Ask the Expert

When Bail Home Services began in 1982, I started with the mission to provide you with a top quality project, on time completion, with the best materials at the lowest prices possible. With over 5,000 homes under our belt... I’d say we know what we are doing!

QUESTION:

It seems as though winter is traditionally a slow time in the construction industry. Is there any incentive for a homeowner to schedule a remodeling job during the winter months?

ANSWER:

Although there will always be some small peaks and valleys in a company's work schedule Bail Home Services and Construction, Inc. strives to maintain a consistent flow of remodeling work throughout the year. This is not only to accommodate our customers, but also to provide work for our employees.

We encourage scheduling "inside" projects, such as a lower level finish, kitchen, or bathroom remodels during the winter if it suits the customer. Many of customers have taken advantage of our winter discounts which may be given for scheduling a job during the traditionally slow months of January, February, or March.

There is no better time than now to call for an appointment with one of our sales consultants to discuss your ideas for making your dream home a reality.

QUESTION:

I am interested in replacing my front door, which is best steel or wood?

ANSWER:

Great care should be taken when choosing a main entry door that matched the houses overall look and style, both on the inside and outside. Doors must be easy to open and close, to get through, and to pay for. They must close tightly against the cold and open with a light touch. They must appeal to our sense of being welcomed into the house and resist attempts on them by the unwelcome. They should be easy to install and easy to maintain. All of these points direct us to a hinged, insulated steel door.

Today's steel doors successfully combine the beauty of wood with the strength and security of steel, along with very efficient insulating capabilities. The combination of an attractive main entry door and sidelights can dramatically increase the curb appeal of your home.

QUESTION:

I have heard stories about remodeling projects costing considerably more then what was talked about in the beginning and also the project taking longer than projected. How can I prevent this from happening?

ANSWER:

Everyone has heard tales about remodeling jobs going way over budget or finally finishing up months after the scheduled completion date. Here are a few points to reduce the chance of that happening.

  1. Agree on the scope of the work to be performed and what part the contractor and homeowner play in this.
  2. Select materials and products to be used before signing the contract. This will reduce the chance for delays and overages on allowance items.
  3. Talk openly with the contractor about the schedule of the project and leaving time for unexpected delays.
  4. Find out the name of the person in charge of your project, if you don't already know it, and the best way to communicate with them whether it is by phone, text, email, etc.
  5. Let the contractor know if there will be additional expenses during the project. They will need to know this before the work begins in the form of a signed change order for example.

QUESTION:

My utility bills are very high and my house seems drafty, what can I do?

ANSWER:

Let's start with your windows and doors. They could be costing you a lot more money than you think. Now may be a good time to take a hard look at their appearance and most importantly their efficiency. If your home is like many homes in our area you have windows and doors that are original to the house. Forty and fifty years ago insulated glass did not exist, nor did high performance windows. So you probably have uninsulated glass which leaks considerably and painted wood windows which age and require increasing maintenance as the years pass. By replacing leaky, unattractive windows and doors you will be investing your money wisely. You will enjoy the savings in your utility costs and it will make your home more comfortable. Plus it will increase your home's value and curb appeal!

QUESTION:

We have several home improvement projects we would like to have done, but are a little short on cash. Do we have to wait until we can pay for the work in full?

ANSWER:

Not having "cash-in-hand" is not a problem. Many of our customers finance their home improvement projects into a series of manageable monthly payments. You can even take advantage of the equity you have already built in your home by getting a home equity loan. Then the interest you are paying will be tax deductible. Borrowing money for home improvement is as common as borrowing money for a new car. The difference is that the improvements to your home have the long lasting benefits of substantially increasing its market value and giving you the beauty and convenience in your home you've always wanted.

QUESTION:

My husband and I are planning to do some type of home improvement in the next six months, but we have not decided what project to do first. How long can we take to decide and still have the work done no later than this summer?

ANSWER:

Now is the perfect time to start planning that spring or summer remodel. Try looking at your home with "new eyes" and let your mind explore the many ways your home's appearance can be renewed.

Consider a new front door with side-lights to let in extra sunlight or maintenance free replacement windows. Imagine the balmy spring and summer after- noons from the comfort of your new sunroom. Enjoy a barbecue on your new TREX® deck with family and friends. Remodel your kitchen just in time for summer entertaining and at the same time make it more efficient for you the rest of the year.

QUESTION:

I am concerned that the money I am investing in home improvement I might not get back out of the house when I sell it.

ANSWER:

That is one of the concerns that I hear most frequently. Remodeling Magazine, the industry’s leading publication, addressed these concerns with its annual “Cost vs. Value” report. It is interesting to note that this year, even in the midst of slow market conditions, many improvements are likely to recover more than their costs, even if the home is sold within the first year. Of course, the return becomes greater as time passes. An additional factor is that home improvement projects add use and enjoyment to the family.

Here are some of the “Cost vs. Value” figures. Major kitchen remodels average a 66% return, while minor kitchen remodels average a 72% return within the first year. A remodel of an existing bath can return 62% of invested cost, while adding another bath within the existing floor plan of the house averages a 51% return.

QUESTION:

My wife and I had always assumed once the kids were gone, that we would move into a home that would better fit our lifestyle at that time. However, given the current economic situation, we do not feel like making any major changes in our lives, and are considering remodeling our present home instead. Is this wise?

ANSWER:

You are part of a growing trend called “cocooning” which was has grown in the last twenty years to making your home more of a sanctuary. Americans are responding to these uncertain times by staying closer to home on vacations and making their present homes more livable.

Homeowners are including swimming pools, home gyms, home theaters and home offices into their remodeling plans. Not to mention updating their kitchens with granite countertops, a kitchen island, and energy efficient appliances. This allows more home entertaining and less going out.

Following, I will be starting a series about the "Six (6) Secrets to a Successful, Beautiful, and Enjoyable Remodeling Project." I hope you find this information helpful and beneficial.

Secret #1 - Avoid Common Misconceptions

If the Better Business Bureau doesn't have any complaints against the contractor, they must be qualified. This is a common, but often costly misconception. Just because a contractor doesn't have any complaints with the BBB, does not mean you're working with someone who is reputable. Make sure they are an accredited business with an actual rating. The rating is the same as a grading scale in school, A+ for the best and F for the worst. Another indication of how reputable they are as a contractor is by how many years they have been in business. Use the BBB as a starting place, but you need to investigate the contractor further.

Before hiring a contractor you should always ask them for a customer referral list with contact numbers. Next ask them for proof of insurance. Have them provide you with the name and phone number of their insurance company so you can verify this information. Lastly, Google their name. You will find out all sorts of information about your contractor and most importantly you will be able to verify if they are qualified.

Secret #1.2 - Avoid Common Misconceptions

Going with the lowest price saves you money. No this is not necessarily true. Everyone tends to look at the lowest price, but have you ever asked yourself what is being left out or what shortcut is being taken.

Here is a common scenario of homeowners trying to save money. One roofing contractor had his bid $300 cheaper than anyone else. The homeowner wanted to save money, so he accepted his proposal. After the job was complete, all of the old shingles and nails were still laying on the yard. The homeowner was not happy and demanded that the yard be cleaned up. The contractor said that is wasn't part of the proposal and that was why he could do the job so much cheaper than anyone else could.

One of the most commons signs of trouble ahead is someone offering to do work for much less than others. Like anything else, you can't get something for nothing, be careful when choosing a contractor based upon their lowest price.

Secret #1.3 - Avoid Common Misconceptions 


Doing it yourself saves money. No! Sometimes the "weekend warrior" can undertake small projects like painting, hanging wallpaper, routine repairs, etc. But beware of undertaking larger, more complicated projects. What starts out as an attempt to save money can turn into a costly mess. All too often, the job is botched and it costs more to have a reputable professional come in and fix what's been done. Less than 20% of do-it-yourself jobs work out, mostly due to lack of experience in the part of the homeowner. If you want to be assured your project will turn out the way you want it, call a reputable professional to help.

Secret #1.4 - Avoid Common Misconceptions 


If a person claims to have many years of experience, they must to quality work. No! I can't tell you how many people receive bad workman- ship from contractors who've claimed to be in business for twenty years. Take experience with a grain of salt. Just because a contractor claims to have twenty years of experience, doesn't always mean that you will get what you want. He might have been doing a poor job for twenty years. Investigate further to ensure you're dealing with a qualified professional.

Secret #2.1- Common Scams

Today only discounts. If a contractor ever tells you the price is available for "today only," it's time to show them to the door. Quite often they will provide you a story that by signing today, you're entitled to a "model home" or "advertising discount." The story centers around the need to use your home as a model to advertise their services in the neighborhood. They mark their prices up just to give you this false discount. Don't be fooled, this is an old trick used to pressure homeowners into making a quick decision. This is your money we are talking about, so quickly ask these salespeople to leave!

Secret #2.2- Common Scams

Avoid high-pressure salespeople. You should never feel pressured into making a decision about choosing your contractor. If you ever feel that a contractor or salesperson is pressuring you, ask them to back off. If they persist, it time to look for another contractor. High pressure usually leads to a bad decision when remodeling. A qualified, reputable professional would never pressure you into a project.

Secret #2.3- Common Scams

Beware of "door-to-door" contractors. With warmer weather just around the corner the potential for "door-to-door" scams will be looming. These people may not be contractors at all and are usually aggressive in their sales approach. Don't ever be pressured into anything that you are not comfortable with. Hold your position and don't allow them to win you over with words like "this offer is only valid today" or "I won't be in this area again." Never allow them into your home until you have checked them out thoroughly. I can't stress this enough. Some contractors working in your area may put out flyers or come to your door soliciting additional work in the area. These contractors could be honest, reputable people, but you should still never invite them in. Pay attention and listen carefully to what they are saying and politely ask them for their business card and for the name, address, and phone number of the people they are currently doing work for in the neighborhood. Then make an appointment with that homeowner to take a look at the quality of their work.

Secret #3.1- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Do you carry general liability insurance? Make sure your contractor carries general liability insurance and make sure they have a copy of it with them. This type of insurance protects your property in case of damage caused by the contractor. The insurance company will pay for the cost of replacing and/or repairing any damage that may occur.

Secret #3.2- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Do you carry worker's compensation insurance? Make sure your contractor carries worker's compensation insurance and make sure they have a copy of it with them. This will protect you from liability if a worker is injured while on your property. Be aware that if the contractor doesn't carry worker's comp coverage, you may be liable for any injuries suffered by the contractor or any of their employees on your property.

It could be very risky for you in the long run if you choose to use a contractor who does not have insurance. To sum it up, it is much safer to deal with a fully insured contractor vs. one who is not.

Secret #3.3- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Will you provide me with a written lien waiver? Your contractor should, upon your request, provide you with a written lien waiver at the end of the job. This is a legal document which states that you the homeowner have paid the contractor in full for the services rendered and the contractor waives his right to place a mechanic's lien on your property.

Secret #3.4- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Are you a member of NARI and NAHB? NARI stands for the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and NAHB stands for the National Association of Home Builders. It's always a good idea to consider hiring a NARI or NAHB contractor. In most cases, both organizations only attract conscientious contractors interested in bettering the industry and in weeding out unprofessional contractors. In order to become a member, the contractors background and reference have been thoroughly investigated.

Secret #3.5- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Will you pull all the required building permits? Make sure your contractor pulls all the required permits, which is very important. When a contractor pulls the required building permits, you will have a piece of mind that all things will be done to "code". Many homeowners' insurance policies will require a permit to be pulled on any major remodel to keep your home properly covered. Not all contractors will pull permits and many prefer not to pull them because of the time and hassle that is involved. Some contractors may ask you to get the permits, but a reputable contractor will permit every job when a permit is required.

Secret #3.6- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Do you guarantee your work? Your contractor should guarantee their work for at least one year from completion date. Some contractors will guarantee their work for even longer than that.

Secret #3.7- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Who will be in charge of this job? Make sure the contractor or his foreman is on the job whenever work is being performed, especially if subcontractors are being used. The responsible party must be intimately familiar with every aspect of your project. If you won't be home during the remodeling and must leave the house unlocked or leave a key with the contractor, you must feel comfortable. You can't be worried about what will be going on when you aren't there.

Secret #3.8- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

Will you provide me with written references? A good contractor will be happy to provide you with reference. You should look for a well-established contractor who can give your several customer reference from the last six months to one year. Ask the name of the contractor's account and/or banker. You will want to ensure that the contractor is financially sound and won't be declaring bankruptcy in the middle of your project.

Secret #3.9- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

What percentage of your business is repeat or referral business? When a significant amount of a contractor's business is derived from repeat and/or referral business, it usually indicates that their clients are pleased with the work they have received.

Secret #3.10- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

How many projects like mine have your completed in the last year? Your contractor should have experience in the type of remodeling project you want done, not just "contract- ing experience."

Secret #3.11- How to Choose the Right Contractor - Questions to Ask Before Inviting Them Out to Your Home

How do you handle "dirty work?" Remodeling can be dusty and dirty. It gets everywhere, especially if any sanding is being done. Make sure the contractor will make an honest effort to keep the dust contained or notify you when the heavy dust process will be taking place so you can place sheets over furniture or move sensitive belongings. Make sure the contractor agrees to sweep up and place all construction debris in a predetermined place and remove at the end of each day.

Secret #4 - The Biggest Mistakes Homeowners Make and How To Avoid Them

Visit the reference and see the example work. You will learn a lot by seeing the finished project. If the contractor is good, many previous clients will be extremely proud of their "new" home and will be glad to show it off. Go to a jobsite and see a job in progress. Is the site clean? Or are tools and materials strewn all over throughout? Is everything dusty and dirty, or is covered or sealed off? Chances are if a contractor keeps his work site clean and neat, especially are the end of the day when it is time to go home, you've got a conscientious contractor.

Secret #5 - How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Good Communication. If you can talk with each other, you can work out any details that come up. Nothing is more important than feeling like your contractor understands your needs and concerns. If your contractor is so busy that he can't return calls, text messages, or emails promptly then it might be time to look for a new contractor. When you are in a discussion, does the contractor really listen to you? I mean really listen because this is vital. You should always feel like you are both on the same page. This can avoid miscommunication that could turn into costly errors. This is a very important 'secret", choose someone who will listen to you.

Secret #5.2- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Comfort. If you feel comfortable with your contractor, the chances are good that your project will run smoothly. You will be working with this person for a matter of days, weeks, or months depend- ing upon the project you need completed. You need to make sure this person is considerate, personable, a good listener, polite, courteous, but most of all someone you can feel comfortable around.

Secret #5.3- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Trustworthy. If you feel your contractor is trustworthy, the likelihood of a successful project is good. Keep in mind that if your project entails being in your home and you won't be there during the day, can you trust this person. Check their references before handing over the keys to your castle, but most of all listen to your conscience.

Secret #5.4- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Completion. Will your contractor give you a reasonable estimate for how long the project will take to complete? A good contractor will do this. Remember, you want to hire a good contractor, not a get a new roommate! Nothing is more frustrating and irritating than a remodel job that drags on and on.

Secret #5.5- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Written Proposal. How many contractors have you seen look at a rather complex job, pick a price out of thin air, scribble the figure on the back of one of their business cards, and give then that is their proposal? Show contractors who do this to the door! You want a detailed written proposal that shows what is included such as materials used, costs, and a payment schedule to just list a few.

Secret #5.6- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Details. Work out all the little details before work even begins. Things to talk about are where the dumpster will go, what time will you being in the morning, what time will you end in the evening, will there be work done on the weekend, and will your workmen refrain from smoking inside the house or don't smoke at all?

Secret #5.7- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Flexibility. Remodeling is an interruption to your normal lifestyle. If you project involved the kitchen, plan on eating few extra meals out with the kids. Remodeling time may not be the best time to host any extra house guests or at home parties.

Secret #5.8- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Appearance. If your contractor has a neat appearance, this is a very good sign of things to come. He doesn't have to show up in a coat and tie, but neatness does count. Is he clean? Is his truck presentable? If his appearance is neat, chances are good that your job and home will be kept neat too.

Secret #5.9- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Down Payment. If the contractor asks for a big chunk of money up front, this could be a tip off that they are not in good financial shape and you could be in for a rocky experience.

A fair down payment should not exceed one third, unless custom ordered items are need in the beginning stage of construction. As the work progresses, you should expect to pay out additional funds to match the prescribed, completed stages.

Secret #5.10- How to Tell if Your Remodeling Project Will Run Smoothly - Before You Sign the Contract

Change Orders. With remodeling, there is always the chance that you may want or need to change a material or contract item. Ask them how this would be handled. Changes should be written on a separate document showing in detail what is being changed and how much it will cost. This should be done before the change is affected and signed by both you and the contractor.

Secret #6- Plan Your Project

This is really the greatest "secret" of all! Plan your project with a qualified remodeling expert!

Most people spend more time planning a one- week vacation than they do a major remodel to their home. If you are considering a remodel in the near future, sitting down and talking with a professional remodeling expert who can answer all of your questions is the best advice I know.

Having your home remodeled can seem "scary" to an average homeowner. You can turn it into an enjoyable and successful experience by having someone who can help you through the "maze" of planning an remodeling details. Someone who will listen to your dreams for your home and listen to your concerns. Someone who subscribes to the principles and "secrets" described in this report.

How to Work Your Remodeler

Notice the headline doesn’t mention working against your remodeler. Blue-collar construction workers are hardworking, dependable, trustworthy, and conscientious of your needs and wants. Treating them with respect and appreciation will go a long way throughout the remodeling process.

For starters, when you meet with a remodeler and you’re not exactly sure what you want, start with ideas, products and functions that you like instead of focusing on what you don’t like. This creates positive energy right from the beginning and once your remodeler has some idea of what you are looking for, he can provide even more options that are in line with your goals.

When you’re ready to start the remodel, make sure the space is cleared before workers arrive. That goes for kids and pets, too. Safety is a huge concern for anyone working in your home so the more you can do to keep everyone and everything out of harm’s way, the better the project will go.

Now here’s the real secret to success: construction workers love treats. I’m sure I’ve lost hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in revenue over the years because of baked goods. They have a funny way of convincing workers to go above and beyond to do some extras that somehow never show up on any time sheet or invoice.

CUSTOMER FEEDBACK IS ALWAYS WELCOME!

I have visited with many people at the fair this week. I take great pride in hearing from our past customers and how they are enjoying their remodeling projects.

One particular story from a lady we did a bathroom remodel for a couple years ago stuck out. She had reminded me how difficult it was for her to use the tub/shower because the threshold of the tub was getting to high to safely get in the shower before we had done the remodeling project. We converted her tub to a low threshold shower base adding a shower seat and putting the shut-off's closer to the seat had made her feel so much safer, confident, and independent.

She said I have got to tell you that I love the whole bathroom remodel so much that I leave the light on all the time and look in the bathroom when I am going down the hallway, it just makes me feel good.

Our goal at Bail Home Services has always been to not just improve your home, but to enhance your life through home improvements.

Thank you for sharing your stories with me, they inspire me.

One Of The Biggest Mistakes I See Homeowners Make Is Listening To The Wrong People.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people take advice on their home improvement and remodeling project from people who are totally unqualified. Quite often, when I see construction messes (which I see virtually every day) and I ask where they got the idea to do this or that, I inevitably hear things like:

"My brother-in-law told me to do that. He used to do work like this on the side when he was a student."

"I asked the guy in the office next to mine. He did the same thing to his home when he lived in Iowa."

From money to paint colors, everyone's got an opinion on what you should do with your project.

Remodeling your home goes beyond your allocated budget. It’s an extension of you. It’s the look on your friend’s faces when they see the finished product. It’s the pitter patter of your children’s feet running on your new kitchen floor. Remodeling done right will straighten your spine and make you grow taller with pride.

When you trust a remodeling project with people who don’t take time to understand you, it’s like letting Bruce from accounting buy your spring clothes for you at Kohls.

After all, do you really want to trust your greatest asset with a brother-in-law that can’t even step up and offer to carve the Easter ham?

I will guide you through some do's and don'ts in home improvement and remodeling. You will laugh, learn and appreciate what a successful project should be.

QUESTION: Is remodeling my bathroom a good investment?

ANSWER: Think about how much time you spend in your bathroom. It's the place where you transform yourself from the walking dead to the great achiever every morning. It's also the source of many a conflict in the home, from who's going to use the shower first to who has the largest shampoo bottle collection to should the seat be left up or down. Just think how much easier your life would be if you had a bathroom made for you and your lifestyle.

Remodeling your bathroom isn't just a way to take stress out of your life: it's also a good investment. A remodeled
 bathroom is a great asset when you want to sell your home. Home buyers view bathroom remodeling as a major project and prefer that the work be done before they buy. And since it takes a comparatively small amount of time and money to make an old dark bathroom bright and new, you get a great return on your investment.

In a short amount of time, we can equip your bathroom with a new shower, toilet, vanity, sink, lighting, medicine cabinet and tile floor. Or go for the major luxuries and add skylights, larger windows, include a dressing room or install a whirlpool tub.

And the best part is, with Bail Home Services, you can remodel without taking a bath financially. Call Bail Home Services today at 533-4821 and let us show you how we can take stress out of your life and increase the value of your home.

QUESTION: I am concerned that the money I am investing in my home improvement project I might not get back out of the house when I sell it.

ANSWER: This is one of the concerns I hear most frequently. I recommend for any major remodeling and home improvement projects you would be planning to stay at least 5 years. The exception would be for repairs and maintenance items. Remodeling Magazine, the industry's leading publication, also addresses these concerns with its annual "Cost vs. Value" Report. It is interesting to note that this year, even in the midst of slow market conditions, many improvements are likely to recover a high percentage of their cost, even if the home is sold within the first year. Of course, the return becomes greater as time passes. The home's value increases and the cost to do the home improvement project would also increase. An additional factor is that the home improvement project also adds use and enjoyment to the family. Here are some of the "Cost vs. Value" figures: Kitchen Remodeling 66% - 72% Attic Bedroom 73% Basement Remodel 67% Bathroom Remodel 62% Deck Addition 63% - 70% Window Replacement 68% These are only general guide- lines for this area and each situation is different based on home value and location. Give us a call for an in-home consultation to learn more about the projected return on your remodeling project.

QUESTION: What is with the price range for carpeting? A lot of them look the same, but the prices can range from $7.00 per yard to $30.00 per yard.

ANSWER: Density is one of the keys to price and durability in a carpet. The closer the tufts, the better the wear. Use the "grin test" to determine closeness: bend a corner of the carpet over your finger and see how much of the backing shows. In a high quality carpet the visible backing, or "grin", will be minimal. To conserve energy, and deaden sound, choose wall to wall carpeting with very dense deep pile and thick padding that will incorporate many pockets of air.

For high traffic areas use patterned carpets. They are a little more practical because they don't show the dirt as readily as plain carpets.

QUESTION: I have a ceramic tile shower and the grout is starting to mildew, can it be cleaned or am I going to have to do something more major?

ANSWER: First step is to make sure none of the ceramic tiles are loose and there isn't any grout missing. If there is grout missing then there is a problem. In most cases that means water has gotten behind the tiles and damaged the backer board and the adhesive. Time to a call a professional. If not then the second step is to apply a bleach solution (3/4 cup liquid chlorine bleach to 1 gallon water) with a cloth, sponge, or an old toothbrush (not yours, use someone else's.) then rinse thoroughly. Final step re-caulk and seal with a 100% silicone sealant inside corners and where the tub and walls meet to prevent water penetration.

QUESTION: I know that termites can do a lot of damage to my home. Is there any way to tell if there is a problem before it is too late?

ANSWER: In 30 years of doing home improvements I am always amazed how much damage termites can do to a home, they are so small!

To get from the soil to your home, termites build mud tubes. Check for them regularly on foundation walls. Look especially at the spots where pipes and conduits enter.

Another sign of termite activity is accumulations of 1/2 inch translucent wings near your foundation walls. If you spot these in early spring call an exterminator.

Visual inspection around the exterior and interior of your home is so underrated. It is your #1 best defense against small problems becoming big problems.

QUESTION: Our increasing family is out growing our home. What is the most affordable way to add additional living space?

ANSWER: Let's look at the basement. In the 1920's American Radiator Company introduced a red jacketed, better looking boiler with the advertising idea, "Be as Proud of Your Cellar as You are of Your Living Room." Since then we have turned basements into bedrooms, recreational rooms, family rooms, bathrooms, etc. The only limit to a basement remodeling is your imagination.

Our first goal is to make the basement feel as if it were just another level of the home. There are different wall options from traditional drywall to beautiful wood wainscoting. The ceiling can be finished like the upper levels of your home or you may have one of many types of ceiling tiles installed.

Flooring can be carpeting, tile, or new laminate wood flooring. The possibilities are endless.

There is not a more cost efficient way to add to your living area and create that get-away space you are dreaming of.

QUESTION: I like the looks of my exterior wood siding, but I don’t like the upkeep of painting and repairs. What are my options?

ANSWER: This is a very common complaint and a challenge that materials manufacturers and contractors have struggled with for years. Namely, to give you the beauty, durability and strength of wood without the maintenance. There are other alternatives, such as fiber-cement siding. This product looks more like real wood-grain cedar siding, but still needs to be painted like wood, and installation and material costs are higher than other types of siding.

Because of the temperature extremes, and the wind, rain, sun, snow and ice in this area, the reasonable cost and easy installation of vinyl siding makes it by far the most commonly used mate- rial for the residing of existing homes.

The increase in demand for vinyl siding has brought more manufacturers and technology into the industry. This has helped to improve upon the early drawbacks of waviness, color fading, and cracking. It has also resulted in the availability of many new product accessories, which make possible the restoration of older, more detailed, homes.

QUESTION: I have hired a remodeling contractor to work on my home. How can I ensure the best project outcome?

ANSWER: In one word - "communication." Here are some ideas to help you through the process:

  1. Find out who your contact person is throughout the project (Salesperson, Lead Foreman, etc.)
  2. Have after-hour phone numbers in case of an emergency that will affect the project.
  3. Create a place on the project site where notes and messages can be left.
  4. What concerns should the workers have for the house pets?
  5. Where would you like the materials for the project to be kept?
  6. Find out what hours the workers will be at your home, and do they work on the weekend?
  7. Establish traffic flow and access in and out of the project. At Bail Home Services and Construction, Inc. we meet with all parties involved before your project ever begins to discuss these and other issues.

Open communication will help turn your dream project into reality.

QUESTION: What is mold?

ANSWER: Mold is a plant form which lives everywhere on earth and reproduces by sending out tiny spores that enter and leave homes routinely with daily air exchanges and regular traffic through the house. There are more than 100,000 species of mold, and no practical way to eliminate all molds and mold spores in the indoor environment.

You can, however, help to control mold growth by controlling moisture. Here are a few ideas we use at Bail Home Services and Construction to minimize mold growth:

  1. Install proper-sized venting fans in high moisture areas, such as kitchens, bathrooms and laundry areas.
  2. Pay special attention to flashing when installing roofs, windows and siding.
  3. Allow for proper drainage of roof water away from the building through guttering and downspouts.
  4. Eliminate air and moisture gaps through exterior caulking and sealing.

QUESTION: What does the designation "CGR" stand for after your name?

ANSWER: "CGR" stand for Certified Graduate Remodeler. In addition to the educational courses, extensive testing, experience, and the ongoing recertification required to maintain that designation, I subscribe to a code of ethics based on professional workmanship and customer satisfaction.

I Pledge To:

Conduct my business operations in a manner that will reflect positively on myself, my company, the Remodelers Council, and the Remodeling Industry.

Comply both in spirit and letter with rules and regulations prescribed by law and government agencies for the health, safety, and welfare of the community.

Avoid any statement or implication that may be misleading or deceptive. Describe accurately and honestly the price of materials and standard of workmanship used in my jobs.

Use only materials and products equal to or exceeding the quality of those specified in the contract.

Start the construction process as soon as feasible upon award of a contract and proceed diligently to completion of the project without unnecessary delays.

The "CGR" designation behind a remodelers name is an indication to you as a consumer of their commitment to quality, superior customer service, and their longevity in the remodeling industry. We are proud to have three (3) "CGR" Remodeler's at Bail Home Services and Construction, Jered Prough, Ed Swoveland, and Tracey Bail.

With 30 years In Business And Over 5,000 Homes Under Our Belt... I’d Say We Are Doing Something Right!

Thirty years in the business... It sounds like a long time, but when measured in homes trans- formed and relationships built, the time has literally flown by.

I have always loved the remodeling business. As a small boy growing up in Goshen, remodeling the backyard fort was an ongoing project or finding time to help the neighbor who had his own remodeling company.

In 1982, with some resistance from my pregnant wife, I started Bail Home Services and Construction Inc., with an old G.T.E. utility van painted gray, some tools, very little money, and a lot of enthusiasm. It didn't take very long to outgrow the one car garage behind our home MY on Emerson Street, so in 1985 the business was moved to 508 West Lincoln Avenue in Goshen (now Dutch Maid Bakery). Then the challenge began of trans- forming an old warehouse into a remodeling showroom, offices, and shop.

Outgrowing that location in 2004 we moved to our current location of 1912 Elkhart Road in Goshen. Faced with a larger building and an outdated shopping center gave us an opportunity to use some new remodeling ideas to create a 3,800 sq' home remodeling showroom. Our customers can get ideas on kitchens, bath- rooms, room additions, siding, and windows. Plus, they are able to do their selections in one location without having to go all over town to pick out products for their home remodeling projects.

Putting the projects, materials, and tools aside, what I value and remember the most are the relationships, friendships, and trust built with the thousands of satisfied customers who have invited us into their homes over the years. And of course I can't forget the talented and dedicated employees who put their hearts and souls into the projects and this business daily to make it a success.

No business can rest on its laurels alone and I give you my word that Bail Home Services and Construction, Inc., will continue to strive to maintain the quality standards for which we are known. We will continue to stay current with the latest products and ideas so that we can always exceed your expectations.

Bail Home Services and Constructions, Inc., is proud to be a part of this community. Thank you for allowing us to serve you over the last thirty years.

QUESTION: What causes the ice damming that occurs every winter on my roof, and what can I do to prevent it?

ANSWER: Ice damming occurs on the edge of your roof during the wintertime when the temperature of the air is below freezing and the heat from your roof melts the snow and ice from underneath. This can cause water to back up under your shingles and cause leaks in your roof.

This can be prevented in two ways. First, you can check that your attic is properly ventilated so that the attic and the surface of the roof stay cool. Second, there is a membrane called ice and water shield that can be installed underneath the shingles at the eave so that if water does back up underneath the shingles, it cannot penetrate through the roof.

These are relatively easy fixes and Bail Home Services and Construction, Inc. would be happy to assist you in determining exactly what is needed for your particular ice damming problem.

QUESTION: There is quite a range in the bids I have received for our home-remodeling project. Why isn’t the lowest bid the obvious choice?

ANSWER: When choosing a remodeler, some consumers will look strictly for the lowest bidder. The following quote from John Ruskin (1819- 1900) is as applicable today as in the 19th century:

“It’s unwise to pay too much . . . but it’s worse to pay too little."

“When you pay too much, you lose a little money . . . that is all. When you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything, because the thing you bought was incapable of doing the thing it was bought to do."

“The common law of business balance prohibits paying a little and getting a lot – it can’t be done. If you deal with the lowest bidder, it is well to add something for the risk you run. And if you do that, you will have enough to pay for some- thing better.”

Let Bail Home Services and Construction, Inc. help you enhance the quality and value of your home. Call today for a no-obligation estimate.