Remodeling Tips


  • Decide in advance where you'd like installers to store their tools. 
  • Dust! Theres just no way to avoid it. If you have a fish tank or electrical equipment in close proximity to the workspace, make sure they are well covered. 
  • Use plastic sheeting and tape to seal off doorways into other rooms. 
  • Move all pictures, mirrors, and furniture away from the walls of adjacent rooms. Vibrations from construction could cause damage. 
  • Don't forget about your pets! If there isn't an area in your home to keep them safely away from construction, especially during certain phases, it may be the perfect time to treat your pet to a vacation at the kennel or a play date at a friends home. 
  • If you are installing new cabinets, before they arrive choose a safe, enclosed area for your cabinets and appliances to be delivered to. The garage is generally a good location. 
  • Kitchen remodel? As a fond farewell to your old kitchen, spend some time in it. Cook family favorites and throw them in the freezer youll thank yourself later! 


  • Pack up the room well before the remodeling beings. While its a great time to spring clean your shelves, dont forget to label your boxes well. This will make the unpacking process a lot easier.
  • Items that are fragile should be marked accordingly and stored in an area away from the construction. 
  • If youre remodeling your bathroom, pretend youre going on a trip keep hairdryers, toothpaste, and face wash accessible. 

Kitchen Remodel

Keep Eating 

  • In the weeks before the work begins, keep a list of all the restaurants you've been meaning to try. When the microwave gets old, your list will come in handy for a quick escape! 
  • Plan a location outside of the remodeling area to act as your temporary kitchen. Make sure that it includes: 
  • A refrigerator. Small, dorm-type units often work best and often have freezer spaces for storing frozen dinners. 
  • A microwave. Don't forget to stock up on microwave-safe dishes and microwaveable meals. 
  • A kitchen sink. Consider where your water source will be in relation to your temporary kitchen. Stock up on bottled water. You may need to wash dishes in the bathtub, so make sure you keep cleaning supplies, trash bags, and dishtowels handy. 
  • The coffee maker. Keep filters and coffee close at hand. 
  • Utensils. Don't pack away everyday items like can openers, sharp knives, and bottle openers.
  • A dining area.  Set up a table for eating and food preparation, preferably near your microwave and refrigerator. 
  • The essentials. Tell your kids you're picnicking. Use paper plates, napkins, and disposable silverware. Ordinary items like condiments, cereal, and salt and pepper should be easily accessible. 

Building Green

Building Green

Cal Coast Construction will work with you on your 'Building Green' project.  We can help you find environmentally friendly materials and show you ways to save money.

Home Tips for Green Living


10 Tips to help save money and keep the environment clean...

  1. Use Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs (CFLs). CFLs are a big energy saver. Changing five of the most frequently used light bulbs in your home/workplace can save $100 per year on electric bills.
  2. Program your thermostat to reduce energy use when you are not at home or are asleep. In the summer, set the A/C at 75° or higher and in the winter set the thermostat at 65° or lower.
  3. Plug air leaks around windows, doors, A/C, and other wall penetrations. Plugging those leaks with weather stripping or caulking is a relatively simple task.
  4. Be sure to clean A/C filters and tune up heating systems regularly.
  5. Choose ENERGY STAR appliances. Your energy bill can be reduced by $50 or more per appliance.
  6. Reduce water use and groundwater pollution by incorporating native plants into your landscaping. Native plants have evolved for eons and adapted to local soils and climate. They will thrive with minimal care and will need less water, fertilizer, and pesticides.
  7. Buy locally produced products. This reduces the amount of fossil fuel needed to transport the product to market. It also reduces the amount of plastic, and paper packaging. Buying local reduces consumption of valuable natural resources. It also supports the local economy.
  8. Use low VOC (volatile organic compounds) products to reduce interior air pollution, including low VOC paints and cleaning products. You can make your own low VOC cleaning products from normal household materials like baking soda, vinegar and borax. VOCs are emitted as gases from certain solids or liquids. VOCs include a variety of chemicals, some of which may have short- and long-term adverse health effects.
  9. Choose wood products from sustainably managed forests, such as those certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FCS).
  10. Make different transportation choices carpool, walk, bicycle, train, bus, and fuel-efficient car.

If you are considering incorporating some of the latest building green technology into your home remodeling project, we would enjoy becoming your contractor. Please contact us to bid on your project. 

Hardi vs. Wood Siding

Hardi vs. Wood Siding

Here are some good questions to ask if you are considering siding:

  • Is HardiPlank better than wood siding?
  • Which siding is better to use for my house?
  • What siding is more termite resistant?
  • Can I install siding myself?
  • What different types of siding are there to choose from?
  • I am buying a house, should I have the siding inspected first?
  • What is better, siding and stucco?
  • How much does siding cost?

Below Are Some of the Great Hardi Didings that We Use:

Products / Exterior

HardiePlank® Lap Siding

HardiePlank® Lap Siding is the most popular brand of siding in America and can be found on over 4 million homes. With its strength, beauty and durability, HardiePlank® siding enhances and protects homes in all kinds of climates.
HardieShingle® Siding

HardieShingle® siding has the same warm, authentic look as cedar shingles, yet it resists rotting, cracking, and splitting. It's beautiful as a primary siding or as a complement to other styles of James Hardie® siding. Our shingle siding panels come in a variety of decorative edges, and expedite installation in larger areas. 
HardiePanel® Vertical Siding

For applications that call for vertical siding, HardiePanel® vertical siding is equal to our lap siding in value and long-lasting performance. Because of its structural strength, HardiePanel siding may be used as a shear panel. When combined with HardieTrim® planks, it can also help you achieve a board-and-batten look. 
HardieTrim® Boards

Our fiber cement trim and fascia add the finishing touch to a beautiful, lasting James Hardie home. They provide unmatched durability in corners, columns, windows, rakes, and friezes.
HardieSoffit® Panels

James Hardie pre-cut soffit panels eliminate the need for separate box or strip vents and minimize the need for cutting. HardieSoffit® panels are available vented or non-vented, in a range of pre-cut sizes. 

Colorplus® Technology

Take advantage of the ColorPlus® Technology to get the look you want without the maintenance. Find out which James Hardie® Siding products with ColorPlus® finish are available in your area.
Artisan® Exterior Design

This new architectural grade line from James Hardie features Artisan® Lap and Artisan™ Accent Trim products. Backed by 15 years of research and development, Artisan Lap delivers. Currently available in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Oregon, Washington, Lake Tahoe, Northern California, Minneapolis, Denver, Montana, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.


If you are buying a home with hardboard siding, have it professionally inspected. Caulk and paint any areas that could allow moisture absorption, especially the bottom edges. Remove joint clips and/or strip caulking at joints and brush coat the gap between boards then recaulk or replace clips. Fill all overdriven nail heads with caulk, and paint. Find out from the seller when the last complete paint job occurred. If the paint is original and the home is more than 3 years old, plan to repaint soon! 

Hardboard Siding - WARNING!

Hardboard siding has come under intense scrutiny over the last few years, due to manufacturing deficiencies by certain producers, and partly due to installation deficiencies. Many manufacturers are stopping production due to lawsuits.

This article will examine the common installation problems. If you want to research the manufacturing problems and lawsuits, go to the "Home Claim Services" website at Home Claim Services. You will also find information regarding all class action lawsuits against manufacturers in your state.

In my experience, hardboard siding is rarely installed according to the manufacturer's specifications, and this is obviously a contributing factor to siding failures. There are two primary aspects of siding installation - the physical installation itself (cutting and nailing) and the finishing (caulking and painting) of the product. Hardboard manufacturers have very clear specifications regarding both aspects, but many contractors disregard this vital information.

Most hardboard is warranted against product defect for 20-25 years. However, if you have siding that is not performing as expected and file a warranty claim with the manufacturer, you may find that the warranty is VOID, due to improper installation and/or finishing! Since problems don't usually manifest untill several (3-5) years after installation, the builder's one-year-warranty will have expired, and your only recourse may be to sue the builder for negligence (assuming the statute of limitations hasn't expired!).

The ideal situation is to monitor the installation and have deficiencies corrected as they occur. This is where your friendly home inspector can be of assistance. But what if you are buying a resale property with hardboard? Again, a qualified inspector can identify deficiencies and any related damage, and propose remedial action needed. I have seen many homes where the siding is beyond repair and the replacement cost would be around $10,000. The moral of the story is "Don't skimp on the cost of a quality inspection!"

Moisture is the enemy of hardboard siding. Almost all installation deficiencies allow exposure to moisture, resulting in absorption and subsequent degradation of the material. Here are some common defects:

Defect #1 - Overdriven nail heads. Nail heads should be driven to where they butt tight to the siding or are flush with the siding face. If the nail head is "sunk" beyond flush, the siding fibers are exposed which will allow moisture absorption. The siding then swells out beyond the nail, creating more access for moisture and the situation goes from bad to worse. If the nail head is sunk less than 1/8" it can be caulk filled and painted. More than 1/8" requires caulk fill and a new nail adjacent to the overdriven nail.

Defect #2 - Thin/missing paint. Most builders spray paint a house. Unfortunately this technique results in less paint applied than the specifications require. Even for pre-primed material, at least 2 spray coats are necessary to achieve proper coverage. When was the last time you saw a builder apply 2 coats? That is why builder homes tend to need to be repainted after 3-5 years, whereas a quality paint job should last 10 years! Also, the bottom edges of lap siding tend to receive little or no paint, especially on the lower courses since the painter is spraying downward at this point. To cover those bottom edges properly would require hand brushing, but again this is rarely done. Water tends to hang on these bottom edges and gets sucked into the siding through micro cracks in the material. The result - swollen and decomposing siding! Inspectors should walk along the lower rows with a mirror. You will be surprised how the bottom edges of the lower 3 or 4 rows is different in color than the higher rows!

Defect #3 - Unpainted cut edges. When siding boards are installed whole (uncut), the end edges are generally unpainted, but since most hardboard comes pre-primed there is some protection. Ideally these ends should be painted prior to installation. However, the bigger problem occurs when the boards are cut to fit. This leaves an un-primed edge that is thirsty! Caulking and/or joint clips help but don't eliminate the problem. Even worse is where a sloping section of roof frames into an upper wall. Here the slope-cut boards are almost never painted on the cut edge, and at a very wet location!

Defect #4 - Deficient Clearances. Compounding the slope cut problem at roof/wall junctions is the fact that most builders provide too little clearance from the bottom of the siding to the roofing material below. Most manufacturers require 1-1/2" clearance, but 0" to 1/2" is a typical deficient installation. The other common clearance deficiency occurs at the bottom row of siding adjacent to the ground. Building Codes and hardboard manufacturers require at least 6" clearance (8" in some areas), but this is frequently violated in the name of providing good drainage away from the house. The real problem is that the house was sited too low on the lot. This location is doubly sensitive since the bottom edge of this bottom row rarely gets painted, as previously mentioned.

Other Defects - There are many others but the preceding citations represent the major defects that typically result in moisture related damage to the siding and are therefore, in my opinion, the most important defects to be aware of.



Are you considering doing a home remodeling project or room addition and acting as the Owner-Builder for the project? This is your legal right as a property owner. Below are a few things to consider before taking on the job. 

As an Owner-Builder you will be responsible for all of the following and much more:

  • Pulling all of permits or having each Subcontractor pull their own.
  • Understanding the inspection process. 
  • Dealing with inspectors 'face to face' for inspections.
  • Understanding construction terminology and having basic knowledge of the construction process. 
  • Finding good Subcontractors for each trade.
  • Scheduling subcontractors and keeping the project on schedule. (This can be difficult and if done incorrectly will often result in work being torn out and redone at your expense.)
  • Finding a deputy inspector for concrete pours and epoxy hold-downs.
  • Knowing when to order materials and when to have them delivered.
  • Negotiating up to 10 contracts (instead of just one with your General Contractor).
  • Keeping the job clean, safe, and compliant with OSHA standards.
  • Overseeing all plan revisions that are ordered by the city building inspector.
  • Addressing and paying for unanticipated damages. 
  • Ensuring the completion of work NOT included in your Subcontractors' duties.
  • Paying taxes and workers compensation insurance for labor hired.
  • Containment of yard run-off. Offenses can incur fines up to $75,000 by the State of California.
  • Hiring licensed contractors. The California State License Board (CSLB) has stiff penalties, including jail time, for hiring an unlicensed contractor. The CSLB often visits job sites to check pocket cards. 

The intent of the information above is not to scare you, but to inform you that acting as a Owner-Builder is a greater undertaking than simply hiring people to do the work for you. There is significant liability and responsibility involved. 

Things to consider before you get started as an Owner-Builder:

  • What is an Owner-Builder?
  • How do I act as Owner-Builder?
  • Does an Owner-Builder need to have insurance for the job?
  • What should I do first?
  • How do I stock materials?
  • What kind of Subcontractors will I need for my project?
  • When must I pay each Subcontractor?
  • Should I sign all of the contracts before I start, or as I need them?
  • What if a Subcontractor tells me 'that was not included in the price'?
  • What do I do when the inspector writes a correction notice and the Subcontractor says that it is not part of his job?
  • What is a Release-of-Lien?
  • When is the job legally finished?

GOOD NEWS: If you can handle all of the above situations you are ready to become your own Owner-Builder. If it is done right you can save about 20% or more on your project. 

BEST ADVISE: Take your project in baby steps. Research your project, have an attorney review your contracts, and perform a background check on all contractors you are going to hire. Don't sign all contracts right out of the gate; sign as you go. Once the contract is signed, you are legally responsible to pay that contractor the FULL AMOUNT. 


Don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation.

Construction Process

Construction Process

We understand how stressful a construction project can be, especially in your home or place of business, and we are very conscious of this throughout the process. Your home will be treated with care and respect. We have found that constant communication among all members of the project team is one of the most important facets to a successful project. We emphasize ongoing communication by making ourselves available to our clients at all times.

  1. Once plans are finalized and have passed the permit process, we will determine the actual cost of the project, coordinate all sub-contractors and vendors, and produce a timeline for your project.
  2. A contract will be signed and a starting date set.
  3. One of our experienced project manager/superintendents or lead carpenters will be assigned to your project and will be responsible for all day-to-day operations and communication from the start of construction to completion.
  4. We schedule weekly meetings with all construction team members and clients to discuss the project status and other topics that might arise during the construction process. This enhances not only the quality of work completed but also aids in an efficient and seamless experience for our clients from beginning to completion.

Dry Rot

What is Dry Rot? 

Dry rot is the decay of building timbers used in the construction of wooden structures.  Most of the homes in this area are constructed using wood. Even though homes may have brick, stucco, or stone exterior walls, the basic structure frame is made of wood. Trim on most houses is also made of wood.

Dry rot is caused by a fungus which changes the composition of the wood, making it brittle. Over time, the decay causes instability and eventually the collapse of the structure. The dry rot fungus requires an elevated moisture content of 28-30% in order to start growing on the wood. The name "dry rot" can be confusing as it implies decay occurring without the presence of moisture. Dry refers to the dry wood used in construction as opposed to wet wood - the wood in living or newly felled trees.

How to Fix Dry Rot

The first step in handling dry rot is to correct the condition that led to the initial growth of fungus by eliminating the cause of dampness in the area and increasing ventilation to the site. Letting the affected wood dry out will kill dry rot since it is a fungus and requires water in order to live and grow.

Next, wood that has been weakened by fungus growth should be repaired or replaced. 

San Luis Obispo's climate is a nursery for dry rot. Many times dry rot can be found in the structural members of buildings and decks. If handled early, repairs can be made quickly and without requiring partial or complete demolition and re-construction.  

Signs of Dry Rot


Water spots on walls, ceilings, or carpets; discoloration of vinyl floors, carpets, or the shelf under the sink; warping of flooring (usually in kitchen or bathroom); wrinkling, sagging, or crumbling of sheetrock on the walls or ceilings.


Warping or swelling of siding; bubbling or lifting of paint; ends of fascia boards are soft or crumbling; any wood with areas of softness where a screwdriver can be pushed in easily. 

CAL COAST CONSTRUCTION has years of experience handling cases of dry rot in the most cost-effective and efficient manner possible.