Woodpecker Pest

Woodpecker Pest

The Problem. Mike and Christine’s 30-year-old New Berlin home was suffering significant woodpecker damage– enough that the birds were able to get behind the siding and nest. Clearly needing repairs, they saw the opportunity to transform their home’s exterior to the French Façade they’d always dreamed of having. It was important that the work they needed completed could be done by one single trustworthy contractor.

The couple met with several contractors who attempted to change their vision and upsell them. The meetings were impersonal, and they felt like a number to the contractors because their wants and desires were not being heard. The other contractors insisted on changing the style that they wanted, but that was simply not an option.

The Solution. The couple met with Guardian’s Certified Home Advisor—Bryan. Bryan listened and asked questions to best align himself with their wants, needs and desires. They talked through specific details such as colors, materials, and the install process to ensure that they were all were on the same page.

Bryan utilized images, links, samples, and material to really set the visuals so that everyone could see exactly what was going to be installed. This provided Mike and Christine with reassurance and confidence in Guardian because it demonstrated how committed Bryan was in making sure that they received exactly what Mike and Christine wanted. Bryan demonstrated a shared passion for Mike and Christine’s vision.

The job began and progressed with few complications. Any concern or question was addressed individually and thoroughly. If any areas where more cost-efficient options or an adjustment was suggested, all were discussed and followed to the exact specifications after being given the owner’s blessings.

The Result. Mike and Christine really appreciated how much the crew also strived to ensure things were exactly as they wanted. The communication, attention to detail and focus given by all parties involved made them feel that the entire team genuinely cared. They also noted they would recommend Guardian to others without hesitation.

“We Absolutely love our new french style home facade. It is everything we had ever dreamed of and more.”

The Chipmunk Tenants and a Chimney

The Chipmunk Tenants and a Chimney

The Problem. Cleo and Bill were having the exterior of their Oconomowoc home painted when the painter brought to their attention damaged wood spots near the chimney. A repair was needed to continue painting the exterior; the painter removed the damaged boards only to find the wood behind the siding was noticeably waterlogged and rotting in an area far larger than he was comfortable repairing. They needed a contractor.

Due to the expeditious nature of this issue, the couple were concerned they would become victims of price gouging from contractors. Unsurprisingly, their search turned into a series of high-pressure sales meetings from multiple contractors who each wanted to replace all of the siding on that side of the home. Having heard the same sales pitch repeatedly, none of the contractors took the time to thoroughly walk through what exactly was happening, why, and how to fix it. Ultimately, Cleo and Bill didn’t feel like their best interest was the goal of the contractors.

The Solution. Enter Guardian Exteriors! Cleo and Bill explained, “right from the very start, the experience with Guardian was completely different than anyone else we had met with” and that the “representative from Guardian was 100% focused on our wants and needs.” This was vital for them to select a contractor.

After performing a thorough inspection of the chimney, roof, and siding, the experts from Guardian honed in on what exactly was the issue and walked through what was needed to fix it. To Cleo and Bill’s relief, that did NOT include replacing the siding on that entire side of the house. Happy with their interactions, they entrusted Guardian with their home’s needs.

Due to pandemic-related material shortages, the availability for some materials was delayed, but Guardian’s installer visited to fix the leak to prevent additional water damage, for which Cleo and Bill were grateful.

Challenges arose as the project moved forward. After opening up the siding, they found the rot and water damage to be much worse than they had expected and a nest of chipmunks were living in the wall. With additional damage being uncovered, Cleo and Bill had more on their plate to handle. Guardian provided options for them to best fit their financial needs while still fixing the leak and damage.

Guardian replaced the chimney chase siding with new LP composite siding, along with two walls that tied into the chimney. While doing so, additional substrate and structural rot was addressed, and the chimney cap and flashing were replaced to eliminate the source of the leak and rot.

The Result. Cleo and Bill explained that they are 100% sure all of their problems have been completely resolved due to Guardian’s work, and they will never have to worry about it again. A huge relief!

In the end, the couple expressed how much they appreciated the communication and customer service Guardian provided. Because of their trust and confidence in Guardian’s workmanship, they have already signed up for a second project and hope for a third later in the year.

How to Evaluate a Contractor

How to Evaluate a Contractor

The SMART Way to Properly Evaluate Home Improvement Contractors
& Their Estimates

Contractors continue to be one of the most complained about industries in the United States. Unfortunately, it is all too common for customers to be trapped into a bad situation, which can result in huge loss of money, tremendous stress, and unbearable amounts of frustration. Don’t get stuck in this situation, go into the process well-educated and ready to hire a contractor like a pro! To make this easy for you, we’ve developed a five-step process called SMART to avoid the most common tricks used by contractors today.

Click here to download the SMART doc PDF

Here’s a summary of the SMART process:

1. SPECIFICS

The start to a bad relationship with your contractor is a vague contract or estimate. Your contractor needs to be specific, describing every detail of the potential work. The Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission have written advisories for getting a written contract or estimate. Both write that it must be a thorough description of the work to be done, with full details about start and completion dates, total cost, a payment schedule, and the contractor’s information.

Never sign a contract without reading it carefully. If any information seems to be missing, don’t let it slide. Continue asking for specifics until you are satisfied. And make sure you a retain a copy of the contract once its signed, and file it for your records. By having everything in writing, it prevents the contractor from going back on his word. It holds the contractor accountable for the specifics of what they said they were going to do.

 

2. MULTIPLE OPTIONS

Nobody likes buying something that doesn’t work the way you want it to. This can be frustrating for even the smallest purchases, much less a huge construction project. The key to avoid this dissatisfaction is to be properly educated on your options so you can be confident you are making the right decision. This can be difficult, however, when a contractor only provides you with 1-2 product options.

If salespeople only show you a couple of options, this is a big red flag, and shows an obvious bias. Your contractor should be doing everything in their power to provide you the best product for your project, not just the one where they get a commission. Only a company that offers multiple options from many manufacturers can truly provide you with the highest quality and most cost-effective solution for your home.

 

3. ACCURACY OF INITIAL INSPECTION

When contractors don’t fully inspect your home, they can easily misquote you with the intent of “discovering” more work, which means more money, after the job has started. A successful home improvement project starts with a thorough inspection. An inspection should include a close look at all the factors that led to the current home condition, and all the components.

For example, for a roofing project, your contractor should closely inspect the roof, which typically includes walking on it. They should also conduct a thorough attic examination to see the condition of the wood decking. For window or siding projects, careful examination of the wall assembly, flashings, penetrations, and overall building is absolutely critical. Other projects have specific aspects that should be examined as well.

Your contractor should also be taking photos for reference, and ask questions about whether you have pets or children so they know where to be careful. Never hire a contractor before this through inspection is done, and be sure to demand a review of an inspection report to evaluate the recommendations in the estimate.

 

4. RELIABILITY

Protect yourself from getting swindled by making sure the contractor’s company is legitimate and reputable. It is unfortunately common for some contractors to make promises they don’t keep, take advance payments and never complete the job, or don’t finish the job within a reasonable time period.

Never trust a contractor by his appearance alone – demand to see a all necessary certifications. Contractors should show you their Certificate of Insurance, Division Safety & Buildings registration card, lien Waivers, Better Business Bureau Listing, among others. Look them up online on Yelp, Google, Angie’s List, and more, to see what other customer have to say. All reputable contractors should have lists of references, so call a few of them to double check. Conduct your proper due-diligence to ensure the contractor is fully qualified and avoid some nightmares down the road.

 

5. TACTICS IN SALES MANIPULATION

Home improvement salespeople can be perpetrators of sales tricks just like any other salespeople. These can include long, high-pressure sales presentations, discounts only available if you buy today, huge price drops, bait-and switch, and more. The home improvement industry uses a full arsenal of sales tricks. Be extremely wary and skeptical of companies that subject you to high pressure sales techniques. Trust your instincts! If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and never be pressured into making a snap decision. A reputable company will always give you the time and space to allow you to make the best decision for your home

 

What To Do Next

If you have already begun getting estimates from home improvement companies, take every estimate and evaluate it next to the SMART guidelines. You can download the full document here. If you’ve haven’t started the process, use the information in the SMART document as a guide on how to properly screen contractors prior to inviting them to your home. Take the time to do your research beforehand, and you’ll be very grateful when you have a great contractor who provides an excellent finished product!

If you have any questions at all, please contact us and we’ll do our best to answer those questions for you.

Siding Nightmare – 80k in repair and replacement costs

Siding Nightmare – 80k in repair and replacement costs

This project started as a simple siding redesign project.  The house was 7 years old at time of project.  Owner was interested in creating a new exterior look with a mixed stone and fiber cement design to match the look of other high end homes in a prestigious neighborhood in Brookfield, Wisconsin.   The 7 year old house was designed and built by a well marketed ‘premiere’ builder of high-end homes in Southeastern Wisconsin.  Home owner called to get an estimate for siding redesign and decided to move ahead promptly with the project.  Only known problems were a recent incursion of ants into the lower back room of house that seemed to reappear after pest treatments.

 

Within a few minutes of the demolition phase it was evident there was Major construction defect problems with the siding and walls.  It was discovered that during original construction the windows and doors designed to be flush mounted to the siding were not properly flashed.  Additionally, low grade materials were used behind the siding and several short-cuts were taken during the original installation process.

 

As you can see from the pictures, there was major damage.  It was determined that the plastic sheathing ( internal vapor barrier ) prevented any of the moisture infiltration and damages from being evident inside the house.   The walls and insulation were filling up with and absorbing all the moisture over the years.  This resulted in structural damage to the framing and complete deterioration of the insulation and exterior wall sheathing.  There was substantial mold, mildew, and ant infestation in the wall cavities.

 

To remedy the problems, a total wall rebuild had to take place on the entire outside area of the house.  Walls had to be taken apart and rebuilt and insulated from the outside one wall at time.  In this process, it was discovered several other corners were cut and products miss-specified resulting in additional damages and premature failure of the roofing materials as well.  All in all, the damages resulting from poor workmanship and product miss-specification lead to an additional  $ 80,000 in replacement costs to replace damaged areas and replace components of home that failed prematurely.