Hardwood Flooring in Portland, Oregon – we found the Most affordable company!

By: Janice Williams

As you might have read in one of our previous posts regarding setting up a home entertainment system here ; we decided to start getting bids for our hardwood floors, since we needed them to get refinished anyways! Well, not to our surprise, we headed over to Facebook and posted a message on our board to see if we could harness some responses. Low and behold, we got several good responses and start looking through all the businesses we found. One business in particular, which was on Facebook, brought back some good results regarding hardwood flooring in Portland. We called browsed through some of the pictures we found on the facebook business page and were pleasantly surprised with all the great photos and reviews they had and decided to head over to their website for more information.

We were strongly encouraged by the sites professionalism and easy to use layout. We were even more impressed about how quickly they picked up the phone when we called them! We had quite a few questions for them; some of which are as follows:

  1. The most important question we wanted to find out was : Do we need to move all our furniture and belongings before they can come in and look at the flooring?
    Answer: Nope! They told us to just setup an appointment and they’d come out and look over our hardwood flooring and give us a bid regarding the repairs that needed to be made in the hallway and under some of the couches since there was some minor damaged spots.
  2. Will all scratches and gaps in the hardwood be filled and level?
    Answer: Yes – they instructed us that any Cracks, scratches and spaces between wood flooring will either be filled with a “filler” and then sanded down to be level with all surrounding hardwood. We were instructed that the home needs to stay at the Proper Humidity levels after they finished refinishing the floors in order for proper settling of the hard wood flooring.

We asked the same questions to all the other wood flooring contractors that we called and many of them answered very shortly and/or didn’t even have time to answer them over the phone, they just wanted to bid the job instead of answering the questions we needed. That is another reason that we choose Hardwood flooring PDX the other companies; they took the necessary time out of their day to speak with us and actually answer all our questions over the phone before coming out to see the job in person.

After we discussed all the questions we had for them over the phone, we then scheduled a time for them to come out. We had to work around their schedule due to the fact that they were so busy, but we appreciated that they were so upfront with us about timing and schedule, and gave us further confidence that they were in high-demand and had quite a large customer base.

Now that we had them out to the house, they walked us through the process of what needed to be done in order to restore our hardwood flooring in all of the rooms we had it in (hallway, dining room and living room). We walked the estimator through the house and pointed out all the scratches in the hardwood floors that really bothered us. We didn’t want them to miss anything and we meticulously touched on all the spots then needed to be addressed and continued throughout the next portions of the house. Suffice it to say, our house is old. Period. It was built in the 1940′s and the wood is magnificent and has a lot of character. that is why we wanted it refinished, rather than completely replaced. They just do not make wood the same as they used too and we are proud of the “old house feeling”. After completely going over every knock-and-cranny of the rooms/hallway, the young gentleman who was giving us the estimate walked out to his car and wrote up an estimate for the job. We waited a couple minutes in our anxiousness and when he came back in he sat us down and discussed everything we had brought up previously. He wrote down all the small details when mentioned and took into account the meticulous details we wanted fixed and gave us a very affordable bid. We were more than happy to pay them what they were asking, and even thought it was cheap, but we would never argue that!!!

After a week days, they were able to drop by the house and start the process. By then, we had moved all the furniture out of the way (maybe that is why our bid was so affordable, we moved our own furniture because we didn’t want any damage occuring to them) and they were off to the reaces with the sanding, fixing and staining process. We were delighted by the outcome and the cleanliness that they upheld throughout the whole process! We are more than happy with the final product and would recommend them to anyone.

More details about this hardwood flooring in Portland, Oregon company at their website: hardwoodflooringpdx.com – There phone number is 503-406-9244. You can find them on Facebook and twitter as well!

Should you Hire a Renovation Contractor or Restoration Contractor for your Home Improvement Project?

By: Janice Williams

As far as we know, we are not aware of any universal distinction between “restoration” and “renovation” contractors. Although , there could be something I’m not aware of regarding the differences between the two. Nevertheless, you will find a big difference between different contractors, regardless of which title they use.

More often than not, “getting shafted” by a contractor means that you and they have different expectations of what scope of work needs to be carried out. Then there are the real shady, scummy contractors that will take your initial down payment and spend it on everything but the job at home. Assuming you have a contractor who wants to stay in business, you still have to make your expectations clear ahead of time by having a clear scope of work and a rock solid contract.

1. The more details you work out before agreeing to a price, the better off you are when the job begins.

Layout a Clear scope of work. There are a lot of details in the construction building process, and if you don’t work them out PRIOR to agreeing to a price, you could end up owing them more to make it work, and feeling screwed because it costs more than you thought. Many businesses, not only contractors, use this tactic – we’ve seen this primarily in Car dealerships. Im sure your familiar with the term Bait-and-switch. It works in many industries.

2. Bring more details to the table. You will know what you’re paying for.

Don’t rely solely on suggestions from contractors who want to do the work. You will end up receiving very different idea from different contractors, and there will be no way to compare the rates because they are not for the same scope of work as the previous guy. The best case scenario would be to show several builders EXACTLY what you want them to do, and have them each give you a price for the same work; that way everyone is on the same page. Have a clear written Scope of work and Hand a copy of the same one to each contractor. If one is significantly cheaper than the others, ask for references before you hire them. Hopefully their prices will all be close, and you can use whoever you trust the most and are most comfortable talking to – CHECK References too. This is a must! We suggest using a Building cost estimator like this one http://www.building-cost.net/ in order to get a rough estimate of what it may cost you to build the project.

Hire an Architect for Detailed Drawings of what you want

Consider hiring an architect to sketch up plans that you can give to various contractors for pricing as well. This is a sure fire way to guarantee you are comparing “Apples to Apples and Oranges to Oranges”. This is the method that commercial construction works and there is no reason it wouldn’t work for Residential Construction. We have experienced with that side of the industry, and have hired an architect to design the siding we put on our house and it was money well spent. We ended up using a local Siding Contractor in Portland, Oregon and the total cost was about 10% cheaper than the total project budget. We did the proper due diligence, called References and we were more than happy with there work, even though they were the Cheapest in Portland! (Here is there website for more information, if anyone is interested: http://www.WoodGuild.com/

Take a look at it from the contractor’s perspective when choosing to do a job like this. Ask for a quote without having plans, you are essentially asking the contractor to not only build something, but also to design it while they are building it. They have to design things to a certain level of details before he can give you an estimate, but at that point you don’t have a contract with them and this could be (and most of than not, is) time they spends that they never get paid for. Thus, their only choice is to take a broad approach and ignore minor details in his price, and they have to round up thei price to ensure that he is covering the details they haven’t considered (and hasn’t been paid to consider). Contractors take a lot more risk taking on projects without having plans in front of them. Like every other business owner, they need a higher profit potential to actually justify that risk. Having plans drawn up ahead of time reduces his risk, and his profit, making the job cheaper for you as the customer and easier for them.

 

Summer Home Tips to Help you Save Money!

By: Janice Williams

If you own a home, you know that every homeowner is interested in home improvement projects, in specifically those which cost little to no money. Although most of us want to live in the nicest home possible, it can be intimidating to think about home improvement, especially when you know nothing about it. With the guidance that we lay out here, you’ll be able to tackle the simplest of projects.

Summer-Time Fun

Summer is here and its time to keep your house as cool as possible to avoid the exhausting heat waves. When we’re trying to keep our homes cool in the summer time, we employ the use of lots of fans throughout our homes and if necessary, window air conditioning units. Ceiling fans are great for air circulation as well, and they also cool a room and keep the air flowing through them. Combining floor fans and ceiling fans will also help to lessen the energy you use (keep your electricity bill down), as you won’t need to run the air conditioner constantly to keep the whole house cool. Position fans as close to the A/C vents in the floors and point them to an area in your home where there are no vents. This will help keep the whole house cool and also keep the electricity bill down. Along the same lines, if you have a bigger budget, you can always invest in light-colored roofing to retract the sun away from your home, or better yet, Solar Panels. A light colored roof will help keep your attic cool by deflecting the sun’s rays away from your home and a Solar panel system will use the Sun’s energy to produce power and put some money back in your wallet during the summer months. This is the fastest way possible, in terms of savings on your energy bills. The initial investments are rather large, but you will not have to worry about it for years to come.

Home Cleanliness?

You may be thinking, “What does this have to do with home during the summer?” By dusting your home and home decor accessories at least once a week, you will avoid dust being sucked back through your ducting system and making your furnace work harder to pump air through your home. An amazing amount of dust can pile up in just a few days when recirculating your air through your home, along with all of the allergens that accompany it. Cleaning your home thoroughly once a week or even twice a Month is also a good way to get rid of parasites and to keep everything looking nice. Some people even suggest having a local HVAC company clean your ducting using back-flow and other methods.

Window & Door Treatment

weatherproof_windows

When you improve your home, a smart homeowner spends on fixtures and materials instead of nice decor. If you ever considering selling the home, furnishings and decor go with the homeowner. Energy efficient, High-quality and attractive fixtures stay with the home and add to it’s value for the long run. If you have older windows or doors in your home, consider applying window and door treatments to ensure that is a tight gap between the doors/windows and the exterior wall or frame. A quick and cheap way to do Window treatment is to install Window insulation film to the glass of the window to keep out any unwanted sun rays from coming inside. This will keep any unwanted heat out of your home and will cause a chain-reaction of good things happening for your comfort. Not only will treating your doors/windows help keep out warm air, but it will help keep Cool air in, thus allowing you to run your Fans and A/C unit and Furnace less, costing less money overall. Make sure there is nothing under your windows, or you might damage your Siding, Windows, Fence or decks if you accidentally drop you window. If something does happen to fall, and your break it, contact a local decking contractor, such as this Deck Builder in Portland, Oregon to help you rebuild your deck project. Insulating your interior walls is a great investment too. It can be enticing to insulate all the walls, yet this wish is not really possible, nor sensible. The areas you really need to be sure you insulate are around windows, doors, skylights and any place there is an opening to the outside. This will help you keep the cool air in, hot air out! Insulation is rather cheap these days and can be slide through the walls in the crawl space. Make sure to wear proper safety glasses and wear GLOVES! Insulation has all sorts of fibers that are not meant to be on your skin.

Hang out in the Basement

Basements are known to be Cool in the Summer, Warm in the winters. If you want an improvement idea that can add value to your home and can also increase your living area, think about finishing your basement. A finished basement acts as more room for your home, whether it’s storage or living space, and can be used as a main dwelling area when it gets to warm outside you and don’t have the proper Air Conditioning system implemented or installed yet. Adding basic Paint, Lighting fixtures and furniture can be an easy task for almost anyone, especially if you get your materials from discount stores. Its said that finishing a basement can increase resale value by more than 30% and also provides a cool place to stay when the warm summer months are upon us.

Other Tips

Does your Home have an Attic? If so, this is a large attic space in your home that will trap in heat. Make sure your attic access door is properly fitted and closely properly as well. This will ensure no hot air comes through your ceilings and into your home. If you have a 2nd level, this is where you will feel the heat the most, as you are closest to the room! Have a local contractor look in your attic and make sure there is enough insulation in there to adequately provide the barrier you need to avoid your upper level from heating up to much. If there is not enough, hire a contractor to “Blow” insulation in between your ceiling and roof. This is usually a very quick process and will help a lot when it comes to cooling down your upper level!

As you can see, making summer home improvements is not always difficult. When you do one project, you will get experience for the next project while simultaneously updating up your home. Apply the guidance that you learned here and you will find that you gained what you needed and are now ready to tackle any home improvement project – whether for Summer cost savings projects, or your just trying to bring the value of your home up!