The Way to Work With a Remodeler

Lifestyles evolve over time, and so do our homes. Infants are born; children grow up and leave the nest; aging parents join the household. And even when a home functions just how it needs to, changing design trends and new materials can render older spaces looking somewhat cluttered and dusty.

That’s where a professional remodeler comes from. Read on to find out what a remodeler can do for you and how to get the maximum out of your own experience.

Michael Robert Construction

What a remodeler does: A remodeler is a contractor with a concentration on creating structural alterations to an existing house or building. He or she implements architectural plans and sometimes provides residential design services. Remodelers also perform a number of the same duties as a general contractor, such as hiring and overseeing subcontractors and sourcing materials. Many states have certification requirements for remodelers.

When to hire a single: If you’re planning a significant change or improvement to your house, hire a remodeling contractor to guarantee the integrity of the design and construction, and also to ensure you will meet current building codes. Remodelers are also well versed in cost estimating, legal problems and other nuts and bolts concerns.

What it will cost: Remodelers’ fees take many distinct forms, and costs vary widely depending on the nature of the work and the materials utilized. Although some may agree to a flat fee, others charge a percentage of their total labor and materials costs (typically 10 to 15 percent, but sometimes as large as 25 percent).

It’s worth noting that, as with many facets of home improvement, you get exactly what you pay for — a remodeler who may charge more but has profound expertise and a sterling reputation is usually worth the excess price. Do not hire according to the lowest estimate alone.

Where to locate one: Read the directory of specialists on or listings from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). Check to see if there are remodelers’ trade organizations in your area as well. Another professional you’re working with, such as an interior designer, also may have the ability to give you leads.

Should you detect that one of your neighbours is doing work (remodelers frequently place a sign with their name and emblem in the front yard during construction), inquire if they’d recommend the professional they have hired.

Bosworth Hoedemaker

Have a clear idea of what you want. Maybe you’re looking to double the size and change the footprint of an obsolete kitchen, or perhaps you want to convert your attic into a guest suite. Consider the reach of the project you have in mind and generate a ideabook or cull other design resources for inspiration. Do not worry too much about if every detail is achievable; your remodeler will help you brainstorm alternatives if it isn’t.

Interview the candidates in your short listing. Not just should you confirm that they have experience with the kind of project you’ve got in mind, but you’ll also need to be certain that you’ve got a good rapport and communicate well.

Ask detailed questions about job history, professional instruction and affiliations, licensing requirements and insurance, and get the names of a couple references. If lead paint is an issue in your house, you may also should confirm that the remodeler is lead-safe certified under EPA guidelines.

Visit an in-progress job site. Request to fall by a few of the remodeler’s current job sites. This may give you a sneak peek at what your experience may be like. Is the site clean and well preserved, and does function seem to be progressing in an orderly manner? Look closely at the character of the construction and also the attention to detail as well.

Ventana Construction LLC

Be sure you understand the details of the contract. Once you’ve chosen a pro, examine the contract in detail to be certain you won’t encounter any surprises. Besides basics such as contact information for the remodeler and others who are supervising, license number and insurance information, it should incorporate a start-to-finish schedule, a materials list with price breakdowns, payment terms, alter order specifications, patterns or detailed sketches and provisions for conflict resolution. Do not be shy about asking the remodeler to describe any information you find confusing.

Confirm that areas of the house the undertaking will affect. You might be remodeling a single area, however the temporary disturbance could extend to adjoining spaces. Electric wiring and other behind-the-walls systems may be impacted. Ask the remodeler which rooms the work will touch so that you can prepare accordingly.

John Kraemer & Sons

Do your part to produce the remodeler’s job easier. Clear furniture out from affected rooms, be certain the work team has adequate space to park and transport stuff, and also make provisions to maintain pets and children well out of the way. Give the remodeler an idea of your family’s daily schedule and stick to it as closely as possible to minimize disruptions to the workflow.

Make sure you’re easily reachable even when you’re not as onsite. And should you decide to make a shift along the way, try not to haul out the decision-making procedure, which may throw the schedule significantly off schedule.

Do not wait to listen to problems. Few, if any, remodeling projects reach the finish line without a few bumps and snags along the way. Speak up when a problem arises, while it’s substandard work quality, a communication breakdown or a subcontractor who leaves the site in disarray. That way, you and the remodeler can agree on a plan to solve it as soon as possible, before work proceeds too much — and you’ll feel confident that you’ll be completely satisfied when it is time to make the final payment for the occupation.

More: Find a remodeler near you

See related