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General Eichler remodeling and repairs

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jrg
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Joined: Jun 27 2003

I just bought an Eichler and I am looking for contractors and estimates on the following. Any names and phone numbers of companies in the Marin County, Ca area would be appreciated.

Roofing, flooring (cork, acid wash concrete, or bamboo), interior and exterior painting, sheet rocking fireplaces, landscaping, re doing skylights, remodeling kitchens.

Any ideas or numbers would be great!

Thanks

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Since no one has responded to your post, I shall jump in. First, you may want to start with the advertisers on this site. I only say this because they have been pre-screened and also have had to demonstrate experience working on Eichlers. Beyond that, you may want to narrow your inquiries here, to one or two questions at a time. Posting such a broad and open-ended inquiry can make it difficult for readers to respond.

Good luck!

Cathye

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

i just bought an Eichler as well - same questions. If you've made headway pls email me with info

thx

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have recommendations for kitchen, bathroom, landscape and painting in Marin. We had a kitchen and bathroom done late last year and our contractor was great. A friend down the street had her kitchen done this year by the same contractor. Great result. Great value. If you want me to send pictures or would like to see the results drop me an email. I can send you the names of the subcontractors (painters etc.) as well.

Dan

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

cathye wrote:
Since no one has responded to your post, I shall jump in. First, you may want to start with the advertisers on this site. I only say this because they have been pre-screened

Really? What are the criteria? Has there ever been a firm that was willing to pay the fee to the site but was not allowed to advertise?

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

I would be interested in knowing whether there is any specific requirement but I can say that I only hire contractors who are willing to work with Eichlers. The advertisers on this site fit that criteria and narrows the field considerably. After that, I use "word of mouth" from neighbors, this message board, and checking their contractor license history to hire someone. Finding a good contractor is tricky business and when you find one you are as good as gold!
/Lynn

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

and just because the vendor is on the site doesn't mean you are in the clear. Get references and I would recommend talking to more than one for a quote on a particular job. I speak from experience.

todd

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

There is a list of maintainence people for Southern California on the Balboa Highlands site here:
http://www.lottaliving.com/balboahighlands/re_maintenance.shtml
Also don't forget to also post questions for So.Cal concerns on Lotta Living. :)

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Joined: Jul 1 2003

I agree with Lynn; however, recommendations are no substitute for your own due diligence.
The site advertisers is a good starting point; they are most useful if the work definitely requires Eichler experience, and I'm beginning to suspect "Eichler Experience" also means more (unnecessarily) expensive - - so far I've have gotten sticker shock from contractors with "Eichler Experience"; it wasn't that they had better traiing, but they practiced on previous Eichlers before yours.
Radiant heat and roofing definitely requires Eicher experience; if you go elsewhere, you do so at your own peril.

With other types of work, I think you have to apply basic due diligence principles; get several quotes and seek out competent contractors. To do this requires phone patience and persistency; you also have to take time to know the subject almost as well as contractors - - that is, know the recipe but like cooking or baking, you won't have the experience even if you can assemble or buy the best ingredients. So far, I would only rate about half of recommended contractors as favorable - - it doesn't mean they were bad, it means we had a different set of needs/requirements and pricing expectations than the people who recommended them. However, it narrowed down the choices from the Yellow Pages and mail ads.

If you want better recommendations, you are more likely to get them if you briefly describe your needs - - asking for plumber may get you someone who can fix a in-the-wall leak but he/she may not be able to diagnose the atrium leak or re-pipe over your brand new foam or tar/fravel roof.

Fortunately, the previous owners took care of our Eichler and we hope to avoid major "maintenance" projects (replacing major systems) for the next 5 years, but the few projects we embarked on over the 2 months of ownership have been mostly frustrating.
(1) The selection process is almost like hiring an employee - - some candidates make it easy for you to assess their competency, some make it very hard because they just don't get it, and some lie to get the job.
(2) After you assess competency, the next step is agreeing to project requirements and pricing - - pricing differences can be 25% on big jobs and 200% on smaller jobs. Here are real proposals we received during the last 2 months - - a very high end fence (exotic wood) w/ gate for the courtyard 40-50 ft in total length - $8,000; mini-split A/C - - $5,300 to $6,000 (my bottom up costing suggested $4,500, but contractors say they can get the higher pricing - - so did my Honda dealer when we bought our Oddity, oops, Odyssey); simple landscape plans for the courtyard - $1,200 from one pro and $2,800 from another, and both appeared very competent and understanding of our (actually my wife's) tastes/needs; built-in office furniture/book cases for a 10 x 10 BR- - $5,300 from one and $6,600 from another (different plans, but it's the same particle board and laminate stuff!!). All of this made me reconsider leaving my 16th floor rent-stabilized apartment north of Bloomingdale's in Manhattan where 30 maintenance & 20 doormen (yes, all men) ran the place, to come here.
(3) Ultimately, you won't know until the work is completed or you hear about someone's experience. Recently, we bought a 15 feet Cherry tree, but the arborist (who was pasionate about his work) forgot to tell us to drown it with water for a while; leaves began to turn brown then shed about a week later and we're not sure whether it will survive; we know the arborist was really good, but he just left off this detail. Point 3, read the postings and learn from other people experiences and mistakes.

Good luck.

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Joined: Feb 15 2004

I have used Robert Hart for several things, Roof, siding, dryrot..he has been great. See ad this website.

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Joined: Mar 21 2003

If you give me a call at home, I can make some very good recommendations. We have had a lot of work done and are very happy with the people I can recommend. We are in Upper Lucas Valley. My number is 492-0342. Terry Bremer

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