesn’t mean that is true! Always double or triple the time estimated for a DIY project, unless you are highly skilled and familiar with that particular project.

7. Will it matter if the project remains unfinished for a period of time?

People with the best intentions sometimes don’t realize how long a project may take.  If you are only working weekends and nights to finish a project that may take 8 weeks, your project may take 20 weeks or more.  How long do you want to live with your house in disarray?

8. Are you prepared to handle the kind of stress this project will create in your family relationships?

A renovation project becomes your life. How will you handle questions like:

            “Why is it taking so long?”

            “What did you do to the wall?”

            “When will it be done?”

            “How much money will that cost?”

             9.  Do you know all of the steps involved in the project?

Another true story – a homeowner hired Leading Edge Homes, Inc. to do an addition.  As the project continued, the homeowner decided to add the new flooring to the rest of the house. Unbeknownst to us, the homeowner decided he wanted to save money and paint the rest of his home. He made that decision after the new flooring was installed. 

The homeowner should have taken this quiz before starting some DIY projects.  He is only painting on the weekends – all of the furniture is sitting in the middle of the room. He didn’t think through the steps.  He should have painted before having us install the new flooring! Now there are drips of paint on the new floor. 

10. Is this a job you can do completely by yourself or will you need assistance?

If you do need assistance, what skill level is involved for your assistant? If you need a professional subcontractor, do you have access to a skilled labor pool?

11. Are you familiar with your local building codes and permit requirements?

(Some jurisdictions require that the work be completed by a licensed and bonded professional in order to meet code.) It’s best to check these requirements before beginning work on the project.

Remember, if you fail to pull a permit you will end up paying more for your project than you imagine.  Some municipalities charge you a penalty of triple the permit fee if you failed to pull a permit.  Also, if you go to sell your home and work was done without a permit, you will have difficulty selling your home.

12. What will you do if the project goes awry?

Many contractors are wary about taking on a botched DIY job and you may be forced to remove all of your handy work.  All of the money and time you spent may be thrown away.

13. Is it safe for you to do this project?

(If you are not familiar with roofing or do not have fall protection restraints, you may not want to venture into a roofing job. Similarly, if you know nothing about electricity—leave it to the professional. Some jobs can be fatal if not performed correctly. Your health and safety should be the primary concern. Never enter into a DIY project that would jeopardize either.)

14. Will you be able to obtain the materials you need? Who will be your source of supply? Will they deliver?

The quality of some of the items you purchase at a big box store is often times lower than the same items you can purchase from building suppliers.

15. Are you attempting to do-it-yourself for financial reasons?

If so, have you looked at all of your costs, including the cost of materials, your time, and the tools you need to purchase? If you are new to the DIY game, you may also want to look at the cost to correct any mistakes you may make—i.e., the damage factor. Will it still be a cost-saving venture?

If you have to take vacation time to do the project, what is the value of what is lost? 

16. If you are trying DIY for the satisfaction of a job well done—can you ensure that the job will be “well done”?

If it doesn’t come out right, how will you feel? Will you be able to afford to redo any unsatisfactory work?

Did you answer YES to some of the questions?

Be honest — How many did you really say yes to? If you answered yes to 8 or more of these questions, NARI says you may attempt a DIY project. But, before you run for the nearest hardware store, revisit those questions you marked “No,” and carefully consider the potential problems you will face in those areas if you proceed with the project.

Hiring a professional, like Leading Edge Homes,  might be your best choice. A remodeling project can be  one of the most important investments that you can make in your home.

Work with an experienced roomologist (contractor experienced in room additions and home renovations) to plan and design your home improvement project. The planning phase is equally important to the completion phase. If you can imagine it, we can design it.

For all of your home remodeling , contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

NOT HAVING A PERMIT CAN COST YOU MILLIONS

HOMEOWNERS BEWARE: WORK WITHOUT PERMITS CAN COST YOU MILLIONS

 

Leading Edge Homes - Permits and Inspections Save Money

“Saving money” by not paying for a permit for your home improvement project is really like throwing money away.

$1,000,000 IN FINES

According to an article recently published in the Palm Beach Post,

But it could be worse: They were looking at paying about $1 million in the dispute, which has dragged on for 17 years.

According to a staff memo for Tuesday’s county commission meeting, Matthew and Patricia Beasley had replaced windows and remodeled without obtaining the required building permits, inspections and “certificate of completion” at their home near Forest Hill Boulevard and Congress Avenue.”

IS IT WORTH THE RISK OF GETTING CAUGHT?

The Beasleys threw away $12,000 for a permit that probably cost less than $1,000 dollars 17 years ago.

If you are caught having work done without a permit, you can face additional fines like the Beasleys, pay double for your remodeling project (if the code-enforcement department in your municipality requires you to tear down the completed work), and/or find it impossible to sell your home in the future.

Work that was done without a permit may be discovered at the time of the sale of your home.  A home inspector may check to see what permits have been issued for a property and verify that only those “permitted” changes have been made to a home.  If a home inspector finds work done without a permit, he may advise the buyer not to purchase the home and report it to the local building department. There have been many cases where sales have fallen through – all in the name of saving money.

DO I HAVE TO PULL A PERMIT?

I am often asked, “Do you have to pull a permit?”  My answer is YES if a permit is required for that particular type of job.

YES … I believe that it is for your safety.

YES … It may cost a little more money and time, but the potential problems for doing work without one is not worth any minimal cost savings.

YES … I do pull permits.  A contractor who says it not necessary may have something to hide, and that could be a red flag.

THE MORAL OF THE STORY:

Trying to cheat the system can cost you in the long run!

Please note: This article is for information purposes only. It is not meant to provide any legal advice. I recommend that, if you have any questions about the clauses in your contract or the suitability of the home you wish to purchase, you discuss them with a real estate attorney.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert’s view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.

Knowing your options now, will help you be prepared in the future. If you are buying a home, knowing what needs to be corrected and the costs to do so, can help you decide if the home is right for you.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes Inc. – It’s Time To Think About Hurricane Preparedness

The Dog Days Of Summer Means –

HURRICANE SEASON IS HERE

 

Leading Edge Homes - Home Improvement for Hurricane Season

HURRICANES – STAY AWAY

The dog days of summer are already here.  We seem to have skipped Spring and gone right into Summer.  What does that mean for Florida residents?

It’s time for the media to bombard us with hurricane preparedness news and alarm us about every tropical wave, depression, and potential hurricane – even if it is weeks away. It’s enough to make sane people crazy.

OVER TEN YEARS SINCE THE LAST HURRICANE

Mother nature has been extremely kind to us during the past ten years. The last hurricane to make landfall in Florida was Wilma on October 24, 2005.  For many of us, that is a life time ago, and for new homeowners and new Florida residents, they may have never experienced a hurricane.

Although I am not a fan of the constant reminders of how to prepare for a hurricane, it’s not something to be ignored.  Procrastinating on getting your home ready can make a hurricane that much more difficult to endure. Everyone should have evacuation plans in place and makes sure their homes are as secure as possible. The Palm Beach County website http://www.pbcgov.com/dem/hurricane/ has a guide to help you get prepared… just in case.

ARE YOUR HURRICANE SHUTTERS WORKING PROPERLY?

But more importantly, now is the time to install hurricane protection or check your hurricane shutters and make sure they work and close securely. If something is broken, and is easier to repair it now rather than when a storm is approaching.
The Sun Sentinel posted a guide to choosing hurricane shutters.  Below are the highlights of the article:
STEEL or ALUMINUM HURRICANE SHUTTERS

Attached to the walls around windows and doors on bolts or tracks.  The panels are corrugated, and each piece overlaps the next for maximum strength.

THE BIGGEST PROBLEM WITH STORM PANELS IS THAT MOST HOMEOWNERS OFTEN DON’T CHECK THEM WHEN THEY BUY A HOME. MANY DISCOVER TOO LATE THAT THE PANELS ARE MISSING OR WERE CUT IMPROPERLY OR ARE TOO HEAVY TO INSTALL!

PROS
Most inexpensive of the permanent shutter systems.

— Removable, so they don’t change the look of the house when not in use.
— Strong, and can provide excellent protection for both doors and windows.

CONS
Require storage

— Large panels are difficult to handle; hanging can require more than one person.
— Sometimes don’t line up properly.
— Have sharp edges and working without gloves can lead to serious injury

ACCORDION HURRICANE SHUTTERS

These one- or two-piece hurricane shutters are housed beside the windows or doors when not in use. They unfold accordion-style to cover and protect during a storm.

PROS
— Permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t require any extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.

CONS
— Can look bulky and out-of-place on some houses. 
— Glide on wheels, and have the potential to break more easily than some of the other systems.

BAHAMA HURRICANE SHUTTERS

These one-piece louvered shutters attach directly above the windows and prop open to provide shade for the window. Bahama shutters are storm-ready when lowered and secured to the wall.

PROS
— Permanently affixed beside the windows and don’t require any extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Provide permanent shade and privacy, even in the open position.

CONS
— Have traditionally been weaker than other systems, but the newest models protect well.
— Design limits their use. They can’t be used to protect doors.

ROLL DOWN HURRICANE SHUTTERS

These shutters attach above the window. They roll up and store in an enclosed box when not in use. They are lowered either manually by a hand crank or automatically by push button, and lock in place for storm protection.

PROS
— Are permanently affixed above the windows and don’t require any extra storage space.
— Can easily be made storm-ready by one person.
— Offer some of the best protection, and make an excellent theft deterrent.

CONS

— Most expensive of the popular shutter systems.
— Push-button-operated roll-down shutters require a battery backup system so the shutters can be lowered and raised during power outages.

HURRICANE IMPACT GLASS

This glass can withstand hurricane debris and eliminate the need for hurricane shutters. It costs more, especially to retrofit an older house. Modern code requirements, which already require hurricane shutters or other protections on new houses, make the glass a more practical option at the time of construction.

PROS
— Eliminates the need for hurricane shutters.
— The most practical hurricane glass is similar to a car windshield, with a durable plastic-like layer sandwiched between glass. The outside layers break, but the center prevents a hole. BUT IF IT IS HIT MULTIPLE TIMES IN THE SAME SPOT IT MAY BREAK.

CONS
— Must be installed by a window contractor.
— The frame must be replaced along with the panes to meet code.

LEADING EDGE HOMES CAN CHECK YOUR HURRICANE PROTECTION BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE

If you need new hurricane shutters or want to make sure yours are ready for the hurricane season, contact Leading Edge Homes, Inc. at 561-795-2551.  Like a good boy scout “BE PREPARED!”


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. specializes in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust.
Visit the Leading Edge Home’s website or call 561-795-2551 to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.

Are You Done Yet – Understanding the Remodeling Process

“ARE YOU DONE YET?” – UNDERSTANDING THE REMODELING PROCESS

No, home remodeling is not like what you see on television - it takes time.

No, home remodeling is not like what you see on television – it takes time.

 

HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?

As a contractor, my two least favorite questions are “How long will it take?” and “Are You Done Yet?”  Perhaps it is because it reminds me of the long trips in the car when my children were young and they asked the infamous question “Are we there yet?”

To answer the question “how long will it take,” there is no clear cut answer. No two jobs are alike. Construction phases take varying amounts of time.

The outline below is a general guideline of what to expect during a home remodeling experience.  One thing to remember is that you may not see someone at your site daily when you do a home remodeling project.  Scheduling, weather, inspections, and material availability all play a part in how long your project takes to complete.

HOME REMODELING PROCESS / STEPS

If you read through all of the following steps, you will see that there are many moving parts that must be coordinated to complete a project. Leading Edge Homes, Inc. tries to ensure that your home improvement project moves along as quickly as possible, but will never sacrifice quality for speed.  

Please note, not all of the following steps are required for each type of job. Each step is prefaced with an “A” for an Addition and  “R” for a Remodeling / Renovation project.

APRELIMINARY SOIL TESTS / SURVEYS

ARREROUTING WIRES OR PLUMBING

Rerouting of overhead electric, cable TV,  and phone service, and sewer and water supply lines if necessary.

ARDEMOLITION

Any existing structures (roof overhangs, screen rooms, existing concrete, etc.) in the way of the addition are removed.  Land is cleared by machinery if site conditions allow, otherwise it is cleared by hand.

For an interior remodel, the cabinets, walls, floor coverings, and fixtures in the work area are removed.  This creates lots of dust.  Make sure any objects that could not be removed are protected.

Debris is placed in a designated area or in the provided trash receptacle.  Leading Edge Homes, tries to clean up the site daily, however, at times piles of debris are visible.

AEXCAVATION AND SETTING FORMS

The addition area plus at least 3 feet beyond are cleared down to suitable soil.

Fill dirt is delivered to the addition area and compacted.  Please do not remove any of this dirt.  It is needed to create the house pad.

Footers are dug around the addition perimeter and forms are placed into the dirt.

These forms are set in place with precision instruments, and a survey will be taken with them in place.  Do not move or alter them in any way.  Should you accidentally step on or disturb one of these forms, please contact the office immediately so the forms can be rechecked for accuracy before the concrete pour.

A soil density test is conducted.

A form board survey is performed.

AUNDERGROUND UTILITIES

The underground plumbing, electric, and air conditioning pipes are placed in what becomes the slab.  Do not remove or change the position of any of these items.  They have been placed in the precise location in which they are needed.

Separate inspections for each of these trades is performed.  Inspections may not occur on the same day.  All trades must pass inspection before work can proceed.

APOISON THE SOIL

This is the first of two sprayings to prevent termites.  Do not touch the soil!  It is hazardous to your health.

ASLAB FORMATION COMPLETION

Plastic, steel (it may be rusted, but that does not effect the strength of the slab), and recess forms are put into place.

Another inspection is performed.

APOUR THE CONCRETE

Once the pad is formed and passes all inspections, the slab will be poured.  This is a difficult date to schedule.  It is subject to weather conditions (on the date of the pour and on prior days), equipment availability, and the concrete finishing crew’s schedule.

Your patience is appreciated.  We are as anxious as you to complete this phase. If you can’t resist, please wait at least 24 hours after the concrete finishers have left before walking on the new concrete.

Some concrete may squeeze out from under or around the forms.  This is a normal condition.

Loads of concrete may vary in color.  This is a normal condition and does not affect performance.

Cracking may occur during the first 90 days of curing, and later during the first year.  Steel reinforcement has been installed in the slab to reduce the separation of the concrete when it cracks.  (The concrete will be specially prepared if tile is to be installed on it.)

Sudden inclement weather conditions may require protecting wet concrete with a temporary plastic covering.  This may result in an alteration of the finished appearance of the concrete surface.  Do not be concerned.  This does not affect the concrete’s performance.

ABUILD EXTERIOR WALLS AND ROOF

Wood / Steel Framed Construction

The exterior walls are framed with wood and / or steel.

The roof trusses are set, sheathing is attached to the trusses and exterior walls, and the fascia is installed.

It is time for another inspection.

Block / Masonry Construction

The exterior walls are built with masonry block.

The column and beam steel is installed.

The tie beam is formed, where and if needed.

It is time for another inspection.

Wood scraps are fastened over any column clean out holes.

Concrete is poured into the tie beam and columns.

Note: This concrete is a special mix and appears to be watery! Do not be concerned. Its formulation causes it to be extremely strong when dry.

The roof trusses are set, sheathing is attached to the trusses, and fascia is installed.

It is time for another inspection.

AROOF COVERING

The roof is dried in.  Roofing underlayment is attached to the sheathing, and metal drip edge, valley, and “L” flashing is installed.

Skylights (if any) are installed.

It is time for another inspection.

If the final roof covering is tile, more roofing underlayment may be installed, and the tile is loaded on the roof.  Otherwise, the final roofing material is installed on the roof.

A R INTERIOR FRAMING

The window bucks and windows are installed.

The exterior door bucks and doors are installed.

Interior walls are framed and block walls are firred as necessary.

You can now see your room(s).  They may appear smaller than you expected, but will look larger once the drywall is installed.

The rough air conditioning (duct work), plumbing (including tubs), and electric are installed.

It is time for more inspections.

APREPARING THE HOUSE EXTERIOR

Wire lath is installed over exterior sheathing, and in the soffits.

Scaffolding may be present on your job site.  DO NOT allow children to play on it.

Hurricane tracks are installed (if they are embedded in the stucco).

It is time for another inspection.

The exterior is painted, then roof tile, if applicable, is installed.

A R  —   INSULATION

Insulation is installed in the walls and ceilings.

It is time for another inspection.

 

A R     DRYWALL

Drywall is fastened to walls and ceilings.

In most municipalities, it is time for another inspection.

The walls and ceilings are finished.  This multi-step process is effected by humidity, and requires varying amounts of drying time.

Wall and ceilings are spray textured, if applicable.

 

A RINTERIOR FINISHING TOUCHES

Interior doors are hung, and pull down stairways are installed.

Cabinets are installed.

Interior base and case moldings are installed.

Tile is installed on floors and walls, if and where applicable.

The interior is painted.

Shelving, mirrors, countertops, and tub skirts are installed.

The air conditioning equipment and grills are installed.

The final plumbing fixtures and faucets are installed.

The electric switches, outlets and fixtures are installed.

It is time for inspection of all the trades.

 

A EXTERIOR FINISHING

Hurricane hardware is installed.

The flatwork (sidewalks, patio areas, etc.) is formed.  Soil in areas  under roof are sprayed to prevent termites.  Do not touch the soil!  It is hazardous to your health.

Reinforcing steel may, or may not, be placed in the flatwork area.

The flat work is inspected.

The concrete is poured.  This is a difficult date to schedule, due to weather conditions (on the date of the pour and prior days),  equipment availability, and the concrete finishing crew’s schedule.

Your patience is appreciated.

You may walk on the new concrete 24 hours after the pour.  Do not drive on a new concrete driveway for at least one week.

Loads of concrete may vary in color, and will NOT be the same color as existing sidewalk, driveway, or patio areas.  There is no way to control the color variations of concrete.

The final vertical spray for termites is performed.

Any sod replacement and sprinkler repair specified is performed.

A RTHE PROJECT IS ALMOST DONE

Screens are installed in any windows.  The dumpster and portable toilet will be removed from your site.

 

The FINAL BUILDING INSPECTION is performed.

 

The carpeting is installed. This is done after the final inspection because we want no one to walk on your new carpet but you!

A RENJOY YOUR FINISHED PROJECT

Leading Edge Homes thanks you for your patience and hopes you enjoy the changes to your home.

 

If you are considering a home remodeling project or have been inspired by something you have seen on television and want to determine if it can be duplicated in your home, contact Leading Edge Homes, Inc. at 561-795-2551.  We will give you a real, guaranteed price and our best guestimate of how long the project will take.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. specializes in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust.
Visit the Leading Edge Home’s website or call 561-795-2551 to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.

Home Improvement: TV Show Remodeling is Not Reality

REALITY SHOW CONSTRUCTION – “Homeowners’ Funds Essentially Pay the Cost of Creating a Stage Set”

 

Sometimes the truth about home improvement is shocking...

Sometimes the truth about home improvement is shocking…

Back in October, I posted a blog about the “ABC’s” of reality shows and home remodeling. Sadly, a couple from Raleigh, North Carolina did not read the blog! They turned to HGTV network’s “Love It Or List It” last year when they were considering renovating a rental property they had in Raleigh and moving into it with teenage foster children.

“The couple contend that not only were they victims of shoddy work, they also suffered from a breach of contract, unfair trade practices in violation of North Carolina’s general contractor laws and a “bizarre” business model that creates an “inherent conflict of interest” for a production company that makes most of its money on TV advertising, ” according to an article in the Miami Herald.

Furthermore, “The couple allege that ‘Love It Or List It’ did not use a licensed architect to develop renovation plans, that they never were shown houses on the market by any North Carolina licensed real estate agent who had the ability to broker the sale of those homes and were left to put up with ‘disastrous work done by Big Coat and its subcontractors.'”

Reality home remodeling shows should be used for inspiration only.

If you have been inspired by something you have seen on television and want to determine if it can be duplicated in your home, contact Leading Edge Homes, Inc. at 561-795-2551.  We will give you a real, guaranteed price.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. specializes in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust.
Visit the Leading Edge Home’s website or call 561-795-2551 to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.

Home Improvement: When Your House is Telling You It Needs to Be Repaired

PUTTING THINGS OFF NOT WHAT IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE

 

Photo courtesy of @pawsandwatches

Photo courtesy of @pawsandwatches

Many people follow this advice from Mark Twain, “Never put off till tomorrow what may be done the day after tomorrow just as well.”

This philosophy make work fine for doing your laundry – you might have to re-wear some clothes after spraying them with Febreeze. It also might work well for grocery shopping  – you eat cake for breakfast;  it is made with eggs after all, right?

HERE’S AN EXAMPLE OF WHERE THIS ADVICE CAN HURT YOU IN THE WALLET

Home Improvement - House cracks are dangerous copy

Have you noticed cracks in your drywall or on the exterior of your house?  Are the gaps in the cracks getting larger? Do you have cracking walls that extend from floor to ceiling,  sticking doors, sagging floors or pooling water near a slab foundation? These MAY be signs of problems with your foundation. More advanced or severe damage is indicated by wide cracks in exterior walls or even separation of one section of a house.

IGNORING OR DELAYING REPAIRS ON YOUR HOME CAN LEAD TO DISASTER

Here’s why — the longer you wait to treat visible signs of damage, the more severe the damage can become. Left untreated, minor cracks and leaks can turn into serious structural issues that compromise the value and overall health of your home.

Your home’s structural integrity depends on the strength of your foundation. It supports everything else – walls, windows, floors, doorways, roof — so when your foundation is damaged, it can cause serious problems throughout your home.

WHAT CAN CAUSE THE DAMAGE?

One cause of a sinking foundation is improper compaction of the soil when your home was built. If the soil is not compacted properly, over time i will no longer be able to support the weight of your house and cracks will ensue.

Also, like other things in life, your foundation is subject to environmental stress. Expanding and contracting soil, excessive moisture and inadequate drainage are also threats to your home’s foundation. Over time, environmental stress can cause the foundation to shift, crack or settle unevenly.
Improper drainage: The most common sign of poor drainage is water pooling and forming swampy areas near a home’s foundation. Poor drainage can occur as a result of clogged or damaged gutters, or because the land surrounding a home isn’t properly graded away from the structure.

Water leaks under the slab: Slab foundations conceal sewer lines and water supply pipes; when a leak develops in a hidden line, it can cause the soil beneath the slab to deteriorate. This type of problem may cause moist areas in interior floors, or homeowners may notice a sudden spike in their water bills – but more often than not a slab leak will go unnoticed. Leak isolation testing is the preferred method for detecting slab leaks.

Tree root intrusions: Large trees can cause foundation problems as roots grow through the soil underneath the home. The intruding roots can exert significant pressure on under-slab water pipes and foundations. They can also leech moisture from the ground, causing soil to contract away from the home.

HELP ME I’M SINKING

A homeowner in Wellington contacted Leading Edge Homes because he wanted us to investigate the cracks and separation he was seeing on the exterior of his home.
Unfortunately for him, the investigation determined that the soil beneath the corner of his house was not compacted at all.  The soil engineers gave the compaction a rating of “10” out of 100, where at least and “95” is required before a structure can be built on top of the soil.

WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE

The exterior remediation includes pressure grouting beneath the foundation under the watchful eye of a structural engineer.  A special concrete mixture is used to solidify the soil beneath the house.  In addition, part of the exterior wall will be opened up to allow the hollow block cells to be reinforced with steel then poured solid with concrete.

WHAT CAN HAPPEN INSIDE THE HOME

Sadly, the cracks allow for water intrusion.  Several years ago Leading Edge Homes had to do a similar repair for another homeowner in Palm Beach County. They ignored a musty smell in a bedroom for a long time, which turned out to be mold. The exterior cracks and sinking foundation allowed water to get inside the home.

In that case, the homeowner had to have specialized mold remediation performed which included removing the drywall, flooring, and even some of the furniture.

Ignoring the warning signs was quite costly.

LESSONS LEARNED

Don’t put blinders on if you see wall cracks thinking that what you don’t look at won’t bother you. Call in the experts at Leading Edge Homes and we’ll determine if the cracks are cosmetic or structural. It is easier and less costly to treat a problem early rather than after severe damage has occurred.

QUESTIONS?

If you have questions about your home, a home you are purchasing, the design process for building a home, or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. 

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Home Repairs: The Time To Contact A Home Remodeling Contractor is BEFORE You Purchase a Home

PUTTING THINGS OFF NOT WHAT IT IS CRACKED UP TO BE

Home inspectors should have home remodeling and construction experience.

Home inspectors should have home remodeling and construction experience.

“I FOUND MY DREAM HOME AND IT’S IN GREAT CONDITION…”

Those were the words of a potential client. The client contacted me because she and her husband wanted to make some modifications to their dream home before they moved in. But…

I FOUND MOLD AND OTHER PROBLEMS

This morning, I met the couple at their “dream home.”  They were excited because their “inspector” found nothing wrong with the home.

To their surprise, I pointed out the leaks under the windows, the mold growing around the air conditioning vents, and many other things that the inspector never told them about. Without having superman vision, or the ability to remove drywall legally (they couple had not closed on this home yet), I couldn’t tell them whether the leak was from the windows being installed improperly (which the inspector never told them), from the roof, or from how the second story was attached to the first story.

THE COUPLE DID ALMOST EVERYTHING RIGHT

Although the couple did their due diligence and hired a home inspector, not all home inspectors are created equal.

In Florida, home inspectors must be licensed. Anyone who passes a 120 hour course that teaches you how to inspect a home and then passes a National Home Inspector Exam and pays the associated fees can be a home inspector. There are no requirements for field work, construction experience, or remodeling experience.

SAVED BY CONTACTING A HOME REMODELING CONTRACTOR

Fortunately, the couple asked me to come out to discuss their remodeling project and now have a better picture of the condition of their home. As a State Certified Building Contractor I am licensed to also inspect homes.  Having construction and home remodeling experience makes me look at a home with a different eye.

The couple is now contacting mold companies to inspect the home before they complete their purchase. It may not be their dream home after all.

HOME INSPECTIONS FAIL TO DO THEIR JOB ACROSS THE COUNTY

Coincidentally, this article “WHEN A DREAM HOUSE BECOMES A MONEY PIT” came across my news feed today. This New York Times article details the worst nightmare for a couple who purchased their “dream home” and discovered their inspector failed to find and/or tell them about problems with their home.

THE BEST ADVICE

The article’s closing paragraph said to best:

Were the Hickses to offer advice to home buyers, Mr. Hicks said, “you should forge and manage your own relationship with your inspector,” and make clear you want to hear the bad news.  In houses that have undergone extensive renovation, he urges that buyers ensure all the necessary permits were obtained. “I don’t know how I’ll ever buy a house again,” Ms. Hicks said. “I can’t imagine trusting anyone.”

QUESTIONS?

If you have questions about the a home you are purchasing, the design process for building a home, or a project you are considering, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. 

For all of your new home, home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

SMALL ROOM ADDITIONS: THE SOMETIMES SHOCKING STICKER PRICE

FACTORS THAT ADD TO THE COST OF YOUR ADDITION

Room Addition Costs

The cost for your addition may surprise you.

Hands down, when you need to more living space to improve your life style, the option to add a room typically beats the cost of selling your existing home and then purchasing a new one.

What you may not realize that even though you are only adding a 100 square foot sitting area, you may have to update other parts of your home.

Budgeting for Your Addition – Changes You Might Have to Make That Are Not Part of the Addition

Depending on the age of your home, you can count on any room addition having to meet the current adopted building codes. This includes, but is not limited to changes in the electrical code including new smoke alarm systems, updated hurricane protection and bracing, and meeting the International Energy Conservation Code with insulation, Window U-Values, and the efficiency rating of your plumbing and mechanical equipment.
Yes, it may surprise you that you have to upgrade your smoke detectors for all of your bedrooms, even though you are adding a family on the opposite end of your home.

Minimum Charges Add to Costs

You may not realize, but there other fixed costs that make the price of the addition seem higher than new construction.
There are structural engineering fees, permitting fees, possible county impact fees, and subcontractor minimums for your addition.  For example, concrete finishing will cost $450 whether the slab is 100 square feet or 1000 square feet because the finishers have a minimum charge. That’s $4.50 a square foot vs. 45 cents a square foot.  Minimums like this exist for most trades.

True Story

A potential client wanted to add a 100 square foot sitting room to his home. The calculated cost for the addition was almost $400 a square foot.  Ouch! I told him I wouldn’t recommend doing the addition.  The subcontractor minimums and the cost for upgrading the home to meet current code made the cost prohibitive for little return on his investment.
Adding a small amount of space doesn’t mean less cost!
Before you think about adding onto your home, seek out professional advice from a professional home remodeling contractor like Leading Edge Homes, Inc.
If you, or someone you know, are planning on an addition, please call me at 561-795-2551 and I will be happy to discuss your needs and identify for you the important considerations and requirements that may impact your overall room addition costs.

For all of your home remodeling and inspection needs, contact your local certified “roomologist”, Leading Edge Homes. Inc. at 561-795-2551.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Home Remodeling: It Shouldn’t Be Scary And Neither Should Buying a Home

HOME REMODELING SHOULDN’T BE SCARY – AND NEITHER SHOULD BUYING A HOME

Don't get tricked when remodeling or buying a new home.

Don’t get tricked when starting a home improvement project or buying a new home.

Yesterday I told you about the client who called Leading Edge Homes, Inc. to install a tub and we discovered that other work had been done in the bathroom without a permit. The good news is – the problems can be corrected.  The bad news is – it will be costly.

This reminds me of a home inspection I did last weekend.  Yes, Leading Edge Homes, Inc. also does home inspections – and we do more than check to see if appliances work.

Signs That Work Was Done Without a Permit

Illegal Addition:

The floor in a room is not at the same level as the main house.

A sliding glass door leads to an interior room.

Illegal Bathroom Remodel:

There isn’t a minimum of 15 inches from the center of the toilet to the wall, tub, or cabinet.

Illegal Kitchen Remodel:

If it’s obvious that new cabinets were installed, but the electric was not brought up to date.

How do you know? The receptacles need to be GFI protected, on a 20 amp circuit, and spaced no more than 4 feet on center.

If there is a counter top with more than six inches of overhang, there must be an electric receptacle underneath it.

If you want a professional remodeling experience or a home inspection with a home remodeling expert view, contact your local design-build contractor, Leading Edge Homes. Inc.

Want to see some of our work? Visit our website or view our online book.


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvetment project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. specializes in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust.
Visit the Leading Edge Home’s website or call 561-795-2551 to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.

HOME IMPROVEMENT: Common Mistakes 3 – Not Verifying Information

Common Mistakes 3 – NOT VERIFYING INFORMATION

Leading Edge Homes - A Home Improvement Contractor You Can Trust

Home Improvement Contractors Provide References

When hiring a remodeling / home improvement contractor, it is common practice to ask for references.  In my experience, almost everyone asks me to provide references before they hire Leading Edge Homes, Inc.  

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. gladly provides references. But…

Most People Don’t Call References before they Hire A Home Improvement Contractor

Call at least three of the references you’re given.

You can never learn too much about the company you are considering using.  Take a few minutes to talk to these people.  It will be worth it!

Ask if the job was done to their satisfaction and at the agreed upon price.  Ask if the contractor was easy to communicate with and deal with.

Call the references and see example work.  You can learn a lot by seeing the finished product.  If the contractor is good, many previous clients are extremely proud of their “new” home and will be glad to let you look.

Also… VERIFY A Contractor’s Insurance

Anyone can say they are insured.  Insist the contractor prove it by having their insurance company FAX or mail to you a certificate of insurance with you as the certificate holder.

 

The most important advice I can give you is:

TRUST that you have chosen the right home remodeling professional to complete your home improvement project but VERIFY that what he has told you is true.

In case you missed it:

Common Mistake 1 – Listening to the Wrong People

Common Mistake 2 – Using Only the Better Business Bureau to Assess a Contractor’s Reputation Only


Todd Perry, a State of Florida Certified Building Contractor and president of Leading Edge Homes, Inc., provided this information.

If you have questions about a home improvement project, call Leading Edge Homes at 561-795-2551 or email Todd at: todd@leadingedgehomes.com and he’ll be happy to share his knowledge with you.

Leading Edge Homes, Inc. specializes in improving your lifestyle through room additions, bathroom renovations, kitchen updates, hurricane-resistant screen enclosures, and more!  In business since 1991, they demolish your stress by building your trust.
Visit the Leading Edge Home’s website or call 561-795-2551 to discover how they can help you with your next home remodeling project in Palm Beach County.

 

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