The Record Homescape 04-02-2020 - Page 3

P NORTHJERSEY.COM ❚ THURSDAY, APRIL 2, 2020 ❚ 3H HOMESCAPE / ADVERTISING SECTION Contractors in wait-and-see mode amid coronavirus By JOSEPH RITACCO HOMESCAPE I n business nearly 40 years, Bob “Woody” Faulborn, owner of Dumont-based Woody’s Plumbing and Heating, has never seen anything impact busi- ness quite like COVID-19. “The supply houses are won- dering if we’re still working,” said Faulborn. “The phone isn’t ringing, and everything is shut down. People are really shaken up by this.” Though home improvement businesses maintain “essential” status in the judgement of New Jersey leaders and lawmakers, local plumbers, electricians and other contractors have seen their workloads greatly reduced because of the coronavirus, as workers and customers alike are taking an appropriately cautious approach to home repairs and upgrades. Faulborn recalled a recent house call to repair a drain that was causing a leak. “The home- owners called us and assured us everyone at their house was well,” he said. “I went into the garage, put on my rubber gloves, took care of the problem and left. I barely saw them.” “You really can’t start a job without a permit,” said Faulborn, “but borough halls are closed, and inspectors aren’t working. You would only get so far in a job before having to wait. I have several bathroom renovation projects lined up that I’m unable to start.” While larger projects remain on hold for the time being, homeowners would be wise to perform simple routine maintenance to their plumbing PHOTO COURTESY OF GETTY IMAGES as a preventive Select plumbers are cautiously taking simple repair measure. Areas and emergency calls, but holding off on large projects. of emphasis, He added most plumbers would according to PlumbingSupply. like to make a few bucks because com, should include disassembling “the bills still keep coming,” but drain traps and removing hair and larger projects like bath or kitchen other debris from tubs, showers remodels present logistical problems. and sinks before full blockages occur, replacing bad washers or cartridges to remedy dripping fau- cets, and sealing gaps with fresh caulk to prevent water from get- ting behind walls and under floors. But Faulborn doesn’t recom- mend homeowners do anything more involved than performing simple maintenance, as they may make a plumbing problem worse. Larger residential projects that require electrical contracting services have also been put on hold at Clifton-based Monte Electric, Inc., said long-time owner Jim Montelbano, Jr., who is proceeding with caution for the time being. “We’re limiting our residential business to emergency, or ‘life safety,’ service calls,” he said. “Those would include boiler repairs and situations where homeowners smell smoke or see sparks coming out of an outlet.” He added his team, which includes four other workers, is wearing masks, using sanitizer wipes, staying six feet apart and abiding by the other general rules related to social distancing. He encourages customers to call with questions and does his best to walk them through minor issues like testing and resetting outlets. Most importantly, he wants to reassure customers that certain electrical issues they have are not dangerous or life-threatening. More complex jobs have been delayed, which of course puts a strain on business. “Our big- gest worry is financial,” said Montelbano. “Is everyone going to do their spring projects, like out- door lighting and pool work? A lot of homeowners use the refunds they get during tax season to do the home improvement projects they put off in the winter.” He added, customers have been understanding of the company’s reduced residential workload, as many of them are also exercising caution during this difficult time. “Hold tight,” he said. “We’ll be there when things get better.” Cabinets: stainless steel, too CONTINUED FROM PAGE 2H In addition to acrylic, Sterl’s company sells stainless-steel cabinets. “The stainless doors are always hollow over a medium- density fiberboard core,” Sterl explains. “Finish-wise, some stainless doors feature a horizontal or vertical grain, but most peo- ple choose a brushed swirl, non-directional pattern to hide scratches,” she adds. Stainless cabinets are quite durable, as well. Unlike wood, they won’t warp or crack in a kitchen’s often humid environment. If you like the sleek, modern appearance of this metal, but fear it might be too cold, mixing it as an accent with wood can soften or warm up a too-cool vibe. And as Sterl sug- gests, “Stainless steel may be combined with espresso or white cabinetry, or warm colors in between, depending on the look desired.” Again, like acrylic, the material can be pricey. “Real stainless steel is expensive,” Sterl notes, “so it is definitely for a high-end kitchen. But when it is used [just for] accent- ing cabinetry, you can get the look without as much cost. For another option to save on cost, you can use it just on cabinet fronts.” Whichever material or combination of materials you choose for kitchen cabinetry, make your selection wisely, in keeping with your budget and what pleases you from both a functional and aesthetic point of view. 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