Designing a new space

How to design a new space and what you should consider when creating a vision board.

Green Building

Ecofriendly construction products that can help save money and energy while also making your home healthy for your family.

Selecting A Contractor

Top mistakes that homeowners make when choosing a contractor for their project.

First Time Homebuyers

There's more to think about than square footage when you're debating about moving into a home, especially in this market


A money saving water preserving alternative to traditional landscaping.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Winter weather snow shoveling tip!

If you live a state that experiences snow like we do here in Colorado then you probably can’t stand shoveling snow, but there are more reasons to shovel your driveways and sidewalks other then safety and so you don’t have to walk through it. Un-shoveled snow can destroy your driveways and sidewalks! Have you ever wondered why your driveway starts to look like it is crumbling on the top and pitted and what causes it? It’s called "Spalling". Spalling is caused from ice freezing and unfreezing. As we all know when water turns to ice it expands and has the strength to break anything. Well your driveway is no different, it is a porous material that absorbs water, and then when it freezes it expands inside of the concrete and causes the concrete to chip and pit. The best thing you can do is shovel your driveway before anyone walks or drives on it, that way those areas don’t freeze. If you have Spalling on your driveway I bet that the damage is directly in line with your tires from your garage, because you forget to shovel before driving over and packing the snow that then becomes ice as you are at work all day, come summer your drive way will be damaged. An average driveway can vary from $6,000 to $10.000. There are also ways of resurfacing your driveway that can still cost a few thousand dollars. Long story short shovel your driveway!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

How to choose a contractor for your project.

So you’re ready to start a construction project at your home, and you have been seeking out the right contractor for your project. Unless you already have a contractor that you have worked with and you were happy with, then finding the right contractor can be a very stressful task. Let’s say you found a contractor but are not sure if they have the correct credentials for your project. Are they trustworthy? How long have they been in business? Once you’re done reading this post you will have the answers you need.

How do I find a contractor?

The absolute best way to find a contractor for you project is by referral. Has someone you know recently had work done to there home by a contractor, if so, were they happy with them, and the quality of their work? Was the contractor or the contact in the company knowledgeable, personable, did they seem to care about your home like it was their own? Did they stay within budget? Are they licensed? If so what type of license? Was the scope of work at you friend’s project similar to yours?

Let’s say you don’t know anyone who has done work with a contractor that they like. Now this is a little harder. Check the phone book. Check the better business bureau. Do you have a local or community paper?

Generally I have found that if you hire a company that spends money promoting themselves then they most likely spend money paying their own bills, and are more likely to pay the bills on your project.

Finding a contractor isn’t the hard part. Finding a good one is. Ask them all of the questions from above. Ask for references within the last year or two. Also ask for professional references ex: one of there sub contractors, or another general contractor. Contractors know other contractors in the same field and there is no better judge of quality than another contractor. Also ask them questions about the bad experiences that they have had with customers and or projects. Trust me we all have a few. A good contractor will be open with you about any problems that they have had in the past. It’s not the problem that they had that you should concentrate on its how or what they did to resolve it and ultimately make their customer happy.

Don’t feel pressured into using a contractor just because you got an estimate from them. Never pay for an estimate, if they want your business then it should be free, you wouldn’t pay for a catering estimate at your back yard barbeque same goes with your contractor. Ultimately trust your instinct if something is "fishy" about them or you feel that they are not being honest with you then don’t use them. There a lot more contractors out there and a lot of them are good honest trustworthy companies. Follow these guidelines and ask these questions and you will choose a great contractor for your project.


Monday, November 30, 2009

Tip of the day! (SHOWER MOLD)


In the last few years media has made mold out to be the very worst thing that could ever happen to you in your home. Trust me I could think of hundreds of worse things. Now don’t get me wrong mold can be a very serious, possibly life threatening problem. The key to preventing mold is Maintenance! Maintenance! Maintenance! Mold doesn’t pop up out of the blue. Now I could go on and on about thousands of different mold scenarios but lets concentrate today on shower mold.

First let me say that over the years I have redone about 30 shower enclosures. To re-do a shower surround you have to remove the existing tile/surround and the wall covering that it is attached to EX: drywall, Den shield, Durock.  Its not required by code to replace it, but I'll tell you that I have never removed a shower surround and not found some sort of mold. Even the very best correctly installed shower surround will weep (seep through the grout lines or uncaulked areas of the shower) over time if not maintained correctly.

If your shower looks like this its too late:

(Behind the drywall mold)

How to prevent mold in your shower:
• ReCaulk all 90 degree corners including where the walls meet the shower pan with an approved sink/shower caulking every two years or when you notice that the caulking is pealing. You can find this at any hardware store.
• You must scrape the old caulking off to properly recaulk any areas.
• Use a caulking that contains Microbann. Microbann is a product contained in many building materials that kills and prevents mold.
• Seal and reseal grout lines with a tile grout sealer. You can find at any hardware store. I recommend sealers made by Custom Building Products at Home Depot, or go to this link at Home Depot.
• Treat any existing mold with a mold killing product from your local hardware store.
• DONT TREAT MOLD WITH BLEACH!! Bleach only kills mold on the surface. Mold grows almost like a tree and has a root system that bleach cannot reach. Bleach is about 99% water and water helps mold grow.
• If you have any uncertainties, hire a contractor that is licensed and has references in this field. Mold contractors have to undergo a certification to treat mold so make sure you check you contractor for this.

Shower head mold

Check your shower head for mold.
Shower head mold looks like this:

The best way to treat mold in your shower head is to remove and submerge the shower head in a 50% white vinegar 50% water solution for about 15 to 30 min. and scrub with a brush.

For more on shower head mold check out this video from the Drs. show from today 11-30-09 here

About me and this blog.

Welcome to Question a Contractor!!

This blog is dedicated to help homeowners make the correct decisions about the contractor that they have or want to hire for the home projects, and to help you understand if they are doing it RIGHT!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Shaun Farrell. I have been in residential home construction and remodel for 11 years. I own a successful Colorado based residential construction company and I am an ICC certified residential general contractor. Most contractors are certified and or licenced in the county or city in which they routinely work or plan to work. The ICC accreditation is the company that writes the code in which contractors must follow. ICC does their own independent testing that nationally qualifies your license throughout the United states. The ICC allows any person to check the accreditation of a contractor with their agency. Feel free to check on me!! send me an email and I will provide you with a link to look up my licensure.

My reasoning for creating this website is to allow homeowner to accurately critique the contractor in which they choose. Ultimately helping you to avoid disaster, and to obtain the project of your dreams easily and without duress.

In my experience throughout the years I can tell you that about 30 to 50% of my business is correcting previous contractors mistakes. I aim to stop this by hiring the right company the first time!

Things you should expect from this blog:
*How to correctly draft a contract with your contractor.
*How to choose the right contractor for your job.
*How to insure that you job is being done correctly.
*How to determine if a permit is needed for your project, and the relevance and importance of that permit.
*How to determine if your project is finished up to industry standards.
*How to arrange a correct pay schedule with your contractor.
*Daily tips on how to make your home more valuable, energy efficient, how to avoid damage to your home, and how to annually maintain your home.
*And answer all questions that you may have.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

Contact Me

Questions, comments, rants, raves....
Fill out the form or email me directly or head to my business website!

About Me

So who is this contractor anyway?
Let me introduce myself, Shaun Farrell, the owner of 5280 Home Construction. I am a general contractor serving the Denver metro area. By day I run crews, tour building departments, make the homes and land of Colorado beautiful, and move mountains. By night I am a subcontractor for my wife attempting to keep up with the honey-do list while being super Dad to our rowdy toddler boys. Among many hobbies that I never seem to have enough hours in the day to participate in, I swing the golf club any chance I get. Construction and home building has been my life for 15 years now and I don't plan on stopping any time soon!

This is me

This is my company
5280 Home Construction is the result of a lifetime of hard work and dedication. We pride ourselves on the fact that about 85% of our business is referral based. The other 15% are usually repeat customers. Happy customers equal a happy contractor and keep us in business, a relatively simple business plan. From new home construction to residential renovations, investment properties to commercial tenant finishes we do it all and continue to find ways to innovate and accommodate all of our wonderful customers.

Want to know more head on over to our website If you live in the Denver area and would like to schedule a consultation for your new home or home improvement project we're more than happy to oblige, just check out our contact page!

Why do I do this?
I maintain a high standard of integrity and honesty in the industry which, unfortunately, is harder and harder to come by. I never steer our customers wrong and give them the same advice and treatment that I give to friends and family. Obviously what I do is working and I wish there were more "good guys" out there. Hopefully this blog and the info shared here enlightens a few people and saves them the trouble of a run in with the not so good guys and gets them the most out of their construction quests. As always it will remain an information hub on what's new and hot in the industry keeping all of us on our toes with the current trends.

What is 5280? Ah the most common question from our out-of-towners, 5,280 feet is the elevation of the mile high city of course! It's a normal slang term (fifty-two eighty) here but obviously sounds odd to those down below that aren't accustomed to the lack of oxygen.

Who is 5280 Lady?

I am the other half of that guy above and proud co-owner of the biz. I'd like to think I know a thing or two about this industry after living and breathing construction for close to 10 years now thanks to the hubby, so when I have spare time I'll share my wonderful insight with you lovely people. I make it my job to keep up with what's new so that we can bring the best of the best to our customers. I'm becoming an expert in all things "green" and I have a passion for design so you can expect to read all about the neat things I find here... I'll try not to bore you too often.