When Hiring a Contractor- Do Your Homework! / Damaged Ceiling Tiles / Hanging Pictures on Plaster Walls

In Miscellaneous, Mold on February 13, 2013 at 11:17 am

Do Your Homework When Hiring a Contractor

Hiring a contractor? Do your homework, before he does your home-work!


You should be prepared. Make a list of what you want done. Each contractor should be bidding on the same list. Always get three bids. All bids should be free. All bids should be in writing.


Check out references. I had some driveway work done on my house. The contractor never followed through with my complaint six months later. He has my name on his list of references. When someone calls, I tell them “No, I’m not satisfied and do not recommend him”.

How was the workmanship? Cleanliness? Were they satisfied? If possible, see the jobs.


As for the contract itself, the contract should include job specifications i.e.:

  • Detailed description of work to be done.
  • Materials to be used.
  • Cost of the job upon completion.
  • Payment schedule.
  • Permits needed and who is responsible for them.
  • Change order clause (any changes must be in writing).
  • Statement of insurance.
  • License number of the contractor.
  • Guaranty or warranty.
  • Method of debris removal and who will be responsible.
  • Start and completion dates.

Any contract signed at your house can be canceled within three days. Also get a release of liens at the time of paying the final payment. If you pay your contractor and he fails to pay any of or all of his “subs”, they in turn can sue you, put a lien on your house forcing you to pay twice. Get the release of liens.


I have water damage in the old ceiling tiles in my breezeway and the ceiling is bowing. I am concerned because I smell a musty odor. There are also mice. Just recently they have chewed through one of the tiles. Insulation, tile, along with their feces fell onto my couch. I don’t know where to begin.


Begin by putting a small piece of the ceiling tile in a zip lock bag and take it to a testing lab. Check the yellow pages for environmental testing labs. How you proceed from there depends on whether it contains hazardous asbestos or not. If it does, call an asbestos abatement company. If not, still proceed with caution due to the mold and fecal matter.

I’d call an environmental testing company next to inspect for mold, since you obviously smell mold. They will test, and if hazardous, recommend a company to remediate it.

If it’s not hazardous, remove everything from that area and cover the floors with 4 to 6-mil plastic. Wear a disposable tyvak coverall, gloves, mask, and eye protection and carefully pull down and dispose of the existing ceiling tiles and insulation.

Make sure you repair the roof, replace any rotted wood, and seal any openings where the mice are entering. Remember, mice can get into an opening 1/2 the diameter of a dime. Replace the insulation and install a new ceiling.


I have plaster walls and am having problems hanging pictures without really damaging the walls, any tricks?


Take a couple of pieces of masking tape and make an “x” where you want to put the hook or nail. Tap a nail with a blunt head into the center of the tape. The plaster should not break. To make a nail with a blunt head, put the nail on any hard surface with the pointed end up. With a hammer, hit the point hard so it is slightly flattened at the tip. By doing so, you push wood or drywall back or inward and lessen the chance for surface cracking.

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  1. You are a world of info. How do u know about all this stuff? Hope all is well w/u & Barb.

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