Spring showers bring leaky gutters- Wait no, that’s not right! We’ve recently had a fair amount of homeowners call because they are tired of leaking gutters. It’s usually the lack of kick out flashing which gives the appearance of a leaky gutter but often has hidden disasters associated with it.
What is a kickout flashing?
A Kick out flashing is a tiny but valuable piece of metal that diverts water into the gutter. It’s installed along the wall that the gutter end terminates into. The image below shows a correct kickoff flashing. It’s important to make sure the kickout overhangs a decent amount into the gutter to ensure no water runs along the side wall behind the gutter endcap.
Why is a kickout flashing necessary?
Kick out flashings are needed to direct water into the gutter- in these specific areas, siding is often times notched to fit around the roof section and has the possibility of letting water slip behind the siding and run down the interior wall. Beyond the obvious trouble of improper water control, if your house doesn’t have any housewrap or housewrap failure, the sheeting underneath will often be moldy or rotting without a proper kickout flashing.
The images below are of a home in Bloomington, IL that had a powerful combo of the housewrap installed incorrectly and no kickout flashing. Every place the gutter butted up against a side wall, the OSB underneath was completely rotted- our Carlson Exteriors guy was able to push his hand through the OSB easily.
With the DIY spirit trending, many homeowners looking to build their own home ask themselves this question, “Can I be my own General Contractor?” The following blog is the first part of a blog series that answers this question, gives advice on the next steps once you’ve decided, and what to expect along the way.
Do you have what it takes? A General Contractor (GC) is well organized, pays attention to details, and can swing with the punches. These core traits make up what it takes to be a GC; a homeowner does not have to be well versed in the construction industry (although that helps) to feel capable of being your own GC. It no longer becomes a question of, “Can I?” but “Should I?”
What motivates homeowners to want to be their own general contractor? Most people are attracted to the cost savings, but other reasons are the satisfaction (and bragging rights) of building your own home and feeling like you are in control during each stage. Although most people want to be GC just for the cost savings, in the end, homeowners usually spend as much as if they hired one because of unforeseen issues. If you are one of the lucky few that actually saved money by being the general contractor, you have to factor in all the time you spent. If you want to be your own GC solely to save the 10-20% cost, it might not be a good idea. Remember time= money.
A lot of people don’t realize how extensive the whole process is; it’s a full time job finding multiple, quality subs to give estimates on everything from the plumbing to the gutters. General Contractors who have been doing this for many years already know who they like to subcontract work out to and can often receive a quicker turn around on estimates than homeowners can; this is because GCs already have a standing relationship with these subs.
General Contractors are also in charge of pulling all the permits and scheduling inspections. As a homeowner you might not be familiar with the “red tape hang-ups” or get pushed to the back of the line since others aren’t used to working with you. Don’t be offended, this is just part of being your own GC in the construction realm; people like to expedite who they already know can do the job successfully and punctually.
It’s a good rule of thumb to not be a first time General Contractor if you have not orchestrated a smaller scale remodel. Completely restructuring a kitchen (moving plumbing, redoing cabinets, new lighting, etc.) is a good sample of what it ‘s like being a GC. You will get a taste of applying for permits, getting and picking estimates, scheduling your subcontractors, and the inspection process. Once you have done this, and are still eager to be your own GC, do it! If you feel overwhelmed and exhausted, hire a professional General Contractor.
Part 2: Advice on being your own General Contractor.
Many homeowners in Central Illinois were devastatingly impacted by the storm that arrived last fall- home repairs continue to ensue 6 months later. As a local contractor, it is our responsibility and duty to both inform and educate the Bloomington/Normal area in regards to the risks of out of town contractors, commonly known as “storm chasers”.
The exterior construction business is a rather large portion of all remodeling that takes place on homes; it continues to have national, year over year growth. As the demand for exterior construction needs rises, the population of “storm chasers” has proportionately grown. These contractors will follow storm activity nationally, never staying too long in one place. It is commonplace for “storm chasers” to ascend upon a storm ravaged area with a sales staff exceeding twenty sales people. These sales people will go door-to-door knocking and asking for permission to inspect the damaged roof, siding, gutters, and/or air conditioner. Upon completion of the inspection, the sales staff may ask to contact your insurance company directly; they may even ask for a signature seeking permission. Be cautious and hesitant of what you sign- read all contracts and legal documents carefully; many of these permission slips and documents have a clause requiring the homeowner to employ said contractor upon an insurance settlement.
Feel free to contact your insurance company for contractor recommendations. For example, Country Companies’ adjusters have a policy in place where they can recommend three contractors. State Farm has a preferred vendor list. However, most insurance companies have additional policies in place to attempt to mitigate their liability to the homeowner in the event of the contractor not completing the work in a professional manner. This is the exact moment where it becomes the homeowners responsibility to perform their due diligence. The majority of insurance companies nationally place a one-year timeframe upon the initiation of a claim from a storm. This being said, unless there is imminent damage, most homeowners have time to initiate an insurance claim.
The following are a list of bullet points on ways to perform said diligence:
-Run “construction storm chasers” through whatever Internet Search Engine you use.
-If a salesman comes to your door, do not sign anything. Please take time to review the estimate and the contractor.
-Inquire as to where the company is physically located and the length of time in that location.
-If it is an out of town contractor, inquire what type of service after the sale will you get. Is the contractor willing to drive, in some cases, hundreds of miles to return for service? Please get this portion in writing.
-Please demand copies of both Liability and Workmen’s Compensation Insurance.
-Ask to see required state permits and licenses. Both contractors and insurance adjusters have to be licensed by state agencies.
-Inquire if the company has employees performing the work or will it be subcontracted out. If it is subcontracted out, demand copies of the Subcontractors Insurance as well. Ask to meet the Subcontractor that will be working on your home prior to work being started.
Please utilize the above questions. There are many other tools available for a homeowner to use. Such as, Internet reviews, local business associations and reviews, BBB, and referrals. We urge you to use these resources to determine the caliber of your potential contractor.