Painting Tip- Use a tinted primer when painting dark colors

We recently painted the walls of a new addition with Sherwin Williams paint- Carnelian. You can see from the picture, that the Carnelian color is a deep purple. Instead of using a normal, un-tinted white primer, the painters from BrushMasters used a tinted primer. The benefit is there will be less ‘bleed through’ of the primer coat after each coat of paint. Some deeper base paints could take 3,4,5 or even more coats.

Good Luck



Dealing with Insurance- Making the most of your claim.

I just finished a NARI (Nation Association of the Remodling Industry) roundtable discussion about dealing with insurance companies. I thought it might be useful to recap what the professionals said about dealing with insurance.

Here’s what we discussed should be considered in your claim.- Costs for:

  • Design- especially if your house, kitchen, garage, etc is a complete loss and needs to be rebuilt
  • Estimating- numerous hours are put into estimating the cost of repairs. A good estimate will be very detailed and will include work needed from all subcontractors involved to complete the job
  • Job supervision- Someone needs to make sure everything goes as specified in the scope of work
  • Overhead- the cost of doing business
  • Permits- required for most large claims
  • Profit-  Everyone needs to make a living
  • Landscaping repair- if any type of exterior work is to be done, chances are the landscaping will get worn/ damaged.
  • Cleanup- of both the site before work begins and after work is done
  • Furniture/ flooring protection- While work is being done so that more damage is not incurred
  • Furniture moving- If it’s in the way, it needs to get moved. Especially important if doing drywall work or painting in a room. It will get messy.
  • Other temporary storage- Large claims may preclude that furniture, appliances, or other large items may need to be stored off site for a period of time
  • Inconvienence- Do you need to stay at a hotel while repairs are being made?

Also keep in mind that if you are a homeowner wanting to do the work yourself, you are not entitled to the same payment of costs as a professional contractor. They won’t pay you for overhead or profit and a handful of other costs.  The pros say one thing “ASK FIRST” before you assume you are covered.

Good Luck


Compliant is a 4-letter Word- And it doesn’t start with F!

I have a new respect for the word ‘complaint’. I’ve heard the phrase “Complaint is a 4-letter word” but to be honest, I did not know it wasn’t a F word.

Last night at the NARI- National Assc. of the Remodeling Industry- monthly meeting in Minneapolis we had Randi Busse from the Workforce Development Group as the keynote speaker. She started by telling a story about her New York limo driver. Randi had researched her limo company ahead of time and the results were not good: dirty, terrible, untimely. To Brandi’s surprise the driver was on time, courteous, and the car was immaculate. She told the driver of what she had expected and that she was pleasantly surprised. The driver was disappointed to know that the online remarks of the limo company were so disparaging. The driver commented, “Customer Service is common sense”.

Brandi asked about the characteristics of our good customer service experiences:

  • Listened to us
  • Asked questions
  • Friendly
  • Empathetic
  • Concerned
  • Made me feel welcomed
  • Went above & beyond
  • Knew what I wanted ahead of time
  • Educated me/ had expertise
  • Consistency
  • Flexible
  • Respectful
  • Thankful for your business
  • Genuine

Seems absolutely like common sense- Treat others like you want to be treated. Nothing new here.

Our group then did the exercise for the characteristics of a bad customer experience. Tons of negative responses, and the most common, “I tried to give them my money but they wouldn’t take it!”

So getting back to complaint being a 4-letter word. The four letter word is GIFT! Huh? Well look at it this way- have you ever been at an ‘OK’ restaurant where you most likely would never go back, but yet when the restaurant manager comes by and asks you “How is everything here tonight?”, your response is “fine”. The issue is that the majority of time, dissatisfied customers don’t say anything. And that’s really a dis-service to the company. When a customer complains it is because they care enough to say something.

Randi’s point for the night is that you don’t want satisfied customers, you want raving fans! All of us, whether we are employers or employees, work for someone else. We all need to take care of the customers (our Bosses!) or someone else will.

Thanks again to Randi Busse of the Workforce Development Group for the excellent message.

Good Luck


Should tile go under your cabinets?

I was asked that question recently on a DIY site – Should tile go under cabinets?

My immediate response was yes. I have a strong background with new construction and without exception, we have always put the tile down and then install the cabinets on top- whether finished or unfinished.

But I started to think about it a bit more and I thought of several examples where putting the tile down after makes sense.

I recently remodeled a bathroom in St. Paul, MN. The existing floor of the bathroom pitched down about 3/4 inch in 8 feet. I could have leveled the floor, but then it would have been impossible to open the door from the hallway. The cabinets needed to go in first so that the tile and the base shoe could hide the difference in floor height. (The cabinets were on the floor on one side and shimmed up 3/4 inch on the other side.)

I considered some other times where it makes sense to have the tile installed after the cabinets:

  • If you are really not sure of your flooring selection and you may want to change it some day.
  • If you are finishing your cabinets from raw wood, not having tile down saves you from protecting the tile from overspray.
  • If you are concerned about damage to the tile before all of your work is done.

Here are some things to keep in mind  when you plan your project:

If the tile goes in first:

  • The total height of the cabinet will be raised by the thickness of your tile and your underlayment
  • If you have floor to ceiling cabinets (double oven or pantry for example), make sure to shorten the height of your cabinets so that you can still install the cabinets without damaging the ceiling

If the tile goes in last:

  • The toekick height will be shortened unless you set your cabinets on strips of wood that equal the thickness of your tile and underlayment.
  • More cutting will be needed to go around the cabinets.
  • Be careful not to damage your cabinet when installing the tile or when grouting. It is much easier to spend a little time to protect the cabinets in the area you will be working then it is to refinish your cabinets.

Good Luck!