When people think of mold, water and sheetrock damage older homes usually come to mind.
But new homes, bathrooms and kitchen remodels done by unlicensed contractors are commonly at risk because substandard work can either cause or hide damage.
For example, a tiled shower built by a well-meaning handyman may look wonderful on the surface, however inferior materials and construction shortcuts can have disastrous implications. What looks great to the eye may mask rotting interior walls due to the use of green sheetrock instead of concrete board, improper shower pan installation or a failure to install a quality double-seal drain.
Seeping water is not only inconvenient but also a cause of major structural damage, bacterial health problems and dangerous mold fungus. In short, attractive but inadequate workmanship is no substitute for appropriate materials and the knowledgeable skill of a licensed plumber.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
So you think you're saving money by using a local handyman or neighbor? Don't forget to consider the additional expense of structural repair to wood floors, walls and new tile caused by what would have otherwise been a preventable leak.
Not including the major inconvenience of hiring an experienced contractor to get the job done right a second time and the thousands of dollars spent to repair additional damages.
Hiring an experienced contractor that is knowledgeable in the use of tools and the proper application of materials is your best bet to prevent water damage from occurring in the first place.
Although some jobs do not require a state license, any company performing work that requires plumbing or electrical work must carry a state master's license. Don't be fooled by a friendly face or a fast talker: Ask questions. Get the facts about qualifications and state licensing.
Picking a contractor
As a customer your first thought should NOT be cost, but rather ask yourself:
1. Is this person a qualified contractor?
2. How am I protected and do I get a guarantee?
3. What experience do they have?
4. What have others said about their work and customer service?
5. Do I feel comfortable with this person in my home?
6. Does the price fit my budget?
7. Do I want a cheap job now or a job done well?
8. While the cost of quality has a price it is always less than the repair of a cheap job.
Get it on Paper
In the old days we shook hands and believed everything would fall into place, but history teaches us that regardless of good intentions words without proof are worthless.
What one person says may not be what the other person hears. That is why misunderstandings are a commonplace in the construction business. It is not about dishonesty or mistrust, but rather the nature of humans to remember details differently.
We have all done it. A wife tells her husband to bring home bread and because he's thinking about finishing a project he brings home milk. It is a honest mistake but that doesn't change the fact someones going back to buy bread.
That's why contractors are the bread and butter of the relationships. When it comes to maintaining good relations and completing a job in a professional manner contracts are lifesavers to everybody!
Contracts protect both parties and are the concrete agreement that outlines what is expected, simple or complicated, contracts should provide clear directions that are understood by both parties. This prevents problems before they can occur and alleviates disagreements and they should include:
1. Materials to be supplied by contractor
2. Scope of work outlined with general time frames
3. Base cost not including extras
4. City permits necessary to deliver a finished product