Contractor Ben Leslie shares his top carpentry tips
MOST COMMON CALLOUTS?
People call us to build and replace decks, create extensions and for general home maintenance. Demand has grown over the past couple of years as people are looking to improve their existing house as an affordable option. We also do a lot of first and second fix, cladding and eaves and quality single- and two-storey builds with Sarah Homes.
To maintain and prolong the life of your home, install verandas where appropriate. Verandas keep the weather elements off the exterior, which keeps moisture out. For example, doors can become sticky due to weathering. Your exterior surfaces under verandas will need less maintenance and stay looking nice for longer. To have a long-lasting deck, choose a good-quality hardwood and keep it regularly oiled to maintain a good finish and a long life.
YOUR FAVOURITE TOOL?
It would have to be my 1st Fix Paslode nail gun, which fits 75mm nails. It speeds jobs up when it comes to framing and construction decks. It usually takes between two and three days to frame up a two-storey house when using the nail gun. I find Total Tools in Lonsdale to be the best place for nails and gear.
BEST THING TO ASK?
Before contracting a tradie, ask to see references and examples of work completed. Good tradies will have happy customers. When you're considering a design for your renovation or pergola, ask the tradesperson how it will actually look on your house - is it going to match in? A lot of homeowners choose something without considering how it will blend with their existing house and the end result may not be how they thought. When building a new home, there are a lot of things you can talk to the builder about before beginning construction. For example, are they planning on running the eaves into the windows or leaving some brickwork in between? If you're planning on adding a pergola down the track, you don't really want to hang a beam off a fascia because the wind loading on the fascia can pull the eaves out.
BIGGEST MISTAKE PEOPLE MAKE?
Not following council guidelines when completing DIY work, and having the heartbreak or stress of negotiating to keep a structure. Always check with council and a knowledgeable tradie will be able to guide you on this.