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Home Improvement

How to Choose a Home Remodeling Contractor

So you’re prepared to put in a fresh bathtub, or you finally picked out that new tile for your kitchen. If you don’t wish to accomplish the work yourself, or you don’t have enough time or skills to tackle a DIY do-it-yourself project, finding a contractor is the ideal solution. But choosing a do-it-yourself contractor can be considered a headache: How will you tell if someone is proficient at employment you don’t know how to do?

When you select a contractor, you’re hiring a fresh employee for a job. You wouldn’t hire the first applicant for employment in your business, so don’t choose your do-it-yourself contractor without narrowing down the best candidates. Examine portfolios of previous work, check licensing, listen to referrals and gather competitive bids before you make your final decision.

rolled up blue prints
Step one 1: Get recommendations
The first rung on the ladder to find the right do-it-yourself contractor is to make a set of 10-15 local contractors who have the right expertise. You’ll gradually narrow down this list to the very best contenders and eventually use it to choose your contractor, so it’s best to include more names than you’ll need at this time.

There are several methods for you to compile your starter list:

Ask your homeowner friends for recommendations, especially those who have recently had renovations.
Search online for the type of service you will need in your area.
Have a look at online reviews.
Use social media to ask friends or followers for local recommendations.
Red flags
Successful contractors can make it easy that you should get in touch with them and discover examples of their work. Be mindful of do-it-yourself contractors who lack basic information, like a website, social media occurrence and reviews.

contractor holding plans and tape measure
Step two 2: Compare each contractor’s portfolio
Choose a contractor who specializes in the type of remodel you need; someone who specializes in Kitchen Remodeling Contractor may not be ideal for your bathroom renovation. A home improvement contractor with an innovative eye can also be ideal for certain projects. For instance, if you would like to lay a tile entryway with a detailed mosaic or paint a room with a faux finish, you’ll desire a contractor who does that kind of work well.

Every year Americans spent around $67B on kitchen products shows focus solely on kitchen remodeling ideas and projects.

Chicago is a home to bustling commerce and modern trends, historic and new architecture, and Southern cuisine and hospitality. It’s no surprise that dozens of Illinois contractors are honored each year for their creative and impressive work remodeling kitchens in the metropolitan Chicago area. This is a list of some of the most recognized building companies that work on single-family residential kitchen remodeling projects in and around Chicago. They were chosen for the awards their kitchen remodels and renovations have received through prestigious organizations, for the high-quality work they do in upscale areas, and for the experience, affiliations, and credentials of their teams.

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Bath and Kitchen Experts is known for its high number of kitchen projects in popular Chicagoland neighborhoods, Naperville, Arlington Heights, Evanston, Schaumburg, Addison and among other locations.

Kitchens, the center of most family and recreational gatherings, should be beautiful and functional, a source of convenience and also of pride. Each remodel project comes to life under the supervision of a project developer, designer, project manager, account manager, and customer service representative, plus an assigned superintendent who oversees large projects.

Kitchen and Bath Expert establishes the optimal team for each remodel project during a pre-construction meeting, after the company has an understanding of the homeowner’s unique preferences. The company asks the homeowners if they plan to stay in the house long-term, if they are a single-cook household, and if those preparing meals need easy access to other rooms in the house, perhaps to supervise children while cooking, and so on. The company aims to design kitchens not just for today, but rather for what each homeowner’s future requires.

Ask each contractor on your long list for a portfolio of the projects from at least the this past year. They could have a physical portfolio, or they could direct anyone to a website with images. An excellent portfolio should contain at least ten projects. It should include photos of every space before work began, through the remodel and after project completion. It can help if there are pictures of blueprints, sketches or other plans to get a concept of how the contractor approaches a project.

Red flags
Look out for a portfolio with too little projects, no photos prior to the remodel or grainy, hard-to-see images of the ultimate product. Also retain in mind that do-it-yourself contractors only include their best work in their portfolios. If any completed project is not up to your standards, it’s likely their average work is even worse. Take that person’s name off your list.

woman filling out notebook next to a laptop
Step three 3: Require licensing and certification
At this time, your list must have around 6 to 8 names. One particular way to narrow it further is to require contractors’ licensing and certification. The specific licenses or certifications your do-it-yourself contractor should carry will rely upon the project. Since legal requirements vary by state, call the licensing division for your community to require specific requirements.

Furthermore to making sure contractors have the right licenses and documentation to complete the job safely and legally, make sure anyone on your list has liability insurance in case they damage your home. The contractor and some other workers should also be included in worker’s compensation. Ask for a copy with their plans and check that they’re up to date.

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Red flags
Cross any contractors off your list who don’t have the right credentials. I also recommend marking off names of anyone who is hesitant or takes too much time to understand this information to you.

woman on phone next to laptop
Step 4: Check references
Given that you’ve narrowed your long list down to five or six top contenders, it’s time to start out checking references. That is a practice, so any reputable contractor will expect you to require a list of references. An average contractor reference list includes ten or even more jobs with the name, address and phone number of every customer. It can help if there are dates for every single job; if dates aren’t on the list, require them.

Now it’s the perfect time to call each reference. In case the list is very long, decide on a few recent projects and some older projects. Keep detailed notes during your telephone call; you’ll need to ask some references when you can visit their house to start to see the project personally.

Some questions to ask include:

Did the contractor stick to schedule?
Was the job site kept neat?
Were problems addressed promptly?
Was the contractor punctual for appointments and work days?
How gets the work organized?
Was the price reasonable and clear?
Red flags
Some red flags include too few references or significant time gaps between references. Enquire about these before assuming the worst. A hole in the calendar doesn’t invariably mean trouble; maybe they were injured or taking time off. The contractor’s openness and willingness to give you more information can help ease your mind.

If a client had a good experience overall, they’ll maintain positivity and upbeat about the contractor even if there were some small problems. If the experience wasn’t good, you may spot the person hesitating or answering indirectly. Make an effort to read between the lines of what the person lets you know; they might not exactly want to state anything unkind. When you talk to each contractor’s references, eliminate any contractors that get bad or ambivalent reviews; you should be down to 3 or 4 contractors at this time.

large white kitchen with dark island
Step 5: Review an example of the finished project
After you’ve called your contractors’ references, cross out any contractors who received poor reviews. Then decide which of the remaining references to go to personally to see their contractor’s completed project. Choose people who seem to be open and forthcoming, whose projects act like yours and, ideally, who live close to you. It’s particularly helpful if the task was completed at least a couple of years ago so you can see how it has held up. Visit at least one finished project from each of your remaining top contenders.

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As you go to the projects, have a close look at the contractor’s work. Ask the individual if it has ever needed servicing or repairs. Browse the overall feel and the specific details.

Red flags
Depending on the kind of project, there are a few red flags to consider:

Bathroom remodels: Dark stains on the walls or ceiling, slanted floors, cheap materials, insufficient lighting.
Kitchen remodels: Obvious seams on countertop, cheap materials, “kitchen triangle” (stove, refrigerator and sink) not logically organized, poor lighting, inadequate storage or counter space.
Paint: Overspray, paint runs, streaks, imperfect lines and edges, paint splatter on to the floor.
Tile work: Crooked tiles or lines, tile or grout cracking, excess grout or caulking along edges (meant to disguise poorly cut tiles), inconsistent grout lines, uneven surfaces, apparent transitions between surfaces.
Decks, patios or pergolas: Wavy or swollen boards, mismatched edges, gaps between boards or windows, cracks in the floorboards, cracks or separation between your side of the house and the deck, concrete cracks.
contractor overlooking plans
Step 6: Get bids for the work and hire a contractor
By now you’ve eliminated anyone from your list would you subpar work. The next thing is to price the work with all of the remaining contractors on your list.

After a thorough consultation, each contractor will present you with a brief proposal and estimated cost for the project, called a bid. Based on the sort of renovation, this may include information on the timeline for the project, the types of materials they recommend and the full total cost of the project. It’s better to get bids from the very best 3 or 4 contractors on your list. You are going to select your contractor from among these bids.

Remember, it’s not necessarily best to select the lowest price. Sometimes the materials or amount of work will differ from one contractor to another; for instance, a contractor who uses prefab cabinets will charge much less when compared to a woodworker who makes them yourself, but you’ll notice a significant difference in the appearance and feel of the finished kitchen. Consider your overall goals for your renovation whenever choosing which proposal is most beneficial for you.

After you’ve chosen your home improvement contractor and accepted their project bid, they’ll draft a contract proposal with an increase of details about how precisely they will complete the project, the timeline, materials, cost and even more. Once you’ve reviewed and signed the proposal, assembling your project will be underway.

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