Author Archives: Swizzle


Did you hire a contractor or a conman?

Takeaway: Hire the right contractor for the job, ask for references and check them out. I just heard a story of a family that paid $25,000 for a “contractor” to re-frame a low ceiling-ed room […]

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Look after your house, it could save you BIG $$

Takeaway: Routine maintenance costs money in the short run but saves money in the long run I was at a relatives house recently and she was lamenting how many issues she was having with her […]

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Don’t be a Guinea Pig

Takeaway: Don’t pay to be the test case for inexperienced, unskilled builders I was recently on a job at a building where it was very apparent the a ton of unlicensed work had been performed. […]

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Look at the tools

Takeaway: You can tell a lot about a builder by the way they organize themselves, their tools and even their correspondence. I often notice fellow builders with old beat up tools and I wonder to […]

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Summer Jobs vs Winter Jobs

Takeaway: The timing of your project can affect the price, the quality and the length of the project I write this with the weather patterns of Portland, Oregon in mind. However, the theories apply to […]

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Heading up, going down or blowing out?

Recently I purchased a small house, 850 square feet, I am planning on remodeling and selling it. However, a house so small is not necessarily that desirable to many people, especially families. The question at […]

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Building a Nest

The takeaway: Don’t allow un-permitted work to happen on your property; it could cost you down the track. The story: A good friend of mine, the owner of the Nest Lounge, approached me several months […]

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What did he say?

I recently repaired a beautiful old rocking chair. It had splits in the wood in several locations on the left arm. It has been broken for a long time, even before we came into possession […]

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A hot, hot summer

It is safe to say that the Portland Oregon real estate market is surging. Not only is it back, but it is truly hot again. Flipping is back. Renovations are key and the house is […]

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Electrical hacks = DANGER!

I was recently doing a bid for a deck on a clients house. While inspecting the area I was shocked to find electrical wire buried directly in the soil. In some jurisdictions there are some […]

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Gutters & downspouts

The job of guttering is to divert water away from your precious asset and decrease the likelihood of irreparable damage. Living in the US pacific northwest means that this time of year is the wet season. Constant […]

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How should I handle a leak? Depends.

One of the most common emergencies a homeowner faces is a water leak. In it’s various forms a plumbing leak, a basement leak or a roof leak it is all troubling and can lead to […]

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Aaaargh! Mold…

Mold is all around us. It is actually a microscopic form of fungi and there are more than 100,000 species in the world. Mold lives off organic matter and needs moisture to bloom. Although microscopic […]

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Hiring a Noob

Everyone has to start somewhere. Most contractors have spent years working in the industry honing their skills and finally becoming a fully fledged contractor with their own operation. Every now and then I find a […]

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The three bid myth?

I am asked all the time should I get three bids. It’s the rule in construction right. Everyone knows that three bids is what you need. Well here is a story of a bidding process […]

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What does the client want

We are about to embark on a laundry renovation. This laundry was attempted 2 years, the hack who dunnit was one of the usual crooks. He refused to bid on the job, claiming it was […]

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Don’t start it if you can’t finish it!

I heard about a house today that I had advised on over a year ago. I was asked my opinion on an addition to a tiny house that essentially would double its size. The project […]

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Returning to the scene…

Recently I returned to a location at which I had performed a foundation repair. I wanted to inspect the work and ensure everything was working well. The original call involved a foundation weeping water into […]

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French Drain or Freedom Drain

I just had an opportunity to inspect a basement that was swimming in water. After chatting with the home owner I discovered that they had paid a contractor last summer several thousand dollars to install […]

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Drainage time…

With a ridiculous amount of rain falling this time of year the phone starts to ring off the hook with a variety of water penetration issues. Gutters are overflowing, water is creeping and basements are […]

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