Sadly, there are a lot of shady businesses out there and, as a result, watchdog websites like Google Reviews, the Better Business Bureau, and Angie’s List are thriving. Dishonest business people can be found in every industry so it’s important to protect yourself to make sure you’re working with someone trustworthy by doing your homework prior to hiring them. Even if someone checks out on paper, it’s important to educate yourself on ways that you can be taken advantage of in order to protect yourself to avoid costly lessons. An important fact to note is that a bulk of the components of reliable construction are things the general consumer is not privy to and may not even be able to see.
Be aware of the following ways that a builder can take advantage of an over trusting homeowner.
Sometimes, it’s not always possible to verify whether additional work will be needed until a project commences. For example, a contractor who is in process of installing new flooring could find that some of the subflooring is rotten. Upon discovering this, the homeowner should be alerted and should be responsible for paying for the additional work. However, red flags should go up anytime a contractor continuously nitpicks and constantly presents issues that require additional funds. They could, in fact, be trying to pad their bill by fixing things that aren’t broken. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion for excessive requests to perform additional work that were not part of your original agreement.
Bait & Switch
A roof, is a roof, is a roof, right? WRONG! During an initial sit-down, a contractor can promise you quality materials but when it comes time for the actual install, cheaper materials may be substituted. Something like this can be hard to detect until a few years down the road when materials start aging prematurely and you’re stuck with the cost of installing a new roof. Make sure that if you’re promised high quality materials that you’re being delivered the goods you agreed to. As a homeowner, you have the right to carefully look over any materials before and after installation to make sure the work appears to have been done correctly and according to the terms you agreed to. Don’t be afraid to question anything that seems off. A reputable company has nothing to hide and will be happy to answer any questions you have.
Shady home builders under a time crunch may be using the cheapest, and therefore, most inexperienced subcontractors to get their work done. Manufacturers dictate the parameters their roofing needs to be installed (nail/staple size, crown width, nails per shingle, etc.) This ensures that the roofing lasts as long as it is supposed to. An incorrectly installed roof may not be immediately evident, but sooner than later, it may start showing premature signs of wear. If this happens, a manufacturer is unlikely to honor the warranty for roof because they will fault the installer. The installer, if you can track them down, they will not have ill consequences because you do not have a warranty in writing from them. North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, GAF, will come out inspect GAF roofs after installation to make sure the roof was installed correctly. This protects the homeowner and the contractor if the roof ages prematurely.
To many, the term “builder grade” implies something with enough quality that a builder would use it. The name is a bit misleading since builders are technically using them but by no means are builder grade materials the crème de la crème. In most cases, builder grade materials are just of average quality and are pre-built and mass-produced. Research and understand the materials that are used in your home. While some extra money upfront to pay for quality materials may seem like an inconvenience, it is money well spent when you don’t have to replace your current windows, roofing, siding, etc. sooner than you should have to.