How to avoid remodeling headaches

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Beautiful stainless steel kitchen exhaust

Give yourself plenty of time to plan your remodel project, so that no changes will be needed when the work is being done. Changes to the scope of work are the costliest problems when remodeling. Leave time for research and create a comprehensive project plan or written contract, if hiring a professional. List every product to be used in the remodel and include your choice of finish.

Assume there will be unexpected surprises when walls, floors or ceiling are opened up. There can be previously unknown water or insect damage, structural problems, plumbing piping or electrical wiring issues uncovered. A good contractor will do his best to anticipate potential concerns, helping you to budget accordingly. However, even the best contractor does not have x-ray eyes; just be aware that when a wall or floor is opened up, you may find something that must be repaired before proceeding.

The current economic conditions are keeping contractors prices low, but at a certain point they may have to walk away from a potential job if the homeowner insists on too low a bid. Contractors have to make enough to pay overhead and their employees and subcontractors. Those who go with the lowest bid end up spending more for labor, averaging $1,500 extra on kitchen remodels and $1,000 on bathrooms. Do check the contract to eliminate a lot of open-ended amounts for products and materials.

It’s advisable to check your contractor for current license, insurance and workers’ compensation policies. The most up-to-date information can be found on the Washington State L & I website at: https://fortress.wa.gov/lni/bbip/Search.aspx. Type in the company name and you will get all the information on insurance, any complaints, etc. Don’t forget to check references from the contractor’s previous clients.

When planning your renovation, be sure to include the less exciting things that never the less need to be done; ventilation (kitchen and baths need good exhaust), lighting, location and convenience for use of trash cans and recycle bins.

Once you have done your homework, have fun! A newly renovated kitchen is a joy to be in, and there is nothing more pleasurable than a totally new bath, perhaps with a relaxing steam shower?

Check out this blog to get an interesting perspective on cheap vs. more costly contractors:

http://kathysremodelingblog.com/will-you-choose-the-cheap-contractor-or-the-craftsman/

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