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How do you find an Atlanta roofing contractor

January 30th, 2013
I’ve been involved in the construction field my entire life, except my 10 years as a CPA.  Many homeowners tell me they simply don’t have the time to meet OR only one spouse can meet.  It is simply a huge mistake by not meeting up with your contractor.  First, I have no idea what a homeowner is looking to achieve with their Atlanta roofing project.  Unless they are a roofer, I would have to say neither does any homeowner.  Will they have any real basis to compare roofing contractor bids if the contractor doesn’t know your specs?   Likely, the homeowner simply just doesn’t know how much they do not know and why should they know how to install a proper Atlanta roof anyway?  That’s why we meet with homeowners to explain the components and benefits.
Questions we need to know before bidding your project.  What does the homeowner require for their Atlanta roof?
3 tab shingle
Architectural
Upgraded roof system
Basic roof
Warranty desired
GAF Golden Pledge lifetime warranty
Are you selling in 2 yrs, 5 yrs, or never
Ventilation needs
Leak barriers
Flashings
Interior attic inspection
Hail damage insurance replacement.
Take a similar scenario.  Someone makes five calls to retailers and tells them to give them a price for a suit.  You tell them you don’t want the most expensive suit, but of good quality.  Nothing too fancy, but not cheap.   You will get five different prices for five different suits.  “Good quality” “cheap” “fancy” all have different meanings for everyone.  You can’t possible expect to make a decision on buying a suit that way so why in the world would you make a $8,000 purchase that way??
Would someone hire an employee off a resume?  They can fire them if they made the wrong choice, but a roof should last 25 years or even lifetime with the new materials out now.  I can’t tell you how many times I have encountered customers who got it handed to them by a contractor.  I hear it from 90% of the customers I visit.  Nearly 100% of customers I speak to have some story of incomplete work, poor work, late start, wrong materials, or just plain got ripped off since their Atlanta contractor never started or didn’t finish after they got some money.  The statistics state that 48% (yes 48%) of consumers would NEVER hire their contractor again.  Why?  They don’t do their homework and hire the wrong company or they are just naïve.
I am not writing this so we can come out to visit homes and “sell” Homeowners.  It is for their benefit.  Any contractor who  comes out to “drop” an estimate in your mailbox or emails it to homeowners is just not worth their weight in salt.  These Atlanta contractors don’t care about what YOU want, but rather what THEY want –  a quick buck from the unknowing customer.  There are too many ways to mislead the consumer with vague proposals, etc.
Unfortunately, unless the homeowner plans to meet up together, we have to decline to bid the job.  I’ve gone that route in the past and it ends up that everyone is unhappy with the project.  There are too many communication mishaps about what the homeowner thinks they are getting.
We will gladly meet up at a convenient time of your choosing to discuss and educate a homeowner about their Atlanta roofing project and make it a successful one, even if they choose not to hire us!
About us:  Schantz Home Improvement is an Atlanta Residential Contractor specializing in Exterior Renovations including Roofing, Siding, and replacement windows
Atlanta Roof completion

Atlanta Roof completion


Alside Expands Promenade Patio Door Collection with Contemporary and Classic Styles

October 24th, 2012

 

Functionality and energy efficiency inspire patio doors’ design.alside siding and patio doors

 

 

February 14, 2012 – CUYAHOGA FALLS, Ohio – Alside, a leading manufacturer of vinyl windows and siding, is expanding the Promenade Patio Doors Collection with the introduction of Contemporary-Style and Classic-Style Sliding Patios Doors. This collection of patio doors is designed to function flawlessly, protecting homes from inclement weather and reducing energy loss while adding exceptional aesthetic value.

“Promenade delivers consumers’ “must-haves” in their ideal patio door,” said Robert Schindler, senior vice president of marketing for Associated Materials, Inc., Alside’s parent company. “Combining beauty, practicality and strength, we’ve created a collection that’s energy efficient with the architectural appeal to fit any home style.”

Both Contemporary-Style, with slim 3″ rails, and Classic-Style, with generous 5″ rails, feature a double-wall design and multi-chambered construction for outstanding strength and thermal protection. For easy, quiet operation of the door panel, these patio doors are developed with a precision-engineered tandem roller system. Promenade patio doors will never need painting; and are made with premium vinyl that won’t chip, peel, crack or warp.

The two new styles join the popular French Rail door with its 5″ top, 7″ bottom, and 3′ side rails introduced last fall.

Designed with energy efficiency in mind, Alside offers a variety of ENERGY STAR® qualified ClimaTech® insulated glass package options that help reduce the transfer of heat and cold, leading to improved energy savings year round. In addition, added thermal performance features such as dual internal and external weatherstripping and a warm-edge spacer system combine to provide homeowners in any part of the country a thermally-efficient solution.

Promenade Contemporary-Style, Classic-Style and French-Style Sliding Patio Doors are all available in 2-, 3- or 4-panel configurations in a variety of sizes. Homeowners can choose from a solid color doors, interior woodgrain choices, and a collection of decorative glass options. For added visual appeal, cut or polished V-grooved glass patterns and six elegant handle finishes also are available.

For additional information on Promenade Sliding Patio Doors or other Alside products, please visit www.alside.com.

About Alside

Founded in 1947, Alside is a leading manufacturer of vinyl siding and accessories, vinyl windows and patio doors, and fencing and railing products for the residential and commercial remodeling and new construction markets. With headquarters in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Alside has nearly 3,000 employees at seven manufacturing facilities. Alside products are distributed to licensed professional remodeling contractors and home builders through a network of over 100 company-owned supply centers and select independent distributors across the country.

A division of Associated Materials Incorporated (AMI), Alside is a recognized leader in the home improvement industry and is a charter member of the Vinyl Siding Institute, the American Association of Architects, the National Association of Home Builders, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, and an ENERGY STAR® partner. For additional information on Alside products, please visit www.alside.com and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/alside.

 

EDITORS NOTE: Schantz Home Improvement provides all Alside products and installation in the greater Atlanta Georgia area.

 

 

 

Atlanta Renewal Community Credits Incentives

October 24th, 2012

Atlanta was designated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as a Renewal Community (RC) along with 40 other communities nationwide. In the Renewal Community, tax incentives and credits are available to spur economic development and job growth.

Name:

Target User:

Summary:
Renewal Community Wage Credit

Business with employees that live and work within the RC boundaries

Credit against Federal taxes up to $1,500 for each year of RC designation for every employee (existing and new hire) who lives and works in the RC area. Tax credit for 15% of first $10,000 in wages per employee may be taken annually through 2009. Unused credits can be carried back one year or forward for up to 20 years.

Name:

Target User:
Summary:
Commercial Revitalization Deduction

Property owners who substantially renovate an existing building or develop a new building for commercial use within the RC.

An accelerated depreciation deduction period for commercial real estate property, either new construction or substantial (more than adjusted basis) rehabilitation. The taxpayer/property owner can choose one of two methods to use this incentive: depreciate 50% of qualified capital expenditures in the year the building is placed in service then depreciate the remaining balance over 39 years or depreciate 100% of the qualified capital expenditures over a 120-month period. This incentive is limited to $10 million per project. The property owner must receive the allocation of the deduction from the state-designated Commercial Revitalization Authority.

Name:

Target User:
Summary:
Capital Gains Exclusion

“Renewal Community Business” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code: 85% of property in RC, 50% of gross income from RC, 35% of employees live in RC.

Allows a 0% capital gains rate for RC assets held for a minimum of 5 years. An asset could include tangible property in the RC, stock, capital interests or profit interests in a RC Business acquired for cash. The rate applies to gains after December 31, 2001 and before January, 1 2015. The taxpayer is not required to sell the asset in 2015, but must determine and substantiate the gain for that period.

Name:

Target User:
Summary:
Increased Section 179 Deduction

“Renewal Community Business” as defined by the Internal Revenue Code: 85% of property in RC, 50% of gross income from RC, 35% of employee live in RC – with less than $200,000 in new equipment needs annually.

Up to an additional $35,000 immediate depreciation expense for machinery or equipment, including computers, placed in service in that year. For example, the incentive allows an “RC Business” to take up to a total of $285,000 “write-off” in 2008 on Form 4562.

For more information, visit the Atlanta Development Authority web site.

siding project for a homeowner in Atlanta

October 24th, 2012

We are starting a new siding project for a homeowner in Atlanta.  This homeowner, unfortunately got taken advantage of by his previous contractor.  This contractor had sided several home in the subdivision and apparently did good job.  Why would someone worry about him not doing just as good a job of them?  Well more than half done, the owner paid the contractor a progress payment and he never came back to finish the job.  He left 1/3 of the home untouched and also retained a deposit for the front door that was never ordered!  No return calls and no way to find him.

Unfortunately, this happens often in our industry!  I have heard this same story almost verbatim a few dozen times at least. A more common story is leaving the job perhaps 5% incomplete. Hundreds of stories there… After doing some due diligence and reading numerous reviews on Schantz, he chose to hire us.  We are glad to be able to help him.  Take heed.  You cannot rely on neighborhood contractors without vetting them out. Do a GA corporation search, check reviews online, view their website, check the BBB.  If you can’t get good information on them, you will be a high risk.  Again, this happens everyday and for most people are shocked they got taken.  Our industry is full of these people.  Protect yourself.  Do your research.

Before and after siding project below (unrelated)

BEFORE PHOTO Siding project in atlanta by contractor Schantz

 

AFTER PHOTO Atlanta siding project by contractor Schantz

AFTER PHOTO Atlanta siding project by contractor Schantz

 

Caution when using BBB rating to choose a contractor or any other business

September 2nd, 2012

A bad rating on with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) can expose risks of hiring a contractor. But what about a good rating? The reality is that an A rating can be absolutely meaningless. There have been many reports of PAY FOR PLAY to get good ratings and make complaints disappear.

We learned this first hand in 2010, when we accidentally discovered a local Atlanta Roofing Contractor was making false claims: They advertised the following credentials on their web site:

  • A Georgia Corporation
  • A GAF Master Elite roofer
  • A member of the NRCA
  • A member of Certified Contractors Network

All of this was completely made up.

Upon reporting this A rated company to the BBB for false advertising, the BBB asked them to modify their web site, which it eventually did. While it is not the BBB’s  responsibility to track down dishonest companies, isn’t their role to report to the consumer when a company is not reliable?  Let’s face it, the word “Accedited” means “Endorsed.” If a company falsely advertises to appear to have credentials that they don’t, wouldn’t you want to know that?  There will be no recourse if you are caught?  That’s right. Per the BBB.  “we only report on those who do not respond or who will not modify their advertising. ”

This is an excellent investigative report by ABC on the BBB in 2010. Terror Group Gets ‘A’ Rating From Better Business Bureau?

“BBB accreditation does not mean that the business’ products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business’ product quality or competency in performing services.”

 

 

BI-PARTISAN LEGISLATION INTRODUCED TO CREATE PERFORMANCE BASED REBATES FOR IMPROVING THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY OF EXISTING HOMES

September 2nd, 2012

On March 21, 2012, Congressmen  David McKinley (R-WV) and Peter Welch (D-VT) introduced the “Home Owner Managing Energy Savings Act of 2012? (HOMES Act). This bill creates a new performance-based existing homes rebate program for homeowners to improve the energy performance of their homes. RESNET applauds this bill and these Congressmen’s leadership on energy efficiency.

capitol energy

The HOMES Act provides a federal rebate of up to $8,000 for homeowners to improve the energy performance of their homes.  The amount of the rebate is driven by the percentage the energy performance is improved.  The following is the amount of rebate driven by the percentage improvement:

  • $2,000 for a 20–24 percent reduction
  • $3,000 for a 25–29 percent reduction
  • $4,000 for a 30–34 percent reduction
  • $5,000 for a 35–39 percent reduction
  • $6,000 for a 40–44 percent reduction
  • $7,000 for a 45-49 percent reduction
  • $8,000 for a 50 percent or more reduction

The legislation specifically recognizes RESNET standards for certified Home Energy Raters to verify the credit, RESNET accredited software programs to model and calculate the energy savings and RESNET Energy Smart Home Performance Teams to install the improvements.

RESNET was part of the coalition which worked with Congressmen McKinley and Welch in drafting this legislation. RESNET feels strongly that a performance-based model, which allows the consumer to decide how to best retrofit a home, is good public policy and deserving of support. This is just one more step toward the revitalization of the housing industry and a more energy efficient America. This also reflects the added credibility that RESNET has in Washington.

RESNET will be working with its strategic allies in urging that Congress take action on this bill.

RESNET also urges you to contact your Congressional delegation to encourage them to join Congressman McKinley and Congressman Welch in co-sponsoring the bipartisan HOMES Act.

To view the proposed legislation click on HOMES Act

Track this bill and write congressmen http://www.opencongress.org/bill/112-h4230/show

 

Energy Incentives for Businesses in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

August 12th, 2012

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) provides numerous tax incentives for businesses.

New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (Section 1111): The new law increases the amount of funds available to issue new clean renewable energy bonds from the one-time national limit of $800 million to $2.4 billion. These qualified tax credit bonds can be issued to finance certain types of facilities that generate electricity from renewable sources (for example, wind and solar).

Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds (Section 1112): The new law increases the amount of funds available to issue qualified energy conservation bonds from the one-time national limit of $800 million to $3.2 billion. These qualified tax credit bonds can be issued to finance governmental programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other conservation purposes.

Extension of Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit (Section 1101): The new law generally extends the “eligibility dates” of a tax credit for facilities producing electricity from wind, closed-loop biomass, open-loop biomass, geothermal energy, municipal solid waste, qualified hydropower and marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy. The new law extends the “placed in service date” for wind facilities to Dec. 31, 2012. For the other facilities, the placed-in-service date was extended from December 31, 2010 (December 31, 2011 in the case of marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy facilities) to Dec. 31, 2013.

Election of Investment Credit in Lieu of Production Credit (Section 1102): Businesses who place in service facilities that produce electricity from wind and some other renewable resources after Dec 31, 2008 can choose either the energy investment tax credit, which generally provides a 30 percent tax credit for investments in energy projects or the production tax credit, which can provide a credit of up to 2.1 cents per kilowatt-hour for electricity produced from renewable sources.  A business may not claim both credits for the same facility.

Repeal of Certain Limits on Business Credits for Renewable Energy Property (Section 1103): The new law repeals the $4,000 limit on the 30 percent tax credit for small wind energy property and the limitation on property financed by subsidized energy financing. The repeal applies to property placed in service after Dec. 31, 2008.

Coordination With Renewable Energy Grants (Section 1104): Business taxpayers also can apply for a grant instead of claiming either the energy investment tax credit or the renewable energy production tax credit for property placed in service in 2009 or 2010.  In some cases, if construction begins in 2009 or 2010, the grant can be claimed for energy investment credit property placed in service through 2016, and for qualified renewable energy facilities, the grant is 30 percent of the investment in the facility and the property must be placed in service before 2014 (2013 for wind facilities).

Temporary Increase in Credit for Alternative Fuel Vehicle Refueling Property (Section 1123): The new law modifies the credit rate and limit amounts for property placed in service in 2009 and 2010. Qualified property (other than property relating to hydrogen) is now eligible for a 50 percent credit, and the per-location limit increases to $50,000 for business property (increases to $2,000 for other/residential locations). Property relating to hydrogen keeps the 30 percent rate as before, but the per-business location limit rises to $200,000.

Finding and choosing Atlanta residential contractors on the internet

July 22nd, 2012

If you don’t have a friend to refer you to an Atlanta contractor, how do you go about finding and choosing one on the internet? The number once choice is to search google. I searched Google today for results that linked to Schantz Home Improvement as well as other sites. It’s crazy what people have to sift through to find not only what they are looking for, but know that what they read is true.

I’ve decided to create a new section for our blog called EXPOSED. EXPOSED Sites will get written about that our staff and marketing team finds in the normal course of doing online searches. The idea is to feature local Atlanta Contractor and related services web sites that go beyond a little puffery.  In the process, I hope to educate you a bit more about how to research online so you can make wise decisions, both for when choosing a local Atlanta contractor and for other needs.

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

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.

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.