Guest Blogger #978, Entry #2492, June 4, 2013
No matter how excited you are about tearing out the peeling linoleum, chipped tile countertop, and sagging cabinets in your kitchen in order to replace them with the modern, functional, gourmet setup you’ve been dreaming of, there’s likely one aspect of the renovation process you’re not looking forward to, and that’s hiring a contractor. With plenty of horror stories floating around out there concerning contractors that jack up the price midway through the process, that cut corners during building, resulting in code violations, or that simply take the money and run, leaving you with a mess and a deficit, you’re no doubt worried about finding a contractor that you can trust. But there are definitely steps you can take to avoid such debacles. Here are some tips for finding and working with a contractor that will deliver your dream kitchen.
Image via: Kleppinger Design Group, Inc.
Find someone licensed, bonded, and insured.
State laws differ when it comes to licensure requirements for contractors, but what a license implies is that your contractor has passed some sort of standardized exam proving that he is capable of carrying out his job. So you probably want to find someone licensed even if your state doesn’t require it for the scope of kitchen remodeling you have in mind. And make sure to confirm that your contractor is bonded and insured, as well. While your homeowner’s insurance should cover any accidents or injuries that occur on your property, you don’t necessarily want to have to use it. And you should know that it won’t cover the cost of hiring a new contractor should your old one walk off the job midway through completion. This is where a licenses and bonded contractor is preferable since you can take him to court for reparations if necessary. In short, ask for the necessary documentation before you start your project.
Referrals and references.
Finding a trustworthy and reliable contractor to handle your kitchen remodel is no easy task. There are many options out there and it can be hard to choose. By getting referrals from family members, friends, and colleagues that have had work done, you can be sure that the information comes from a trusted source. However, if you don’t have this option, at least interview several candidates to get bids and ask for a list of references that you can call, and potentially even visit to see the level of workmanship a particular contractor is offering.
Image via: Yamini Kitchens & More
Knowledge and resources.
You obviously want someone who knows his stuff and has plenty of resources for materials so that you can get a good price. But how can you find out? During your interview, ask questions about the style of design that will suit your home and the materials that should be used for the value of property you own (for example, you wouldn’t necessarily shell out the dough for marble flooring in a townhouse, whereas a million-dollar property probably wouldn’t benefit from laminate flooring). Ask questions about building codes. Ask which local lumber yards or tile houses he frequents for supplies. These types of queries should help you to determine if he knows his business backwards and forwards.
Sign a contract.
It is imperative that you sign a contract for work. This is not only a way to ensure that you’ve captured all the fine points of the job on paper (schedule, milestones, payments, and so on), but that you have legal recourse should something go wrong.
Image via: Phillips Floor to Ceiling
Come prepared with samples.
Whether you love the counter in your neighbor’s house, a color scheme you saw in Architectural Digest, or a restaurant interior by Marchi, it’s important to provide your contractor with samples of what you want. This prep work will help you to figure out what you like and what you don’t, and with a budget in mind you can work with your contractor to nail down all the details before you ever take a sledgehammer to your kitchen, saving you time and money in the long run.
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