Need a Painting Contractor? Should You Find One Yourself Or Use a Referral Service?

I would advise that you call a friend or relative who has recently had the interior or the exterior of their home painted by a professional painter. You can ask them how they felt about their experience. If they liked their painting contractor, they will let you know. They’ll also let you know if they didn’t. You should ask them how they felt about the painting company’s quality, price and service. Was the contractor attentive to their needs or not? Just keep in mind that you’re needs and wants will not be identical to your friend’s or relative’s. For example; was the painting contractor fully insured? Maybe your friend or relative didn’t care if they were or not. When I say fully insured, I don’t just mean a “liability insurance policy” that anyone can get for sometimes just a few hundred bucks a year. But, do they carry “workers compensation insurance” as well? Well, if they have even one employee, they are required to by law.

Another way to find a painter is to do an online search, open up your local yellow page directory or respond to a flyer that was hung on your door. Call the painters for a free estimate. I usually suggest getting three estimates. If you get too many more than that, then you’ll just drive yourself crazy.

If you decide to try to find a Kelowa area painting contractor by using a painting contractor referral service, just remember one thing. Most of the “qualified, fully insured” painting contractors and many customers that I know, who have enrolled in these referral services have been disappointed and disillusioned with the results and have stopped using the contractor referral service altogether. So, what do you end up getting with a lead referral service? You may just get some of the “least qualified” contractors! Yes, you heard that right. And you thought that they were going to be the best, being screened for you and all! Caveat Emptor! Let the buyer beware!

Let me explain something. These contractor referral services claim to “screen” painting contractors. Yet, they seem to be “negligent at best”,when it comes to screening for workers compensation insurance”, one of the most fundamental and basic areas that is of extreme importance to any professional, legitimate painting company and more importantly to you, the customer that is hoping that the contractor referral service is “looking out for you”. Read on, I’m much more cynical than that. I don’t think it is “negligence” on the part of the contractor referral services. I think it’s more like “blatant disregard” for you, the customer. I truly believe, that the contractor referral services are banking on the fact that the average homeowner does not know the law; and then they use this to pull the wool over your eyes while basically implying to you the following. “Don’t worry Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner. We are looking out for you. We “pre-screened” these contractors for you!” I know. That does sound cynical of me doesn’t it? But, why do the contractor referral services fail to screen for such a “basic” thing as workers compensation insurance?

It is law that when a painting contractor hires employees and has them working on your home, that those employees be covered by workers compensation insurance, just in case a painter gets hurt or dies while painting the interior or exterior of your home. Guess what. Painters do get hurt on jobs and more often than you might think. And serious injury for painters is actually quite common. And did you know that your homeowner’s insurance may NOT cover you if a painter gets hurt while painting your house.

In fairness to some of these contractors, if a painter is working for himself and by himself, he is not required to carry workers compensation insurance on himself, but once he has a worker on the job, it’s a new ball game. Even if the owner of the painting company excludes himself from his policy, he must still provide the workers compensation for his employee. Now, he’ll probably tell you that he’s paying him “as a subcontractor”. Well when somebody gets hurt on the job, somebody is going to still come looking for money from the workers compensation insurer. When they find out that there is no workers compensation insurance, then somebody is still going to pay. The painter that is injured will look to collect from whoever has the most money. I would bet that in most cases that means you, the homeowner.

If you don’t think that anyone could possibly get hurt on just this one little job for you, then I suggest you do a little research online. Just do a Google search for “house painting fatalities” or “house painting injuries”. It might shock you. People get hurt doing construction and home improvements all the time. You can even narrow down your search to the Chicago area. I don’t want to scare you, but you must open your eyes and see the world in which you live. Many times an unethical painter or other tradesman will even “fake” an injury, looking to milk a situation for a long time. Please don’t be naive enough to think that it won’t happen to you because you are nice person. Nice people are the “easiest” for people with no scruples to take advantage of. It happens all the time.

Maybe one contractor referral exists that screens for it, but I have personally NEVER seen a contractor referral service in the Chicago area screen painters for workers compensation insurance. I’ve only seen them screen for liability insurance, lawsuits or judgments and a few other things. They seem to be more concerned with the following: Joe Dokes in Winnetka says…..”Hank and his brother and law were such nice guys, not only did they do a nice job painting my living room, but they also walked my dog?”

I have come to the conclusion and it is just my opinion, that there is a reason why the contractor referral services do NOT screen painters for workers compensation insurance. They leave this “extremely” important screening for workers compensation insurance out of their “screening process” because if they actually did screen for this insurance, then they would lose about 90% of their revenue generating customers, which are the painting contractors that pay for your name. You are a hot lead. And the contractor referral service will sell your name, address and phone number to anywhere from 2 to 4, to maybe even more painters. They’ll collect money from these contractors whether you buy a paint job or not.

The reason the contractor referral service will NOT screen for workers compensation insurance is because over 90% of the painters that you attempt to hire from the referral service will NOT have this workers compensation insurance because it is too expensive, or they do not know that they are “required” to have their employees covered by it. I really don’t blame the painters. These are men and women who are just out there in the world trying to make a buck to support their families. They may in fact be innocent. There are a lot of laws out there. They just need to be educated and if the contractor referral service “really” had the contractor’s interest at heart, as well as you the homeowner, then they would tell the contractor that he should buy workers compensation insurance to make sure he passes the “screening” process and protects himself, his workers and his customers.

Therefore, what the lead referral services “actually” do is guarantee that you do NOT get the most qualified contractors bidding on your painting project. Instead you may even get the “least” qualified. This is not always the case. There are painting contractors in the Chicago area who are members of paint contractor referral services who do follow the law and carry the proper insurance. But, it’s up to YOU to screen them, even if you hire them from a lead referral service who “claims” to have already qualified them. The lead referral service just won’t do it because this would put them out of business because they wouldn’t be able to sell leads to enough contractors. Remember, the painters that are contacting you when you have a contractor referral service give your name out, are “paying for your name and job information”.

Your New Staircase Will Provide a Stunning Focal Point to Your Home or Workplace

From a simple but elegant straight flight to beautiful hardwood spirals or the most complex sweeping helical design a new staircase will provide a stunning focal point to your home or workplace. But sometimes the terminology involved can be a little confusing, so here’s my step-by-step guide to your new staircase.

General: Staircase step: The staircase step is composed of the tread and riser.

Stair Tread: The tread is the part of the staircase that is stepped on. It is constructed to the same specifications (thickness) as any other flooring. The tread “depth” is measured from the outer edge of the step to the vertical “riser” between steps. The “width” is measured from one side to the other.

Stair Riser: The riser is the vertical portion between each tread on the stairs. This may be missing for an “open” stairs effect, subject to building regulations

Stair Nosing: An edge part of the tread that protrudes over the riser beneath. If it is present, this means that horizontally, the total “run” length of the stairs is not simply the sum of the tread lengths, the treads actually overlap each other slightly.

Starting step or Bullnose: Where stairs are open on one or both sides, the first step above the lower floor may be wider than the other steps and rounded. The balusters typically form a semicircle around the circumference of the rounded portion and the handrail has a horizontal spiral called a “volute” that supports the top of the balusters. Besides the cosmetic appeal, starting steps allow the balusters to form a wider, more stable base for the end of the handrail. Handrails that simply end at a post at the foot of the stairs can be less sturdy, even with a thick post. A double Bullnose can be used when both sides of the stairs are open.

Staircase Stringer or String: The structural member that supports the treads and risers. There are typically two stringers, one on either side of the stairs; though the treads may be supported many other ways. The stringers are sometimes notched so that the risers and treads fit into them. Stringers on open-sided stairs are often open themselves so that the treads are visible from the side. Such stringers are called “cut” stringers. Stringers on a closed side of the stairs are closed, with the support for the treads routed into the stringer.

Staircase Winders: Winders are steps that are narrower on one side than the other. They are used to change the direction of the stairs without landings. A series of winders form a circular or spiral stairway. When three steps are used to turn a 90 corner, the middle step is called a kite winder as a kite-shaped quadrilateral.

Stair Trim: Trim (e.g. quarter-round or baseboard trim) is normally applied where walls meet floors and often underneath treads to hide the reveal where the tread and riser meet. Shoe moulding may be used between where the lower floor and the first riser meet. Trimming a starting step is a special challenge as the last riser above the lower floor is rounded. Flexible, plastic trim is available for this purpose, however wooden mouldings are still used and are either cut from a single piece of rounded wood, or bent with laminations Scotia is concave moulding that is underneath the nosing between the riser and the tread above it.

Flight: A flight is an uninterrupted series of steps.

Floating stairs: A flight of stairs is said to be “floating” if there is nothing underneath. The risers are typically missing as well to emphasize the open effect. There may be only one stringer or the stringers otherwise minimized. Where building codes allow, there may not even be handrails.

Staircase Landing or Platform: A landing is the area of a floor near the top or bottom step of a stair. An intermediate landing is a small platform built as part of the stair between main floor levels and is typically used to allow stairs to change directions, or to allow the user a rest. As intermediate landings consume floor space they can be expensive to build. However, changing the direction of the stairs allows stairs to fit where they would not otherwise, or provides privacy to the upper level as visitors downstairs cannot simply look up the stairs to the upper level.

Stair Runner: Carpeting that runs down the middle of the stairs. Runners may be directly stapled or nailed to the stairs, or may be secured by specialized bar that holds the carpet in place where the tread meets the riser.

Spandrel: If there is not another flight of stairs immediately underneath, the triangular space underneath the stairs is called a “spandrel”. It is frequently used as a closet. Staircase: This term is often reserved for the stairs themselves: the steps, railings and landings; though often it is used interchangeably with “stairs” and “stairway”.

Stairway: This term is often reserved for the entire stairwell and staircase in combination; though often it is used interchangeably with “stairs” and “staircase”.

Spiral stairs: Spiral stairs wind around a central pole. Spiral stairs typically have a handrail on the outer side only, and on the inner side just the central pole. A squared spiral stair assumes a square stairwell and expands the steps and railing to a square, resulting in unequal steps (larger where they extend into a corner of the square). A pure spiral staircase assumes a circular stairwell and the steps and handrail are equal and positioned screw-symmetrically. A tight spiral stairs with a central pole is very space efficient in the use of floor area. The term “spiral” is used incorrectly for a staircase from a mathematical viewpoint, as a mathematical spiral lies in a single plane and moves towards or away from a central point. A spiral staircase by the mathematical definition therefore would be of little use as it would afford no change in elevation. The correct mathematical term for motion where the locus remains at a fixed distance from a fixed line whilst moving in a circular motion about it is “helix”. The presence or otherwise of a central pole does not affect the terminology applied to the design of the structure. Spiral stairs in medieval times were generally made of stone and typically wound in a clockwise direction (from the ascendor’s point of view), in order to place at a disadvantage attacking swordsmen who were most often right-handed). This asymmetry forces the right-handed swordsman to engage the central pike and degrade his mobility compared with the defender who is facing down the stairs.

Helical Staircases: Helical staircases or circular stairs do not have a central pole and there is a handrail on both sides. Helical staircases have the advantage of a more uniform tread width when compared to spiral staircases. Helical staircases may also be built around an elliptical or oval platform. A double helix is possible, with two independent helical stairs in the same vertical space, allowing one person to ascend and another to descend, without ever meeting if they choose different helixes. Fire escapes, though built with landings and straight runs of stairs, are often functionally double helixes, with two separate stairs inter twinned and occupying the same floor space. This is often in support of legal requirements to have two separate fire escapes. Both spiral stairs and helical stairs can be characterized by the number of turns that are made. A “quarter-turn” stair deposits the person facing 90 degrees from the starting orientation. Likewise there are half-turn, three-quarters-turn and full-turn stairs. A continuous spiral may make many turns depending on the height. Very tall multi turn spiral staircases are usually found in old stone towers within fortifications, churches and in lighthouses.

Bespoke staircases: staircases are available in various kit and “off the shelf” formats. However, these types of ready made staircases never fit as well as a true bespoke staircase which has been professionally designed and manufactured by craftsmen to fit into a specific location. In order to make a bespoke staircase it is essential to first carry out a full on site survey. Boss stairs will visit the site with a professional surveyor and a staircase designer to take accurate measurements and give advice on the various design options available. These options would include; the plan or layout, the materials to be used in the construction of the staircase and also the type and style of railing system. First we would determine the layout and plan which in many cases is dictated by the space available. Then decide what type of timber to be used for the flight itself. For a hardwood flight we recommend Oak stairs, Walnut stairs, Ash stairs, Sapele stairs or Mahogany stairs. Contrasting timbers can be used to give a contemporary design, for instance Walnut treads with Oak or even painted risers look very effective. There is also the choice of a straight or cut string as well as the type and style of railing system to use, be that traditional wooden spindles and newel posts or perhaps a glass balustrade or even wrought iron can be used to make a very attractive feature. There are many designs of wooden spindles and an infinite number of patterns of wrought ironwork. Finally, we would determine the use of any additional details such as special starting steps or volutes. Back at the office the designer will draw up a CAD plan and provide a detailed estimate of the costs involved. These costs will include for manufacture and supply plus any installation and/or finishing, if required.

The Staircase Railing System: The balustrade is the system of railings and balusters that prevents people from falling over the edge.

Banister, Railing or Handrail: The angled member for hand holding, as distinguished from the vertical balusters which hold it up for stairs that are open on one side; there is often a railing on both sides, sometimes only on one side or not at all, on wide staircases there is sometimes also one in the middle, or even more. The term “banister” is sometimes used to mean just the handrail, or sometimes the handrail and the balusters or sometimes just the balusters.

Volute: A handrail end element for the Bullnose step that curves inward like a spiral. A volute is said to be right or left-handed depending on which side of the stairs the handrail is as one faces up the stairs.

Turnout: Instead of a complete spiral volute, a turnout is a quarter-turn rounded end to the handrail.

Gooseneck: The vertical handrail that joins a sloped handrail to a higher handrail on the balcony or landing is a gooseneck.

Rosette: Where the handrail ends in the wall and a half-newel is not used, it may be trimmed by a rosette.

Easings: Wall handrails are mounted directly onto the wall with wall brackets. At the bottom of the stairs such railings flare to a horizontal railing and this horizontal portion is called a “starting easing”. At the top of the stairs, the horizontal portion of the railing is called a “over easing”.

Core rail: Wood handrails often have a metal core to provide extra strength and stiffness, especially when the rail has to curve against the grain of the wood. The archaic term for the metal core is “core rail”.

Baluster or Spindle: A term for the vertical posts that hold up the handrail. Sometimes simply called guards or spindles. Treads often require two balusters. The second baluster is closer to the riser and is taller than the first. The extra height in the second baluster is typically in the middle between decorative elements on the baluster. That way the bottom decorative elements are aligned with the tread and the top elements are aligned with the railing angle.

Newel: A large baluster or post used to anchor the handrail. Since it is a structural element, it extends below the floor and sub floor to the bottom of the floor joists and is bolted right to the floor joist. A half-newel may be used where a railing ends in the wall. Visually, it looks like half the newel is embedded in the wall. For open landings, a newel may extend below the landing for a decorative newel drop.

Baserail or Shoerail: For systems where the baluster does not start at the treads, they go to a base rail. This allows for identical balusters, avoiding the second baluster problem.

Fillet: A decorative filler piece on the floor between balusters on a balcony railing.

Handrails: Handrails may be continuous (sometimes called over-the-post) or post-to-post (or more accurately “newel-to-newel”). For continuous handrails on long balconies, there may be multiple newels and tandem caps to cover the newels. At corners, there are quarter-turn caps. For post-to-post systems, the newels project above the handrails. Another, more classical, form of hand railing which is still in use is the tangent method. A variant of the Cylindrical method of layout, it allows for continuous climbing and twisting rails and easings. It was defined from principles set down by architect Peter Nicholson in the 18th century.

Measurements:

Rise: The rise height or rise of each step is measured from the top of one tread to the next. It is not the physical height of the riser; the latter excludes the thickness of the tread. A person using the stairs would move this distance vertically for each step they take.

Tread Depth: The tread depth is measured from the edge of the nosing to the vertical riser.

Going: The going is measured from the edge of the nosing to the edge of nosing in plan view. A person using the stairs would move this distance forward with each step they take.

Total Run or Total Going: The total run or total going of the stairs is the horizontal distance from the first riser to the last riser. It is often not simply the sum of the individual tread lengths due to the nosing overlapping between treads.

Total Rise: The total rise of the stairs is the height between floors (or landings) that the flight of stairs is spanning.

Slope or Pitch: The slope or pitch of the stairs is the total rise divided by the total run (not the individual riser and treads due to the nosing). It is sometimes called the rake of the stairs. The pitch line is the imaginary line along the tip of the nosing of the treads. In the UK, stair pitch is measured in degrees from the horizontal.

Headroom: Headroom is the height above the nosing of a tread to the ceiling above it.

Walk line: For curved stairs, the inner radius of the curve may result in very narrow treads. The “walk line” is the imaginary line some distance away from the inner edge on which people are expected to walk. Building code will specify the distance. Building codes will then specify the minimum tread size at the walk line. To avoid confusion, the number of steps in a set of stairs is always the number of risers, not the number of treads.

For information on glass staircases click here.

Stock Cabinets VS Custom Cabinets – Which Ones to Choose?

A kitchen is the most essential part of any kind of house. It is the basic need for any house because kitchen is the main part of the house where cooking is done. One also has to maintain each and every part of the kitchen and keep it clean as it is the only place where we cook. The very first thing that someone sees in the kitchen is the kitchen cabinets. If you are planning for the renovation of your kitchen then you need to choose the right kind of cabinets regarding the environment of your kitchen. If you want to give a contemporary look to your kitchen then you can choose stylish cabinets. On the other hand if your kitchen is country style then you might want to use traditional style cabinets. Apart from this, choosing between the custom cabinets and stock cabinets is the most difficult thing to do as it involves a lot of mind trouble. This choice can be made by keeping in mind your budget, the kitchen environment and your taste. While making the decision you should keep all the flaws and advantages in mind so that you won’t end up making the wrong choice.

Stock Cabinets
Some people think that stock cabinets are the cabinets that can be taken away from the retailer quite easily but this is not the fact. Even though the cabinets that you can see on the store shelves are selected by you but you have to first place the order at the shop management and then wait for your required design of cabinets to be ready.

Stock cabinets are already manufactured as for samples for the customers in standard sizes so that they get an idea about what designs are available and how the stock cabinets look. If we speak about the thickness of the stock cabinets, they are nine inches wide. Height of these cabinets is about thirty to thirty-three inches. These cabinets are built as samples for the customers to have an idea about the stock variety available at the shop. For the manufacturing of these cabinets, plywood and melamine is used. Each part of the cabinet is made accurately and efficiently and when all the pieces are built then they are finally joined together to form a full fledge cabinet.

Custom Cabinets
Now comes the turn of the custom kitchen cabinets. These cabinets are made according to the customer’s specifications and requirements. Each and every thing about the cabinets starting from designs of the cabinets to the material and finishing that should be used in manufacturing; all is decided by the person who wants the custom based design. Measurements of these cabinets are open ended so that you can decide the design and the lengths and widths of the cabinets according to the length of the wall.

The material required for custom made cabinets can be the same as for the stock cabinets but you can also choose lead time that lasts longer than the material used for stock cabinets. Solid wood is preferred to make these cabinets.

There are some advantages and disadvantages of both. The stock cabinets are available immediately and their variety is vast too but they have limited sizes and they last for a small time. On the other hand, the custom cabinets are available in free sizes as required by the user. The only problem is that the custom cabinets are a lot expensive than the stock cabinets.

For fitted wardrobe in Manchester click here.

Why You Should Consider Roof Restoration

The roof is among the major home areas you must consider when thinking of renovating or upgrading your home. The fact that this part of the house remains exposed to all kinds of weather elements means that it is bound to have issues from time to time. It wears down over time leaving it old and unsightly. Whereas most people would jump into replacing the roof, it is a better choice to restore it. The restoration involves cleaning the roof, repairing it and even re-coating it so it looks as good as new without costing you as much as a replacement would cost. Apart from reducing costs, there are a number of other reasons why you should consider restoring your roof.

It extends roof life

Looking at your roof you may think that its end has come, but with a few touches here and there, you stand to enjoy the same roof for a longer time. When you restore the roof on time, you will save yourself from massive repairs that can be costly or even roof failure that can lead to more damages to your property. You cannot control weather elements, but you can keep your roof looking good and in top condition with restoration services no matter what you are exposed to in your area.

It prevents damaging leaks

Water leak can be quite damaging, especially when they go unnoticed. When water seeps through a deteriorated roof, then the results are never good. Apart from encouraging mildew and mold growth, the water could end up ruining your valuable documents, appliances and furniture as well as other home items. It also interferes with the structural integrity of your home. Roof restoration helps in preventing the damages by sealing the tiles. The sooner you have your roof restored the better off you will be in keeping extensive damages and costs at bay.

It improves energy efficiency

A faulty roof can greatly increase your heating or energy bills. This is especially the case when there are holes and openings on the roof, which allow warm air from inside the home to escape, thus demanding for continuous heating to the temperatures inside for be comfortable. As long as the roof is not properly sealed, then it will not be efficient as far as energy goes. By restoring the roof, you will be improving the efficiency of your home, saving you from unnecessary high heating bills. If your bills start looking questionable, it could be time to have your roof evaluated.

It adds value to your home

If you are planning to sell your home, then you want to get the best value for it. The roof condition is among the things buyers pay attention to and roof restoration will help you add this important value without spending much on it. A good roof also makes the home appealing, so you will be able to sell it in no time at all when you seek the best restoration services.

For information on roof restoration alternatives click here.