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Archive for the ‘Q & A’ Category

Getting Atlanta contractors to bid on your home improvement project before final closing

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Contractors get many calls from buyers looking to receive estimates on a home they have purchased prior to final closing.  Of course they love it when someone calls them for business!  However, the usual sequence ends up like this.  The caller states they are closing in two weeks and want to start the work right after.  However, they don’t have time to meet at the home.  A detailed estimate and/or a budget amount is prepared based on a site review or via desktop software (mainly roofing or gutter work).  This is generally sent via email with a concurrent phone call.  We never hear from them. Ever. Not one word of thanks for your time or the estimate or anything!  This has been the general experience for years.  Boy! Talk about feeling used.

Is it any wonder home buyers cannot find a contractor to bid their project?  Most contractors offer free estimates, but are not willing to give free consultation especially when the owner can’t find the time to meet you.  Take the right steps and be sure to receive a valid, reasonable bid.  After all, you are the one who will rely on the information.

Contractor bids can vary by well over 100% from low to high.  So, how do you get a reasonable bid? Find one or two quality contractors and take the time to meet them on site.  The contractor will be much more willing to assist you in hopes of future business.  They will also understand what you want them to bid on and the specifications YOU desire.  Otherwise you might get a bid for a very cheap or a very expensive project neither one being what you want.  How will you even know if you don’t meet up with them to discuss your needs?  If you ask a car dealer “what’s the price for a car” you will get 100 different answers.  You need to tell them what kind of car and what options YOU want.

You may not hire that contractor for this project, but perhaps you may just find a good contractor’s name for the future.  Without taking these steps, you will have no idea if the bid you receive is worth the paper it is printed on.  So take some time out to meet up.  It will be well worth it.

Can I repaint my vinyl siding? Don’t repair your siding without reading this first.

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Vinyl siding can be painted, but this has been possible only recently due to the advances in paint.  However, it is still not advised to paint it.  Vinyl siding will expand and contract as designed.  During cold weather it may contract to the point you can see the original unpainted siding.  Painting would only be a last resort for severely faded siding and it would be a temporary solution.

What about painting other damaged siding such as Louisiana Pacific (LP) or Georgia Pacific siding products?  Both of these have suffered severe issues.  Yes, you can repaint, but whether that’s a good financial choice may depend on how long you plan on staying in your home. Any repairs made now could be money down the drain as they are essentially temporary. Upon resale, the buyer will request the siding to be replaced.  We see this every day in Atlanta, Ga,

Pay now or pay later in other words.

Cement siding requires painting every 10-15 years with a good paint job. You will certainly pay more now to replace the siding, but it will pay back in many ways.

Bottom line.  You will certainly pay more now to replace the siding, but it will pay back in many ways.  Ultimately, a siding replacement is an investment in your home while painting is an expense.  No doubt, today’s real estate market makes it difficult to take on larger projects, but the market will change.

Repair and  paint will ultimately be the more expensive choice in the 5-10 year plan.

siding atlanta

May 2012 siding project in Lawrenceville, GA. Home makeover with Alside Prodigy Siding.

Is now a good time to perform home improvements?

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Absolutely. Contractors are generally slower and offer great deals in the winter. At Schantz home Improvement we can offer no interest financing. Then when your tax refund is received you can pay it off! Don’t wait til April as pricing will no longer be as favorable.

Cold weather roof installations

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Is it acceptable to install a roof in cold weather? The quick answer is yes.  However, the roof shingles need warm weather to seal.  There is a “tar line” on all shingles that when heated will seal to the shingle below it.  This means the roof essentially becomes a solid sealed surface.  The only issue that may arise if  the shingles do not seal due to cold weather is “shingle blow off.”  High winds could potentially blow shingles off the roof.  However, proper nailing will make this highly unlikely.  One exception is that low slope roof materials generally require the temperature to be a minimum of 50 degrees.  Theses materials are not nailed and need to seal in order to protect the roof and home from water infiltration.

 

roof system prepare for cold weather

How can I get the best deal for home renovations in Atlanta Georgia?

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011

Finding a good contractor in Atlanta can be a real nightmare. The other day a prospective customer called said he and his wife felt they could trust Schantz Home Improvement more than the other companies they met with. He wanted to choose the Schantz team, but had received one quote about the same, and one significantly lower, more than 20% less. He asked if we could match.

Significant price gaps in proposals should be a big red flag. Much like buying a car, if the specifications are exactly the same, the price differences shouldn’t be that significant from contractor to contractor. Sure, there will be some variances, but 20% is unlikely, especially on a larger project.

The prospective customer gladly faxed a copy of the proposal. The contract was one page which said simply, “replace roof” and ” 5-year guarantee”. Other than that, it was simply the contractor information and the customer address. It doesn’t matter who the contractor is or how long the company has been in business. If you ever see anything like this RUN! The entire project is left completely to verbal communication and the homeowner has no recourse if unhappy with any aspect of the work.

Most homeowners will tell you a key reason they choose Schantz Home Improvement is because of our proposal detail. This establishes a high level of trust and eliminates misunderstandings after the project is underway. Some contractors won’t put in detail “because the homeowner won’t understand it anyway.” Our philosophy is to educate homeowners, making them aware of quality differences between materials so they can make knowledgable choices.

So the next time you’re looking for a great deal, make sure you compare the details. The project scope and materials should be clearly outlined, right down to the nails being used in the project.

About Schantz Home Improvement:  Schantz Home Improvement Company of Atlanta, Ga. has earned the distinction of being appointed a Master Elite™ Residential Roofing Contractor by GAF. We only use high quality products with superior manufacturers warranties, and even offer a limited lifetime roofing warranty.  This, we believe, will allow for years of worry-free enjoyment of your home improvement in your most important investment, your home. When comparing roofing companies, it’s critical to compare materials as well.

“Worry-Free”And “Hassle-Free” Warranty Options
Because of their unique training and factory-certified status, roofs installed by Master Elite™ Contractors are eligible for special warranties — all backed by GAF’s financial clout as North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. After all, a warranty is only as good as the manufacturer that stands behind it.

Can I paint outside in cold weather?

Monday, December 13th, 2010

Can I paint outside in the winter? Painting in temperatures below 35° F is not recommended.

Question. I’ve heard that painting outside in the fall and spring is not a good idea because of the dampness in the air. I plan on using latex paint. How late or early in the season can I paint and still have long-lasting results? I live in the Midwest.

Answer. If you need to paint outside with latex paint when temperatures are moving up and down like a yo-yo, I suggest you use one of the latex like Duration, Resilience, or SuperPaint. These products can be applied and will cure at lower temperatures, as low as 35° F. Traditional latex-based paints need temperatures above 60° F to cure properly. Warmer temperatures are needed to allow the latex particles to coalesce, or melt together. That is why the spring and fall can be tricky times to paint outside. A common mistake is to paint when the daytime high temperature gets above 60° F and the nighttime temperatures get much cooler because dew forms on almost everything as soon as the sun goes down. Even though the temperature was OK at the time of application, the paint can stop coalescing. This permits moisture to get into the uncured paint film allowing certain ingredients to come to the surface when the moisture evaporates, causing surface staining and possible adhesion problems.

Q: What is the optimal temperature to paint outside?

A:Until a few years ago you needed to paint above 50° F. Sherwin-Williams now has products like Duration, Resilience, SuperPaint and A-100 Exterior that will allow you to paint down to 35° F.

Q: What is the best time of year to stain exterior surfaces?

A:Whenever it’s dry and warm. Although 70° F is the ideal temperature for exterior staining, the “safe range” spans from 50° F to 90° F. Avoid staining when humidity is high or the day after a rainstorm, and never stain in direct sunlight. As always, check the label for product-specific directions.