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Insulation Contractors

An Extra-Snowy Winter is on the Horizon

By AttiCat Insulation, Certainteed Shingle Roof, Chimney Issues, Cost vs. Value, Cut Energy Costs, Gutter Guards, Hiring a Contractor, Insulation, Insulation Contractors, Roof Repair, Roofing Contractor, Roofing Services, Winterize, Winterize your home Annapolis No Comments

Are You and Your House Ready to Cope?

While sweater weather is in full swing, one reality remains: winter is right around the corner. And, as meteorologists far and wide have already announced, it’s going to be a cold one. Some chilly winter weather is in store for the Northeast and mid-Atlantic, with January threatening to bring the coldest blast of air of the season—and the dip in temperature is predicted to result in about six inches of snowfall, or more, above normal.

Farmer’s Almanac also released a similar prediction for most of the country earlier this year in their annual 2018 winter outlook. The popular guide went as far to earmark certain dates for us to expect heavy rain and snowfall along the Atlantic Seaboard this winter season. According to the Almanac, make sure you have plenty of hot cocoa and a warm blanket on the following dates: January 20-23, February 4-7, February 16-19, March 1-3, and March 20-23.

What’s the takeaway? Enjoy the pretty leaves and relatively mild temperature for now, because before you know it—if the experts know what they’re talking about—you’ll be trading them in for a pair of gloves and a snow shovel.

Anything else you should worry about before the snow and freezing wind makes it your way? Unfortunately, extreme winter weather can do a real number on your home’s exterior. The last thing you want to have to worry about is a leaky roof or drafty window that sends your monthly electric bill through the roof and leaves you freezing, damp and miserable in the meantime.

Make sure you enjoy your snow days this year! If you haven’t had your roof and siding inspected by an expert, the trusted professionals at Fichtner Services can leave you assured that your home is ready to take on the winter onslaught. They’ll provide you with an affordable, reliable, and thorough inspection of your home’s exterior—plus they have the resources to take care of any issues or areas of concern they uncover.

Don’t get stuck behind the eight-ball—resolving these issues now will save you money and prevent the hassle and stress of trying to make unexpected, last-minute repairs in hazardous conditions. The experts at Fichtner Services can survey your roof to prevent devastating ice dams, inspect the foundation for small cracks or openings that can expand in freezing temps and allow mice and other pests to get in, and a laundry list of other essential winter-proofing steps that might have never crossed your mind but will be glad that the Fichtner team has double and triple checked for you.

The Insider’s Guide to Hiring a Contractor

By Hiring a Contractor, Insulation Contractors, Roofing Contractor

I was recently talking to a neighbor who was in the process of hiring a contractor to remodel her kitchen.  She didn’t really know where to start or what to look for in a good, honest, reliable contractor.

This made me realize that many people who are not working daily in the construction industry are probably in the same boat as my neighbor. Hiring a contractor who is going to complete your project on time, on budget and to your expectations takes some diligent  homework on the part of the property owner.

First, you need to narrow down the field by asking friends, relatives and neighbors for some references for contractors with whom they have had good experiences with similar projects. Most people already know someone in the construction industry, whether it be an architect, a builder, or a different kind of tradesman, who could most certainly give you the name of someone who has a good reputation.

You can also ask area material suppliers and your local Better Business Bureau and the MHIC (Maryland Home Improvement Commission) to see if the referred contractors are reputable and financially solvent (lessening the likelihood of leaving you with a half- finished job or skipping town after you give them your deposit!).

Other referral websites, such as Angie’s List, have paying members that post reviews based on their experiences with local contractors.

Second, find out as much information on the project that you are doing. Most of this information is at your disposal right on the internet. What are the differences in materials that could be used and why is one more expensive? What are the common methods for installing the materials? What are the best choices for my lifestyle?

Next, once you have chosen at least 3 contractors from whom to solicit bids, you must ask these questions:

  • Do you have General Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance and can you provide me a certificate?  If something happens on the job, either to your property or to one of the workers, YOU could be left with a large claim on your homeowners insurance!
  • Do you have an MHIC license?  Homeowners can make sure at the MHIC website. If a contractor has an MHIC license they are required by law to have General Liability and Worker’s Compensation Insurance and be in good standing with regard to paying their taxes.
  • Can I have several references for the type of work that you will be doing for me?  Do you have any photos of completed projects?
  • Are you a member of your trade’s professional organization?  This shows that they are genuinely interested in the field and usually will be doing some kind of continuing education.
  • Will you be pulling permits for my job? Permits cannot be pulled by an unlicensed contractor.
  • When will you start and how long will it take?  Are there any variables that could change this schedule?
  • What happens if I have a problem with the job after it is completed?  Do you have a service department that will follow up on any issues we may have?
  • What kind of warranty do you offer on the project?

Once you have asked these important questions, you will need to follow up on that information:

  • Get everything in writing to include pay schedule, color, material choices, and warranty information on a legal contract that states the company’s name which matches their MHIC number .
  • Call and/or go visit the supplied references.  Also, go to the material supplier’s showroom and checkout the materials being used.
  • Check into the contractors’ reputations at the BBB (www.bbb.org) and the MHIC.
  • Are the bids from each of the companies comparing apples to apples?   Are the same materials being used?  Is one way lower than the others?   If so, you need to find out why (refer to the questions above).  Be careful when it comes to pricing- the most expensive is not always better.
  • Maryland law states that a home improvement company cannot ask for more than 1/3 deposit upon signing of the contract.
  • Has the contractor been responsive to your phone calls and emails?  If not, it could be a sign of the way your job would be handled.

Once you have done your research and have asked all of the questions it’s time to choose the contractor who best suits your needs.

Hopefully by doing your homework you will have a finished project that will exceed your expectations!  Good Luck!

Employee Spotlight: Mike Bafford

By Employee Spotlight, Gutters, Insulation, Insulation Contractors, Replacement Windows, Roofing Contractor, Roofing Services, Siding, Siding Contractors

Mike Bafford has worked with Fichtner Services since 2003. He is the sales consultant and estimator for Howard County, West Baltimore, Carroll County and parts of Montgomery and Prince George’s County. A number of projects that Fichtner Services completes are in the Ellicott City area, which include residential projects for single family homes and town homes as well as commercial projects and multi-family complexes.

Mike grew up in Catonsville, just four miles from Ellicott City, and knows the area well. After living in the area for more than 20 years, Mike relocated to Westminster in Carroll County. A true people person, Mike enjoys working with homeowners and property managers to help them improve the beauty and longevity of their property. Mike shares the principles of Fichtner Services, which are customer service and quality.

Fichtner Services recently completed a commercial roofing project in the Clarksville area for a major national restaurant chain. It is important for a commercial contractor to communicate well with other contractors and complete work on schedule and on budget. Mike enjoys working on commercial projects because it allows him and his crew to use materials like metal roofing that aren’t incorporated into the everyday residential project.

In addition, Fichtner Services works with a number of custom home builders in the Ellicott City area, giving them the ability to work on exciting projects with a range of materials including green and recycled materials. Recycled materials, says Mike are very appealing to the environmentally conscious homeowner. Eco Star is a manufacturer of recycled home improvement products offered by Fichtner Services. Using recycled rubber and plastic, they create natural looking, imitation slate and cedar roofing.

Above all, says Mike, customer service is what differentiates Fichtner Services from other contractors. “There are many other contractors who sell the same products we do, but it is what you do with the product and what you provide for the client after the installation that differentiates Fichtner Services.”

Learn more about how Fichtner Services can improve the value and beauty of your home, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

Save Money On Your Home Energy With AttiCat Insulation

By AttiCat Insulation, Insulation, Insulation Contractors

Are your heating and cooling bills out of control? Did you know that 40% of your home’s energy is lost through the ceiling and attic? Insulating your attic is one of the easiest and most cost efficient ways to save money on your energy bill. Let Fichtner Services help!

Fichtner Services can install Owens Corning AttiCat Expanding Blown-In Insulation to your attic. By adding attic insulation you can:

–          Save up to 20% on your home’s heating and cooling energy costs

–          Earn a 10% tax credit up to $500  (www.energystar.gov)

–          Increase your home’s resale value

By using the AttiCat system, Fichtner Services can:

–          Install insulation in your entire attic in about 1 ½ hours on average

–          Provide complete coverage, even around pipes and wires

–          Keep the dust to a minimum

–          Provide safe and reliable installation- AttiCat Expanding Pink Fiberglas is non-combustible!

Call Fichtner Services for a free quote to install AttiCat Expanding Blown-In Insulation to your attic and start saving NOW!