Consumer Resources Center

Contractor FAQ


Architect Services

When should I consult an architect?
How can I remodel an older home without losing its vintage charm?

Carpentry

Will crown molding add value to my home?

Concrete

Is indoor concrete flooring a smart alternative?

Deck, Porch & Patio

How do I preserve the life of my deck?

Decontamination

I’m concerned about radon in my air and water - can the same company test and correct both?
How can I get rid of a moldy smell in the basement?
I’ve got mold! Who do I call in?
I’m concerned about radon in my air and water - can the same company test and correct both?

Driveway and Blacktop

What is the best type of driveway for my home?
What can I do about cracks in my blacktop driveway?

Electrical

When is a permit or inspection required on electrical work?
What jobs around the house do I need an electrician for?
How do I choose an electrician or an electrical contractor?

Excavation

How can I find out if my inground oil tank is leaking?

Flooring

What kind of flooring is appropriate for a finished basement?
How do I maintain my wood floors?
Is wood look-alike tile easier to maintain than regular wood?
Is there a downside to putting wood floors in the kitchen?

General Repair

Why is it so important to hire a contractor who carries insurance?
Do I need a licensed contractor for minor fix-it jobs?

Green Home

What is home performance?
How can I enhance my home's performance?
Why should I go green?
Can I put on a green addition without redoing my entire house?
What does LEED mean?
Should I invest in a Solar PV system?
What are the benefits of solar energy?

Heating and Cooling

Do I need to have my home's air ducts cleaned regularly?
Will installing an attic fan keep it cooler and cut air conditioning expenses?
What type of fireplace is right for my home?
What should I consider when buying a new furnace?
What are the top home improvements for energy efficiency?
What is a home energy audit?

Home Building

How can I tell if the foundation of my house is damaged?
What is a building envelope?

Home Remodeling

What improvement will REALLY add value to my home?
What are the advantages of wood-alternative decking?
What contractor credentials set a professional apart from others in the field?
What exactly does a general contractor do?
What should be in a home improvement contract?
Why should I use glass in my architectural projects?
What is the best material for constructing an outdoor deck to enhance my home?

Insulation

Can I have new attic insulation installed over my old attic insulation?
What's the best type of insulation to use in a basement?
How can I tell if the walls of my house are properly insulated?
What can I do for fiberglass insulation in my basement ceiling that doesn't work very well?
How can I tell if my insulation needs replacing?
Will spray foam insulation make a house less drafty and less noisy?

Interior Design

How should I prepare for a flea market?
Do I really need an interior designer?

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling

If I can’t afford a complete kitchen remodel, what should I do first?
How can I make my bathroom safe for my kids and elderly relatives?
How can I tell if my large appliances are at the end of their life?
How can I organize my kitchen sink area?

Lawn and Garden

How can I prevent ticks in my backyard?
What are the most important features when buying a grill?
How much mulch should I use?
What type of mulch should I use?
How can I add more color to my garden?
What goes into planning an outdoor kitchen?
Do I need a professional landscaper to plan my backyard?
What is the difference between a landscape designer and a landscape architect?

Masonry and Stonework

Where do I begin to look for backsplash tile?

Moving Services

Can we really trust a moving company to pack and ship all our valuables on a relocation?

Painting and Wallcovering

What points should be in an agreement with a painting contractor or company?
Why should I consider wallpaper instead of paint?

Plumbing

How can I prevent frozen pipes in my house?

Roofing and Siding

How can I tell if my roof needs replacing?
What are the benefits of cool roofing?
How can I tell if my cedar siding has to be replaced?

Safety and Security

How can I feel safe about the security company I choose?
What do I need to know when making an offer to buy a house that's a short sale?
Is it possible to shop around for title insurance when buying a house?
Are there specific protections a real estate lawyer can build into a house sale to protect against hidden problems?
Can I trust a home security system company that makes cold calls?
What is smart home technology?

Special Trade

Who do I call now that I’m finally ready to upgrade to a home theater?
Are you home appraisal ready?

Swimming Pool Construction

Should I make the switch from chlorine to a saltwater pool?
How can I accurately estimate the cost of an inground swimming pool?

Trash Collection

Do all trash collection companies recycle?

Water Well

We have a well and the water coming out of my kitchen faucet just stopped dead so what do I do now?

Weather Proofing

How can I keep my sump pump operating when the power goes out in a storm?
Do waterproofing treatments sold in the paint aisle actually work on basement walls?
Is a basement system with sump pumps a cost-effective home improvement?

Window and Door

How can I tell if a sliding door needs to be fully replaced or just the glass itself?
When should I hire a window covering expert?
What are the benefits of having window coverings?