Before Hiring a Contractor
- Verify the contractor holds a Virginia State Contractors License
- Verify local licensing as required
- Get verification of properly endorsed insurance coverage
- Take your time and do some research
- Ask questions and trust your instincts
- Obtain several estimates and be sure you are comparing “apples to apples”
- Ask for references and call them
- Get a written contract and read it
- Talk with friends, family members, and neighbors for referrals
- And remember…if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is!!
Contact the Board for Contractors Department of Professional & Occupational Regulation at 804-367-8511 or www.dpor.virginia.gov.
Green Remodeling & Energy Efficiency
Why go green?
- Increasing energy efficiency can offset the monthly costs of a home equity loan by dramatically lowering energy bills
- Green remodeling can adapt a home to regional conditions (such as natural landscaping), provide increased comfort (such as better air quality), and make a home easier and cheaper to maintain with durable products if maintained properly
- Many energy efficiency upgrades qualify for federal tax credits
What are the top ways to increase energy efficiency?
- Install appropriate levels of insulation
- Install high-efficiency windows instead of those that minimally meet the energy code
- Seal all exterior penetrations in areas being remodeled
- Purchase only EnergyStar®-rated appliances
- Install only low-flow water fixtures
- Upgrade to at least an EnergyStar®-rated water heater, or better yet, a tankless water heater
- Purchase the highest efficiency HVAC system you can afford and make sure it is correctly sized for the area you want to condition.
Learn more at www.nahb.org/efficiencytaxcredit.
Accessibility & Independent Living
What should my home contain if I want to age in place?
- A master bedroom and bath on the first floor
- A low or no-threshold entrance to the home with an overhang
- Lever-style door handles
- No change in levels on the main floor
- Bright lighting in all areas, especially places like stairways
- A low-maintenance exterior
- Non-slip flooring at the main entryway
- An open floor plan, especially in the kitchen/dining area
- Handrails at all steps
Learn more at http://www.aarp.org/home-garden/home-improvement.