When you look at a general contractor’s website, you can learn a great deal about what they can do. However, some are into general contracting and not specializing in bathroom remodeling jobs, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But most general contractors don’t have free design services available, so you’ll need to provide them with a design plan first. Once they have the design plan in place, they can come up with an estimate for the project.
When homeowners see what a general contractor has done, they often think that’s what every homeowner should do because it looks professional and accomplished. While this is true, a bathroom renovation doesn’t have to take six months to complete. In fact, it usually only takes a few days, which means the homeowners can get their much desired bathroom renovation done in half the time!
There are two sides to a contractor’s work. You have the “light” side and the “dark” side. General contractors that specialize in high-end fixtures and finishes often have a large showroom with many different styles of fixtures that are comparable in looks to other fixtures. This allows homeowners to comparison shop without leaving the comfort of their home. But more importantly, it gives them the opportunity to discuss their options face-to-face.
Many homeowners don’t realize that behind-the-scenes work is just as important as what you see when they visit a showroom. Bathroom remodeling contractors often have custom workmen who have experience installing and altering copper, granite, and other high-end materials. A general contractor will not have access to these skilled workers. Even if the contractor does have some in-house remodelers, chances are the quality of that work will not be nearly as good as a custom contractor. Most quality contractors will even take on custom work if it fits their style better.
Once the project gets underway, there are two ways to approach the task. You can either hire general contractors or subcontractors. Although it is always best to hire both, some homeowners do not feel comfortable doing so. In addition, some general contractors will only accept projects that are already started and completed. Although this is not the most ideal situation, it is the way many project managers like to do things.
The biggest downfall of working with general contractors instead of hiring a remodeling team is that they have no way of determining whether or not the home renovations they suggest will meet building requirements. This is a significant concern when building requirements must be adhered to closely. General contractors have no way of checking to make sure that all permits and codes are being followed. Some general contractors may even suggest costly upgrades that are not necessary, which can cost you thousands of dollars in legal fees and damages.
Another issue you may come across when working with a general contractor is that they tend to suggest expensive options for small-scale renovation projects. For example, if you have small bathrooms that need a new floor and wall, many general contractors will recommend removing the entire bathroom and replacing everything with carpeting and/or wallboard. While this may work to upgrade your property’s appearance, it will also leave the home weak on the foundation. A good way to avoid this situation is to ask different remodeling companies to provide estimates based on their own unique construction techniques and designs. You should also ask if the general contractor has any references from previous jobs, and make sure you check them out as well.
Finally, you should find out what the remodeling contractor offers for warranties, guarantees, and special discounts. Many companies offer a three-year warranty on their work but find out before you get started whether it’s actually true. Many general contractors do not offer warranties because they don’t want to be responsible if the job isn’t done correctly.