When remodeling your home (kitchen, bathroom, windows, doors, etc.), you must choose a contractor wisely. A good contract will know current building codes as well as current home remodeling trends. In addition, a good contractor will be knowledgeable about building materials, colors, and styles.
A good contractor will take great care in preparing an itemized estimate, outlining for what you’re paying. However, you’d be hard pressed to find three contractors willing to write an itemized estimate for free; it is a timely and, sometimes, exhausting task that can take a few days to complete (nobody wants to work for free).
A good contractor will discuss the scope of work as well as some of the materials to be used with all the decision makers. After which, he/she will provide a general, verbal estimate. If the verbal estimate fits your budget, a good contractor will take a design fee that will be credited to the contract price at the end of the project.
One of the biggest problems with a home remodeling project is getting the homeowner to be home when the contractor wants to be there to work. Some contractors try to quarantine the work space and separate it from the rest of the living space using temporary stick built walls, plastic containment walls, or by using a back door or window to access the work space.
A good contractor will ensure his/her remodeling crews take great care in protecting your home; they should lay down drop cloths from your front door to the work space (whether it’s in your kitchen or bathroom). Doing so allows you to keep the remainder of your home protected from the remodeling debris and keeps the remainder of your home private/personal.
Another common issue with a home remodeling project is storing the materials to be used. Some contractors bring everything to the work space and leave it laying around unprotected throughout the remodeling project until it is needed. This will eat up valuable time because the materials will need to be constantly moved out of the way.
In addition, some of the fixtures (lighting, plumbing) may get construction debris or dust on or in them and will need to be thoroughly cleaned before installation and, possibly, after installation. Nobody wants their appliances sitting around waiting to be installed through the mess of demolition, drywall installation, and tiling.
Further, leaving materials unprotected and where anyone can access them, increases the risk of theft or damage. A good contractor will have a temporary building delivered to the job site so materials can be stored and protected away from the work space and potential theft. But, this may cause issues if other trades need to access these materials for measurements.
Good specialty or trade contractors are very important. It is best to hire a General Contractor that has a good working relationship with his/her subcontractors. Ask the General Contractor how long he/she has worked with his/her subcontractors and on how many projects has his/her subcontractors worked in a year’s time.
Subcontractors that have a long working relationship with a General Contractor will more likely have a better understanding of the type and quality of work expected and may also have long working relationships with the other subcontractors assigned to your project; making it one happy family instead of subcontractors blaming each other, dragging out your project and making the whole remodeling process more stressful.
Don’t be afraid to ask your General Contractor questions. It is very important to feel comfortable with who you hire and allow into your home.