Remodeling a home can be an exciting venture. Not only does it mean bringing about a new look to a room, but it also often means adding value to the property. This is especially true when the rooms being renovated are the kitchen and bathroom. Because of the many fixed features of these rooms, even minor updates can make for an interesting result.
These rooms can be updated in many ways. On the cheaper end of the scale, work as simple as repainting walls or adding a backsplash can change the outlook. More expensive kitchen design ideas can include adding an island, retiling the floor and walls, replacing appliances and knocking down a wall to create an open plan space.
Higher end bathroom design ideas include expanding the bathroom to allow for his and her sinks, updating to a freestanding whirlpool bath, and installing dual showerheads.
All these ideas and more can be achieved by hiring a properly licensed and bonded contractor. With small projects like regrouting tiles, anyone good at DIY can get the job done well. With bigger kitchen and bath remodeling projects however, it is better to have a professional bathroom and kitchen remodelers step in.
Why Hire a Professional for Kitchen and Bath Remodeling
There are many places and types of projects that are subject to certain approvals and require permits. In some cases, especially in historical buildings, the kind of renovation work that can be undertaken is limited. Rather than get in trouble with the law, it is advisable to hire a professional contractor who will check on building codes and acquire the right paperwork that will allow the job to get done without a hitch.
Many jobs are also highly risky. Electrical and plumbing works can easily turn nasty if a person does not know what they are doing. A professional, especially with the knowledge of local building practices and codes are best placed to carry out work safely.
There is also a cost benefit. Kitchen and bath remodeling work can turn more expensive when the materials used are damaged or are of poor quality. An experienced contractor will know where to buy quality materials at the best prices and how to care for them until proper installation. Experience also means lesser risk of mistakes being done during the project that may prove costly to fix.
Another financial upside of hiring professional general contractors is the benefit of liability insurance. In case of an injury on the job, a professional will be covered. Many lenders also offer better terms on home improvement loans when the work is to be done by a professional contractor.
Tips for Identifying a Good Contractor
A good place to start is with those closest that are in a position to give a referral. If there is family or friends who have recently had remodeling work done or work in the construction business, this is a good place to start.
If there is no one to give this firsthand referral, do not worry. There are many useful online sites, like HomeAdvisor Pros and Angieslist Pros, which can provide a list of kitchen and bathroom remodelers in that particular ZIP code.
Their listings are made even more helpful by the reviews from verified clients. Stick to contractors that have consistently good reviews and have a longer work history.
They should have their license number listed. Check with the local authorities to find out what licenses a contractor should have for the kind of project intended. Confirm with them that the licenses are still valid. Once there is a short list of potential contractors to choose from, the next step is to interview them to make a final pick.
What to Ask the Contractor
Asking for references is standard in most industries. A contractor should be ready and willing to provide this information to prove they are indeed capable of undertaking the project successfully. Ensure that these references are for work recently done as older ones may suggest a change in the quality of work.
- Work locality
Different states and municipalities have different building regulations. To ensure the work is being done by someone knowledgeable in local requirements, ask if they have previously worked in the neighborhood. The references provided should be of the same locality. This is also a chance to find out and verify if the firm is a member of any local trade associations.
- License, bonding, and insurance
As mentioned, it is important to ascertain that a contractor being hired is duly licensed and bonded. Insurance is also important to avoid any liability issues should any of the crew were injured on the premises.
- Schedule of work
An experienced kitchen and bath remodeling contractor should not have a problem providing the homeowner with a schedule of the work. This should detail how long the project will take with each itemized task being detailed. This will provide a means by which to track the progress of the project by knowing what should be completed each day.
A breakdown of the bid should list all the work to be done A schedule of payment should also be agreed upon. The standard practice in the business is to make some down payment and pay the rest in installments stretched over the length of the project. Any contractor that asks for full payment at the start should be skipped.
- Project manager and team
It is important to find out who the project manager will be. This is essentially the team leader that oversees the work of the crew and may do some of the work. In many instances, this person may not be present at the work site throughout the day. They should, however, check on the project and crew on a regular basis, and be in regular contact with the client.
An introduction to the crew would also be ideal, especially when the work to be done will be inside the house. Knowing who is doing what means being able to better follow the progress of the work.
- Work contract
Even with smaller jobs, it is advisable to have a written contract in place. It should list the responsibilities of both parties, cost of the project and time of delivery. Keep this in a safe place alongside the itemized bid and any warranty documents. If there are any concerns, consult with a lawyer on the clauses to the contract.