August 2017 (91) you have a license for that?
Looking to hire a contractor? The State of Texas requires current licenses from the following trades:
  • Heating & Air Conditioning 
  • Electrical
  • Plumbing
  • Water Well Drillers & Pump Installers
  • Structural Pest Control Applicator
  • Landscape Irrigator, Irrigator Technician or Irrigation Inspector

Do your homework. Make sure your contractor is licensed. 
For a complete list and more information visit this website

Other trades may offer certification or association through a professional organization. Resources include:
National Foundation Repair Association  --
Roofing Contractors Association of Texas -
For contractors in the residential remodeling and building industries, a very good source of information and assistance is your local chapter of the  National Association of the Remodelling Industry (NARI) .
Your Questions -- Jim's Answers
Attic Insulation:
Spray Foam vs. Fiberglass
Is spray foam better attic insulation than fiberglass? Well that depends on what your objectives are...but as for energy efficiency the answer is no.
Is Now the Time to Go Solar?
Jim discusses the current status of solar for residential applications and the two biggest issues surrounding it here in the US - cost and disposal. 

Inexpensive hardware upgrade can make your entry doors safer
Protect your home from a break-in
The promise of electronic door locks that you control from your smartphone is that they’ll make your home safer. But Consumer Reports' door lock tests revealed that many smart locks have the same dumb flaw as regular locks: The hardware that attaches them to your door frame can make them vulnerable to a break-in. But by spending $10 or less on an additional part, you can reinforce your lock and buy some peace of mind.
If a smart or standard lock is installed without this part, called a box strike, all an intruder has to do is aim a well-placed kick at the door to gain entry.  For their kick-in test, Consumers Report first assessed how well a lock survives increasingly forceful impacts using the hardware it came with. If it didn’t score an Excellent on that test, a box strike secured with four 2-inch screws was installed. Of the almost two dozen locks tested, only six could resist repeated impacts with the hardware it came with. But once secured with a box strike and longer screws, every model was especially resistant to kick-ins.

To evaluate the lock you have now, look at the strike plate on the door jamb. If the bolt of the lock passes through a rectangular opening in the strike plate, your lock is more vulnerable than you think. If the screws securing it are 1 inch or shorter, it’s even easier to force open the door. A box strike gives the lock a far stronger hold on the door, and the 2-inch screws anchor it to the door frame.

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