Choosing the right home remodeling contractor can make a huge difference on the outcome of a project. If you’re looking at undertaking a home renovation project you probably have a lot of questions. Many homeowners don’t always know where to start when researching and choosing a contractor. As with most things, its important to ask the right questions.
Why should I research what I want before calling a home remodeling contractor?
To better inform yourself before hiring a contractor its important to get familiar with your home and the project you want to complete. Not all shingles or siding is made the same. Typically home materials are manufactured with a variety of features which are beneficial for specific climates or even areas of the country. For example, James Hardie Siding manufactures their siding for different climate zones, offering HZ5 for areas that experience freezing temperatures and extreme seasonal temperature variations and HZ10 for areas with extreme heat and tropical storms. Maybe you need a roof offering manufactured specifically for hail resistance or one offering extreme water resistance for rainy and windy climates. On the other hand, you may need siding which offers fire resistance and has noncombustible properties for your California or Colorado home.
Should I get referrals from friends or neighbors?
As we all know, getting a referral from a friend, neighbor, or relative is one of the best ways to find a service provider. If you’ve had friends or neighbors who recently had siding installed or replaced there roof, reach out to them and ask about their experience with the remodeling contractor. Would they recommend them?
Would they hire them for another project? Was it done on time and on budget? Even if the contractor is not a perfect fit for your project your friend or neighbor can help you better understand the process and what to expect when you call a contractor.
When should I check home remodeling contractor reviews?
We recommend that you check contractor reviews before making any calls. Get an idea of the materials you want to use and maybe you have a referral or two, then you should start to researching contractors in your area. Contractors will collect reviews on a variety of platforms so it is important to read through and see what their previous customers have to say. You can of course look at google but other great place to look include Guildquality or even the material manufacturer’s site (like James Hardie or GAF). You should also look into the reputation of the business with your local chamber of commerce or the Better Business Bureau. With the reviews and their business reputation you can make an informed decision about who to call without taking too much of your time and opening your home up to businesses you know little about.
How do I compare estimates?
With this list, you can set up appointments for contractors to come inspect your home and provide an estimate. Be weary of a remodeling contractor who either will not inspect your home prior to giving an estimate or one who charges for an inspection and estimate.
Most contractors for roof replacements or siding installations will want to do a free inspection of your current roof or siding to provide the most accurate estimate possible. After the contractor does an inspection of your home they will provide you will a detailed estimate, typically with a base price and a few options for upgrades. Generally these estimates will be around the same price point but keep in mind that the price does not always reflect the value of construction and products. You will want to look through the different estimates to see what sets each of them a part. An important thing to look for is the type and length of warranties offered.
Warranties are not the same. Most contractors will feature what is covered by the warranty but its important to understand what is not included. If someone says they have a 30 year warranty versus a lifetime warranty the 30 year warranty may have better coverage. It is important to understand that there are three components to any warranty. There is the material warranty which protects you in the event of manufacturer defect. Basically if the material fails, what is your recourse with the manufacturer and will they pay to replace it? For example, a 30 year material warranty means that if you have product failure they will simple give you new material. This may not include installation, removal of the old product, permits, building components, and labor.
Some manufacturer warranties will also include labor warranties. Again, if the product fails, the manufacturer is buying you new product and then paying some labor amount to cover replacement of the old materials and installation of the new materials. A workmanship warranty is not a labor warranty. Workmanship doesn’t apply to defective materials, it only applies to defective installation. This means the product themselves may be fine but they were installed incorrectly by the contractor which causes some kind of problem. This could include a leak or improper attachment of the materials.
Can I get estimates emailed to me?
Short answer- you can but we dont recommend it. As we mentioned above, you should definitely be weary of a contractor who provides and estimate without coming out to your home at all. Generally they need to inspect the home and get an idea of its current condition before making any kind of plan for repairing or replacing your siding or roofing. Otherwise, we strongly recommend taking a second meeting with the different contractors so they can walk through their estimate with you. There are a lot of factors that go into creating an estimate and a plan for a project. If you are hiring a contractor to do a remodel of your home, you are entering into a long-term partnership. Not only will the partnership exist while the project is being completed but over the years, you may continue to work with them as any warranty processes are initiated. Sitting down with each contractor to go over their estimates gives you one more chance to get to know them as a company.
When you go through the estimates with the home remodeling contractors, this is your time to ask why. Each contractor will have different features of the project featured and asking them why gives you a better idea about the quality of their work and their thought process. For example, every roofing contractor should provide estimates for a roofing ventilation system. Many will only be estimating a roof replacement that includes your current system. However, we have found that, many times, existing roof ventilation systems are not enough. More often than not, a roof replacement will need more ventilation to both extend the life of the roof and bring it up to code for the city. You can learn more about proper roof ventilation here but know that this is a great example of a question you can ask a roofing contractor. Why they are estimating for the type of ventilation system they included. Sit down with each contractor you are interested in and get explanations for their plan and get a better idea of who you will want as your partner in this project.
What are the warning signs or red flags for a home remodeling contractor?
After meeting with a few different contractors, it may be hard to tell the difference between them and make a final decision for your project. Review their estimates but be wary of a few warning signs and, as always, trust your gut. You will always want to look out for contractors requesting the entire cost of the project up front or large cash deposits. But, most contractors will, of course, ask for a reasonable deposit up front. Watch out for contractors who provide a simple contract with a lot of hidden terms or wont even provide a written contract for your review. You want to make sure there is a written contract signed by you and the contractor that you can refer to if you have any questions.
Hire a Home Remodeling Contractor You Trust
After you’ve done your research and compared your estimates, you should have all the information you need to hire a contractor you can trust. If you have any questions or want to schedule a free inspection with us, please reach out! We would be happy to walk you through the process.