Have you ever been the victim of a cowboy contractor, or otherwise regretting your choice after hiring someone? It’s not uncommon. After all, how are you supposed to know until you work with them? Hopefully next time you will have some idea, because we have a few potential answers to that question.
Perhaps the number one piece of advice we can give you is to never settle on the first price you hear. There is really nothing to lose by shopping around and asking a few similar firms for price estimates. Although a low estimate doesn’t mean everything, you can judge the best value once you do a little more research into them.
Find personal recommendations
It is one thing to read reviews online, but even from independent sources you can’t be sure how they originated. If you know someone who can vouch for a builder or other tradesperson, ideally after a similar project to your own, you should trust them.
Look locally first
Although you may be able to come to a good agreement with someone who doesn’t live in your area, it’s probably going to be less costly for both parties if the contractor doesn’t have to travel far. They will probably be travelling to and from your property at least once a day for the duration of the project, so this clearly adds up.
Check their qualifications and experience
Obviously professional people in any trade will need certain qualifications to confirm they can work on your property safely, especially with gas or electricity supply work. Check these and make sure they have at least a few years’ experience when it’s a major job. It’s likely that someone who’s never worked on a project like yours before will end up costing you more, even if they don’t plan to deliberately.
Agree a timescale
It’s not advisable to work with only a rough estimate for any project. If it seems too complex to predict, that means you simply haven’t planned in enough detail yet. It’s important to have a start date and completion date pencilled in.
Have it all in writing
Of course, agreements are meaningless if they’re only verbal in this situation. The only way to really ensure you’re going to get what you pay for one way or the other is to have a professionally written contract covering every aspect of your agreement. If the contractor really plans to deliver, they shouldn’t have any problem agreeing to reasonable terms.
At one time or the other, you might be required to repair or replace your roof. So, it is important to ensure that you know what is involved in the process and how much it will cost you. To help you in the process, this article offers a quick guide to the basics of roof design and construction, starting with the key differences between the main types of roofing.
There are two basic types: pitched and flat roofs.
A flat roof is a roof that is defined as having a pitch that is less than 15 degrees horizontally. A good flat roof should not allow water to collect, but instead drain away safely. This means that most of these roofs have a fall on them, making rain water flow naturally to collection points. You can also have a cosmetic covering of tiled roofs of 10-15 degrees if the underlying roof itself is too flat. Flat roofs are not always as attractive looking and problems with these methods to deal with rainfall are common, but when done properly they can look stunning on certain types of home design. Continue Reading
Unsightly water marks on ceilings are a sure sign of a leaking roof that needs immediate attention. Delays in fixing a leaking roof can turn a small problem into a big one. Over time, a leaking roof will cause water damage to several structures in the house, resulting in high repair costs.
Detecting and locating a leak
The surest indicator of a leaking roof is water marks on the ceilings and walls. The leak is not always directly above the water mark, so it takes a little effort to locate the source.
- For homes with accessible attics, checking the roof for mould, black marks or water stains is a simple way of finding a leak.
- For homes with inaccessible attics or vaulted ceilings, the leak is found by climbing onto the roof and inspecting it. The most likely sources of leaks are the structures that project from the house and through the roof. We should check the chimneys, dormers and plumbing vents for cracks and loose seals.
- While on the roof, we should also check for broken, missing or cracked shingles and check if the damage extends to the underlying structures.
- If the leak is not found by visual inspection, it can be found by soaking areas close to the water mark with water to see if the water will reach the ceiling. This is a two-person job. One person goes on the roof with a hose and soaks the area above the water mark with water while the other checks for dripping water inside the house. If no leak is found, soak the spot to the left of the water mark and check for leakage, if no leak is found, then soak the spot to the right of the water mark. If the leak remains undetected, try the area uphill of the watermark and repeat the process until the leak is found.
- Some leaks are very small and very well hidden. They happen in houses where the ceiling has a plastic vapor barrier between the attic insulation and the wall. Such leaks can be found by looking for flow stains on the plastic barrier. If no flow stains are found on the plastic, the source of the leak is probably a protruding nail on the underside of the roof. In cold weather, moisture freezes onto the nail and when the temperature rises, the water melts and finds its way to the ceiling. Removing the leak caused by nails is easy. Simply clip the nail with a suitable pair of pliers.