When it's time to make over your pink bathroom, know the right questions to ask your contractor
You’re finally ready to make that big change and swap out that seashell sink for something sleeker. You’ll want to hire a bathroom remodel contractor to give that dated room a new look. Before you hire someone for your next project, go over these questions to find the right bathroom remodel contractor for you.
1. Can I See Examples of Your Past Work?
Once you find some local remodeling pros that seem like a good fit, you’ll want to review some of their past projects for quality and appearance. Ask for a portfolio from each candidate, but also look for customer images posted online. Review close-up pictures of the details as well make sure the work doesn’t just look fine from a distance. The tilework should be aligned straight and paint or wallpaper applied smoothly.
2. Can I See Three References From Previous Clients?
Read reviews and speak to references to help give you a clearer picture about how a contractor works. Ask the contractor for at least three references, and then discuss project timelines, delays, overall work quality, and communication style with the contacts.
3. What Are Your Specialties or Scope?
Some remodeling contractors may handle smaller projects, while others work on large remodels. For example, you might find a company that works on installing new bathtubs while others are open to remodeling the tile, floors, bathtub, shower, and toilet in your bathroom. Depending on your needs, you may need to work with multiple people for design services, plumbing, and construction. Ask about any specializations, skills, experience, and general scope to find out what your contractor typically does and does not do.
4. Will You Be Working With Subcontractors?
It’s common for the head of a project to hire subcontractors to complete the project. It’s a lot of work for just one person to tear out old tile, install a new tub, and add a double vanity. But you may want to know who will be in and out of your home. Plus, you should be aware of who has the access information, such as a garage opener code. Talk to your contractor to:
Meet the project manager so you know who is overseeing the remodel.
Ask if the company’s liability insurance covers subcontractors.
Review how many people will be coming in and out of your home and what times to expect them.
5. Can You Provide Proof That You Are Bonded, Licensed, and Insured?
In addition to asking about subcontractors—and whether the company’s liability insurance covers them—make sure everyone working on the project has the proper credentials and insurance. Don’t let someone swing a sledgehammer into your shower walls unless they are licensed to do so, no matter how good of a deal they are cutting you.
Bond: A bond will protect you financially in case the contractor doesn’t pay the subcontractors or for any necessary permits. The limit varies by state and can range from $10,000 to $100,000.
License: Check that the contractor you hire is actually trained to do the job at hand. Licensing or other credentials can vary based on city or state, so check your local requirements and that the contractor is up-to-date on all legalities before hiring them. You can check online through state licensing boards to verify licensing.
Insurance: Insurance means your home is protected in case something goes wrong during construction, such as a burst pipe. Limits vary by policy, but it typically includes a $1 million per occurrence limit. Insurance can also mean that you won’t be held responsible if anyone is hurt while working on your bathroom remodel.
6. Do I Need Permits or Inspections?
Some remodeling projects, particularly if you are expanding the bathroom, will require permits and inspections before the work can begin. Ask your contractor about permit and inspection requirements. Most highly rated bathroom remodelers will set up inspections and pull permits for you. The costs for these items will be included in your remodel quote.
7. What Is Your Expected Work Schedule?
Verify that your contractor outlines several aspects of the project schedule, from what time to expect the crew each day to how long it will take to set the tile and install a new glass shower.
Timeline: Ask about the timeline to give you a general sense of how long the entire remodeling project should take.
Delays: Ask your contractor if they expect any delays based on common issues with bathroom remodeling projects or how they will address potential delays in the project.
Daily schedule: Ensure the contractor outlines the start and end times for daily work so you know when people will be on your property, even if you aren’t home.
8. What Is the Payment Schedule and Down Payment?
A contractor should not request full payment upfront, so be wary of one that does. Instead, ask about the down payment and the payment schedule when discussing the bathroom remodel cost. Ensure all payment expectations are outlined in a written contract before work begins.
Down payment: Expect to spend about 10% as the first payment before the work begins. A bathroom remodel costs an average of about $10,000, so your down payment may be around $1,000.
Payment schedule: Pay in increments as the project progresses. The amounts and schedule will likely vary based on the scope and timeline of the bathroom remodel.
Final payment: Discuss when the final payment is due. Are you expected to pay before the work is finally completed, a few days later, or one week after? Agree on the final date, and arrange for payment deadline changes in case of construction delays.
9. How Will We Communicate Throughout the Project?
Check that you can get ahold of the remodeling team over the course of the project, whether you have concerns, new bathroom remodeling ideas, or if an emergency pops up. The head of the project should also know how to get in contact with you. Discuss the best ways and times to reach one another, plus ask how often you should expect updates or progress reports.