How do you know if you are selecting the right contractor to take care of your heritage home restoration?

Salvaged interior mouldings ready for reuse

Salvaged interior mouldings ready for reuse

For someone like myself that works proudly in Vancouver’s heritage restoration & construction industry I have become very familiar with the wide range of ¬†great, decent and not so good construction general contractors that are taking on heritage work in the city of Vancouver. I see companies like our self, Extraordinary League Contracting, approaching heritage projects with skill, knowledge and respect. In contrast I see others that will promise you the world and deliver a botched restoration that in the end needs to be….re-restored, rehabilitated, or replicated with new materials. Here is a list of 5 questions you should ask your heritage restoration specialist to see if they are what they say they are and are well suited for your restoration project.

 

Q. Can I have a list of references of jobs you have completed that are like mine and can I drive by or visit any of those homes?

A. If your contractor can provide references that means they have currently taken on the type of work you are looking for, they have a good enough relationship with their old client to have you contact them and they are not afraid of you seeing their past work.

Q. What type of warranties on labour and materials do you provide with your service?
A. Standard labour warranty is 2 years, all materials should have their own warranties that probably extend any where from 5-30 years.

Q. What type of construction materials are you using for the job, are they period specific?
A.  Proper heritage restoration and rehabilitation work should be done with period appropriate materials, vertical grain Fir, Cedar shingles and siding, mortise and tenon joinery. No pine, no mdf, no vinyl!!! PLEASE.

Q. Is this how the siding, flooring, windows originally looked, how do you know?
A. Contractors taking on this type of work need to have a general understanding of heritage home types/styles that exist in Vancouver. Insider tip: If another heritage home on your block looks like yours – it may be able to give you a more comprehensive idea of what the historic defining features of your home are. Your contractor should know what materials and aesthetics are characteristic for the type and age of your home.

If you really want to have the best of the best working on your project you can ask…

Q. Does anyone in your company or crew have heritage carpentry or joinery accreditations?
A. There are credited certificate and diploma programs across Canada that provide training specific to this type of work.

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There are a lot of contractors looking for work out there but not all of them are suited to take on heritage restoration work. Do your own research on your home, do a back ground check and reference check on the contractor you select and hold them to performing restoration and rehabilitation work with knowledge, skill and respect. Extraordinary League would love to hear about your next heritage project. Check out our website and feel free to contact us for a consultation on your project.

Written by: Jacqueline Cannam