11 Apr 2018

Top 3 reasons for outdoor lighting

There’s nothing quite like having a spacious and welcoming outdoor living space at your home; a place where you can relax or entertain guests. Whether you’re hosting a backyard barbecue, enjoying refreshing drinks on your patio, or hanging with friends around your fire pit, you’ll want to make sure your space is safe and well lit. Outdoor lighting fixtures are incredibly versatile, they can be aligned to almost any lighting need.

We at G&R Contracting believe that there are a few different reasons to invest in proper outdoor lighting for your home or office. Today, we’re counting down the top 3 reasons to consider outdoor lighting for your next home improvement project.

1. Outdoor lighting reduces crime and theft.

Many office buildings and workplaces have very specific rules about lighting that must stay on while the property is vacant. The reason for this is because over the course of history, people have learned that well-lit buildings offer a sense of maintenance and security. If a home or office building is lit, it gives the impression that people are there. But even if it’s obvious that no one is there, the impression that the area has a level of maintenance is often enough to deter would-be crime. It isn’t hard to put two and two together; to a crook, more lights equal more chance of getting caught.

According to the National Institute of Justice, well placed security lights can be the difference between a safe area and a crime ridden area. Street lights, college campuses and parking lots are all examples of proper use of outdoor lighting to reduce or eliminate crime.

But don’t take our word for it. You can check out the study on how lighting reduces crime at the National Institute of Justice’s website here.

2. Outdoor lighting adds functionality and safety.

There are two obvious benefits to adding lighting fixtures to your property. You can’t deny the wow factor that you feel when you drive by a home that has well placed landscape lighting to accent the architecture. Lighting can also add a level of functionality: The most basic types of lighting are walkway or path lighting. Walkway lighting can illuminate dark pathways that lead to doors – this is especially useful for first time visitors.

Deck and patio lights offer spot lighting that allow you to make use of your outdoor space after the sun goes down. It’s your property! Why should you not be able to make full use of it at night?

Regardless of if you’re planning an evening BBQ, or you’re just taking out the trash at night, exterior lights offer incredible security.

3. Outdoor lighting improves appearance and can increase property values.

A well planned and well executed lighting or landscape design can create increase property values by as much as 15-20%. The wow factor we spoke of earlier is called “curb appeal.” You can use strategic outdoor lighting to highlight walkways, lawns and other architectures to give the space a bigger feel, make it more aesthetically pleasing and in all of that, increase the overall value.

Bad lighting decisions or faulty electrical or lighting equipment can cause harm to you or your property. Before you dig, wire or install anything, make sure you have the know-how of industry experts to help you plan and implement your vision. What sets G&R Contracting apart is the proven history of expertly executed lighting projects, and our incredibly satisfied clients. Give us a call at (804) 360-2686 or fill out the contact me form and let’s talk about how outdoor lighting can work for you.


21 Mar 2018

For the Homeowner: Annual Maintenance Checklist

Most of us would rather not have to deal with home maintenance, but the reality is that homeownership is a year-round, full-time job. I’ve compiled a list of key home maintenance items to consider year round. Take care of them before they cost you big.

Spring Maintenance

No Winter lasts forever, and no Spring skips its turn. There’s no better feeling than feeling a springtime sun after a long winter. But when Spring comes around, its time to give both the inside and outside a once-over.

The Yard

Your first order of business should be to check on your yard. Give it a good raking to clear any leaves that lasted the winter, and lay down a thin layer of mulch to prevent any unsightly weeds from popping up. Spring is also a great time to reseed your lawn and eliminate any dead patches left behind from the wintertime.

It’s time to store the snowblower and break out the lawnmower. Remember that most hardware stores (Lowe’s) offer tune-ups for your lawn equipment. We recommend that you set your mower to the highest mode possible. Cutting your lawn too short can expose the grass’ roots and damage the yard.

The Trees

Earlier this year, we went through an unbelievable two days of high-speed winds. What we didn’t count on is the wind finding a few dead tree limbs and breaking them right off. Luckily none of them hit the house, but we did come home to find two giant branches laying across our driveway. A contractor or an arborist can run an inspection of your property and recommend which trees are healthy and which trees need to be trimmed.

The House

Be sure to take a thorough look at the outside of your home. Check the chimney for cracks or signs of failing flashing, inspect the roof for missing, bent or broken shingles and check the foundation for cracks or water pooling. Remember that catching maintenance problems early can prevent costly repairs later.

The Gutters

This is the thing that no one likes to do, but it’s important to ensure that your gutters are clean and draining water away from the house properly.

The Siding

Check for signs of peeling paint on the house. If you have vinyl siding or brick, you may want to consider a pressure washer to clear away any unsightly mold. Finally, check around the bottom of the house for weeds growing up and under the siding.

The Irrigation System

Now that winter is over, it’s time to pressurize your irrigation system and get your yard back in order. Be sure to contact your local contractor to get your irrigation system back up and running.

The Pool

If you own a pool, now is the time to prepare it. You’ll need to treat the water, change the filters and inspect the equipment before getting in the pool. Consider hiring a professional to safely take care of the pool for you. This could cost you an average of $250, but we think its better than any potential medical costs or the costs of repairing damaged equipment.

HVAC Systems

Call your local HVAC professionals to clean and service your compressor and system. The inspection can check for signs of damage or the need to recharge your system. Trust us, get this taken care of before the hot summer days and the HVAC techs are all booked for weeks.


Check your basement or crawlspace for any signs of water leaks, water damage or pipes in need of maintenance.

Pest Control

If you’re noticing ants, bees, snakes, raccoons, skunks, mice or an excess of squirrels or birds, be sure to contact your local pest control professionals. A lot of costly problems can be circumvented early by realizing that there is a potential for a problem.

Summer Maintenance

It’s been said about summer: if you’re not barefoot, then you’re overdressed. Be sure to keep up with summertime chores and you’ll have a home and yard that’s inviting and relaxing.

The Garden

It’s time to dig up weeds and plant your fruits and veggies. Set a routine to water plants and contact your local contractors to ensure your irrigation system is still in check. Remember that during hot summer days, your plants will need more water than in the spring.

HVAC Systems

If you took care of the tune-up in the spring, your system should be raring to go in the summer. Remember to regularly change your air filters on the intake, inside the home. This one maintenance tip can prevent a lot of unnecessary repairs later on.

Fall Maintenance

If each season is a painting, Fall is a mosaic of them all. There isn’t a giant honey-do list during autumn, but don’t let the beautiful weather let you fall behind.

The Grounds

After Spring, the second best time to plant shrubs and trees is early Fall. If you decide to do planting during the autumn months, be sure that they’re getting enough water. If you’re trying to keep your lawn well manicured, remember to remove the leaves as often as possible.

The Gutters

Speaking of leaves, make sure your gutters are clean and undamaged.


Now is a great time to get a professional to inspect the fireplace and chimney and prepare them for the winter months. Chopping your firewood now will give it time to dry out by the time it gets cold.

Windows and Doors

Make sure your windows and doors are sealed properly to prevent warm air from escaping. Caulking the doors and window frames is a simple and easy way to save money over the cooler months.

Dryer Vent

Clogged dryer vents are the cause of thousands of home fires each year. Make sure that you’re getting your dryer vents inspected and cleaned out by an HVAC specialist. These folks specialize in ductwork.

HVAC System / Boilers / Radiators / Gas

Now is the time to make sure that your heating system is tuned up, optimized and ready to heat for the winter. If you’re using a gas based system, be sure you’re topped off and ready to go.

Winter Maintenance

What good is summer warmth without winter to make you miss it? Winter is the time to hunker down and enjoy the comfort of the indoors.

Frozen Pipes

As it gets colder outside, there’s a potential of the water in your plumbing system freezing. As water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to explode. To prevent this, make sure that your house doesn’t drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit, and when the temperature is close to freezing outside, keep a faucet or two in the house dripping water.

Winterizing your Irrigation System

Contact your local irrigation system professionals to blow out any excess water from your pipes and prepare your system for winter.


If you own a backup power system, make sure that it’s fueled up and in good working condition. Check it regularly to ensure there’s no corrosion or rodent damage.

These are some of the major things that should be taken care of annually. The National Association of Home Builders conducted a study that showed how often other components of a home need to be changed. Make sure you give that good reading and keep it handy for the future.

For all of your home maintenance and contracting needs, be sure to contact G&R Contracting at 804-360-2686.

07 Mar 2018

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Damage to your Home from a Tree

Trees are beautiful, and some of the longest lasting things on earth. But they have their downsides. Falling trees and tree limbs are responsible for countless amounts of home and property damage.

Here are 5 things you can look out for to prevent it from happening to you:

1. Look out for dead trees.

It's not a matter of if the tree will fall, it's a matter of when. Dead trees are especially dangerous if located near homes or driveways where cars usually park. Keep in mind that even though insurance will usually cover the damage that a tree has on your property (or your neighbor's), it's your responsibility to make sure that the trees are maintained. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a tree is dead or if it just needs a shot of coffee. If you're noticing one of these guys in your yard, reach out to your local arborist. A tree professional can often inspect and test a tree to suggest the best course of action.

2. Keep an eye peeled for dead branches.

A tree may not need to be dead to have dead branches. A few days ago Richmond, VA experienced unbelievable winds. In addition to blowing around some debris, we lost about half of what we thought was a healthy tree. We're lucky it didn't hit anything except the yard (and barely missed the mailbox). Be sure to keep tree limbs trimmed back to prevent them from coming down on your property.

3. Keep an eye on your roof.

Tree limbs that aren't exceptionally long but are touching your home or roof can still be a major problem. As the wind blows the limbs, they can catch your shingles and begin to damage and even rip up your roof. Be sure to keep the trees around your home trimmed back. Thousands of Americans visit the hospital each year from roof and ladder-related injuries; if you aren't comfortable getting up on your roof, call a tree trimmer or arborist to take care of the job for you.

4. Notice leaning trees.

Even beautiful, healthy trees that are leaning too heavily can be concerning. Some trees have the capacity to lean in a particular direction (oak is a strong wood that often leans) but they should still be inspected thoroughly to ensure that they don't grow too large and lean too much.

5. Mushrooms at the base of your tree.

Mushrooms and conks can be signs of decomposing or rotting trees. They will often attack older trees, so it can be beneficial to get the tree and mushroom inspected. Usually, it isn't a problem, but it's always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Keep an eye out for these things. If you ever feel concerned, reach out to G&R Contracting at 804-360-2686.

** We don't actually remove trees but we can refer you to a specialist that we trust!

07 Mar 2018

So what is a contractor, really?

So what is a contractor, really? Construction projects, regardless of size, often have a lot of moving pieces. These pieces have to move together like a set of gears in order to get the job done right. From roofers, to painters, to carpenters, all of these people need to work together. To oversee the whole project, you need a contractor. You can almost think of a contractor as a manager for your project. So let's clear up any confusion. Let's talk about who a contractor is, what they do, and how you can hire a dependable contractor for your project.

What is a Contractor?

Contractors (also known as General Contractors) oversee a team of specialized individuals (also known as Sub-Contractors) to complete a project. In Virginia, contractors are classified by type A, B, or C; with type A allowing a General Contractor to take on the most costly of projects (we'll talk about this later). General Contractors are responsible for submitting to you a bid. This bid will spell out the total cost and timeframe for completing whatever project you're looking to have done.

Let's imagine that you're looking to have a house built (congratulations). A home is a complex project that requires many parts. You'll need to have the earth excavated, the foundation constructed, the framing built, the windows and doors installed, the roof installed, the siding applied, the electrical work completed, the plumbing completed... and the list goes on. Imagine trying to hire each individual worker to complete the job yourself. It would be a nightmare for you to call around to local businesses to hire each person to complete an individual part of your job. This is where a contractor comes in and makes your life easy. The contractor will have the connections to all of the sub-contractors to get the job done right, and in much less time than you could ever do on your own.

So what is a Subcontractor?

In the example above, we see that a contractor will offer you a bid to build your house. In the bid, we see that all the components of the home need to be installed separately; the framing, the windows, the doors, the roof, all of these are seperate jobs. Each person (or company) that handles one of the jobs of completing the entire house is called a sub-contractor.

Can I Just Hire any Contractor?

The short answer here is no. Virginia classifies contractors based on how qualified they are to complete a project. A class B contractor can only complete a project that's valued below $120,000 (and up to $750,000 a year, across all projects). This is fine for some projects, but if you're building a new house, you probably already know that $120,000 will only get you so far. Generally speaking, a class A contractor should be your go-to for large-scale or complex projects.

How Much Work can a contractor do?

That's a good question. According to Virginia:

  • A class C contractor may only do work on a project that's valued up to $10,000. They are also capped at $150,000 in projects yearly. These contractors are great for smaller projects, like bathroom remodels or painting jobs.
  • Like we discussed earlier, a class B contractor may only do work on a project that's valued up to $120,000 and they are capped at $750,000 a year. These contractors are great for medium sized projects, like kitchen remodels.
  • Finally, a class A contractor is unrestricted in how costly a project that they manage can be. They can be used for any projects, big or small.

Now you know what a contractor is and why you need them for your projects. A good contractor can be the difference between a complex project getting done in a timely manner, and a lot of unnecessary headache. Once you find a contractor that you love and trust, don't be afraid to call them for any of your future projects.


(804) 360-2686