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Your rights when starting home renovatoins or repairs

Your rights when starting home renovations or repairs

Help protect yourself and your home by knowing what your rights are before starting a home renovation. Your home is your biggest investment, learn how to hire a reliable contractor and see what you need to include in your contract with them.

Ask the right questions:

  • Can I get a reference from people who have had a similar work done in their homes?
  • Will my estimate be included as part of your contract?
  • Do they have an HST number?

When you are looking to hire a contractor make sure to:

  • Make a list of exactly what you want done. Remember that changing plans in the middle of a project will cost extra money
  • Set a clear budget
  • Ask for recommendations from friends and neighbors.
  • Consider dealing with a local company. This may make it easier to check references, enforce a warranty or have follow up work done.
  • Get a written estimates from at least three contractors.
  • Remember that good contractors ask a lot of questions so they can understand and plan out the project.
  • Ask if the contractor if they carry full and proper WSIB and Liability Insurance?
  • Do Not go for a deal that sounds too good to be true.

Once you have a contractor in mind

Before you sign a contract for home renovations or repairs, remember to:

  • Check the Consumer Beware List to see if there are any complaints or changes against the contractor.
  • Check with the Better Business Bureau, Chambers of Commerce and your city for any information they may have on the contractor.
  • Get a written estimate or contract before the works begins.
  •  Never pay the full amount of the contract before the work is done. This will help ensure that the contractor will finish the job. It will also protect you from losing money if the company goes out of business or declares bankruptcy before finishing your project
  • Ask if the contractor for a copy of their liability insurance – Very important!

Planning on home improvements?

We have all heard at least one building contractor horror story in our, if not more. I am almost certain that everyone has a tale or two of damage, scam, shoddy workmanship, and builders who disappear in the middle of a project, never to return again. In fact with the exception of auto repair shops and car dealerships, no other industry has generated as many complaints, according to the Council of Better Business Bureaus. Finding a reliable and qualified contractor is not as easy a task as one would seem.

That said, you can put the odds on your side, however, by ensuring you hire only licensed contractors.

The financial risks of Un-licensed / Un-insured Contractors /Handymen

Having an un-licensed and/or un-insured contractor perform renovations and or repairs to your home you are putting yourself at tremendous risk financially. You run the risk of being subject to anyone, or even all of the following if the hired contractor is injured while working on your home:

  • Medical bills for the injured contractor /handyman
  • Lawsuit by the contractor(s)
  • Increase in insurance policy cost or cancellation of policy by your insurance company

Whether the contractor is remodeling your entire home or just fixing a discounted downpipe, you can open yourself up to a significant liability as a homeowner.

A licensed contractor doesn’t necessarily mean competent, it does however, imply a certain level of professionalism and suggests that the contractor is committed to his or her work. Licensing can protect you from a large number of potential problems. Such as the following:

  • Unlicensed usually means uninsured: If you use a contractor who is uninsured, it means that the contractor will have no way of reimbursing you for any property damage he or she may cause, leaving you paying the price. Likewise, if the contractors’ carelessness leads to injury or damage to someone else’s property, the problem is likely going to be yours.
  • No coverage under homeowner’s policy: Many homeowners believe it is safe to use an uninsured contractor, assuming that any damages incurred would be covered under their homes insurance policy. That said, this isn’t the case. Most homeowners’ policies require that any work to the property be done by licensed contractors; coverage is often specifically excluded for damages by “bootleg” contractors.
  • Poor workmanship: There are some unlicensed contractors that do some good work. Not all poor quality work is done by an unlicensed contractor, but if there is shoddy work done, it’s usually done by an unlicensed contractor because they are not subjected to meeting specific standards, they are often untrained, less experienced and unqualified to do certain types of work.
  •  The safety hazards: that go along with the sloppy work of an unlicensed contractor could have serious consequences. In a nut shell it’s a hazard if the work is not done properly.
  • Con artists: Scams in the construction industry especially in the home improvement business have become almost legendary in the last few years. Just because the carry a hammer doesn’t make them a qualified contractor, and often targeting the elderly. This happens so often that it has made national news any number of times. However, unwary homeowners continue to be taken in by these con artists who more often than not, promise unrealistically low prices or use a scare tactic to seal the deal. In the end the home owner usually ends up with either an incomplete or low quality project – and several hundred, or even thousands of dollars less. Not to mention, now they have to hire and pay a professional contractor to undo the damaged caused or finish the work that the con artist didn’t complete.

Signs that Indicate the Need for Chimney Repair Or Rebuild

The average homeowner, are unfamiliar with construction and building techniques, it can be difficult for most to tell if and when chimney repair is required. Which is why we’re going to talk you through a few of the main signs that indicate the need for chimney repair during the course of this blog article.

Signs that Indicate the Need for Chimney Repair or Chimney Rebuild

Remember should the condition of your chimney deteriorate, you are potentially exposing yourself to a serious fire hazard. If you notice any of the following signs during your inspection, don’t hesitate to get in contact with a chimney repair expert as soon as possible.

Imperfect Mortar Joints

The first part of your chimney to inspect is the mortar joints. You might be required to get on top of your roof to be able to spot this problem. If the condition of your chimney’s mortar joints is anything less than perfect, be sure to contact a contractor right away. “Is it really that much of an issue?” The simple answer is yes! The mortar is what holds it all together and should even the slightest crack develop, freeze-thaw cycles could quickly make the situation worse and if just left the chimney may become seriously unstable.

Damper or Firebox which is Rusted

If either the damper (which is designed to seal off the flue) or the firebox has rusted, it’s a sure sign that they’ve been exposed to moisture and that something is not quite right. Excessive moisture entering the chimney can lead to a range of dangerous situations, including the cracking of flue tiles, which could lead to a fire breaking out, so it is essential that you get in contact a chimney repair specialist as soon as possible.

Flue Tiles Piling Up

Examine the bottom part of the chimney to check whether any debris has built up. In particular, look out for parts of flue tiles, as this indicates that the chimney lining is damaged, which the potential to cause a house fire, as has commented in the last paragraph. This will only apply if your chimney is relatively old though, since many of today’s models are now fitted with stainless steel linings.

Chimney Crown Cracks

Something else that you won’t be able to spot without being on the rooftop, is the chimney crown, but if there’s a problem it will be obvious. The crown is your chimney’s first line of defense against the elements, but just as with the mortar joints, if cracks develop, freeze-thaw cycles can open them up rather quickly, which provides moisture a direct route into the interior of your chimney. This can lead to other problems, such as the shaling of the flue lining.

Are Your Bricks Spalling?

If you’re not sure what “Spalling” is, it’s where moisture gets inside the brick (or stone or concrete if that’s what your chimney is constructed from) and damages the surface of your masonry. If this has occurred at your property, it will be quite apparent as parts of the masonry will fall off, and if a chimney repair contractor is not contacted, the entire structure may become unstable and eventually collapse.

For a FREE Estimate on your Chimney Repair or Chimney Rebuild:

Contact Chameleon Masonry Restoration at 705-725-8378

What is Spalling?

  • Definition: Spalling is a result of water entering brick, concrete or natural stone and forcing the surface to peel, pop out or flake off. This is because there is moisture in the concrete. In basements, especially, moisture and often salt, too, pushes outward from the inside. Eventually, spalling can cause crumbling and destruction of a structure.Identifying Spalling
  • Bricks with spalling have cracks and breaks in the surface and often large, crater- shaped chips. Other indications of spalling are loss of surface material and striations. Spalling often occurs in basements and around chimneys. If the damage is bad enough it may compromise the stability of the structure.

    What Are the Causes of Brick Spalling?

    Moisture Problems

    Moisture inside the bricks causes spalling. This occurs when the bricks are uncured or “green.” Under very hot temperatures the moisture turns to steam inside the bricks, thus causing it to expand and leave cracks, breaks or chipped areas.

    Extreme Heat

    Fire damage causes spalling to occur in bricks as well. The rapid expansion of the brick during a fire and the intense cooling effect of the water to extinguish the flames causes the bricks to crumble, crack and otherwise deteriorate.

    Prevention of Spalling

    The best way to avoid brick spalling is to eliminate the moisture. Buy the bricks from a reputable dealer that sells only cured quality bricks. Hire a chimney sweep or qualified professional to inspect your chimney cap. If the area around your chimney cap is cracked or the cap itself is defective, this allows water to seep into the brickwork below. Seal these areas around the chimney with a silicone waterproofing agent or masonry sealant to eliminate or reduce the moisture problem. Open mortar joints and cracks in the mortar also cause water to penetrate the bricks. Add fresh mortar or have the cracks repaired by a bricklayer.

    Repairing the Damaged Brick

    If only a few bricks are damaged by the spalling it is wise to simply ignore the cosmetic detriment. The only way to repair spalling is to take out and replace the affected bricks. This is a job for a restoration professional as the stability of the building or home may be compromised.  A professional will properly support the brick above and below the spalled brick to maintain structural integrity while replacing the brick and mortar joints.

    It is important at this time to discover what is causing any water damaged brick. Sometimes it is a failing eavestrough that has been leaking against the brickwork and causing further deterioration.  A situation like this would need to be addressed also to ensure it doesn’t continue on the newly replaced brick.

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