What to Know Before Signing a Home Improvement ContractWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
It is important to be a very careful consumer when it comes to home improvement contractors. For instance, I had a case where my client, an elderly and blind woman, signed a contract and paid $30,000.00 to a home improvement company that disappeared with all of her money! Unfortunately, company was a scam operation, my client lost her life's savings and it will take some time in court before my client may ever see her money again however, her mistake will be a lesson to all of you because this article explains how to protect yourself from home improvement fraud.
Before signing any contract with a home improvement company, first ask that company for its license number and check it out with your State or County Consumer Affairs' Business License Division. Find License Division on web or call information and get their number. You want to find out (1) name and address of company associated with license number given to you, (2) if company is currently licensed and license expiration date and (3) whether any complaints have been made against that company. The answers to those questions will help you determine if you want to proceed with signing a contract. Make sure both contractor and company he works for are licensed to work in your State.
If your going to sign contract then make sure certain things are included pursuant to your understanding and as required by your State’s Home Improvement Business Law. The contracting company's name, address and phone number should be printed on contract. Also, it is important that contracting company's home improvement license number is printed on contract and that it is not different from number you called and inquired about with Consumer Affairs. Lastly, make sure that all of work to be performed is listed in contract and that approximate start and end dates of work are included. You should put a penalty clause in contract regarding contractor’s failure to timely complete work because contractors are notorious for starting jobs and then leaving for a few days or weeks to do other jobs while you sit and wait in your dismantled kitchen for him to return. Once contract terms are satisfactory then contract should be signed by both you and company's representative.
An example of
Removing your old wood double hung windowsWritten by John Rocco
Last week i told you how to measure your wood window openings to properly order your new vinyl replacement windows. This week i'm going to explain how to remove your old windows. The vast majority of wood sash double hung windows in America have same specifications. Starting from inside house and working out, you have a wood stop approximately 3/8" X 3/8". Then comes lower sash(the sash is piece of glass and surrounding wood frame). Then you have another wood stop (called a parting bead) between lower sash and upper sash. This stop is approx. 1/4" X 1/2". Then you have upper sash, and finally, outside wood stop (called a blind stop) that is approx. 1/2" X 3/4".
Before beginning, be sure to wear safety glasses and gloves. The safety glasses will protect your eyes from debris, and gloves help avoid splinters. The inside stop needs to be removed first. Try not to damage these,they will be re-installed after replacement windows are put in. If you should happen to crack old stops, you can take a piece to a hardware store or molding store to get replacement wood stops. If stops have been painted to blend into surrounding trim or wall, you need to put a flat screwdriver or putty knife into indented area that separates stop from surrounding area. Drag blade from top to bottom to chip away paint. Then put a stiff blade putty knife into this seam and pry stop away from frame. Start in middle of stop where there is most flexibility. Work putty knife from middle to top, then from middle to bottom. The number of nails that were used to install stop will determine how difficult removal will be. I have seen some stops that have just 3 nails, while others have had 6. Most of time there will be stops around all four sides of opening, but i have seen some openings that didn't have a top stop, and others that had no bottom stop.
After inside stops have been removed, you should be able to pull lower sash out. If windows were painted shut at some time, you might have to pry area where lock is located to separate sashes. Now, once you get lower sash out, it will still be attached to cords that hold window up when you raise it. Take a pair of tin snips and cut cords while maintaining tension on them. The cords will recoil back into assemblies. Take lower sash and set it aside.