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FAQs - Do You Need a License to Do That? - Home Improvement Commission

Carpet Installation and Carpet Cleaning
Do I need to hold an Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC) license to install or clean carpets? I would also like to install some tile flooring.

Installing carpet and carpet cleaning are not within the definition of "home improvement" so an MHIC license is not required. However, in order to install tile, wood, or other flooring, a home improvement contractor license is required.

Central Vacuum System
Is an MHIC license required to install a central vacuum system in a residence that is not a new home?

Yes, an MHIC license is required to install a central vacuum system in a residence (other than new home construction) because the installation becomes permanently affixed to the house or property.

Chimney Sweeps
Does the Maryland Department of Labor regulate and/or license chimney sweeps operating in the state of Maryland?

The Maryland Department of Labor does not regulate chimney sweeps; cleaning chimneys is not considered "home improvement." However, if additional work is solicited or performed, such as building or reinforcing the chimney, or installing a chimney cap, then a Home Improvement license is required.

I hired a contractor for demolition and clean-up only. Is the contractor required to have an MHIC license?

No, demolition and clean-up work is not considered to be within the definition of "home improvement." Therefore, the contractor is not required to hold an MHIC license to perform these services.

Driveway Sealcoating
Two weeks ago I was approached in my yard by a man offering to seal my driveway. He said his equipment was nearby and he could make me a good deal as a result. The card he left does not have a Maryland contractor's number on it. We didn't take him up on his offer because I wasn't sure it was legitimate. What are your thoughts?

Driveway sealcoating is one of the most prevalent home improvement scams in Maryland. You were wise not to hire this individual. Many unlicensed contractors will approach unsuspecting homeowners and try to persuade them into handing over thousands of dollars. In most cases, the "sealcoating" is nothing more than black paint that is worthless on a driveway. Anytime you are approached at your home by an individual selling a home improvement job, that transaction is covered by the Maryland Door-to-Door Sales Act, which mandates that you have until midnight of the fifth business day, or seventh day if the buyer is at least 65 years old, following the transaction to cancel the contract.

Home Theatres
If a television retailer is also installing wall mounted TVs (i.e. drilling screws into the wall to hang a wall mount and installing the TV on the mount, do they need an MHIC license?

The Commission has determined that installing wall-mounted televisions in residences is not considered "home improvement;" therefore an MHIC license is not required.

House Painting
Does a house painter need to be licensed as a home improvement contractor? House painting means painting walls in houses, painting exteriors, and faux finishing.

Painting of houses is included within the definition of "home improvement." This also includes interior and exterior painting and decorative painting.

Gravel Driveways
I have a gravel driveway at my house. Does the person who works on the driveway to add more gravel and fix the pot holes need to hold an MHIC license?

Yes, driveways, including gravel driveways, are within the definition of "home improvement"; therefore a licensed contractor is required to perform the work.

Interior Window Treatments
We ONLY do interior window treatments, never exterior and never anything that would affect the structural integrity of a private home. Is an MHIC license required?

No, an MHIC license is not required for interior window treatments, such as installing curtains or blinds. This service is considered decorating and is not within the definition of "home improvement."

Lead Paint
I just read the section on lead-based paint renovation. I see it says you must be certified to work with lead after April 2010. How/where does a person obtain certification?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has strict guidelines that cover work performed in any home built prior to 1978. The Lead-Safe Renovation, Repairs and Painting program requires that each contractor become lead-safe certified prior to performing such work. For more information about this program, including how to become lead-safe certified or to find a course provider in your area, please visit EPA website.

New Home Construction
Is a contractor license with MHIC sufficient for building a new home in Maryland, including a modular home?

The Home Improvement Commission license does not cover new home construction. All builders who build homes in Maryland must be registered with the Home Builder Registration Unit of the Office of the Attorney General. For more information, please visit the OAG website.
Home Builder Registration Unit
Consumer Protection Division
200 St. Paul Place, Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 576-6573 / Toll Free: (877) 259-4525
Fax: (410) 576-6566

Patios and Retaining Walls
Is a MD Home Improvement License required to install paver patios and retaining walls?

Yes, installing patios and retaining walls at a residence is considered "home improvement." The definition of "home improvement" includes "an improvement to land adjacent" to the residence, as well as improvements to the residence itself.

Are there any regulations, laws, or licensing required for building playgrounds?

If a homeowner hires someone to build a swing set or jungle gym at their home that will be permanently attached to the land, then an MHIC license is required.

Pole Buildings
Do I need an MHIC license to install pole buildings?

Pole buildings are included within the definition of "home improvement." You will need to obtain an MHIC contractor license to sell pole buildings if the buildings will be installed on residential properties, and if the sale includes the installation of the pole building.

Do contractors who sell and deliver those prefab, movable sheds need an MHIC license?

A home improvement license is required if the shed will be permanently installed by the contractor on land adjacent to residence. If the contractor sells and delivers the shed and simply places it on the ground, or on a non-permanent foundation such as cinder blocks, the contractor is not required to hold an MHIC license.

Solar Panels
Is an MHIC license required to install solar panels on a home?

Yes, a home improvement contractor license is required to install solar panels for a homeowner, regardless of whether the panels will be installed on the home or an outbuilding adjacent to a residence, or will be attached to the land next to the residence. A licensed master electrician is required to hook the panels to the electric system.

Tree Cutters
Are tree cutters licensed by MHIC?

While landscape contractors are licensed by MHIC, the Maryland Department of Natural Resources is responsible for licensing tree experts. A tree expert's work includes trimming, pruning, thinning, cabling, shaping, removing, or reducing the crown of trees that are 20 feet or more in height.

Marine Contractor License
Can you please explain what type of license a marine contractor needs? Is it a home improvement license?

The Marine Contractor Licensing program has been implemented by the Department of the Environment, pursuant to Business Regulation Article, Sec. 8-301(d)(6). The MHIC no longer has any jurisdiction over marine contracting services, including the installation of piers and shore erosion control projects. Please note that if a Marine Contractor performs home improvement work outside the scope of the Marine Contractor License, the contractor must still hold an MHIC license. The full definition of Marine Contractor services is at Environment Article, Sec. 17-101(f).

The Maryland Marine Contractors Licensing Board (MCLB) is administered by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The MCLB website defines a Marine Contractor Service as:

“Marine contractor services” means construction, demolition, installation, alteration, repair, or salvage activities located in, on, over, or under State or private tidal wetlands and includes: (1) dredging and filling; (2) the construction, demolition, installation, alteration, repair, or salvage of structures, including boathouses, boat or other personal watercraft lifts or ramps, slips, docks, floating platforms, moorings, piers, pier access structures, pilings, wetland observation platforms, wetland walkways, and wharfs; and (3) the construction, demolition, installation, alteration, repair, or salvage of stabilization and erosion control measures, including revetments, breakwaters, bulkheads, groins, jetties, stone sills, marsh establishments, and beach nourishment or other similar projects.