Monday, December 13, 2010

5 Things To “DO” When Selecting a Bathroom Remodel Contractor


You finally have the money to do it! A complete bathroom remodel. Where do you start? Who do you call? The following steps will make a difference between remodel nightmares and luxurious fantasy.


1.  DO your homework
Before bringing in contractors and collecting estimates spend some time researching your dream bathroom remodel. Then make some decisions that you will not waver on to help narrow down and mainstream your project. This will also guard against contractor bids that are overpriced or not in keeping with your requirements.

1. Know how much you want to spend – one of the biggest pitfalls is having your remodel price escalate out of control leaving you with an unfinished nightmare or compromised hasty decisions.

2.  Decide on the important features that are essential to you – a resurfaced tub costs less than a new tiled shower. You might want to skimp on the high-end toilet bowl and utilize that money towards a granite vanity top.

3. Know your style preference – it is easy to get swept away in design books and concepts. If you are more of a country girl at heart, a modern sleek bathroom with stainless steel accents maybe too harsh for you and contrast sharply from the style of your home.

2. DO ask for referrals
Speak with family and friends to find out which contractors they have had good experiences with and just as importantly contractors they would never hire again. Find out what made it a positive experience, how the contractor handled problems and if the job was finished within budget and time frame. If possible look at the work a contractor has completed. It will give you the best idea of what their work is like.

Search engines have advanced methods of ranking websites. If using Google or Bing to find a contractor in your area start by typing your area bathroom remodeling company and read the websites of the construction companies that represent the style and workmanship you are looking for. Be sure to read reviews by former clients, as it will give you a feel for the company.

3. DO interview potential contractors
Set up meetings with a minimum of three contractors maximum of five. It can become overwhelming and confusing to interview more than five so try and narrow down the search to the top contenders. Estimates should be free. Regardless of whether you use the contractor interviewed it is possible for you to come away with many good ideas to implement during your bathroom remodel.
Other points to consider during this meeting are:

1. Make sure the contractor holds all the required licenses from the state and local municipalities
2. Look for credentials - designations from professional associations such as the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, certifications of tests completed etc. Be aware that not all certifications are created equal.
3. Check for proof of workers compensation insurance
4. Ask for references of jobs completed
If they are unwilling to give any of the above information it is a possible red flag.

Something to consider is that a remodeling job is different to construction. A remodel takes construction to the next level and requires a great deal of routing and working with existing infrastructure. Be sure to question the contractor specifically on if he or she has lots of experience in remodeling.

4. DO conduct a background check
Once you have narrowed the search be sure to follow up on references given to you. This contractor and his crew will be coming in and out of your home not to mention be responsible for the execution of a large sum of your money.

Call the contractors' former customers and ask about the job execution.  Were they on time and on budget? Were the customers pleased with the outcome? Was there anything that could have been done differently? How did the contractor handle setbacks? How flexible were they if plans changed during the course of the project? What was the crew like? Did they clean up after themselves? Were they respectful of your property?

Check with the local Better Business Bureau website to see if the company is BBB accredited and if there are any complaints against them.

As tempting as it is to choose the contractor on the basis of price, take care to look at the details of the bid presented. Take care to note the work to be done and the materials to be used.

5. DO have a written agreement
Once you have selected the contractor be sure to scrutinize the contract that is given to you. Make sure the legal agreement includes the following items:

1.  Bid price and a payment schedule
2.  Detailed description of the scope of work to take place
3.  A schedule of tasks including a detailed timetable – A bathroom remodel can completely disrupt your daily life so it is vital to have a timetable. This will cause you and your family the least amount of stress.
4.  A change-order clause – make sure that the contract stipulates that you must approve, in writing, all additional work that is done beyond the original scope of the remodel.
5.  Clause about dispute resolution and any warranty information

When the job is finished do not hand over the final payment until the work has been inspected and approved.

A bathroom remodel can return 80-90% of your investment at resale and provide years of enjoyment. While it takes time to follow through the initial stages of this process, the time spent is well worth the end result.

Contact us for more information or questions!
Unique Home Construction
11300 N. Central Expressway, Dallas, TX 75243
214-533-0716

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