Finding Your Contractor
Finding the right contractor to do the job is just as important as finding the right interior designer. Not all contractors work in all types of houses. There are some very important questions to ask when interviewing your potential contractor.
Finding the right contractor is kind of like a matching game. If you have an old house, look for someone that specializes or has experience in older homes. Why is this important? Houses built before 1960 can have construction elements that aren’t common today, like concrete under tile floors in bathrooms. This was a common practice in the 40s and 50s to support the floor. You can decide to tear it all out and start fresh, or you can leave it and level the floors. Both can cause a great mess if not done correctly, so knowledge is power.
Experience is key when selecting your contractor. Everyone must start somewhere, and someone new to remodeling may not be the best fit for an extensive remodel. We were just asked to look at a remodel that would require taking down a load-bearing wall to create an open floor plan. Installing a beam in the ceiling and knowing the size of the header that must be used is a conversation for an engineer and the contractor. The installation is the pretty part.
Knowing your project and the size of what you want to do is as important as how it will look in the end. Simpler projects like replacing a vanity in a bath, new countertops in your kitchen, or a fresh tile backsplash are all good places for a less experienced remodeler to start. However, if you are looking for a full remodel with new cabinets, tile floors, removing a tub for a glamour shower, or a full kitchen remodel, look for someone with experience to fall back on when things get a little crazy (which they likely will!). Knowing how to problem solve is key to a successful remodel. And remember, all remodeling projects have problems to solve, so you should be ready for them and try not to sweat the small stuff. The right contractor will make it all look amazing in the end.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for references, and not just the good ones. Ask for less-than-perfect ones too, because this will show how they solved the problems and the care they took to create the best project when things went wrong. Good and bad experiences tell the story.