Basement electric breakers

3 May

Code requires Arch Fault breakers throughout the house with GFCI’s in bathrooms, kitchens, and a GFCI in unfinished storage or utility rooms in basements. If you have floor coverings in your basement then Arch Fault is all that is required because the floor covering keeps you from being grounded to the concrete floor.

Good Guy Home Improvements only installs GFCI breakers in basements regardless of floor coverings. The cost to upgrade from Arch Fault to GFCI breakers is just a few dollars but you will never have to worry about you or anyone getting shocked because your basement floods and your standing in water let alone standing on tile with your bare feet and something goes wrong plugging something in.

Just one more thing we do at Good Guy Home Improvements that is above code not only for our customer’s piece of mind but ours as well. If you would like an estimate for finishing your basement in the South Dayton Ohio area email me Joe Taulbee at or call me directly at 937-689-1635

Process for renovating a home.

21 Jun

So if you buy a house with the intention of gutting it and renovating the whole thing let me help you out with the process. Everyone is always excited from the get go but once the demo gets going things easily get overwhelming. There is usually a push to get things done which inevitably leads to things getting done in the wrong order which creates much more work. If you are trying to general contract everything yourself it is really difficult to do if you aren’t already skilled in everything that needs to be done.

Each trade is usually only concerned with what they have to do especially if that is their specialty and they don’t know how to do anything else. They can create more work for the next person if they don’t know how to do the next person’s job. So having a skilled general contractor around can make things go smoothly.

Step one: Rent a dumpster and have it in the driveway. Make sure you know where the main water shut off is and which breakers turn off what in your electrical panel. If possible turn off the HVAC system so it doesn’t suck all the nasty dust in from the demo. Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a proper dust mask. Remove everything that is getting replaced. Don’t get all crazy with sledge hammers and saw zaw’s like you see on t.v., you can easily injure yourself or someone around you. Be methodical about removing stuff so you don’t damage framing, wiring, plumbing, HVAC, that you don’t want to replace. Get everything out of the house, then sweep up the floors so each trade that comes in has a clean work space. Make sure all nails and screws sticking out of walls are either removed or driven into the walls not only for safety reasons but so the drywallers or finish carpenters don’t have to deal with them.

Step two: Structural repairs, roofing/gutters, interior framing, windows and siding in that order.  Electric, HVAC, and Plumbing are next but not in that specific order and schedule them so they aren’t working on top of each other. Get rough inspections on framing, Electric, Plumbing, and HVAC, then insulate and get that inspected if required.

Step three: Drywall, these guys should be all by themselves.

Step four: Doors, cabinetry, finish carpentry, and flooring. Trim gets installed before carpet but after everything else so that it sits on top the floors flush.

Step six: Painting, these guys should be all by themselves.

Step seven: Finish Plumbing, Electric, and HVAC. Get final inspections on these as well as final building.

Step eight: Clean everything and move in or sell it.

Stay calm, don’t get in a hurry or do these out of order. It will cost you more money and time if you don’t follow this schedule. Good luck! Joe Taulbee (937-689-1635)

Fire blocking/stopping a basement to be finished.

16 May

So I blogged about this 5 years ago but I do it a little different today. I still use drywall every 10 foot from floor to ceiling on all my exterior walls and then fire blocking spray foam on the seams but I started using rock wool everywhere else about a year ago. It is just much easier and faster to use rock wool. You will pay a little more but after you do it you won’t mind the price increase.

I haven’t failed a fire blocking inspection in about 5 years but it is easy to miss a spot even if you know what you are doing, especially around soffits. Some counties here in Ohio require ceiling coves blocked in between finished rooms and unfinished rooms so better to just go ahead and block them. Keep a can of spray foam on hand and a couple extra batts of rock wool for your inspection just in case you miss something that way you can take care of it while the inspector is there and not have to schedule another inspection.

The instructions for fire blocking will be on your permit and I will include mine for Montgomery County Ohio with this blog in a couple days as well as some pictures and maybe a video. My inspection is tomorrow May 17th 2018. It takes us 5 weeks start to finish to complete a 1000 square foot basement with a bathroom and the cost is $30,000 give or take. Estimates are free and you can reach me Joe Taulbee at 937-689-1635 or to schedule an estimate!

Power washing/ Soft washing

4 May

Roof before and afterSoft washsurface cleanerMost people don’t realize that those dark stains on their roofing shingles can be cleaned off and that those stains are mold and algae that is shortening the life span of those shingles. Good Guy Home Improvements can use a washing system known as soft washing to restore your roofing shingles back to their original color, clean of all mold, algae, moss, and debris that is destroying the roof and potentially creating leaks in the future.

We use a very low pressure high volume pump that sprays a water/chemical mix on the roof. It is environmentally safe and extremely effective for cleaning roofing, siding, brick, decks, lawn furniture, fencing, etc.. Basically anything that has mold, algae, or moss on it. That green stuff growing on your decking is algae and it will cause your wood to rot prematurely.

We can clean your concrete and paver driveways, patios, and sidewalks using a surface cleaner that has a different pump that has high pressure and medium volume. Most of the time that is all that is necessary to get them clean but in some cases chemicals and heat is necessary.

It is preventive maintenance prolonging the life of your home products and keeping everything looking as it should. Whether you are looking to sell your home or just simply taking care of it and wanting it to look good you should look into having these services performed and our estimates are free. You can contact me Joe Taulbee at 937-689-1635 or email me at to set up an estimate!

Choosing a contractor to finish your basement.

17 Apr

I previously blogged about everyone claiming to be the best, most professional, most skilled, etc.. Every contractor has to try and differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd in their advertising. It is easy to judge nowadays  with google reviews, the BBB, references, etc.., but here are a few ways I believe Good Guy Home Improvements stands out from the rest of the posers out there in Dayton Ohio.

1.  We don’t take any money up front. We have been doing this for 12 years and we aren’t broke so we don’t need your money to buy material. You don’t write the first check until your basement is completely framed. This way you get to see us work and check out the quality before paying anything.

2.  We frame up your walls 16 inches on center even though 24 inches is all that is required by code unless a wall is load bearing. I would prefer it that way in my house so that is what we do in yours. If you want to reduce cost we can frame your walls 24 inches on center at your request.

3. We use cement board behind tile on bathroom walls. Moisture resistant drywall is all that is required by code but mold will eventually grow on it so we only use cement board.

4. All the baseboard trim and casing we install is real wood. We don’t use MDF at your expense just to make more money off of you. MDF is like cardboard and if it gets wet it will swell up and be ruined. Once MDF is installed and painted you can’t tell the difference from wood until it gets wet then you will know you got taken.

5. We spray paint your doors and trim instead of brush and roll for a smooth fine finish without those brush and roller marks.

6. We finish off our fire blocking with actual fire blocking foam, once again surpassing code. Instead of trying to slow the spread per code we try to actually extinguish any flame by starving it from oxygen from the get go.

7. We don’t use nails in our drywall, only screws so you won’t have a bunch of nail pops in your walls 6 months after we have left. Screws will make pops as well but no where near as many as nails.

8. I always steer my customers  to nylon carpet instead of polyester. Nylon is softer, will last much longer and wear much better than polyester. It is more money but you don’t have to spend that much more to get nylon.

9. We give you a detailed estimate line by line and you can hire us for any line item. We can also do your basement in stages. The permits are good for one year once they are pulled so if we do your basement in stages and say it doesn’t get finished within that year we would have to pull them again but it would just be a few hundred bucks.

10. I do get under bid quite a bit by other companies but I don’t get beat on quality. Most companies don’t do what I have mentioned above and most don’t take pride in their work. We want your money too but not at the expense of our quality and reputation! Below are a couple pictures of the quality of our work.

Our estimates are free and you can contact me, Joe Taulbee at 937-689-1635 or email me at to set up a meeting in Dayton Oh. Thank you for reading my blogs!


Basement finishing materials according to Good Guy Home Improvements LLC

6 Mar


Should you use metal studs or wood studs framing a basement? Metal costs more for material, rusts with humidity, and is not as solid as wood, but it isn’t flammable. I prefer wood, I like a solid wall, it will last a very long time and if properly fire blocked won’t catch fire.


R-13 floor to ceiling on all exterior walls is code. If you are worried about mold from moisture in the wall you can install 1/2 inch foam board on the backs of all exterior walls and that will keep the wall completely dry. If you have a water issue get it fixed before you close it up. You can use rock wool on the ceilings if you want sound dampening.


14 gauge is all that is necessary for a basic basement.


Copper, PEX, and CPVC are all fine and will last a very long time. Vent to the outside whenever possible on your drains instead of mechanical vents.


Pretty standard, just make sure you add a 4 inch fresh air vent for your utility rooms if you don’t already have one for gas furnaces and water heaters.


-Use cement board behind tile in bathrooms, other than that just use regular drywall. You can use 5/8 on the ceiling for sound dampening or quiet rock for sound proofing. Don’t spend the extra money on moisture resistant drywall because if you have a water problem it won’t matter what you installed it will grow mold and get ruined.


You don’t need to spend a bunch of money on interior paint, exterior is a different story. It will last forever with Behr, Valspar, Ben Moore, Sherwin Williams just don’t let them up sale you on their high end stuff.


-Hollow doors are fine but for trim don’t try and save money by purchasing MDF which is basically cardboard. Always use real wood. You will spend a little more but water won’t ruin it.


-Carpet is cheapest and you should go with nylon not polyester carpet. At least a 6 lb pad but don’t use pet pad in your basement because it will trap water underneath and not let it out. Vinyl plank is popular, and water proof, spend a little extra on it to get the thick stuff so you don’t see uneven spots in your concrete slab. Tile is great, a lot more expensive but will last forever, get porcelain instead of ceramic because the color goes all the way through the porcelain in case of chipping and porcelain is much harder.


You want real wood not plywood, dovetail drawers, and soft close drawers and doors are nice. I like Tru Cabinetry.


Laminate is cheapest, it is plywood with a laminate top. Solid surface is the next step up then granite, then quartz and concrete, then glass. You can only cut on quartz with out scratching it and Laminate is the only one you can’t set hot stuff on.


Always pull the permits, yes your taxes will go up, but you have the peace of mind that a city or county inspector approved the work and your insurance company won’t deny a claim.

Just my 2 cents after 12 years of owning Good Guy Home Improvements LLC. Estimates are free and you can call me Joe Taulbee at 937-689-1635 or email me at joe@goodguyhomeimprovements to set one up. Thank you for reading my blogs!

Electric when finishing a basement

15 Feb

Anyone can pull an electrical permit to finish a basement. You don’t need to be a licensed Electrician to pull the permit or do the work but you should consult one and do your research before you attempt the work.

It isn’t that difficult to do and by pulling the permit you will get inspected by a city or county inspector so if you don’t do it right they won’t pass your inspections until you get it right.

The new breakers have to be the same brand as the existing in your panel and code requires Arch Fault breakers on everything residential these days. Arch Fault are about $40 a piece versus $8 for a regular breaker, so getting your service changed these days isn’t cheap. Arch Fault breakers trip easy too, but that is the code. They are fairly easy to install and you can find a how to video on youtube I am sure. Outlets have to be tamper proof by code and spaced no more than 12 feet apart and 3 feet off a corner or door. There isn’t a code for outlet height but they are usually 14 inches off the floor. You will need a GFCI outlet in any utility rooms in the basement as well as smoke detectors in each room that are hard wired to the existing upstairs. In a standard basement about 1000 square foot you can put all your lights on one breaker, and all your outlets on one breaker. Mini kitchens, bars, laundry rooms and bathrooms have to be on their own breaker. Bathrooms must have an exhaust fan and there isn’t a code for the length of the duct so don’t worry about a lengthy run.

Your wires need to be stapled to the studs on the walls a couple inches back to keep them away from drywall screws or cabinet screws. Be careful not to staple them too tight or pinch them because this will be tough to find once the drywall gets installed and it will trip that Arch Fault breaker.

Use fire rated spray foam to fill any holes you make in the top plate of your framed walls per code. You will call for a rough inspection once all the wires are run, outlet boxes installed, ceiling light boxes or canned lights hung, and exhaust fan hung. Then once everything is finished you will call for a final inspection.

I think I covered everything here and you are welcome to call me for advice (Joe Taulbee) at 937-689-1635 or email me at Thank you for reading my blog and if you would like a free estimate to finish your basement our estimates are free!


Basement finishing costs/financing

30 Jan

Right now January 30th 2018 it costs around $30 a square foot to finish a basement through Good Guy Home Improvements in Montgomery, Warren, Greene, and Butler counties. If you want to add a full bathroom that will start at $10,000 if the plumbing is already roughed in, if not it could be an additional $5000. Bars added in can run from $2000 for very basic designs to whatever you want to spend.

We don’t take any money up front when finishing basements. You don’t write your first check to us until your basement is completely framed. This way you get to see us in action on every level before you pay for anything. The second payment is made after all rough inspections just before we hang drywall and the final payment upon completion and satisfaction of your newly finished basement.

Material costs fluctuate through out the year. Lumber has tripled since we started doing this 12 years ago. Drywall hasn’t gone up much since 2006. We definitely won’t be your lowest bid when getting estimates. I know we aren’t the highest price in town but I really believe our quality of work and attention to detail is the best in town. Estimates are negotiable and we will work to get your basement finished in a reasonable budget.

We accept cash, checks, credit cards, and we work with Day Air Credit Union for financing as well. Day Air is offering up to $25,000 on a unsecured loan at just over 6% and you can go to to see if you qualify. If you pay with a credit card there is a 4% fee.

You will increase the value of your home by finishing your basement and can turn that part of your home into whatever you like. Man cave, craft rooms, bedrooms, bars, theater rooms, recreation rooms, wine rooms, etc… Let us make your basement into your personal oasis! We really love finishing basements, and I have really Good Guys on my team that are very skilled at what they do.

Estimates are free and so is consulting so call me Joe Taulbee anytime at 937-689-1635 or email me at for any questions or to set up a time for me to come out to take a look at your basement.

Thank you!

Basement flooring

23 Jan

I get a lot of questions about what type of flooring should be used on a concrete basement slab. Lots of customers request the laminate hardwood look but that is never a good idea in a basement. Laminate gets damaged by any moisture and the concrete can have moisture in it from time to time even if you don’t see any. This moisture will wick up into that laminate and damage it. You can get a similar look having Vinyl Plank flooring installed and water can’t hurt it. Vinyl Plank flooring will run about $5 a square foot installed, it looks great and wears really well. I have added a picture of some vinyl that we installed in a basement in 2017 at the bottom of this blog.

You never want to put real hardwood in the basement either for the same reason as not putting laminate down there. You can however have engineered hardwood because the glue underneath it is waterproof which will keep moisture from wicking up.

Water issues should always be addressed before you finish your basement. Sump pumps with battery back up systems, leaky cracks professionally sealed, and make sure any gutter downspouts are properly draining water away from the house.

Carpet is affordable. I tell my customers to always go with Nylon instead of Polyester carpet. Nylon is softer and wears way better than Polyester. Also I suggest at least a 6lb pad but 8lb is best for comfort. Nylon with 6lb pad will run $3 a square foot and up installed.

Tile is nice but expensive, it will run $10 a square foot and up installed. It’s hard to find contractors that properly install tile. Most trowel the floor with mortar then immediately lay the tile, but the back of that tile needs mortar on it too or it will not stick and simply float on top the mortar.  If you tap the top of the tile a day after it has been installed and you hear a hollow sound then it wasn’t properly installed. Tile is hard and cold on that basement floor but it does look great and you can have a thermostat controlled heated wire mesh installed under the tile to give you a warm floor.

The cheapest option is simply painting the concrete slab. There is a really cool but expensive option of staining the concrete with epoxy and the designs are only limited to the imagination but this stuff is high is VOC’s and you would have to vacate the house with your pets for a day or two until the VOC’s diminish.

We installed Vinyl Plank in most of the basements we did in 2017. It is pretty popular at the moment but we will do whatever you want. Estimates are free and you can call me Joe Taulbee at 937-689-1635 or email me at to schedule a free estimate. I can’t wait to meet you and thank you for reading my blog!Vinyl plank flooring


Adding a bar to your basement?

30 Oct

Costs can vary from just a couple thousand for a small wet bar to easily exceeding $20,000 for something like the photos I have attached. Good Guy Home Improvements LLC has been finishing basements in Centerville, Springboro, Bellbrook, Beavercreek etc.. for the past 11 and a half years. We only service the counties of Warren, Montgomery and Greene.

So to properly add a wet bar to your basement, electrical and plumbing permits need to be pulled. The bar needs to be on a circuit (breaker) by itself so if there are no more spaces on your electrical panel you may need a sub-panel installed. The sink needs to drain so the bar should be close to an existing drain along the wall and if you have a septic system the water will need to be pumped out.

You can purchase cheap cabinetry and laminate counters, add the permits and a contractor to install the material and you are easily over $2000. Do it all yourself with out permits and you still will be over a grand. If you don’t pull permits, insurance companies can deny you if problems arise from the electrical and plumbing additions.

My advice if you don’t know what you are doing hire a good contractor and don’t skimp on materials. Buy American made faucets (Moen or Delta) and spend more for good cabinetry.

Basement finishing is Good Guy Home Improvements favorite thing to do! We are really good at basements and I couldn’t be more proud of the genuinely Good Guys we have working for us. Everyone is meticulous and a true craftsman! When I go into any home or commercial property I always look at the work that has been done previously and it is very rare to see the type of quality that my guys put out. Many homes that we go into have been newly built and it is a pleasure to finish the basements of these homes because the homeowners get blown away when they see their basements are finished with much more attention to the details. I know I am starting to sound like Donald Trump here, right, LOL? Well we have unlimited references to back up what I have said here and 0 BBB complaints. Every basement we finish at Good Guy Home Improvements we try to do it better than the one we did before and we never sacrifice quality for profit! I am available for free basement finishing estimates and can be reached at 937-689-1635 or

Thank you for reading my posts!

Joe Taulbee (Owner)