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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Ask the Builder: Beat inflation in your next building project

Building new or remodeling is complex. Tim Carter's checklists relieve anxiety. Each one can save people thousands of dollars.  (Tim Carter/Tribune News Service)
By Tim Carter Tribune Content Agency

If you have sought bids on construction work recently or even priced out materials for a DIY project, you know that a huge tsunami of price inflation wave is washing over the economy. You can’t afford to waste a penny on home improvement projects. As a way to counteract this trend, I have decided to gift you some helpful products that ensure you preserve as much of your money as possible.

About 18 years ago, my future son-in-law was in my office. He and I were going through the many incoming email questions I receive each day. You need to understand I had yet to fully grasp his level of intelligence. After about 15 minutes, he said: “Mr. Carter, you’re in the life-preserver business. Each one of the people emailing you is asking for help about a job gone wrong.”

His description of what I do each day, flinging flat doughnut-shaped flotation devices to people flailing in the frigid waters of failure, was spot on. I knew this from years of building and remodeling, as I was often called in to fix something another builder goofed up or sometimes asked to finish a project started by a wet-behind-the-ears and overly enthusiastic DIYer.

That’s why, early in my Ask the Builder career, I decided to create helpful digital PDF checklists, videos and ebooks to empower you to do one or two things: first, to easily understand at least one way to do the job right so you can spot the pro contractor, and secondly to help you to do simple repairs yourself. In both instances, the end result is that the job would be done right, not over. In fact, “Do it right, not over!” has become the motto that I place at the bottom of my newsletter each week.

Over the years, I’ve created more than 100 of these helpful checklists, videos and ebooks. My most popular one is “Roofing Ripoff,” an expose in which I explain why your asphalt shingles don’t last as they used to and what you can do to make sure your new or newer roof lasts for 40 or 50 years. Think of that: The next roof you install could be the last one of your life and maybe even that of the next owner of your home!

In a few moments, you’re going to have in your possession a free PDF copy of this eBook. I’m also giving you the following at no cost:

• My Linear French Drain 90-minute streaming video, your key to more wet basements, crawlspaces or soggy yards!

• My Bath Remodeling Checklist and Contractor Hiring Guide

• My Water Heater Replacement Checklist and Plumber Hiring Guide

• My Concrete Sidewalk, Driveway, Patio Specifications and Drawing

• My Kitchen Remodeling Checklist and Contractor Hiring Guide

• My Chimney Crown Repair Specifications, where you’ll learn how 99.99% of masons do it wrong!

• My Roofing Replacement Checklist and Contractor Hiring Guide, an amazing three-page PDF file

All of the above guides can save you thousands of dollars, perhaps tens of thousands of dollars. For example, if you have water leaking into your basement or crawlspace, you might get bids for many thousands of dollars to stop the leaks. What if I told you in most cases it can be done for just hundreds of dollars – or you could do it yourself?

How many nightmare stories have you heard from friends or neighbors about poor-quality roofing work? How would you like to find out quickly who the best roofer is in your city or town? My Roofing Replacement Checklist helps you spot the pro. The same is true for all the checklists I have.

Just about every homeowner has concrete outside in a sidewalk, driveway or patio. Did you know in many cases, the contractor installs it wrong? The Concrete Specifications you’re about to receive will ensure your new concrete lasts for generations.

Bath and kitchen remodeling is expensive. My checklists will help prevent nothing is overlooked as you plan. They also help you discover the best contractor. Would you think to stuff insulation around all the void space surrounding your new tub so the bathwater stays hot as you soak? Those are the kind of tips you discover in my checklists.

It’s time for you to get all of the above at no cost. Go to – type it carefully as you see it – and follow the simple instructions. Feel free to share the URL with all you know, especially on your social media channels. Let’s help as many as possible save big money in 2022!

Subscribe to Tim Carter’s free newsletter at Carter does livestreaming video at 1 p.m. Monday-Friday at