Category Archives: Project Tips

20130903_161117-150x150.jpg

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. […]

Continue reading »
 

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 […]

Continue reading »
 

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 […]

Continue reading »
 

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 […]

Continue reading »
 

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 […]

Continue reading »
 

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 […]

Continue reading »
Modern-Basic-French-Drain.jpg

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 […]

Continue reading »
Bill-and-Traci-Roof-and-Guttering-15.jpg

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 […]

Continue reading »
 

Another unlicensed liar

Once again I recently had to work on a house where the owner had recruited an unlicensed smooth talking “contractor”. This low life was unlicensed and uninsured. He apparently lied to the owner for several […]

Continue reading »
 

What am I paying for?

I was chatting with a good friend of mine over the weekend. I was lamenting some of my past experiences of hiring a contractor and taking him at his word that he was skilled and […]

Continue reading »
 

Should you do it right?

Many contractors are faced with the conundrum of whether or not to do a job right or to just cover it up and move on. I have mentioned before that I used to work with […]

Continue reading »
 

Concrete Time and Tips

It is the time for all the outdoor projects that everyone has spent all winter dreaming about. Patios, porches, decks, fences, play structures and outdoor entertaining areas. Most, if not all of these projects involve […]

Continue reading »
 

How to pick the right contractor for your project

Many people ask me, how do I find a good contractor? My advice is always the same, ask your friends. In the world of contracting there are a lot of shoddy operators and smooth talkers. […]

Continue reading »
 

Summer love

Decks and Fences! Summer is almost here and it is a busy time of year with the requests for outdoor projects flooding in. Some tips to remember when considering your outdoor projects: There are codes […]

Continue reading »
 

Spring projects

It is that time of year again. Web footed North-westerners start looking wistfully at their yards and contemplating the brief but beautiful summer we hope to see soon. Spring projects like patios, barbeques, decks and […]

Continue reading »
 

To permit or not to permit?

I regularly get approached to perform work on houses where the owner requests that the work not be permitted. I have heard things like, “it doesn’t matter”, or “I don’t care about permitting”, or “I […]

Continue reading »
 

Wrong materials for our climate

I was called to a spectacular residence last week. A house on a bluff overlooking the Willamette Valley and Mt Hood. The owner is a retired contractor. As I have said before, many contractor fear […]

Continue reading »