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Five Ways to Earn a Gold Star in Home Repair

Jul 29, 2020 12:00:00 PM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in DIY Project, home improvement, projects, residential homes


Every weekend, there are guys and gals tackling a home project successfully. On the other hand, there are those who have no idea how to even change a light bulb. Oddly, it has nothing to do with being book-smart or having a degree, because some of the best and brightest in academia are unable to do simple tasks around the house. Now, before the baby boomers hop on the millennials claiming that this generation is somehow less talented and weaker than those who walked uphill both ways to school, there are also a lot of older people who are unable to fix things around the house.

The reason why some people are better than others when it comes to weekend projects is because they do not have a choice. Tight budgets and limited paychecks force millions of people to do projects themselves instead of hiring them out. The real reason why some people are better at home projects than others is their attitude. If you are doing a project out of necessity, you will encounter every roadblock and obstacle. Amateurs in home repair tend to believe nothing can go wrong, and it normally does anyways, while others approach the repair trying to gain the knowledge to perform the task to the best of their ability.

The number one way to earn a gold star in home repair is to devote some of the time you spend on the internet each day learning how to fix a current problem around your home. A couple of decades ago, amateurs making repairs around the home had to read directions, call a friend for advice, or figure it out through a trial-and-error process. Today, you can watch a step-by-step video—it is almost like cheating on a test.

Secondly, buy some basic tools. Tools separate the professionals from the amateurs, and they also make the task much easier. Here is the dirty little secret about tools—for most weekend warriors, inexpensive tools work just fine because a good tool is normally designed to last much longer, which is not a real concern for someone using a tool twice a year. Go to flea markets, garage sales, and going out of business sales to fill your toolbox. The wrong time to buy the tool is right when you need it. Be a weekly bargain hunter.

Third, before you tackle a project, map out your strategy. Waking up Saturday morning and deciding to replace the front door on hour house is not a good idea. Good luck in finding the door you want in stock. The best advice is to identify your project, gather the materials needed for the project, secure your tools, and plan a specific time when your total focus is on the project. Plus, if you buy a door from a custom door company, they can machine the door to minimize your work and need for tools. Poor planning will not earn you a gold star.

Fourth, be sure you can physically handle the project and arrange your extra help before you start. As we age, our mind says yes—but our body screams no. If you are a senior, do not try to handle projects that require a lot of lifting or climbing because a trip to the emergency room or morgue will cost more than hiring a professional. Plus, we all have that buddy who will work for beer if he is available. If you are handling something heavy and need an extra hand, ask for help and arrange it prior to your workday.

Finally, before you start any project, believe you can finish it. Most failed projects occur because of a lack of understanding of the complexity of the project or the homeowner lacks basic knowledge as it relates to construction and building codes. Just because you are the homeowner, the state of Florida does not give you a pass on subpar work or ignoring building codes. The standards for you are the same as an experienced general contractor. Before you tear down that load-bearing wall or cut a new window opening in the side of your home, ensure you have the ability, skills, knowledge, and building code information to finish the project. It is too late once a building inspector drops in on your project asking to see your building permit.

If you earn a gold star in home repair, not only will the work become easier, your popularity among your friends will soar as well as the money you save on each project.

Don Magruder is the CEO of RoMac Building Supply and host of Around the House.

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Check the Zoning before Buying or Building

Apr 1, 2020 6:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in projects, contractor, DIY home building, zoning


If you are thinking about buying property or building a structure in Lake County, the very first stop you should make before pulling your financial trigger is to the Planning and Zoning Department to see if there are any restrictions on the property, which limit its use and functionality. Unlike many rural counties throughout America, Lake County has a 2030 Comprehensive Plan, which was approved in 2010, and regulates what and where you can build on certain properties. The purpose of the Lake County Planning and Zoning Department is to protect the interest of its citizens by controlling what is built where.

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Building a Virus and Germ Resistant Structure

Mar 25, 2020 6:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in projects, contractor, DIY home building, virus protection


There is no doubt, the current coronavirus crisis will not be the last of its kind. Unfortunately, homeowners and commercial property owners will be dealing with viruses, germs, flus, and other outbreaks continuously. Sick structures through poor construction methods and design exist. Although there are construction methods, which can help make a structure resistant, they cannot make them free from biohazards. Humans are too good at carrying viruses, germs, and disease.

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Do Not Hire an Unlicensed Contractor

Mar 11, 2020 10:00:00 AM / by Don Magruder, CEO RoMac Building Supply posted in projects, contractor, DIY home building, construction materials, Hiring a Contractor


Throughout Central Florida, the recent number of arrests of contractors doing business without a license has been vast. Unscrupulous contractors who disregard the law combined with homeowners who only focus on the lowest price is a bad combination, which typically ends terribly. In the state of Florida, it is illegal to operate as a contractor without a license. It is also illegal to knowingly hire an unlicensed contractor.

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How to Save a Truckload on Building Supplies

Jul 12, 2017 2:01:16 PM / by FLHomeSupply posted in Insider, first-time homeowner, projects, remodeling, DIY home building, construction materials, replacement windows, house trim ideas, home improvement project


When I first started in the building supply business 35 years ago, one of my first great customers was a wonderful Catholic pipefitter who had nine children.  As you can imagine, money was tight in a family that size.  The main reason I remember this customer so vividly is that every time he entered the lumberyard he would ask, “What deals do you have today?”  He understood that it was not uncommon for builders and homeowners to make mistakes when ordering doors, windows, and building supplies.  Many times, these products would end up in the bargain bins of the store.  It took several years, but this customer eventually built a beautiful home that housed his wonderful family for about a third of the cost of a new home.   

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