Most of the time when I talk about tools, I mean hand tools or power tools, portable or bench tools, things you hammer, cut, drill or sand with. Tools! Having been dragged kicking and screaming into the 21st century, I have been forced to recognize one of the most important tools available to any homeowner, especially when planning a home improvement project. You are probably ahead of me already. Yep, I’m talking about the computer and the Internet. Due diligence is virtually instantaneous whether product research, technical information or real estate comparables are the object at hand.
Look at the advertisements in this issue of Atlanta Home Improvement magazine. Almost without exception they include a web address so you can get the full story on the products or services offered. At your fingertips is a full-feature, interactive catalog listing all the gizmos your heart might desire. The store is open 24/7 and, whatever your question, the answer is either at hand or an e-mail away. In selecting products for your remodel, you can really compare apples with apples. Listed product specifications allow direct quality comparisons based on more than a picture on a box. In contacting contractors, you often have the opportunity to view multiple examples of their work, you insure that your communication is documented and clear, and you and the contractor benefit from the flexible response schedule.
Take a look at jameshardie.com for an example of easy-to-understand installation instructions. Go to the site, click on “I’m a Homeowner” then “Technical Support,” and find the precise way that product is to be installed. Most contracts indicate that materials will be installed according to the manufacturer’s or industry standards, but it’s a lot better to confirm those standards with your contractor before installation than to try and recover losses after a failure.
Like networking? Hometalk.com is a fantastic location for anyone interested in home repair, remodeling and décor and landscaping. A community of homeowners, hobbyists and professionals converse to answer questions and share ideas; informative and fun. Ain’t technology wonderful!
Tune in to The Bob and RodMan Home Show every Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. on 920 AM-WGKA to learn how to improve your house or apartment. RodMan is a certified home inspector, knows residential property appraisal and is a hands-on home renovator. Bob owned a roofing company, has reclaimed distressed properties for years and has Master Licenses as a plumber, electrician and HVAC mechanic. www.bobandrodman.com