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10 Things Your Contractor Won't Tell You

I remember seeing recently a TV show that was exposing fraudulent contractors who held themselves out at professionals yet were no more than handyman. They were not licensed, professional and ethical. What they were was charming and conniving. There goal was to get 50% up front then run the remodel scam as long as they could. As you can image, the results were abysmal and people were left with unfinished jobs that had cost them tens of thousand of dollars.

So if you are considering a remodel, here are 10 really good things to consider when choosing a contractor.

1. "Anyone With a Hammer Can Call Himself a Contractor." Home-remodeling contractors hate to admit that getting into their field can be no tougher than printing up a business card. In some states, that's all a moonlighter needs to get into the act. No wonder that as fixing up houses has grown into a multibillion-dollar business, it also has become one of the top 10 sources of consumer complaints nationwide.

Insist that your contractor have a license and a bond regardless of the cost of the project. Note the number on your contract and check with the BBB for complaints. Using an unlicensed contractor might invalidate your contract and prevent you from filing a consumer complaint. Also, if your contractor asks you to get the permit or says he doesn’t need one, get another contractor.

And don't forget the neighborhood grapevine. Talk to the contractor's previous clients, preferably people in your neighborhood who've had jobs of comparable size completed in the past six months. Ask about work habits: Does the contractor show up on time? Does he have enough people on the job? Does he return phone calls quickly? And by all means, see examples of his work for yourself. If his projects look shoddy, take the hint.

2. "My Super-Low Bid Means Big Trouble." While you should solicit at least three bids, don't get carried away with bargain-hunting. Lower doesn't always mean better. Large contracting firms with high insurance premiums and experienced full-time craftsmen have expensive overhead burdens -- usually about 25% of sales. Renegades running their business out of a P.O. Box are cheaper and riskier. A low bidder may have misinterpreted your plans or ignored obstacles to keep his price attractive. Or he may be desperate to land any job to keep his business afloat. Or he may be planning to pad his bill with change orders (addendums to the contract) once work gets started. Real estate lawyers recommend asking prospective contractors for a bank reference, a business reference and a copy of their credit file along with their bid. For an extensive remodeling project, you may want to consider getting a performance or completion bond. These are essentially insurance policies that guarantee the insurer will complete the job or pay damages if the contractor fails to do the work. The cost: 2% of the tab for the project. Ask your real estate lawyer for the name of a good bonding company. (A less expensive alternative is to simply ask the contractor if he's ever been bonded. A yes is a good sign.)

3. "I Require Adult Supervision." Most contractors tell clients they don't need an architect. The fact is, the contractor doesn't want an architect. Contractors hate working with architects because they're a step up the power ladder. They act as site supervisor, checking materials used and approving or disapproving work before the client releases the next payment to the contractor. That's precisely why you should consider hiring an architect for any large remodeling job. Besides providing aesthetic inspiration, architects cram their plans with specifics about materials and construction. Not surprisingly, bids prepared from architectural plans tend to be much closer to the actual final cost. Architects charge anywhere from 8% to 15% of a project's budget. Some will critique a plan for about $100 an hour, with a minimum of $500 to $1,500.

4. "Lawyers and Contracts Make Me Break Out In Hives." Most contractors will want you to sign their bid sheet, or a brief letter agreement they've typed up. That may be fine for smaller projects, but a standard AIA (American Institute of Architects) contract includes more built-in protections, including the right to stop work on all or part of the job if the contractor fails to do it on time. For a major project, it's a good idea to have a real estate lawyer draft a contract, or at least look yours over and make suggestions for insertions and deletions. "Be very wary about just filling in the blanks," warns Manhattan real estate lawyer Mitchell B. Stern. A contract review usually takes from two to five hours, at between $150 to $300 an hour, depending on where you live. Ask friends or contact your local bar association or the AIA to find a real estate lawyer in your area. The three basic types of contracts are stipulated sum or flat fee, cost-plus, and time and materials: A FLAT FEE is the best way to control costs, since the price, including all labor and materials, is agreed upon in advance. COST-PLUS is a bit more risky. It involves a fixed fee plus the cost of labor and materials. TIME AND MATERIALS is similar to cost-plus, except that the fee is calculated as a percentage of the number of hours worked. For that reason, it can lead to the biggest bills. A standard contract should include the following: a detailed description of the job, a list of all materials and appliances to be used (including brand names, warranties and the like), a rescission clause allowing you 72 hours to cancel (required by law), a payment schedule, start and finish dates, and a method of resolving disputes (usually by arbitration). A lawyer might suggest that you also include a list of possible change orders with agreed-on prices, a description of who's responsible for such tasks as obtaining permits, a proof-of-payment clause and a penalty clause for lateness.

5. "If I Don't Pay My Bills, You Pay Double." Long after writing the final check and wiping up the last bits of construction dust, homeowners may be shocked to discover that a subcontractor has placed a "mechanic's lien" on their home. "The fact that you may have already paid the general contractor is irrelevant," says Ann Marie Moriarty, senior editor of Remodeling magazine. "If he didn't pay the sub, you're liable." Financially troubled contractors have been known to resort to pyramid schemes, using payments for a current job to pay off the subs and suppliers from a prior job. Like all such schemes, the contractor's eventually comes crashing down. To protect yourself, require that the subs -- before they start work -- waive any rights to place a lien against your home. Or insert a proof-of-payment clause in your contract. This requires your contractor to show you signed lien releases -- proof that he has paid the subs -- before you fork over his next progress payment.

6. "Keep Me on a Short Financial Leash." The most common payment schedule is one-third up front, one-third at some construction milestone midway through, and one-third at the end. However, unless your contractor is ordering expensive custom-built items such as kitchen cabinets, you should be able to write a contract that keeps your first payment to 10% or 15%. Most contracts also include standard language that allows you to hold back part of each progress payment until the entire job is completed to your satisfaction. "The basic premise is you're not financing the project for [the contractor]," says New York architect Peter Pennoyer. "He should never have more of your money than he's spent." You have a right to know how your money is being spent. If a contractor asks for a down payment, the AIA suggests you ask why he needs it. If it's to get discounts from suppliers for paying cash or for paying early, you may be able to share in the savings.

7. "I'm Two-Timing You." Virtually everyone who has embarked on a remodeling odyssey has horror stories about how it cost twice as much and took twice as long as expected. Some delays -- weather, termites, acts of God -- are unavoidable. But you shouldn't have to put up with a skeleton work crew or an irregular work schedule. Those are warning signs that your contractor is being distracted by another job. Get a commitment from your contractor to work from about 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., five days a week. Ask to meet the foreman and get an idea of how many workers will be on the site daily. Another common schedule-saver is to insert a lateness clause in your contract as well as an incentive for early completion. Some contractors will balk at a late fee of $100 to $1,000 a day, arguing that no one knows what they'll find when they open up the walls. Most experienced contractors, though, consider a penalty clause standard.

8. "My Markup Is Your Business." Contractors hate to reveal exactly how much they mark up their costs, so we'll do it for them: The standard inflator is about 50%. And then there's the matter of how they calculate the markup. Some figure it into each item, others do it by category and still others add a percentage at the end. Reputable contractors do carry high overheads -- a 1990 Remodeling survey found that few end up with more than 5% net profit -- but it's always best to get a bid that's as detailed as possible. Contractors may like to work with a particular subcontractor who is more expensive than the rest. While the best sub may cost more, you've got the right to consider a cheaper alternative. Not every contractor is always on the lookout for new ways to squeeze more money out of you. The best will suggest ways to save money, perhaps by not moving any fixtures or plumbing, or by refacing or refinishing kitchen cabinets or windows instead of replacing them, or by using laminates instead of expensive solid countertops. When a contractor orders an appliance such as a refrigerator, he should pass his trade discount on to you. Some contractors may try to charge you a service fee for arranging a discount. Inquire about this in advance. The more homework you've done about materials, the less likely your contractor will try to pull a fast one.

9. "My Shortcuts Could Land You In Court -- Or Worse." Contractors are normally responsible for getting all necessary permits on a remodeling job, but some start work without them. Why? Because the contractor may not be licensed or may not be able to prepare the required plans. Some homeowners choose to collude with their contractors to avoid expense and delays, but the owners are legally and financially responsible if the infraction is discovered. And run, don't walk, away from any contractor who asks you to get the permit. He may be trying to limit his responsibility. Speaking of permits, there are regulations for environmental hazards such as lead, asbestos or radon. Make sure your contractor knows how to look for these substances and can dispose of them properly or find someone who can. Finally, make sure your contractor has at least two kinds of insurance: liability (for property damage) and workers' compensation (for his employees). Ask to see the original certificate or call his agent.

10. "Don't Be Too Nice to Me." It's crucial to have a good working relationship with a contractor. But remember: You've got a business relationship, not a friendship. Get all change orders in writing. That way you'll spare yourself unpleasant shocks with your final bill. And don't swill beers with your contractor at the end of each working day. Wait until the job is done to your satisfaction -- then toast him with champagne.

Be Inspired, Stay Organized, and Create Fabulous Style

                 

 

 

We are here to MAKE a difference that is why arming you with NEW and CREATIVE products is woven into our business model.

 

Coming in 2016 ~ We are bursting with excitement for our first ever 21 day challenge ~ Daily INSPIRATION, MOTIVATION & Daily tasks to help you de-clutter your life, your home, your work and your body! I am deep in the content development so tell me what specific style and organization ideas you would like to learn the most about? This is for you! Tell me what serves you most!I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do share as much detail as you can. People LOVE to hear your ideas!

We know the BEYOND tile philosophy inside and out and have used it just like YOU TOO can experience to create WOW results and make a bigger impact in the world.

 

NEWS ALERT we have a NEW Luxury yoga inspired jewelry line.

More details about our JEWELRY are right here for you! read more 

 

          

 

Tweetable " Move your creativity to the center of confidence, release doubt & there's no limit 2 what u can do for yourself & others"   #beyondtile #yogainspiredjewelry

 

Now I would love to hear from you.

  1. Do you feel inspired by this jewelry?
  2. What areas of your life need DE-cluttering ~ Home, Office, Body?

 

Visit our site to learn, explore and get inspired.

Important: please share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments.

If you found this blog post helpful, please pass it along to your closest colleagues, clients and friends — anyone you think could use a little extra support as they work to bring their dreams to life!

Thanks so much for making this one of the most inspiring, fun and supportive places online.

With so much creativity and inspiration...

From the sea and sand in CA,

Christa

 

5 Tips for choosing bathroom tile at www.beyondtile.com


1. Pick your must have tile first.

Typically when we start a bathroom renovation we have one tile that we dream of including in our design.  Sometimes it is a really special or unique accent tile and sometimes it is as simple as knowing that you want white subway tile.  Either way, take that dream tile and use it as the starting point for the other tile you will choose for your bathroom design.

2. Try to keep it to no more than 3 different tiles.

Taking your first (must have) choice as a starting point, use it to make the decisions for the other tiles you will include in your design.  If your must have is a really unique color or pattern and is going to be the focal point of your design, pull more subtle colors from it to use in your accent tiles.  If however your first choice is really plain (like a white subway tile) you may want to add an element of interest with a colorful accent tile or even a smaller scale white penny tile to change it up and add interest.

Typically you will choose a floor tile, a wall tile for the shower/ tub surround or even all of the walls in your bathroom, and an accent tile that will be used as a focal point.  This is just a guideline. Don’t be afraid to break the rules a little bit.

3 simple tiles

3. Stick to one show stopper.

There are so many beautiful tiles out there and a bathroom is a perfect place to show off some of your personality and take a risk with a fun color or pattern on your tiles.  However, if you are going to go for it, keep it to one show stopper.  This will make your look timeless and really create the wow factor that you are going for since it won’t be competing with the other elements in the room.  (Many of these super special tiles can be pricey, but if you are working in a small area like a bathroom, they might just be the splurge you need since you won’t need very many square feet.)

Your show stopper area can be big or small, it’s up to you.

The good majority of this bathroom is done in pretty basic white tile, but they added a wow factor with this beautiful tile at the top.

4. Take maintenance into consideration.

I don’t like to clean.  I especially don’t like to clean the tub and shower so when choosing tile for these very wet areas you will probably want to go with porcelain or ceramic tile since they are virtually maintenance free.  (You will want to double check to see if they need to be sealed.)  Tiles make from natural stone require more maintenance and do have to be sealed.  They are definitely more pours so they tend to hold on to dirt and grim more.  If you are wanting to add texture with stone, it may be a good idea to use it on the floor or in a less wet area.  Lastly, glass tile is so pretty and makes a great wall or accent tile.  It is super slippery, so it doesn’t work well on the floor.

5. Consider scale.

Large scale tiles are definitely on trend when it comes to bathroom floors right now.  If you choose to go that direction, you can use the same tile cut in smaller sizes in a different area of the bathroom.  For example if you use 12 x 24 tiles on the floor, you can use the same tile on the bathroom floor in 2 x 2s to continue the color across the entire floor, but creating a more slip free shower floor.

 

We are here to MAKE a difference that is why arming you with NEW and CREATIVE tile is woven into our business model. NEWS ALERT we have a NEW Luxury yoga inspired jewelry line.

 

We know the BEYOND tile philosophy inside and out and have used it just like YOU TOO can experience to create WOW results and make a bigger impact in the world.

 

More details about our JEWELRY are right here for you! read more 

 

          

 

Tweetable " Move your creativity to the center of confidence, release doubt & there's no limit 2 what u can do for yourself & others"   #beyondtile #yogainspiredjewelry

 

Now I would love to hear from you.

  1. Do you feel inspired by this jewelry?
  2. Can you use these 5 tips for choosing tile?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do share as much detail as you can. People LOVE to hear your ideas!

They visit our site to learn, explore and get inspired. Your perspective may be exactly what someone else needs to hear to open up to a greater sense of themselves, and the world.

Important: please share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments.

If you found this blog post helpful, please pass it along to your closest colleagues, clients and friends — anyone you think could use a little extra support as they work to bring their dreams to life!

Thanks so much for making this one of the most inspiring, fun and supportive places online.

With so much creativity and inspiration...

From the sea and sand in CA,

Christa

 

How to use PEBBLE Tiles to WOW and DELIGHT

Hey there,

  

Hope this email finds you absolutely awesome...

 

I have put together a FABULOUS video break designed to INSPIRE you and get your creative juices flowing!! 

 

This some of the work we've been doing this year with our  PEBBLE TILES 

 

ALL of these rooms are from top-notch experts who also happen to be designers and DIYers just like YOU

They know the BEYOND tile philosophy inside and out and have used it just like YOU TOO can experience to create WOW results and make a bigger impact in the world.

 

More details about glass tiles are right here for you! read more 

 


 

  

  


If you're ready to use BEYOND tile products and design recipes to help get your remodel or new construction out to the world in a bigger way, you're going to love these ideas.

 

 Jump over to the Blog page to get started now!

 

More goodies soon and big creativity,

Christa & Tad

P.S. If you enjoyed this video and found it helpful, please pass it along to your closest colleagues, clients and friends -- anyone you think could use a little insight and inspiration with their TILE ideas :)


Beyond Tile and Design For Less 
P - 888-848-4537
S - https://www.facebook.com/d4less


Praise: Denise: "I love your pebbles; they feel so good to stand on! I can't wait to get them installed in my shower. The colors are so pretty when they are wet. I shopped around and your quality was the best with the smoothest, roundest and flattest by far! I have told everybody about you. My brother is building a home on the central coast and he wants your pebbles in his master bath. Thanks."

10 Great Standing Pebble Tile Images

                 Our first commercial black standing pebble tile installation

 

When we first started importing pebble tile the only real material available was the 12x12 field pebble tile. We used them for walls, floors, shower pans, pool decks, homes, hotels and restaurants.Then in June of 2005 we started importing a cladding version we dubbed standing pebble tile. Basically we were finding that we had all of these excess pebbles that were not a great gauge of thickness for the 3/8 flooring so we started cutting the extra pebbles in half and standing them on the cut ends.

We tried to stay with smaller stones so the cladding was tight and we used a 4x12 pattern to make installation easy.

The results of the installations of our standing pebble tiles has been nothing short of spectacular. Below are some of our favorite residential and commercial examples of standing pebble tile installations.

 

            This is the north corner of the downstairs dining room for Pacific Coast Grill                        sunny Cardiff, Ca.sporting our black standing pebble tile. Spectacular                                             views of the surf, amazing food and DESIGN!

 

Another curved masterpiece using the black standing pebble tile. This spa at the Westin Kaanapali in Maui really captures the essence of the islands with the use of natural stone in their design.

     Tan standing pebble tile- outdoor bar St. MartinI wish I remembered the name of the design firm in Manhattan that created this stunning outdoor bar in St. Martin using our tan standing pebble tile and the live edge wood bartop.

 

A nice close up of the tan standing pebble tile feature wall for the outdoor bar in St Martin                                     A nice close up of the St. Martin outdoor bar

 

Green standing pebble tile            Spring Rain Standing Pebble Tile - Seaside Market Cardiff Town Center, Ca.

 

bright black standing pebble tile             Bold Black Standing Pebble Tile - Sammis residence, Solana Beach, Ca

 

River rock standing pebble tile                  Teddie Kossof Salon, Chicago - River Rock Standing Pebble Tile

 

skipping stone standing pebble tile - Stone Brewery Escondido, CA                    Icon Stone Brewery, Escondido, CA  guest bathrooms featuring                                                            skipping stone standing pebble tile

 

Mix Quartz Standing Pebble Tile - Ugh Store - Soho, New York City                            Our Mixed Quartz Standing Pebble Tile in the Flagship                                                                     Ugh Store in Soho, New York City

 

Black standing pebble tile-Sheraton Waikiki,Oahu                      Our stunning Bold Black Standing Pebble Tile greats visitors in                                                           the lobby of the Sheraton Waikiki, Oahu.

 

We have many more installations that feature more residential applications that we will roll out in the future. Till then hope this inspires your design juices.

               Have a favorite. Tell us here! We love to know your thoughts.

 

 

                             

 

 

 

How to create with blue grey subway tile at www.beyondtile.com

Almost all deeply meaningful creative endeavors goes through a similar journey.

You start out on fire. You’re high on passion and possibilities. You could not be more jazzed about your new IDEA!

But then, you hit a rough patch. Unexpected challenges and unforeseen complications take you off track. Suddenly, everything that was going so great has morphed into a hot, frustrating mess.
Your energy tanks. Doubt creeps in. You can’t help but think…

“Maybe this wasn’t such a great idea after all.”

Sound familiar?

 

We are here to MAKE a difference that is why arming you with NEW and CREATIVE tile is woven into our business model.

 

We know the BEYOND tile philosophy inside and out and have used it just like YOU TOO can experience to create WOW results and make a bigger impact in the world.

 

More details about our tiles are right here for you! read more 

 

 

  Tweetable " Move your creativity to the center of confidence, release doubt & there's no limit 2 what u can do for yourself & others"   #beyondtile

 

I've been recommending these glass tile combinations to everyone I know because they are **that colorful** and **that affordable**.   Mixing the matte glass tile and glossy. I usually use 2/3 glossy and 1/3 matte


Some of the materials we highlighted are time tested favorites of all of the creatives we've met over the 11 years we have been working with all of you. Blue Grey and Green glass have really taken the Subway Tile world by storm.

 

I am a big fan of glass subways is because there are countless combinations of sizes, materials, textures and colors that meet the needs of any homeowner, architect or designer.

 

The most traditional of format for laying the subways is the brick pattern (also called a Z pattern or 50% offset) in a horizontal pattern. This is a great look and ideal for transitional homes that are trying to be more current or relevant but still have too many elements that are a dated. Adding a glass subway helps create some freshness with out creating a striking contrast to the rest of the home's style. If the rest of the home is a bit more current you can get playful and run a standard brick pattern vertically.

 

Now I would love to hear from you. It’s a two part challenge today:

  1. What’s something that triggers your creativity?
  2. Do you see Subway Glass Tile more in the kitchen or in the bathroom?

I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do share as much detail as you can. People LOVE to hear your ideas!

They visit our site to learn, explore and get inspired. Your perspective may be exactly what someone else needs to hear to open up to a greater sense of themselves, and the world.

Important: please share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comments.

If you found this blog post helpful, please pass it along to your closest colleagues, clients and friends — anyone you think could use a little extra support as they work to bring their dreams to life!

Thanks so much for making this one of the most inspiring, fun and supportive places online.

With so much creativity and inspiration,

Christa

 

Gorgeous Remodel featuring Beyond Tile

Hello
 

Without hesitation, this episode of our weekly BLOG is a must watch.
 
Doesn't matter what you might be dreaming of.
 
If any part of you longs to make and do really cool things in this world -- write, paint, cook, dance, sing, speak, produce, code, act, bake, or just bedazzle your toothbrush for goodness sake...
 
Today's show is a treasure map to unleash your most creative and expressive life. 

This some of the BEST work we've been doing with our TILES 

Tweetable: “You have hidden treasures within you… and so do I, and so does everyone around us.” @beyondtilelife

We’re all creative beings. We all have gifts to share. My hope is that today’s show fuels you to take (or continue on) the brave path ahead.

Now,  I would love to hear from you. What’s the single biggest insight you’re taking away from this rich design, and why? Yes, more than one insight is allowed – but I’m truly curious as to what hit home for you the most.

Leave a comment below and let me know. Remember, do your best to share as much detail as you can because thousands of incredible souls come here each week for insight and inspiration.

What you have to say may just be what someone else needs to have a major breakthrough.

This is one of those epic conversations that I hope you'll share with every creator you know.

with so much inspiration and creativity...

warmly,

Christa

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