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Home Maintenance

What Should You Ask Your Contractor About Your Bathroom Remodel?

One of the best ways to make a noticeable change in your entire home is to remodel one or more of your bathrooms. Although the process may seem a little intimidating at first, you can make everything go as smoothly as possible by asking the right questions before you get started. If you want to avoid unnecessary interruptions and confusions throughout the process, you will to make a list of important points to discuss with your contractor before they even start the job. Here are a few things that you should talk about:
What Type of Remodel Do you Want?
Before you even pick up the phone to start shopping for a contractor, think about what type of remodel that you want. A simple remodel can consist of a new coat of paint and new fixtures, while a complete bathroom overhaul is much more extensive. Decide how extensive you want your remodel to be, determine your budget and then call your contractor to talk about the specifics. They will be able to help guide you through the process from there.
How Much Will It Cost?
While this is a very important aspect of conducting a remodel, you should always make sure to balance cost with the quality of your contractor. You will want to choose someone who is reliable, skilled and has extensive experience working with bathroom remodels. That being said, make sure that you talk with your chosen bathroom remodeling company about the total cost of the project. They should be able to provide you with at least a very close estimate to what the total cost should be. Some will even provide you with a firm bid after doing a full assessment. Always be up front with how much you have to spend on any given project, so that you can be on the same page from start to finish.
How Long Will It Take?
In addition to a cost estimate, you should also ask your builder for a time estimate. While a simple bathroom remodel could take just a few hours, a total overhaul could take several weeks. Because the bathroom is a very important room in your home, you will want to have a fairly clear idea of how long it will be until you can use it again. After you have an idea of how long it will take, come up with a plan to make sharing the other bathroom or bathrooms in your home much easier while you remodel.
In the end, completing a hassle free bathroom remodel relies on constant, clear and honest communication from both you and your contractor. To make sure that you are getting what you want, at a price within your budget, you must communicate these needs to them. Because your bathroom is such an important room in your home, you can’t afford to be vague, unsure or silent about any of the aspects of the remodel. If you follow these tips, and work closely with your chosen remodeling expert, you can expect a bathroom remodel that meets your expectations from start to finish.…

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Basement Remodeling

Why You Should Choose A Full Service Contractor Before Your Architect

The basic rule of thumb is if your project costs more than 5% of the value of your house, or if you are making structural changes to the interior or exterior of your home, or if you are making significant changes to the floor plan of your home, you need an architect for your project.
This is the part of the project where the design build approach will add significant value and save you a lot of money over the life of your project. Its best to find a contractor that will work with the architects and have long term relationships with many very good architects. This can get you better pricing for their services for your project than you can by contacting them directly. They will pass that savings on to you.
Once you select the architect you want to use for your project, the contractor will work with them throughout the design process to make sure they are designing a project that fits into your budget. We cannot understate how important this is for the success of your project and we have seen many projects never get off the ground because this step was not followed. Your architect is not paid to tell you no. If you tell him you want something, he assumes you can afford it. The time to determine how much your project is going to cost is during design, not after design is complete.
Once the architect finishes the design it is time to pull permits and build your dream. Proper planning and constant communication are the keys to success.
Before the work is started, you should sit down with the contractor and have a project kickoff meeting. At this meeting you will go over the construction estimate with you in detail as well as present you with a construction schedule so you can make plans to minimize the effect of the project on your day to day life. You will also be provided with a list of items you need to select, the budget for those items (with the contractor discount), and the schedule of when those items need to be selected to meet the construction schedule.
Once we begin construction we will communicate with you about the status of the project however often you like, but we recommend status meetings weekly at a minimum. If something comes up of major importance we will contact you immediately. We will never proceed with work that is different than the original estimate before we have approval from you in writing.…

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House Improvements

Thrifty Retirement: Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

You’ve lived in your home for many years now. It’s beginning to show its age or perhaps its configuration no longer fits your needs, but you really don’t want to move, to leave your convenient neighborhood, or to be farther from your friends or family. You decide instead to remodel. Finding a reliable, trustworthy contractor is the first thing you must do. The second is to pay attention to what the contractor is doing. This is your home and your money: stay on top of the project.
I learned this lesson the hard way.
Our kitchen had an odd layout and some of the appliances needed to be replaced. I went to an annual remodeling show held in our town and spoke with several of the companies there. I told them all what I wanted, which was to save most of the cabinets, which were in good condition, but to replace just a few to fit the new floor plan I had in mind. I wanted to be able to reuse those we would tear out. I easily dismissed several contractors, as they weren’t interested in a project that wasn’t all new, and I narrowed the selection down to just a couple.
I called one and talked with him. I liked him immediately, but asked for references. I phoned all the references, and to a person, they all had glowing reports. I hired him to do the work in the kitchen and I couldn’t have been happier. He was able to preserve more of the cabinets than I had planned on and had to make only one new cabinet door. I was impressed with his reasonable cost, his excellent workmanship, and his clear concern for the environment, as well as with his pleasant return to fix a couple small blips.
A couple years later when we decided to do a major remodel of our master bathroom, he was the obvious choice. He even used the same crew boss as had worked on the kitchen. I had high hopes and no reservations. However, as the work progressed, I found questions popping up. The crew boss was showing up later in the day, or some days not at all. The job was taking longer than I expected. This wasn’t quite right; that had to be redone. We had ordered a custom-made vanity that was delivered and installed while we were gone for a long weekend.
When I first saw the cabinet, I knew something wasn’t right, but I couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It took two weeks for me to pinpoint the problem. The style wasn’t what I had ordered. Where did this go wrong? The estimator blamed the cabinetmaker, and the cabinetmaker said he made what the estimator ordered. Meanwhile, my contractor was left holding the bag, as he was financially responsible for getting me the right vanity cabinet.
My contractor returned several times to fix small things the crew boss had messed up, but it’s been a year now and I still don’t have the vanity I ordered. The contractor is still the nicest guy in the world, but he has already lost money on this job and he still owes me a vanity. Will I ever get it? I don’t know.
The bottom line is that you must stay on top of the workers and the job, even if you know them. Check every day. If you don’t like a specific detail, speak up right away. In my case, it turned out the crew boss was having family problems he hadn’t mentioned to the contractor. His mind was somewhere else while he was working, and my contractor and I both paid for it. When the wallpaper was stripped, instead of washing the old glue off the walls, they painted over it. The floor tiles are not level and have created an uneven floor. The towel racks were mounted too high and had to be removed and remounted. The toilet was not level. And of course, the vanity is still wrong.
I keep hoping to hear from the contractor. I call every couple of months and he always says he’ll get to it. Maybe I’ll be lucky: maybe he will.…