Choosing a bathroom contractor can feel both exciting and overwhelming. It may be helpful to know these 10 easy mistakes that can be missed when choosing a contractor.
Number 1: Budget
Being unrealistic about your budget! Be conscious about the budget you have to work with in your discussions. Beware of anyone who is enabling you to believe that you can do a $20,000 renovation on a $10,000 budget. The result will be inferior materials and cut corners. You do not want a project that is disappointing or, even worse, a nightmare. Write your budget number down. Be realistic. Be fair and honest to yourself and your bathroom contractor.
Number 2: Planning
The next mistake that is really easy to make is lacking a clear plan. Some contractors prefer to have their clients shop for product. Others have it onsite and then just get right down to business ripping apart and then rebuilding. This particular method can cause extra expenses that hurt the budget. Planning is everything. Without a plan to use as a guide, your contractor does not know what you are dreaming. Likewise you don’t know their vision either.
Number 3: Jack of all Trades?
Using a Jack-Of-All-Trades contractor is another idea that may seem great. Perhaps, but this could be an oversight. In the world of construction, bathroom renovations are a specialty. The plumbing, electrical and ventilation are just the beginning. Waterproofing requirements, as well as the design factors can overwhelm even the best. Did you know there are more than 50 components to a bathroom renovation? A contractor who might do an amazing job framing a house or drywalling a basement may not have the patience. Choose with a company who does nothing but bathrooms. They will understand the challenges and surprises that each bathroom renovation presents. The are better equipped to diagnose and remedy a problem fast and without drama or delay.
Number 4: The Clipboard Guy
The “guy with a clipboard”. He is charismatic and smart. He sweeps in with a price to do ‘the whole thing, easy as can be’. Be cautious. Plumbing is a specialty. Good plumbers can make sure that you avoid the most expensive repairs imaginable. Things like:
– leaking in the wall cavities
– flooding, beautifully tiled walls crumbling, the cost of a drip, drip, drip over years and years. The ‘guy with the clipboard’ may be able to get you a great price but does he guarantee he will be accountible. Make sure you would let the ‘guy with the clipboard’ babysit your children. If you don’t trust someone with your family, don’t trust them with your home and your money.
Number 5: Process
The fifth mistake is ignoring the process of design itself. Often, contractors will come and give you a price for the labour and rough materials. They will ask you to find your own fixtures. This may sound like an amazing way to save you money but, is it? If you have a lot of time on your hands (we are talking months, not days) and a flair for both research and design consider it. For most, it is not. If you are not ready for this to be your second full time job, STOP. It can become a time sucking nightmare. Many people think that all you need in your bathroom is a toilet, sink and tub. This is true but what about the tile, how many square feet should you order and how much grout? What about the little things like cabinet handles? What about best way to maximize storage with the newest innovations in water saving? …and that they all need to look great TOGETHER in a tiny space. Unless you want a new hobby, you may want to consider consulting an interior designer. A full-service bathroom renovation specialists often have this design service available!
Number 6: References
Don’t fall for mistake number 6 – not checking references and credentials. All contractors should happily submit a list of their clients for you – from not just a year ago but a decade. How is the work holding up? Is the after-sale service for a faucet cartridge available? Would they hire XYZ Contractor again in their home? Look up Yelp, Google and Facebook reviews and ask around. These people will be in your home. Make sure they are the kind of people you would like to have coffee with.
Number 7: Liability
Are the contractors in your home insured? None of us ever want to think that something bad will happen in our homes but accidents can happen. In a high level complicated renovation like a bathroom, sometimes things can happen. Are the workers covered by workplace insurance or is there a risk that you could be on the hook? Prevent a worry. Check the insurance and credentials of the contractor before giving them the job.
Number 8: Cleanliness
Easy mistake number eight seems silly but wait until it happens to you – CLEANLINESS! What are your contractor’s policies on job site cleanliness? Will they be tracking drywall dust through your home? Where will the tools of the trade be left at the end of a work day? Will your children and pets have to try and climb over them on the way to their room? Check if the contractor has a job process. Awkward or not, you should talk about worker behavior expectations. For example, can any type of music be played, and what volume is acceptable? Is smoking something that is a non-starter at your home? What are the typical work schedules? Do you know when to expect your renovation experts to arrive?
Number 9: Payment terms
Be aware of payment schedule. Don’t pay too much upfront. A standard deposit of 10% to 20% is fair and realistic. If a contractor is asking you to pay 50% in advance, be aware and do your homework. It can be a red flag that someone may disappear without performing the work. If you speak to a contractor that insists on cash only, that is a red flag.
Number 10: Warranty
And…..drumroll please…. easy mistake to avoid number 10 is warranty. Companies like Aqua-Tech warranty their products and labour. Ask about the kind of lifespan of the products being recommended and used. From the subfloor and backer board to the tile, faucets and fixtures. What kind of commitments are there from your bathroom contractor to back up your choices? Has your contractor been in business for the length of the warranty and guarantee? What are the odds of them being there to serve you near the end of the guarantee period and later? When you are spending north of $20,000 protect your investment.
Finding the right partner for a bathroom renovation can take some time and a little legwork. Consider scheduling a FREE consultation with the Aqua-Tech interior design team. Renovations should be fun. We make ‘Bathrooms Beautiful for you’.
To help, on October 4th 2017, 6:45pm, consider attending Aqua-Tech’s consumer seminar on how to effectively create a bathroom renovation plan. Seating is limited register now, by clicking on this link and filling out the form: http://content.aqua-tech.ca/10-easy-mistakes-bathroom