There are several tips for a successful bathroom remodel, including making a plan, asking for referrals, getting written estimates, vetting the contractors, scheduling a site visit, and signing a legal document
Remodeling your bathroom can improve the value of your home and make your life function more smoothly. This fun upgrade to your home can also become overwhelming with so many decisions to make. Hiring the best bathroom remodeling contractors involves doing thorough research and making a plan.
1. Make a Plan
Clarify your objective and all the specifics of the remodel. Decide if you’ll gut the bathroom entirely or preserve some of it and do only minor updates. Be specific about any items and details you want to keep from your existing bathroom.
Explore your options and have a ballpark figure that you would like to spend. When contacting contractors directly, have them give you estimates for options you may think are out of your price range. You may be pleasantly surprised that some upgrades are only a modest amount more.
2. Ask Around
Getting a referral from someone you know and trust is a great place to start. Ask family, friends, and neighbors for their honest feedback. Also, looking at the comments and reviews on any company website or referral service online is a great way to get a sense of the contractor's reputation. Take negative feedback about someone else’s remodel experience seriously since this could happen to you.
3. Get Estimates in Writing
Getting estimates is essential to selecting the best bathroom remodeling contractor for your project and budget. However, make sure all estimates are in writing. You can call and get an estimate over the phone or have someone come by for a consultation and give a verbal estimate. But before you commit to a specific contractor, make sure you have everything in writing.
Also, get the timeline in writing as well. Construction projects tend to take longer than expected and cost more than anticipated, so having the start and end date estimates is very helpful. Consider your own timeline and weather. If a contractor is not available to start for a few weeks to months, this may not work with your needs.
Items to include in a written estimate are:
The total cost
The schedule of primary construction tasks
The payment schedule and methods accepted
The scope of work
A change order clause
A dispute resolution clause
A waiver of lien
An express limited warrant
A procedural list for closeout
4. Conduct Research and Vet the Contractors
Contact at least three general contractors to interview and get estimates from them. You can begin by looking them up online. This may answer some of your initial questions or help you rule out any candidates.
You can follow up by contacting the contractors by phone. Ask for their contractor license number and their insurance certificate. Ask if the contractor will do the work or if they use a subcontractor. Verify the status of their license and insurance and make sure they are valid and up to date. Contact the state licensing board and their insurance provider.
Inquire if the contractor and employees have certifications or specialized training or education. Certifications may include:
Certified kitchen and bath remodeler
Certified remodeler specialist
Certified lead carpenter
You can also ask if they are members of professional associations. Such associations with high standards include:
The National Association of Homebuilders
The National Kitchen and Bath Association
The National Association of the Remodeling Industry
In addition, inquire about accepted payment methods and schedule of payment.
You can ask for references from previous customers, too. Ideally, you want someone who had a remodel along the same lines as yours. This will give you an idea of the relationship and communication the contractor has with their customers. You can also inquire if their project went over budget and by how much.
5. Schedule a Site Visit
Having the contractor come to your home and check out the bathroom is an essential step. This can help the contractor get a better idea of the project’s specifics and assess the costs. This also gives you the chance to ask questions and get any ideas from the contractor that you may have overlooked. You also get to see the personalities of the people who will potentially spend a lot of time in your home. See if you feel comfortable and have a good connection with them. This is also important for a successful bathroom remodel.
Before beginning the project, make sure you sign a legal document. Both parties should have the document signed and dated and keep a copy. Remember to have fun! Having a new and improved bathroom is an exciting addition to your home.