Why is it important to hire a licensed contractor?

When you make the decision to do work on your home or office you have to go through the difficult process of finding the right Maui contractor for the job. This becomes increasing difficult with so many options out there. Often times homeowners don’t realize that in the State of Hawaii any individual or company is legally required to carry a contractors’ license from the state if the labor and materials for the jobs is more than $1,000. There are multiple reasons that you should choose to work with a licensed contractor. See link for more info: https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/files/2018/08/Contractor_FAQ-18.pdf

• Experience- a contractor licensed by the state has a substantial amount of experience that has been verified by the state contractors board.
• Liability- a licensed contractor carries multiple types of insurance including liability and workman’s comp (if they have employees.) If something were to go wrong on your job whether it job failure or someone is injured, if your contractor does not have the correct types of insurance, you as a homeowner are liable.
• Financial stability- the contractors board has verified the financial stability of a contractor before offering them licensing.

Given that it is so difficult and costly to become a licensed contractor, they often charge more than someone that is unlicensed. Along with that price comes assurances that this company or individual is capable and carries with them a greater suitability to do the job. There are multiple times that in the course of our business we have come across work performed by unlicensed contractors for homeowners that is done incorrectly or in such a way that it costs more for the homeowner long term than had they just hired a licensed contractor to start with.

You may get sticker shock when you receive a quote from a contractor, but it is important to realize that their expenses are not just what they pay the guy doing the work. They have licensing fees, insurance fees (which are substantial), vehicle expenses, etc. These are the same costs that any other reputable business in many other industries must pay for and so the expectation should be the same for contractors.

When you set out to do work and solicit quotes from a contractor you will likely get several quotes. In the process of that quoting you should receive the contractors license number which can be verified with the State of Hawaii (https://cca.hawaii.gov/pvl/boards/contractor/). When you do choose the contractor, make sure that you also request a copy of their liability insurance as an additional insured as well as a copy of their workman’s comp insurance. This minimizes any liability to you should anything go wrong throughout the course of the work.

Doing work on your home isn’t always cheap and so it is important to identify what your goals are for the space. Clearly identifying these goals in the beginning and involving a licensed contractor for the job is one way to insure that you get there. In many cases it may appear to be more expensive initially, but long term you are likely to see a better result with minimized risk.

Smartpanel Vs. T1-11

LP Smartside Panel siding with Smartguard zinc borate is the akamai choice for building in Hawaii. Engineered to withstand Hawaii’s harsh climate and protect against termites, LP Smartside has been third party tested in Hilo since 1996 and has a proven track record of success throughout Hawaii’s diverse climates.

Unlike T1-11 plywood siding which has to be soaked in chemicals post-production to protect against termites and fungal decay, all Smartside products are treated with non-toxic zinc borate during the manufacturing process. The result is a 100% treated and moisture controlled structural siding perfect for Hawaii. Plywood treatment often does not penetrate the whole board and can leach out over time. That will never happen with Smartside.

Smartpanel is an APA rated sheathing that can be installed direct to studs up to 24” OC when using 19/32” thickness. 16” OC for 7/16”. Installation is made easier with durable ship lap edges and alignment beads for consistent and seamless appearance from one panel to the next. The ease of installation is a big selling point for builders and far exceeds that of plywood, especially once plywood has been soaked in treatment and often warped as a result. LP panel is flat and true every time.

Plywood has what the industry calls “boat patches” or “footballs” on the surface. These are due to the nature of plywood production where imperfections in veneers are removed and replaced with patches. Aesthetically it is not as pleasing. LP Smartside is an engineered product, so all of the knots are removed while processing logs down to the wood “strands” which are ultimately oriented and pressed under intense heat and pressure to make the board.

LP Smartside panel comes with a factory applied resin impregnated and primed cedar texture overlay, providing an exceptional painting surface. Primer is not needed, and any acrylic latex paint will do. Builders have reported significant savings in paint costs when compared to T1-11 plywood.

OSB products like LP Smartside are more environmentally friendly and efficient to produce. Smartside uses only aspen in its substrate. Aspen is fast growing and stable. LP is able to use smaller diameter tress, while plywood manufacturers require larger old growth logs to provide sufficient size veneer. LP was green before green was a trend. They use virtually all of every log harvested. Any waste, like removed knots as discussed previously, is processed down and used as fuel to power mills.

LP Smartpanel carries an industry leading 5/50 transferrable warranty. That means for the first 5 years 100% labor and material coverage if the product fails to perform as stated. After 5 years, material is covered up to 50. Generally, if an exterior siding has manufacturing defects, it will show up in the first 5 years. I have been selling Smartside in Hawaii since 2006 with no product failure. On a windward side beach, jungle in Hilo or Kauai, or dry leeward side, it performs every time.

The advantages of LP Smartside siding over T1-11 to both the builder and homeowner are abundantly clear. I believe in the product so much I used it on my own remodel on Oahu, and now am planning to use it on a new build in Waimea, Big Island which could very well be our forever home.

Feel free to reach out to me directly for more information or online: www.lpcorp.com.

Ryan Counter
Vandermeer Forest Products – Hawaii

by Michael McElhinney Siding

Maintaining Your Rain Gutters

Rain gutter maintenance is often something on a home that gets forgotten but is necessary in order to mitigate potential long term damage to your home due to poor preforming rain gutters. In many cases
it is better to not have rain gutters than a rain gutter that is not working properly.
Signs to look for when your rain gutter is not working properly:
  • Water leaking from corners- this is a sign that your rain gutters need to be resealed. If you are unsure how to do it, this is something that pays to hire a professional. Often times we see homeowners attempting to fix leaks on their own only to find that their repair is only temporary.
  • Water flowing behind the rain gutter- when you encounter this problem, it is best to consult a professional to assess the installation of the rain gutter and/ or potential roof leaks.
  • Water overflowing from the rain gutter- this problem is a sign that your rain gutter is either undersized in terms of downspouts or size of rain gutter or that you have clogged downspouts. Often times it is the later and cleaning is all that is needed to ensure continued performance.
  • Rain gutter pulling away from fascia- this can be caused by either fastener failure or failing fascia. This is a problem that should be taken very seriously as soon as it is seen. If not you could face significant repair expenses as the rain gutter can be seriously damaged or damage more property as it pulls away from your home.
  • Standing water in rain gutter- a little standing water is expected in some sections of the rain gutter as it is difficult to put downspouts in all locations to minimize ponding. For the most part though, your rain gutter should not be ponding water as this is a sign of an incorrectly sloped rain gutter. If this is the case it can lead to greater debris build up which will eventually clog the rain gutters or increased infestation of mosquitos. There are points that rain gutters are installed level for aesthetic reasons, when this is done rain gutters will require significantly more maintenance. As a general rule rain gutters should be installed with slope.
  • Water leaking from downspout connection to rain gutter- this usually happens due to downspouts beginning to tear away from the bottom of the rain gutter or failure of sealant in that connection. When you come across a problem like this sometimes resealing is effective, but the best solution is to have a professional evaluate the attachment of the downspout as this is often times a source of failure on the rain gutter.
  • Smashed downspout elbows- this is a common occurrence and can easily be fixed with a replacement elbow.
It is always best to observe your rain gutters while it is raining for best assessment of any repairs that may need to be made to you rain gutters. Don’t hesitate to take a picture or video so that you can have it available if you need to consult a professional. If repairs are left unattended on rain gutters they can lead to repairs that will cost significantly more than just repairing the rain gutter to start with.