I get many questions about starting large home renovation projects from my readers, and I always try to redirect these questions to home improvement websites such as Porch.com or MyReno411.com, which help with finding contractors for big jobs. I mean, let’s face it, renovating a home can be scary and exciting all at the same time. As with any home project, there are costs and planning involved. Sometimes, however, projects can come with unknowns. This is where hiring a contractor from a reputable source or company comes in handy. A contractor will help to set a plan and a timeline for your project. They also know that projects can be intimidating for homeowners! So, before you get started here are some questions to ask your contractor to ease those project worries!
1. What is the projected timeline?
By mapping out a timeline with your contractor, you will be able to see what the schedule is for work. This is more than just a start and an end date; a timeline will assist you in understanding when what sections of work are being done. Timelines are a great way to help the homeowner and the contractor make sure that everything is being completed in a timely manner.
2. How will the rest of my house remain protected from the work?
Before the work begins in your home, it is important that a conversation is held about protecting the rest of your house. Talk to your contractor about what rooms will be taped off and what the measures will be taken to protect flooring and walls. Additionally, make sure to ask your contractor what pieces of furniture or decorative items need to be removed to avoid damage.
3. Who will be doing the work on my property?
It is extremely important to know who is working on your property during a renovation. Your contractor will have a team that will be in and out of your home on frequent occasions. Make sure you take time to meet the team and talk to your contractor about who is in charge of what job.
4. Do you have any concerns about this project?
As with any renovation, there are certain risks that may be involved. Your contractor will let you know if he is worried about any part of the project and may also provide you with some alternatives, if the worst case occurs. In renovations that require walls or floors to be removed, the contractor may not know what lies behind them. Therefore, it would be important to discuss the “what-ifs”.
5. Do you provide a guarantee?
Depending on the project, some contractors and businesses will provide guarantees for the workmanship or products used. It is worth it to ask your contractor about his or his manufactures’ warranties and have him specify them in your contract.
6. What is the best way to get in touch with you?
Always speak with your contractor before a project to exchange phone numbers. Throughout your project there are times when you will have to speak and one of you will be off of the site.
7. What if there are changes to the design?
Before the project begins, you will have already picked out a design for your space. However, once the project begins, there is a chance that the design or projected schedule may no longer work. Speak with your contractor about the possibility that this may occur. The terms of changes in design and timeline should be noted in your contract and followed according to the terms set before the project began.
8. What if there is an emergency and I need to contact you after hours?
This is where speaking to your contractor about swapping contact information is imperative. If there is an emergency after hours it is important that you have your contractor’s direct phone number.
9. What kind of paperwork is involved with this project?
As with any project done with a contractor, make sure that you are receiving a contract at the completion of your renovation. You may even request a copy of the contract along with any paperwork regarding permits, floor plans, receipts, and inspection reports. You will want to keep the paperwork involved with the project just in case something arises in the future. Additionally, you will want to ask for the contact information of any business that may be able to help you care for the product used in your renovation.
I hope these tips are a good starting point for your next big project! Construction can be scary, but it doesn’t have to leave you wondering “what if”. Take time to know your contractor before starting… you’ll thank me later!