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Q&A With Robert Robillard from AConcordCarpenter.com

By September 17, 2012No Comments

Many people want to remodel their home in some way. It could be anything from installing energy-efficient windows and putting up new gutters to redoing the kitchen or building a new master suite. Some want to do the projects themselves, while others opt for finding a professional to handle the job. But they all have one thing in common: they want it done right.

Robert Robillard is an expert in home renovation, maintenance, and remodeling. He is the owner of a well-established carpentry and home renovation business in Concord, Massachusetts, as well as the author of the popular home improvement site AConcordCarpenter.com. We asked him some questions about home renovation and finding reliable contractors.

Image: AConcordCarpenter.com

What renovation or carpentry jobs should almost never be attempted by a do-it-yourselfer?

Any project that they do not fully understand or aren’t prepared to do from start to finish.

How do you know if a given carpenter is skilled in his craft?

I can tell by watching them work, but a homeowner has to check references thoroughly!

I can still hear my shop teacher today . . . “Straight, Square and Smooth!” What he was trying to teach us was to make sure when building something that we start with plumb, level, and flat walls. Once you achieve that, all of the other building components and any home repair will fall into place.

Carpentry is not an exact science. It is a pragmatic approach to problem solving, building, and repairing. My experience has taught me that a few basic principles guide us on what will or will not work in given situations. “Plumb, Level and Square,” are some of those principles.

What is the difference between exterior and interior carpentry projects?

Interior projects are far more forgiving than exterior ones.

What are some of the popular/trendy renovations that homeowners are completing these days?

People want indoor/outdoor livability, technological innovations, flexibility (i.e., a design that can easily adapt to changing family needs), and a kitchen-centric focus.

The American Institute of Architects released its first home design trends survey, and here are some of the key residential design trend findings:

  • Accessibility: 62% of firms reported that homes are becoming more accessible with features such as wider hallways, fewer steps, and the growing popularity of single-floor design
  • Informal space: 66% of firms reported that “informal space” is increasing, along with a trend towards an open space layout in the home.
  • Home size: 40% of firms reported square footage of homes is still increasing, while only 13% report declines.
  • Home layout: 49% of firms reported that finished basements and attics are increasing in popularity, as owners of older homes are looking to increase their living space.
  • Outdoors: 48% of firms reported upscale landscaping is on the rise, as is the popularity of outdoor living space with features such as decks, porches, and patios.
  • Amenities: 30% of firms reported the increase in other outdoor amenities including swimming pools, tennis courts, and gazebos

Finally, what is the mark of a good contractor?

A contractor should take pride in making a true commitment to quality workmanship and integrity with each client relationship. This is accomplished by providing customers with superior quality that exceeds industry standards and maintaining quality customer communication. In addition, contractors should be prompt and courteous, return phone calls, schedule projects and manage his time well, and achieve 100% completion of your project.