Are you considering a large-scale home remodel?  Whether you are looking for a project intended to increase your home’s value, or you’re splurging on a pleasure project for your family, many of you will be turning to contractors to carry out the work that needs to be done.  However, not all contractors are equal.  It is important for you to outline your priorities for the project.  You’ll want a reliable contractor that can perform satisfactory work for a reasonable price.  Here’s a few tips to help get you started.

1. – Find yourself an insured and licensed contractor.  Don’t just pull a number from the classifieds and run with it without doing some proper homework.  Licensing ensures that the contractor in question is qualified to do the work being discussed.  To find out if your prospective contractor is licensed, contact your state license board and check up on them.

Insurance is another matter.  Insurance protects the workers the contractor will be employing, and your home from accidents resulting in damages.  Ask your contractor to provide you with proof of insurance.  If they can’t provide this, then move on to a new contractor.

2. – Referrals and reviews – Before you strike out on your own, ask your friends and family if they have anyone that they’d recommend.  Many times, the best contractors are found word-of-mouth.  Every contractor on the planet wants his clients to think that he’s the best for the job, but results speak for themselves.  Again, make sure any referrals are licensed and insured.  You don’t want to take the chance of incurring additional damages to your property due to negligence and accidents.  If no referrals can be found, then check online for reviews of local contractors.  Most reputable contractors will have solid online reviews that are easily accessible.  Contractors that operate their own websites are a plus.

3. – There’s no such thing as a stupid question.  If your contractor acts annoyed with you for asking too many questions, then you should probably consider someone else for the job.  Questions to consider asking are

- How long have you been in business?

- How much will this project cost in total?

- Have you performed this type of work before?

- What is the protocol if the project goes over-budget?

If you don’t like the answers given, then continue looking for a contractor you feel comfortable with.

4. – Don’t pay too much up front.  Paying up to a third of the total estimate up front isn’t unheard of.  This initial payment will more than likely be used to hire employees and buy supplies.  However, be wary of giving the contractor any more money until after your project is finished.  Also, don’t be afraid to get a rundown of how that initial payment will be spent.  Be thorough if you want to be.  The contractor should be able to give you a pretty good picture of the project in terms of cost and time.

5. – Get a contract – No matter the size of the project being undertaken, a contract should always be written up.  This will ensure a legally-binding agreement between you and the contractor exists in the event of the unforeseen.  Without a contract, there is no way to hold the contractor accountable in the event he performs an unsatisfactory job.  And trust me…Any hassles you may incur in securing a contract is nothing compared to going to court without one in the event something goes awry.  A proper contract should include the following information.

  • When the project will start and end
  • How and when you or the contractor is in default of the contract
  • How any disputes will be rectified
  • What happens if there is a delay due to weather, available materials, and so on.
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Do you have a lawn? If you want to maintain that green curb appeal, you need to water it on a regular basis. Sprinklers are a convenient way of taking care of your lawn watering needs.  It is very important to be sure that your lawn is watered on a regular basis. Now, one may ask, what type of sprinkler would I use for my lawn? The type and size depends on the dimensions of the lawn and how much water is needed to maintain the grass in a specific area. For example, the sprinklers used in a hot, dry environment in a full sun area will differ from the ones used in areas that are cool, moist and partially shaded.  Before purchasing and installing a sprinkler, here are some tips on choosing the right one for your specific need.

Rectangular Lawns

Rectangular lawns are the most common shaped lawn surrounding suburban homes and businesses.  This shape is typically very easy to water and only a simple sprinkler setup is needed.  An oscillating sprinkler is the best type to be used on a rectangular lawn. It is affordable, has a high level of efficiency and covers a large area while in operation at both low and high pressure. Before purchasing an oscillating sprinkler, confirm it has at least 15 spray jets and oscillates rapidly to prevent water from pudding in some areas of your lawn. These sprinklers are effective at watering up to 4,000 square feet.

Odd Shaped Lawns

For lawns that are not rectangular, the best type of sprinkler to use is the pulsating sprinkler. They rotate over a circular area in order to cover a wider portion of the grass. Smaller, less expensive pulsating sprinkler heads can be installed at random locations of the lawn to complete the action of the main sprinkler head. It is very important to take note that pulsating sprinkler heads do not work with low water pressure. Confirm you have adequate pressure before installing this type of sprinkler in your yard. They are also relatively noisy, often referred to as the humming and clicking sprinkler. However, they are very effective for massive plots of grass up to 10,000 feet.

Small Area Sprinklers

A stationary sprinkler is recommended for small areas that do not require the maintenance of a full sprinkler system. They are effective at watering small areas at virtually no cost. They are inexpensive, durable and work effectively independent of water pressure. Since they are stationary they need to be attended to as water tends to pool if left in one place for too long.  A stationary sprinkler can also provide a lot of summer fun to children at the same time as the lawn is getting a drink.

No matter how large or small your lawn is, there is a specific sprinkler that will accommodate your watering needs. Making the right choice is key in keeping your grass green and lush all season.

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