Starting At The Bottom
Growing up in South Euclid, a suburb just east of Cleveland, I got my first bit of real experience young. I was 14, and after my family went 6 cold months without a water heater before scraping up enough to purchase a new one; I was tasked with installing it. Armed with little more than a torch and a how-to book, I managed to get it done. That same year I took a summer job cleaning up for a local contractor/handyman. I had a knack for the work and advanced quickly. I vividly remember the first full gut rehab I worked on. Standing on what was left of the kitchen floor of that bungalow in Bedford Heights. I could look through the skeleton of the interior walls and see the entire house from basement to attic. I could see light shining from every window as it illuminated bands of dust in the air. Something about the inner working of a structure fascinated me. With the constant hum of activity and smell of fresh lumber being cut, I was hooked.
Basement bar project designed by Arthur Duhaime
From Me to We
At 21 with nothing more than a van, some tools and a dream, I started Advantage Contracting ltd. That business over the course of nearly 13 years grew from just me, to a full fledged design/build/restore firm. We worked primarily in Cleveland’s Greater Heights Area & Geauga County. There were many struggles along the way, but through word of mouth we built a reputation for a high level of craftsmanship, solving challenging moisture intrusion issues, and completing alterations and remodels in older and historic homes. We were unique because we were able to tackle projects that required planning, permits, ARB, etc; but were still small enough to deliver personalized service to our clients.
Here we were re-pitching a flat roof to better manage water.
“You just solved our problem that 8 contractors before you couldn’t”
“You just solved our problem, that 8 contractors before you couldn’t” This is just one piece of feedback that I was privileged to receive over 20 years working with NE Ohio homeowners. I loved helping my clients solve problems with their home. I used a systematic approach to determine the cause, then would take the time to explain the issue and how we planned to correct it. Our clients appreciated this, and rewarded us with referral after referral.
Here we had to lift this portion of the home to replace the rotted structural components.
“Why didn’t my home inspector find this?”
More and more calls about moisture intrusion were rolling in. Over time I noticed a recurring question they would ask me “Why didn’t my home inspector find this? He came highly recommended” I didn’t have an answer, I could see the frustration they were going through. I didn’t know how I, as a contractor, could help. Many of these issues were obvious & readily apparent, how is it possible for an expert to miss them?