North Carolina State Home Improvement and Remodeling Contractor License Requirements

To continue on our series of what a state requires of a home improvement company before issuing a contractor license, we discover what North Carolina contractors go through.

To obtain a contractor’s license in the state of North Carolina, there are several requirements to be met. There are also three limitations. They are as follows:
1) Unlimited $150,000 no limit
2) Intermediate $75,000 less than $700,000
3) Limited $17,000 less than $350,000
All applicants must submit at least three letters of recommendation. These recommendation letters must be current. No letters older than six months will be accepted.

NORTH CAROLINA GENERAL CONTRACTOR LICENSE

To obtain a general contractor’s license in the state of North Carolina, the Licensing Board requires that each applicant pass an exam that will cover each of the following contracting areas:
 Residential
 Building
 Highway
 Public utilities
 Specialty license
 Fuel distribution
 Water and sewer lines
 Swimming pools
 Water purification and sewage disposal concrete construction
 Boring and tunneling
 Asbestos
 Grading and excavation
 Marine construction
 Insulation
 Interior construction
 Roofing
 Masonry construction
 Railroad construction
 Communications
 Electrical (ahead of point of delivery) metal erection

PLUMBING/HEATING AND FIRE PROTECTION SPRINKLER CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE

In the state of North Carolina, obtaining a Plumbing/Heating and Fire Protection Sprinkler Contractor’s license requires the approval of the State Board of Examiners of Plumbing, Heating, and Fire Sprinkler Contractors. There are three classifications of this type of contracting license; Class I, Class II, and Fuel Pumping license. There are different requirements for each one. They are as follows:

Class I- To obtain a Class I Plumbing/Heating and Fire Protection Sprinkler Contractor’s license, the applicant must have completed:
 A minimum of two years of experience in the plumbing, heating, and fire protection business (having spent half of the 2 years as a student in an accredited technical program)
A Class I license covers the fields of plumbing, heating, and fire sprinkler systems for all types of building structures.

Class II- To obtain a license as a Class II Plumbing/Heating and fire Protection Sprinkler technician, the requirements are as follows:
 A minimum of two years of experience in the field (having spent half of that time in an accredited technical program)
A Class II licensed Plumbing/Heating and fire Protection Sprinkler technician is qualified to work on plumbing and heating systems in single family detached residential dwellings.

Fuel Piping License- To obtain a Fuel Piping license, the applicant must have completed the following requirement:
 A minimum of one year of experience in that field with half of that time having been spent in an accredited technical program.
A Fuel Piping license covers installation of fuel pipes that extend from an approved fuel source which is at or near the area that supplies fuel to any systems, appliances, or equipment.

North Carolina ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR LICENSE

To obtain an Electrical Contractor’s license, the applicant must meet the requirements of the State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors. The licenses that they issue are as follows:
 Swimming pool bonding
 Limited
 Groundwater pump
 Elevator
 Intermediate: A bod of $25,000
 Unlimited: A bond of $75,000
 Low voltage
 Specialty
 Single Family detached residences
 Plumbing and heating
 Electric sign

The State Board of Examiners of Electrical Contractors has reciprocal licensing with the states of Virginia, West Virginia, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, and Alabama.

It is advised that all applicants check for additional municipal contractor license requirements. These requirements can sometimes vary from county to county.

New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor License Requirements

Have you ever wondered what a home improvement contractor in New Jersey must go through for licensing?

In the state of New Jersey, a home improvement contractor must be issued a license by the state before accepting any major home improvement jobs. This includes those who are in the business of home material sales as well. The following is a list of home improvement jobs that fall under that category:

 Attached floor coverings
 Kitchens
 Bathrooms
 Wall to wall carpeting
 Doors
 Cabinets
 Aluminum siding
 Insulation installation
 Doors
 Solar heating or water systems
 Patios
 Fences
 Landscaping
 Porches
 Central heating and air conditioning equipment
 Water softeners
 Purifiers
 Windows
 Terraces
 Sidewalks
 Driveways
 Garages
 Swimming pools
 Fire protection devices

In the state of New Jersey, some other niche contractor licenses have different requirements.

PLUMBING CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

To obtain a plumbing contractor’s license issued by the Board of Examiners of Master Plumbers in the state of New Jersey, the applicant must be over the age of 21 and pass a plumber’s exam. He must also obtain one of the following degrees:
 One year of plumbing work that has been approved by the plumber’s board.
 A Bachelor’s degree in sanitary engineering, mechanical, or plumbing service.

ELECTRICAL CONTRACTOR’S LICENSE REQUIREMENTS

To obtain an electrical contractor’s license in the state of New Jersey, the applicant must be able to pass an electrical contractor’s exam. To be eligible to take the exam, the applicant must be over the age of 21, have a high school diploma or a GED, and show proof of having completed one of the following requirements:
 A Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering combined with a minimum of two years of work experience in a plumbing business with a board-approved supervisor.
 A minimum of five years of experience in working to repair or install electrical wiring for power, heat, or light.
 A minimum of 8,000 hours of experience in working to repair or install wiring, and a minimum of 576 hours of an accredited plumbing class.
The state of New Jersey requires that all electrical contractors have their license renewed every three years. The New Jersey electrical contractor’s board requires that all licensed electricians carry a minimum of $300,000 bodily injury and property damage as well as $300,000 combined property damage and bodily injury insurance.

WELL DRILLER’S LICENSE

To obtain a well driller’s license in the state of New Jersey, the applicant must have a minimum of three years of well drilling experience be approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. The requirements are as follows:
Journeyman Well Driller
The applicant must pass a well driller practical exam that will cover the following topics:
 Geological formations
 Laws
 Well testing
 Health considerations
 Tools and equipment

Master Well Driller
To obtain a Master Well Driller’s license, the applicant must have completed all of the requirements of the Journeyman Well Driller’s license and have a minimum of two years of experience in a board approved well driller business.

Because a New Jersey contractor’s license requirements may differ from county to county, it is recommended the applicant also check for any municipal contractor’s license requirements that may be in effect.

Maryland Home Improvement Contractor License Requirements

The Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) implements and enforces state law related to home improvement contractors. The MHIC has established a set of requirements for licensing home improvement contractors to ensure that consumers can be assured that their jobs will be completed by competent and qualified individuals and firms.

There are a number of requirements an applicant must satisfy before obtaining a license. To qualify for a license as home improvement contractor in Maryland, they must prove they have at least two years of construction or home improvement experience and/or education. If applying as a corporation, the contractor must submit their Articles of Incorporation and Certificate of Good Standing. Applicants are expected to check with MHIC to ensure a specific trade name is available.

Additionally, the MHIC requires that applicants show financial solvency, based on their net worth, credit rating and size of their business. If financial solvency is not met, MHIC allows a two-year $20,000 surety bond for this requirement. Documentation required includes a copy of the last three months of bank statements, copies of vehicle titles and a printout of the Kelly Blue Book to show value. If real estate is listed as an asset on the financial statements submitted, an appraisal of the property values is required. A current and original credit report less than 90 days old must also accompany a license application.

Third, contractors must submit a certificate of liability insurance for $50,000 or more of general liability insurance that includes the name of the individual applicant and the company name, and designate the Maryland Home Improvement Commission as the certificate holder.

A contractor with any felony convictions or drug offenses committed after January 1, 1991, or any misdemeanors related to home improvement transactions must provide copies of all conviction records, a letter of explanation for each conviction and a letter of completion from the designated parole or probation officer. The MHIC will review this information as part of the application process.

Contractors must also pass the home improvement examination with a passing score of at least 70% to obtain a license. The examination includes questions on home improvement laws, safety regulations, payroll taxes, estimating and applicable Maryland laws. Test results are valid for two years.

A Maryland home improvement contractor license is valid for two years from date of issue.

Six Top Tips to Getting the Most From Your Home Remodeling Contractor in Massachusetts

Massachusetts has been a busy spot for home remodeling requests so far this spring, which may be a good sign that the economy is rebounding in the New England area. A good residential remodeling contractor can breathe new life into your home. Most can handle a wide variety of renovations that include anything from refreshing an aging kitchen or bath to adding and constructing a new room. As is the case with most home improvement and repair projects, a small amount of due diligence can eliminate misunderstandings and make sure you get what you want. The following six points are vital considerations before making your choice:

Experience Suited to Your Massachusetts Project

Whenever you are constructing a separate addition or remodel to your residence, make certain your Massachusetts contractor possesses the proper background and has completed comparable assignments previously. As much as this seems common sense, always make sure hire you don’t hire a flooring contractor to perform your entire renovation job. Their measure of experience is going to be restricted to ensuring your tile or wood floors are done correctly – not necessarily other kinds of construction.

However, a suitable home remodeling contractor will likely be a person who has practical experience supervising virtually all stages of construction from the basic foundation, to roofing, and interior finishing. If you are only seeking to have your home painted, a painting professional will likely be acceptable to complete this sort of work on your house.

List of Materials

Any sort of estimate you get from a licensed contractor needs to include a reasonably comprehensive list of materials, yet it will obviously be determined by the extent and difficulty of the project. The listing supplied by an individual adding a counter top in your kitchen will be significantly different that one a contractor putting in an additional room in your home would provide. In either situation, it is best to make certain you get a written summary of the supplies being used in your project.

Verify Massachusetts Insurance

This is a huge consideration and it must be asked early in the process and verified. Make sure you request proof of liability insurance coverage and worker’s compensation protection from the prospective contractor. The obligation to have liability coverage must be considered an unconditional requirement for every service provider, which means you will want to avoid anyone undertaking work on your residence without this. For most contractors, worker’s compensation insurance is required.

Always Get Local References

Any reputable contractor that does good work and has a favorable background should be able to present you with references from recent happy customers. Phone or e-mail these people to ask how their experience was, and if they would endorse the contractor.

MA State License

Depending on the type of work being performed, virtually all contractors must have some kind of state or county license(s). Obtain the telephone number and get in touch with the proper state or county board for proof of licensure and to ensure it is current. Many people advertise themselves as registered, yet not everyone has current credentials. If the contractor will not supply you with their licenses, it is a good idea to avoid doing business with them.

Deposits & Down Payments

Based on the extent of your project, the contractor may request a down payment before carrying out the work. Use caution so as not to pay an excessive amount upfront before any work is performed. 10% is generally sufficient to show your commitment to getting the work done. The outstanding balance should be disbursed during the remainder of the undertaking. This can be usually be determined by how big the project is and the costs involved. In the event the contractor needs to make large investments in supplies for your assignment, anticipate making staggered payments as the project progresses.

2 Modern, Do It Yourself (DIY) Kitchen Backsplash Ideas

Lately you’ve been thinking that your kitchen seems a bit dated. Although you dream about designing and installing a brand new modernized kitchen, like many people these days, you may not be able to afford a complete kitchen remodel. Well, you basically have two choices: You could just decide to live with it the way it is for now, or you could try an inexpensive do it yourself (DIY) update to bring your kitchen decor into this decade.

Before you start ripping up floors or taking down cabinets, it is important to understand both the costs and skill level required for the project you choose. Flooring and cabinetry can be quite expensive, even for the handiest DIY remodeler. If you are looking for a simple and inexpensive update, then these projects are probably best left for another time. However, a simple project such as updating the backsplash could be just what your kitchen needs to give it a whole new appearance.

Depending on your skill level and your budget, the materials and methods you could choose from to update your backsplash are seemingly endless. More traditional options would include materials such as ceramic tile or wallpaper. However, if you are looking for something more modern, perhaps glass tile or stainless steel would be your best bet.

Many modern kitchen backsplash designs use glass tile as a way to add an accent color with a bit of texture to the room. The tiles range in size from the very small (about 1 inch squares) to much larger subway tiles (about 3 inch by 6 inch rectangles). The larger tiles would work well if your backsplash is quite large. However, if you are working with a small space, the smaller square tiles would be your best choice. Either way, glass tiles would work well with existing wood or laminate cabinetry.

Stainless steel is another material that is very popular in modern kitchens. You’ve probably seen all of the newer appliances that are available with this finish. But if new appliances just aren’t in your budget, you could try updating your backsplash with this modern finish. Similar to glass tiles, stainless steel tiles are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. This option would also work well with existing wood or laminate cabinetry. Furthermore, as stainless steel is more neutral, it may be a better choice than colorful glass if your existing kitchen already has an extensive color palette

Either of these two options would be a great, inexpensive way to give your kitchen a fresh, modern look. However, whether you choose glass tile or stainless steel, the most important things to remember are to measure accurately before you purchase your supplies and to follow the manufacturers instructions for surface preparation and proper installation.

Also, be sure to shop around before you make your purchase. Since you’ll be doing the installation yourself, you aren’t limited to buying from expensive specialty stores. Check out the clearance aisles of larger home improvement stores, since you only need a small amount compared to someone tiling an entire floor or wall, you may find just what you’re looking for at a fraction of the original cost. Online discount outlets are always a good bet as well. Just be sure to read the fine print to make certain you understand what you’re getting, or if there are any hidden shipping or delivery charges.