The Dimension Bible for Remodelers and DIYers

The Dimension Bible is really 3 books in one. It is a type of building code book for single family homes written in English, so everyone can understand it, a how to or where to install things in your home book and a handy estimating guide for remodeling projects. Even saying that there is some general information that is included in the book that doesn’t fit into those 3 categories.

Dimension Bible

A Home Owner Building Code Book That Speaks English

The questions that every person who has ever remodeled or built anything has had; “Where do I install this, How high do I mount this, Where does this go, How do I calculate the material needed?” These questions and more just like them have puzzled remodelers and DIYers for ages. Author John Knoelk aka “Contractor John”doesn’t believe these questions should stop you from undertaking your project, or completing it in a professional manner. Building or remodeling a home or a room is something worth accomplishing, and he wants to be there for you every step of the way.

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In his new reference book, The Dimension Bible for the Remodeler and Do-it-Yourselfer, John presents readers with an all-inclusive building guide that goes from the inside out of building and remodeling. Whether it is creating that stylish, but functional, kitchen, to how to develop the most practical driveway, John answers every question of the reader through charts, measurements and a general insight in an understandable way.
“This book is the result of my forty years of remodeling and building experience. While no book can address every measurement for every situation, I believe within these pages you will find the vast majority of measurements, dimensions and formulas to calculate and arrive at the correct answer you will need to complete your project.”
 John approaches discussions of each area of the house in a clear and concise manner, thoroughly explaining each step for the new builder, DIYer, and the seasoned remodeler. As he has seen over his forty years of building, nothing is of greater satisfaction than seeing the project that is drawn on paper actually coming to life right before your eyes.

Welcome!

Visit ContractorJohn’s YouTube Channel for additional helpful videos

 

Items That Should Be In Every Remodeling Contract

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry spells out the following key elements that every remodeling contract should have:

  1. The contractor’s name, address, phone number, and license number (if required by local jurisdiction).
  2. Details on what the contractor will and will not do.
  3. A list of materials for the project in your contract. This includes information about the size, color, model, brand name, and product.
  4. The approximate start date and completion date.
  5. All required plans. Study them carefully for accuracy. Insist that you approve them and that they are identified in your written contract before any work begins.
  6. Written notice of your right to, without penalty, cancel a contract within three business days of signing it.
  7. Financial terms, spelled out in a way that you understand. This includes the total price, payment schedule, and any cancellation penalty.
  8. A binding arbitration clause, which you’ll need in the event a disagreement occurs. Arbitration may enable you to resolve disputes without costly litigation.
  9. Everything you’ve requested. Consider the scope of the project and make sure all items you’ve requested are included. If you do not see a specific item in the contract, consider it not included. Never sign an incomplete contract.
  10. A warranty covering materials and workmanship for a minimum of one year. The warranty must be identified as either “full” or “limited.” The name and address of the party who will honor the warranty (contractor, distributor, or manufacturer) must be identified. Make sure the time period for the warranty is specified.

BONUS. Communication is critical. If you are having trouble communicating with your contractor now, consider it as a warning sign of things to come. Get out now, cut your losses and find another contractor.

Include all of these points above and remodel away.

 

Always, Always, Use A Contract For Every Project

Every remodeling project, no matter what size must have a contract. On very small jobs, a contract might be a 3 or 4 line description of the job. On larger jobs it can be pages long with a description of the work to be performed, product specifications with manufacturers and model number information. There should be a section defining the owner’s responsibilities as well as the contractors, including the payment schedule.

This all sounds nice and neat and correct, right? But, when you are doing a small job, a couple grand for a friend, who needs all that, right? WRONG. All the more reason you need a contract. Let me share a story.

In November of 2011 I was contacted by a “friend” who had been through the loss of a business and bankruptcy and was renting a home for their family. They had an opportunity to buy a home and wanted some minor changes made to the home before they moved in, could I help them?

Sure why not, this is what I do; work is slow right now, why not? I was sent some pictures and a description of the work they wanted to have completed, letting me know they only had about 3k to spend. I thought it would be slightly more than that for what they wanted, but they were “friends”. I told them let me look at the house and I could give them a solid number and if it was a little over their budget we could work it out over a month or two.

They said the house they were purchasing was a rental house right now and the tenant wasn’t being very cooperative, they would see if we could get in again. I finally was able to get into the house 2 days before closing. After looking at the project I sent them an email describing the work and that the cost of the work would be $3500. They said they would give me $1700 to start and $1000 from their security deposit and asked if we could work the rest out over the next couple of months. I agreed and inquired as to when I could start. They wanted me to start the morning of closing. I was a little uncomfortable with that but we only had 10 days to rip out all the carpet, install new 4” base upstairs as well as installing crown molding in the entire upstairs and paint it all, have new carpet installed (their responsibility) and clean so they could move in.

They stopped in about 3pm and announced they had not closed, it was rescheduled for tomorrow. I had a sick feeling in my stomach because we had ripped out all the carpet, base, and 2 sheets of drywall where we had found a leak, also stripping wallpaper from 2 bathrooms upstairs. Not to worry they said, and by the way could I install pre-finished hardwood upstairs? Where upstairs I replied. The whole upstairs, 3 bedrooms and the hallway, the bathrooms could stay tile, and how much would it cost? I worked up the price and no sooner had I given it to them when I was asked if I could install can lights in the kitchen ceiling. They added a few more things and to make a long story short the total grew to $13,800. They had paid me the initial deposit of $1700 and then the $1000 payment, so the balance was $10,900.

We were finishing the painting as they were moving in, everything was completed. Honestly I was kind of proud I got it all done in such a short amount of time. I waited a couple of days for them to get settled before I sent a final bill. Two days after I sent the final bill I had not heard anything, so I called, and left a message. After another email, a couple of messages and a week had passed I finally received a call from them. We need to talk, can we meet and talk about the bill. Not what I wanted to hear. Well another week passed before we sat down to talk.

The husband half of the couple went on to question some of the charges, which were documented by the hour. He soon calmed down and stated that he was more frustrated with the whole situation and not mad at me, good to hear. He went on to say they did not have the money to pay this bill and the best he could do was $600 a month. I told home that would take over a year, it was unacceptable. He said take it or leave it, that was the best they could do. Did I mention these were friends of mine?

I wrote it all out and got them to sign a document including interest and they made 3 payments and completely stopped making payments. Seems they decided they did not owe me anymore money. No reason they just thought that. I know you are thinking there has to be more to the story, but I assure you they just stopped for no reason and would not listen to anyone including a pastor.  Fighting with them for my money for over 15 months I was offered $3,000 through a pastor to settle the matter in full.

Business is business, always insist on a detailed contract. Did I mention these “were” friends of mine?

Electrical Tools for The Homeowner

In this video I recommend electrical tools that every homeowner should own. I have other videos that will help you install a switch or an outlet and much more!

If you need additional help with electrical issues take a look at other DIY electrical video’s here or on The Contractor John You Tube channel 

 

Millennial’s  Purchasing Smaller, and Less Expensive Homes

 

New research from economists at the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) show Millenniums tend to purchase homes that are smaller, less expensive and older than purchased by previous generations.

Less than 9% of millenniums purchased new homes compared to 12% among older generation buyers. Millennial’s also showed an increased preference for multi-family condominiums.

The purchasing power of millenniums comes from current income rather than accumulated wealth that older generations have made use of, and the millennial’s use of unconventional zero down mortgages is on the increase.

I see this as no surprise as the rise in college debt across the recent generations has dramatically decreased their purchasing power and ability to pay.

See my article regarding college loan debt crushing graduates  http://wp.me/p3Cbvn-nm

Wagner Airless Sprayers; Save Your Money

When I started this blog and specifically tool reviews I told myself I was going to focus on the positive. Well change that. I just went through my second Wagner airless paint sprayer, painting the basement ceiling. What a terrible product, absolutely horrible. DO NOT, I repeat DO NOT purchase Wagner products.
Note to Wagner: Yes I read the directions, multiple times, and I was using Glidden interior latex paint. We dismantled both guns several times and both are having the same problem, won’t spray. We thinned the paint and it sprays for 5 minutes and quits. Please build a product that works in the field in real life and stop concerning yourself with price point.
Note to Self: When you buy cheap products expect they won’t last. Although I really expected the first gun to last for 2 small jobs and the second one didn’t make it halfway through the one job.
Now hopefully the next post will be back to the positive, although I owe my readers the truth when I come across an obviously inferior product such as Wagner airless sprayers.

Explaining the Generation Terms Gen Y, Baby Boomers……….

We have all heard the generational terms and the personality traits associated with each. Expert opinions vary greatly on some fringe attitudes of each group, but the core of each group remains basically the same. What group do you belong to?  Leave a comment below telling us what characteristics you have observed in your generational group, or in the other generational groups.

 

The Silent Generation = Born before 1946

Current population 41 million, rapidly declining

People born of this generation valued comfort, security and familiarity of surroundings. They were positively influenced by the post war boom, on one hand, but the threat of nuclear war, and cold war tension brought an air of uncertainty to their lives.

Baby  Boomers = 1946 to 1964

Current population 71 million

Some generational experts say 18 years is too large for a general classification. People born to the front end of the generation have totally different experiences than those born in the last years of the generation.  Early Boomers were shaped by the Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations as well as the Viet Nam war. They also had the vision of great potential for America and their lives.  Later Boomers struggled trusting the government, after Watergate. Protests against the war, and the oil embargo of 1979 added to the dampening of this vision.

Gen X = 1965 to 1980

Current population about 41 million

Sometimes called the “lost generation” they were certainly they are the original “latchkey” generation, being exposed to lots of daycare and divorce. They also are the generation with the lowest voting participation.

Gen Y = 1981 to 1994 Also called Echo Boomers or Millennial Generation

Current Population about 71 million

Gen “Y” people are the most sophisticated and incredibly savvy when it comes to technology. Usual sales and marketing techniques don’t work on them as they have seen it all, having been exposed to it all since early childhood. This exposure has also caused them to be extremely flexible in style, fashion and brand loyalty doesn’t mean what it does to other generations.

Gen  Z = 1995 to 2005

Current population 23 million and growing

It is too early to draw many conclusions about the generation as a whole, but we do know about the environment in which they are growing up in. Fluid and changing in an instant, they are growing up totally connected to the internet and the world. This is the most ethnically and culturally diverse generation.

Understanding what was happening during their informative years will help you to relate, understand, and work with people from other generations. Always remember that “perception is their reality”

Discover How You Can Quickly and Easily Save Time and Money Without Home Remodeling Nightmares

When you do something every day, hopefully you become good at it. We all carry things around in our heads for our job, and they become things we just know, things we do automatically,  mainly because we have done them so many times. We get into trouble when we think that feeling applies to other thing and areas like remodeling. If you  don’t do something every day, or you haven’t been exposed to it in a wide variety of environments you need some assistance.  Even professional remodelers need a reminder once in a while, a place to find the information they need quickly and easily.

Enter  The Dimension Bible for Remodelers and DIYers  (Use code BAFS during checkout for FREE shipping). You could say this book took me  40 years to write, since it is a collection of information I have gleaned over that period of time. Sure some of the book is accepted practice in the remodeling industry but much of it is drawn from my personal experiences. I have built well over 100 single family homes, a handful of multi-family homes, along with thousands of remodeling projects and countless repairs. Add to that  a Residential Housing Inspector Certification and you have a solid and well versed base of knowledge to draw from.

“Each of us is the sum, the total of all our life’s experiences” and as such no other person is as well equipped to address our individual future as we are.  We all have been endowed with the tools necessary or the availability to access them by our God, to complete any task placed in our path. We need only look for and ask for these tools.

In the beginning of the book I spend some time talking about general design principles that you will want to keep in mind when undertaking any project. Then I explain Universal design, what it is and what is isn’t. We then explore specific design principles and advice regarding the kitchen and bathroom, finishing up with bedrooms and living room/dens.

Now we enter what I call the meat of the book,  the answers to simple questions such as:

  1. How high do I hang this towel bar, where does the toilet paper holder go?
  2. How do I figure out what size bathroom exhaust fan to install?
  3. When you are finishing your basement into that much needed family room, how do I know how many circuits can you put on a 15 amp circuit breaker?
  4. What type of fire extinguisher should you have in the kitchen?
  5. How many bags of concrete mix do I need to fill that hole?
  6. How many squares of shingles do I need for my garage roof?
  7. Where do I mount my new mailbox?
  8. How do I figure out how much mulch I need ?
  9. What is Universal Design?

These types of questions and many more are answered in easy to understand language. There is so much critical and useful information contained in The Dimension Bible, you will keep it by your side whenever you begin your project. Because I have remodeled for decades I realize how important your own notes can be, so I have left plenty of room for your own field notes to make The Dimension Bible very personal

See a sample for yourself at http://DimensionBible.com, better yet purchase your copy today and use the code BAFS at checkout for FREE shipping

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Guide to Setting up Your Home Office

Establishing your own home business has its own set of challenges but it can be an exciting prospect for the most part. Setting up a home office where you take care of most of your business is critical. A quality office space will help you to treat your home business as a real business.

Setting up an office in the home that makes working convenient and efficient has several essential components that you need to incorporate into it. It is often said that location, location, location is the key to buying real estate and the same can be said for setting up a home office. Since you will be spending a maximum amount of your time each day in your office space, make sure it is a place you are comfortable.

A key Question answering the location question is in which part of the house do you set up your home office? Consider the year-round conditions of that particular area in the house. Make sure that it provides a convenient place for you to attend to business and work essentials. Find a quiet place in the house. Setting up your home office away from areas that offer a lot of distraction will help you increase productivity. This is always an important consideration but critical if you have young children at home.

After you have identified the area of your home to set aside for your office you may want to draw a space plan, and add essential office furniture to it, to make sure everything fits. A quality computer friendly desk and comfortable chair are an absolute necessity, as well as a file cabinet. The file cabinet may require locks if you have sensitive material and other people have access to the area where it is located.  Do you need a table and chairs for meetings, or a display area is another design question?

Office equipment is yet another component in your home office. You will need to identify what equipment you need to have in your home office for your particular type of business. This equipment can include computers (either laptop or desktop), printers, scanners, fax machine, and a copier. Proximity to internet and phone access is also a consideration. Included in office equipment expenses would be industry specific business software packages.

In selecting a computer make a list of the top 5 tasks you will be using the computer for before you go shopping and share that list with your salesperson. This will enable the salesperson to match memory, processor, and graphics cards, among other things to your needs. When selecting a printer ask yourself the following questions.

  • Do I need to print photos?
  • Do I need a copier?
  • Do I need a scanner?
  • Will I need a wireless connection?
  • Will I need to print forms that have multiple parts?

Communication tools such as internet, telephone and independent fax machine line are essential questions you must have answers to. Another communication decision you will need to make is if you will need a separate phone line dedicated for business use, which is separate from your home line. What hours will you be operating your business, is an important question which the answer to it will determine if you can utilize space in your home that is used for other activities during hours you are not working.? This “flex space” use can double or triple your office space in certain circumstances.

If you be meeting business associates in your home office, you need to plan space for it now.

In this modern world, business professionals utilize email communication for a more efficient communication system. Email is a necessity to the modern business. There are many options in the marketplace. I personally recommend you utilize Gmail, Google’s email product. Gmail works well with smart phones has a fantastic calendar program that you can access from anywhere there is internet access.

Other business essentials like a quality website, and being active on social media platforms, are tasks you may be able to do yourself. Memberships or affiliations with local organizations like the Chamber of Commerce are also a must.

The information included in this article is a great start for most home business endeavors. There are additional points that will be critical to a specific business that you will need additional research to uncover. I wish you good luck in your new venture.

 

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Septic Tank Do’s and Don’ts

I don’t talk or write about septic systems and septic tanks very often mostly because I live and have lived in an area all my life where we have public sewer service, although I have built a few homes that used a septic system. Maintenance for your septic tank is critical to a properly functioning septic system. Let’s talk about a few things you need to know about your septic system and a few tasks you can easily accomplish to keep your septic system healthy.

First and foremost it is critical for you to understand your septic system is a living entity. The living component the bacteria is what breaks down the solids. Household soaps, an abundance of water and cleaning products can serve to kill the bacteria that are necessary to maintain a healthy septic system. There a several quality commercial products that you can add to your septic system to maintain a healthy bacteria level, one of which is Rid-X.  You can also mix up your own by combining 2 envelopes of active dry yeast and 1 lb of brown sugar. Mix thoroughly in a bowl and then add 4 cups of warm water. Let the mixture sit for about 15 min in a warm location until it expands and becomes foamy, then pour it in your toilet bowl and flush.  Either of these methods will add the necessary bacteria to keep your system healthy.

Products to avoid adding to your system are any type of alcohol, including wine and beer. Another item that kills bacteria is tobacco of any kind. Cooking oil and grease can harden and clog the system. Lint particles from the washing machine are very small and tend to stay suspended in the liquid. They do not settle to the bottom of the main tank, and will be carried through the system and can clog the pipes in the leach field. Always use a lint screen on the washer discharge line.

Diapers, tampons, paper towels and tissues do not break down and should not be flushed into the system.  Garbage disposals are not items that are conducive to a septic system. Items like egg shells, coffee grounds, cat litter and any kind of lint, including hair, shouldn’t be introduced into the septic system. Cleaning paint brushes in a sink and allowing residue to enter the system is also not a good idea. You need to be careful what cleaning supplies you put into the drain, If you don’t feel comfortable using any chemical without gloves including drain cleaners it isn’t a good idea to send them through the system.

A healthy tank still needs to be pumped out every 2 to 5 years. Size of the tank and use will determine the frequency. When your tank is pumped out ask what was the level of the tank was so you get an idea how often it should be pumped out in the future.

Now you know quite a few do’s and don’ts of your septic system. Take good care of your septic system so you don’t incur repairs that can easily run into thousands of dollars.

 

Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Real Estate

 

Beginners in real-estate investing and first time home buyers often experience costly mistakes when they purchase a house.  To avoid such mistakes you will have to learn a couple of things, what these common mistakes can be and secondly how to avoid them.

The biggest mistake by far is:

  • Lack of research

When buying properties start with one of the core basics; which is doing some research before proceeding with any kind of purchase.  Research is asking questions about the house or the property, and receiving through answers. You could ask questions similar to the following:

  • What are your reasons for putting the property for sale?
  • How long have the current owners had the property?
  • Are the Real Estate taxes pain and current?
  • Are there any liens or are there any encroachments on the property?
  • Are there any problems with the house’s foundation?
  • Are there are any problems in the area where the house and property are located like being in or near a flood plain, termite problems, etc.
  • Are there any plans for major construction projects in the area?

Your research would also include the current price and any recent sales prices of this property and similar properties in the area.  It is better to look at houses and properties as far as a comparable that have been sold than those houses still up for sale.  Buyers should use these sold as a basis for bidding and not getting emotional and carried away.

Aside from the upfront price of the house or property, buyers should not forget to factor in the maintenance cost of the house.  Without considering the maintenance cost, homebuyers could find themselves buried in debt.  The cost of any imminent repairs should definitely have an impact on the price of the house and the amount of your offer. Having the home inspected could seem like an unnecessary expense, but never sacrifice it.  Always get a good home inspector even if it means spending a little more.

There is nothing wrong with waiting for the right house. Sometimes a little patience can save you a lot of money.  It is very difficult to find a home that would fit 100% of your wants and needs.  Homebuyers who are looking for everything usually bypass homes that would meet nearly all of their criteria, and often wind up paying more.  Another cost factor is the ever-increasing cost of homes. Homebuyers who wait around for their perfect home often wind up paying more. To help avoid this, it is important to sort out priorities, into two categories, wants and needs.  Identify the top needs, what the home has to have and if you have to sacrifice trim from the wants list.

Another common mistake that most homebuyers make is that they think can purchase a house on their own, without the aid of a Realtor.  There is nothing wrong with buying property without any professional help, if you have all the time to look and do all the research yourself. Real-estate agents have the resources, contacts, and tools that will make the search quicker. Aside from the real-estate agent, find a good attorney, one that specializes in real estate. Other professional’s you will need are insurance and home inspectors.

The largest purchase of your life should not be done alone. Employ real professionals to guide you along the way. Notice I said guide, not do the work for you. In the end you will be living there for years to come and paying all the bills, so do your research along with the professional and your chances of purchasing a quality property will increase

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