Estimating Siding in Carrollton, Windows in Norfolk, and Load Bearing Walls in Williamsburg

Each week I go out to Joust Windmills! and by that I mean, meet with homeowners that have called and requested a free estimate for Home Improvements.  We are making a better world, one home at a time!

Don Quixote by Picasso

Don Quixote by Picasso

Hopefully, the homeowners I meet will see us as the best value for their hard earned money, select our firm to perform these services and in them we acquire a client, a raving fan, and a new friend!

Sometimes my efforts are rewarded, sometimes I refer them to another firm that can serve them better, sometimes I get used and abused.  No matter; I still go.  I am reminded of what Don Quixote sang:

“And the world will be better for this
That one man, scorned and covered with scars
Still strove with his last ounce of courage
To reach the unreachable star”

Foundation Repairs Needed in Hampton

Monday I went to Hampton to meet with an 88 year old gentleman that was concerned about major cracks going on in his ceilings and walls in his home. I asked him when the home was built he thought it was built in the 1930’s. I guessed 1968 when I checked Zillow later I saw that I had been built in 1969. He was very concerned about the structural stability of the home. I saw that this was probably a job for the good guys at FSI: Foundation Systems Incorporated. I called them on the phone and told them about what I was seeing and set up a time for them to come out and see the gentleman to evaluate his situation and give an estimate. He was concerned about the cost and if insurance would cover foundation issues. I told him I didn’t know about insurance but I answered all his questions about foundations and framing and how it would affect the cracks in the walls and ceilings. Nice guy, I hope everything works out for him. I know I left him in good hands with FSI!

Moving Walls in Williamsburg

Later that same day I met a great couple who wanted to remove some load bearing walls and make their kitchen and living room and open floor design. They had attempted quite a bit
of remodeling work themselves and were finding it just a bit more difficult then they make it seem on HGTV.
They wanted to replace all the ceilings in the downstairs with a flat untextured drywall because the previous owner had used a heavy stomped ceiling texture that made it look not unlike a Baked Alaska cake.

Heavy texture on ceiling can looked like "Baked Alaska"

Heavy texture on ceiling can look like “Baked Alaska”

They also wanted to replace all the floors in the downstairs area which would include demolishing a mud set tile floor in the foyer, hardwood floors in the living room and dining room & a laminate floor in the kitchen

In the den, they had some faux beams across the ceiling that they wanted removed and new recessed lights put in, ceiling drywall repaired and then painted.

faux beams in den

faux beams in den

Upstairs the owner had tried to do some drywall finishing work in the bathroom until he realized that the extent of his skills did not include the “artwork” that is drywall.  He wanted us to redo the drywall in the master bathroom.

On the rear of the house they had a balcony coming off of the master bedroom that they had previously removed.

Rear of home where balcony has been removed

Rear of home where balcony has been removed

Because of the Tudor style of the house the stucco was very damaged where the balcony had previously existed. They wanted a price for re-siding the rear of the home with Hardieplank lap siding.

My estimate for all of the above: $17,532

They also had a problem with their air conditioning ducts being extremely dirty and they wanted the air conditioning ducts cleaned.This is the inside of an AC Duct

This is the inside of an AC Duct

One of the problems that we noticed with the air conditioning ducts is that there was a commercial style insulation inside the ducts so I referred them to Chuck Worley with The House Call Company.

Leaking Windows in Norfolk

Picture taken by tenant of the top of the window leaking

This is a picture of the leak taken by the tenant. Note the water drops on the top rail of the single hung window

Leaking Mullion between single hung and half round window

The arrow and yellow line shows the area of the mullion that is allowing water to enter the window assembly

I went to Norfolk to take a look at a rental property that we had previously worked on in the past. We had found a roof leak in the past and that was due to a bullet that had lodged in the roof and created a leak. We also replaced the rear patio door that had been leaking on this home in the past. This time the leak was coming from a large window assembly and the master bedroom on the second floor. There was a large half round window that was mulled to two 3 foot wide single-hung windows beneath it.  The mullion that attached the half round window to the single-hung windows was allowing water to come in during rainstorms.  The permanent fix to this would be to replace the entire assembly (due to the fact we had no idea who the window manufacturer was or how to get replacement parts for the mullion). However, because of our long-standing relationship with the property owner, I was willing to try a “gamble repair” of just caulking the mullion in between the half round window and the single-hung windows on the chance that that might solve the leak. I told them it would definitely be a maintenance item and there be no warranty on it, but the cost savings would definitely be worth the gamble. They agreed.

Front Porch Addition in Hampton

I went to the Chesapeake Avenue area of Hampton to meet with a young Coast Guard man who was interested in building a front porch of his house. After discussing the different designs for the front porch, looking at what his neighbors had,  talking about what he wanting to do and discussing his budget constraints, it quickly became apparent that he was not anywhere near the point where he really knew what it was exactly that he wanted. I referred him to David DiSpirito of Homesite, Inc. so that he could hire David to develop a design that he could then have priced.  Otherwise, I could see us wasting a lot of time going back and forth and him never getting something that both he and his wife could agree on. He was pleased with that idea and then he asked me to come inside the house and look at some of the other remodeling ideas that he had that he wanted to do himself. We looked at the kitchen, we also looked at removing a load bearing wall in the 1940s era house and some of the opportunities and constraints that the current layout of the house had. It was a good meeting  and we parted on good terms. samurai txtHopefully he pursues the design idea with David DiSpirito and we get a design in the future that we can price and get the opportunity to do some work for him

 Vinyl Siding and Paint in Carrollton

I went to a siding estimate in Carrollton Virginia.  A very large house that the owner’s husband had done a lot of work on. He had passed away just 18 months ago and it seemed like they were taking some of the life insurance money and doing a lot of repairs to the house. They wanted to install new vinyl siding on the house which is currently all stained cedar siding.
The owner was getting very frustrated with the carpenter bees attacking the wood trim and the siding. The bees were definitely “out in force”  the day we were out there.

These are what the carpenter bees looked like that day.

These are what the carpenter bees looked like that day.

It was interesting to talk about her recently deceased husband having been in the Air Force and  he had also worked in the career field that I had worked in in the Air Force.
The owner was very interested in what I had to say about the siding and my recommendations as to how to handle certain details on the home as opposed to what others may have said about the siding. It was interesting that she didn’t want to share what the others had said but I had wonder… it was almost like I was there for an exam!
One of the issues was that on the side of the house the siding had been run on an angle and other contractors had told her that vinyl siding could not be run at an angle (which I knew was untrue…I have since located the specification from the manufacturer that will allow for this.)cedar siding run on an angle So that was a point of discussion.
She had gutters on the house and some of the fascia boards had been wrapped with pvc coated trim coil at the same time as the gutters were installed and there was discussion about having Carefree Gutters remove the gutters prior to our start and replace them after we were done.
She also wanted many of the doors repainted on the house.
My estimate for this work: $20,317

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