News You Can Use From Leading Edge Homes
March 2013

David Letterman        

Why is there a picture of David Letterman above you ask?  Let me tell you...

While demolishing a terribly built family room addition earlier this month (it had pulled away from the original house and was sinking), it occurred to me that there were at least 10 things whomever built it had screwed up.  David Letterman is famous for his top ten lists and hence the connection.

10. Galvanized metal fittings connected to copper fittings

      (Dissimilar metals cause chemical reaction & leaks)

9.   Unprotected copper water pipe encased in concrete

      (Concrete causes copper to corrode & leak)

8.   No base sheet beneath top ply of roof covering

      (No protection for plywood deck & a leak waiting to happen)7.   Wood beam in direct contact with concrete post

      (Moisture in concrete will cause wood to rot)

6.   No wire mesh or fibers in concrete & no footers

      (The reason why the concrete was cracked & walls sinking)

5.   No rebar dowels embedded in slab

      (Block walls unattached to slab - pushed over by hand)

4.   Windows fastened to walls with just lots of caulking

      (Windows could have blown out in a hurricane)

3.   Stucco applied to wood - no tar paper/wire lath

      (Stucco severely cracked and wood beneath was rotted)

2.   Electrical wires encased in poured concrete columns

      (Electrical Code violation and fire hazard)

1.   One end of roof supported only by a 2"x2" wood strip

      (It's amazing the roof had not collapsed yet)

 Holland - Before


Now that I'm carried away with top ten lists, enjoy the following two articles containing more of them.

Till next month...



Todd Perry
Leading Edge Homes, Inc.


Ten Things to Expect When Remodeling
  1. Dust.  Even when temporary plastic sheeting walls are erected, a fine layer of dust and dirt will still get passed it.  Remember to change the air filters on your HVAC system often.
  2. Noise.  There is no way to get around it - from circular saws to air guns and compressors, construction is noisy.  Plan to take a daytime nap somewhere else or invest in a good set of ear muffs if the noise will bother you.
  3. Soaring highs.  It may be the demolition of those ugly kitchen cabinets you've hated for years or the installation of drywall signaling a milestone toward completion.  Celebrate them.
  4. A few sighs.  You may become tired of making so many decisions or writing large checks.  Don't be discouraged, it will be worth it when the project is complete.
  5. The unexpected.  Lead based paint, crooked existing walls, or a cracked tie beam.  No, you won't be laughing but neither will the contractor.
  6. Change orders.  You may want to upgrade materials or add to the scope of work.  Yes it will cost more and the project may take longer, but you will be enjoying the new or remodeled area for years to come.
  7. Cash concerns.  You may start getting upset over the amount of money you are spending, especially if you have made many change orders.  A good rule of thumb is to set aside a minimum of 10% of the project cause for extras.  Doing so will help alleviate some of the stress.
  8. Delays.  Rain storms, sub-contractors not showing up, materials on back order - the list is endless.  Construction is far from a perfect world.  You need to be resilient.
  9. Decisions.  Where do you want the switches, how high should the fixture be hung, oil-rubbed bronze or chrome?  Count on lots of questions. Your selection of a contractor is just the first of many decisions you will have to make.
  10. A party.  When everything is complete, you are going to want to show off your project.  It's fun for both you and your guests to see a beautifully finished home.
Home Remodeling Don'ts from a Contractor's Point of View
  1. Don't delay decisions. Make your product and color selections well in advance of when they are needed.  A late decision on a faucet can mean weeks of delay if it is on back order.
  2. Don't change your mind (too much). Although this is inevitable, remember that change orders cost money and delay completion.
  3. Don't buy your own materials. Contractors typically get better prices than consumers.  Also, if that toilet you got "such a good deal" on has defective parts in it, you will be paying the plumber to uninstall it and paying him again to reinstall a replacement once you get it.  If he buys it and there is a problem, it's on his dime to make it right.
  4. Don't start a project without a contingency fund. Unforeseen issues can arise or you can get carried away with change orders ("while you're here" syndrome).  You don't want to run out of funds before the project is complete.
  5. Don't put lipstick on a pig. Some people insist on putting high end cabinets into a house with a sinking foundation or a super high-efficiency air conditioner in a house with leaking windows and no insulation. Listen to your contractor.  Sometimes it makes more sense to tear a house down than spend a fortune repairing it.
  6. Don't let kids and pets get in the way.  Remodeling work in inherently dangerous.  It's just not safe to have children or animals around construction.  The same holds true for your guests and nosy neighbors too.
  7. Don't live in the home.  If you are having a whole house remodel done or taking the roof off to add a second floor, don't try to live in the house.  Make other living arrangements that are safe, comfortable, and dry.
  8. Don't be a distraction.  This may sound harsh but every minute you talk to someone who is working on your house is another minute they are not working on your house, and it's costing someone money.  If it's job critical that's one thing, but asking questions because you are curious is unproductive and uncalled for.
  9. Don't ignore what the house needs.  If the contractor finds that existing walls do not have fire stops in them, spend the money to correct the problem because it's a matter of life safety.  If he suggests repainting the rest of the house's exterior while adding on a garage, you can easily defer that expense to a later date.
  10. Don't plan a room addition without thinking about furniture.  Although you may like French doors centered on a wall, it's too late after the project is done to determine the couch blocks the door.  I suggest drawing the rooms to scale on one sheet of paper and your furniture to scale on another sheet of paper.  Cut out the furniture and place it on the room to make sure you like the way things lay out and verify there are no conflicts with windows and doors.
On A Personal Note...
Blizzard (my daughter's 4 mo. old rescue puppy) had a productive, fun-filled week home for Spring Break.  He not only met his great-grandma for the first time (and charmed his way into her heart), but also learned "sit", "down", and "come" from "Grand-paw" - that would be me!
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In This Issue
10 Things to Expect When Remodeling
Home Remodeling Don'ts
Featured Article
Do you want to keep your anxiety level low when remodeling your house?  Then click on "10 Things to Expect When Remodeling" above.


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