Clueless homeowner - please HELP
I am a new homeowner and I have no clue when it comes to home maintenance. It seems like I may have a few projects this spring.
I need to change my Eavestrough, fix my chimney and do the driveway. Please keep in mind I am from Ontario so our winters can get pretty brutal so that may affect materials i decide to go with.
I will NOT be doing any of the work myself :S I want advice on what i should be looking for when i speak to contractors.
Also, please suggest any tried and tested contractors.
I wish there was a consumers report for Contractors!
Eavestrough: How many years warranty should there be on workmanship. I've been quoted between 2 and 10.
I think most people go with aluminum. I've been told by a few companies to go with Alurex - www.alu-rex.com - it comes with a built in leaf guard. I don't have any trees with leaves near my eaves.
Is this a gimmick or would you all recommend it.
Chimney - I have a few bricks that have partially cracked (portion above the eaves) about 10 layers down. Do i need to redo the entire chimney?
What should a guarantee look like on masonry workmanship. I've found all these small guys that aren't backed by a company so im weary of them giving me a 10 year or lifetime warranty.
Driveway - It needs to be redone. its regular asphalt but I'd like to do patterened concrete or interlock. Which would you all prefer given the cold climate.
Sorry about the long winded message.
The best advice I can give you on selecting a contractor is to use the Better business Bureau website.... www.bbb.org
The website will show you contractors that are members and subscribe to the bureau's code as well as contractors that aren't members but have a history of sucessful business dealings as well as those who have complaints about their business that they haven't/won't settle and therefore have an unsatisfactory rating. There are also those businesses that may not even appear in the BBB ratings because they are too new or maybe nobody has rated them yet.
What you have to remember is that if a person gives you a referral, they may have had ONE good experience with the contractor. The BBB keeps history on many transactions and therefore can give you a better overall idea of their potential performance. What you are looking for in a contractor is one that can resolve issues when they happen -- and they will happen. The BBB system (especially for members) is based on the businesses ability to resolve these issues to the agreement of both sides.
You might also want to go to HomeStars at http://www.homestars.com - it's a free website where homeowners read and write reviews of home improvement contractors. The company got its start in Toronto, so there's a TON of great information for you. It's a bit like a "Consumer Reports" for contractors, except it's the actual customer writing about his/her experience.
Good luck--I know how confusing it can be to start out as a homeowner.
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