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Licensed Bonded and Insured

Posted on Monday, April 7th, 2014

In our last blog post “Home Remodeling Services | Best Price,” I mentioned that my wife and were planning our own home remodel project. The main advice everyone gave us was, “Make sure your contractor is licensed bonded and insured .” But what exactly does it mean for a contractor to be licensed bonded and insured and why is it important to know as a homeowner? Let’s break it down.

According to the Official Internet Site of the Florida Legislator, there are several types of contractor licenses depending on the work you need done (general, building, residential, sheet metal, roofing, etc…). Your state may have different categories, but these three main types should be fairly similar.

 3 Main Types of Home Remodel Contractors

  • General contractor – services are unlimited to the scope of work to be done.
  • Building contractor – services are limited to remodeling, repair, or improvement of any size building – if the services do not affect the structural elements of the building.
  • Residential contractor – a contractor whose services are limited to construction, remodeling, repair, or improvement of one-family, two-family, or three-family residences which are not more than two floors high.

 

Residential Contractor

licensed bonded and insuredFor the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on a residential contractor in regards to being licensed bonded and insured. We should also distinguish between a registered license and a certified license. A County “Registered” license is issued by one specific County. It’s like a tax payment and is not really the license you want your contractor to have. A State “Certified” license can be used throughout the state. This is the one you want your contractor to have when you ask if they are licensed bonded and insured.

There’s an extensive exam that covers business and finance, contract administration, and project management. To qualify for the examination an applicant must be at least 18 years old and must also meet certain requirements, according to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation Construction Industry Licensing Board.

 

Certified Licensed Residential Contractor Examination Qualifications

  • Four year construction-related degree from an accredited college (equivalent to three years experience) and one year proven related experience
  • One year of experience as a foreman and not less than three years of credits for any accredited college-level courses
  • One year experience as a workman, one year proven experience as a foreman, and two years of credits for any accredited college level courses
  • Two years experience as a workman, one year experience as a foreman, and one year of credits for any accredited college level courses
  • Four years experience as a workman or foreman of which at least one year must have been as a foreman
  • Holding an active certified or registered Florida contractor’s license

 

To become a certified licensed contractor, an applicant must pass all parts of the exam, meet education/experience requirements, obtain worker’s compensation coverage, get a fingerprint back ground check, and demonstrate financial responsibility by including a credit report with the application.

In addition to the exam and other previously mentioned requirements, a certified licensed contractor must also be bonded and insured. While the license is issued by the state, the bond and insurance is backed by an insurance carrier. Contact information, for verification purposes, is listed on the insurance certificate; as is the expiration date of the policy.

Ask if your contractor is licensed bonded and insured. Do a search on your state’s website (Department of Business and Professional Regulation – this one is from Florida) to find information about the status of the license. Reputable companies are happy to provide proof of their adherence to the laws and regulations designed to make certain that contractors, employees, and homeowners are protected during the completion of a project.

NOTE: Minimum amounts required for general liability insurance are :

  • General and building contractors – $300,000 bodily injury, 50,000 property damage
  • All other categories – 100,000 bodily injury, 25,000 property damage

 

If you’re still wondering if your residential remodel contractor should be licensed bonded and insured, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” By doing so you greatly reduce the odds of having a bad experience. Most states will likely be similar to Florida, so you should be safe just asking if your contractor is licensed, since being bonded and insured is a requirement of obtaining a certified contractor license.

Is being licensed bonded and insured important to you when you choose a contractor for your home improvement projects? Have you ever had a bad experience with a contractor who was not licensed bonded and insured? Share your stories with us so that others can benefit from your experience.

Siding FAQs

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

What profiles do you offer in the System Siding?

We offer a Double 4″ (available in cedar or brushed finish), Double 5″ (available in cedar finish), Triple 3″ (available in brushed finish), and Double 4-1/2 Dutch Lap (available in cedar finish) available in up to 23 standard colors. A Single 8” is now available in white.

What profiles do you offer in Insulated System Siding?

We offer a traditional Double 6″, and a wide-style Single 7″ available in 21 standard colors, as well as a Double 4” and Double 4-1/2” Dutch Lap available in 15 standard colors.

Is there maintenance associated with vinyl siding?

Other than power washing your home to keep the dirt of of it, there is no painting, staining, or any other up keep associated with vinyl siding.

How is vinyl siding fastened to the wall?

Vinyl siding is fastened to the wall with nails driven through the nail hem and is then locked into place in the panel below it.

What about scratches and nicks on the siding?

Nicks and scratches are not visible because vinyl siding is color through.

What happens if water gets behind the siding?

A System Home Improvement install specialist will put up a vapor barrier before installing you siding. This barrier will keep water and other moisture from entering your home. In the event that water gets behind the siding, there are weep holes at the bottom of each panel of siding that draws moisture out and away from the wall.

I have seen vinyl siding that looks unsightly and cheap. Why is that?

“Builders Grade” vinyl siding is thin and therefore more susceptible to expansion and contraction. Additionally, when vinyl siding is not installed to industry standards, waviness and seams become visible.

Gutters FAQs

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

Will it handle a heavy rain?

Yes, our panels have been tested to handle in excess of 14 inches of rain an hour.

What are System Gutters made of?

.024 aluminum and has a lifetime warranty.

Can squirrels or birds enter and build nests?

No, System Gutters are made of .024 aluminum and cannot be chewed through. Also, aluminum will not warp or distort over time.

Are System Gutters nailed or screwed into the roof or fascia

No, System goes under the first row of shingles and is attached to the lip of the gutter with stainless steel screws.

Will System install over my existing gutters?

It is designed to go over your existing gutters!

Will System change the appearance of my house?

The System Gutter design is low profile. The low profile design enhances the look of your home, blends in with your roofline and hides unsightly metal flashing.

Will System Gutters prevent ice dams?

Ice dams are caused by poor insulation and ventilation. So no, System Gutters will not prevent …or cause… ice dams. System can, however, help reduce the amount of ice build-up in your gutters that can cause gutter seams to split, hangers to loosen, and gutters to pull off the house.

Will I have to clean or maintain my System Gutters?

Maintenance on your system may be little to none at all. Like all exterior products on your home, System Gutters will get dirty over time. If you notice a build up of dirt or debris on your system, simply rinse it off with a high pressure nozzle on your garden hose.

Doors FAQs

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

How do homeowners go about customizing System Doors for their residence?

To assist in the selection process, our professional remodelers visit the homeowner’s residence to help them customize their residential doors. Unlike when purchasing consumer-grade doors through home improvement retailers, precise measurements are taken at the home to achieve the very best fit. Our professional remodelers also help homeowners choose the finish, color, style of glass, hardware and other details of their new custom entry door.

How do professional-class doors differ from consumer grade doors?

System professional-class doors are made from the highest quality materials, starting with 20-gauge galvanized steel that provides 49% more steel than a consumer-grade door. This exceptional durability is backed by a lifetime limited transferable warranty. The face and edges of each System steel door are constructed from one continuous piece of steel for added strength and durability. And the lock and deadbolt area is reinforced with commercial grade steel for added structural strength that will stand up to the elements and heavy use.

What kinds of doors does System Door make?

System makes entry doors, storm doors and patio doors that are constructed from the strongest and most durable materials. All System doors are energy efficient and qualify for the ENERGY STAR® program.

What types of entry doors are available from System Door?

System Door offers 18 styles of front entry doors that are made with and without glass. They are available in fiberglass, smooth steel and textured steel constructions and in paint and stain finishes.

Windows FAQs

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

What is a U-factor?

The U-factor is a measure of heat flow or conductivity through a material, the reciprocal of R-value. Although R-values are used as for measures of the resistance to heat flow for individual building materials, U-factor is always used to measure the conductive energy of building enclosures.

What is a Design Pressure Rating?

Design pressure, or also referred to as DP, expresses a numerical value that defines the structural wind loading requirements (in pounds per square foot) for a building and the components and cladding of a building. For windows and patio doors, the higher the DP rating indicates better performance under wind load (eg: a DP-50 window is structurally more sound than a window rated DP-35). Coastal regions often require higher DP ratings by code to anticipate higher wind velocities that can be encountered in proximity to the coast line.

What is meant by “Solar Heat Gain Coefficient” (or, sometimes
expressed as “SHGC”)?

The number to know when selecting windows and patio doors – it measures how much of the sun’s heat is transmitted through these fixtures, expressed in a number from zero to one. A window that has a SHGC of .30 will allow 30 percent of the sun’s heat to pass through. Whether you want a higher or lower number will depend on your goal. Especially in the South, you will be primarily interested in a window or patio door with a low SHGC that will help to block solar heat gain inside your home, thus reducing cooling loads in hot weather.  Northern climates often look for higher SHGC performance to harness passive solar warmth on cold, sunny winter days.

What is insulated glass?

Insulated glass consists of two pieces of glass hermetically sealed to a spacer. This creates a sealed, insulated air space between the two pieces of glass, resulting in better thermal insulation performance. Insulated glass also helps reduce condensation while keeping the heat in during the winter, and heat out during the summer.

What is low-E glass?

Low-E stands for low-emissivity glass – this is a nearly invisible coating on the glass surface that are microscopically thin metallic oxide layers primarily to reduce the U-factor by suppressing radiative heat flow. The principal mechanism of heat transfer in multilayer glazing is thermal radiation from a warm pane of glass to a cooler pane. Coating a glass surface with a low-emittance material and facing that coating into the gap between the glass layers blocks a significant amount of this radiant heat transfer, thus lowering the total heat flow through the window. Low-E coatings are nearly transparent to visible light. Our primary glass supplier, Cardinal Glass, offers informative details on their website: www.cardinalcorp.com

What is argon gas? How does it work?

Added inside an insulated glass unit air space, argon gas is an invisible, insulating gas with lower thermal conductivity than atmospheric air. During the manufacturing process, the atmospheric air is displaced when argon gas is pumped into the glass unit airspace. When combined with Low-E glass the Low-E glass helps reflect heat away, while the argon gas helps reduce thermal transfer to enhance the glass unit insulating performance.
How should I evaluate the energy performance of a window or patio door?
Look for the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) label on the window or patio door. This label shows the U-Value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and Visible Light Transmittance values. All values are backed by independent lab test reports on file with every window and door manufacturer.

How should I evaluate the energy performance of a window or patio door?

Look for the National Fenestration Ratings Council (NFRC) label on the window or patio door. This label shows the U-Value, Solar Heat Gain Coefficient, and Visible Light Transmittance values. All values are backed by independent lab test reports on file with every window and door manufacturer.

What about window condensation?

Condensation is a direct result of interior humidity and the difference between indoor and outdoor air temperature. If you keep the humidity in your house low, then the likelihood of experiencing condensation is also low. However, the efficiency of your window will also impact the temperature and humidity level at which condensation occurs. Energy efficient windows will help reduce condensation. Here’s why – high performance windows with low U-factors result in inside glass surface temperatures much closer to the room air temperature. Windows with non-metal frames and more thermally-efficient spacers in the dual-pane glass units are also less likely to have condensation on the frame or at the edge of the glass.  Also, realize that in certain conditions (such as humid mornings after a clear night sky), some highly insulative windows may have dew on their outside surface. These windows are such good insulators, that dew is condensing there just like it does on an insulated wall.

General FAQs

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011

What is System Home Improvement Products?

System Home Improvement Products is a full-service home remodeling and repair company
striving to bring back “family time” nationwide.
•  We support our Troops, thanks to you.
•  We offer financing, through Lansing Green.
•  We offer Dream Home Visualizer
•  We always arrive on time.
•  And no job is too big or too small.

Do you offer a warranty or guarantee?

System Home Improvement Products is a fully licensed, bonded, and insured remodeling company. Your satisfaction is our guarantee. Our products are top quality backed by manufactures’ warranties.