Nov. 23 2020

8 Questions to Ask Your Contractor When Remodeling Your Bathroom

by Bennett Bottorff

Remodeling your Seattle bathroom is a significant investment, not only financially but your time and energy as well. Deciding you want to hire a general contractor to oversee the project is only the first step of the process. From there, the big question is who? There’s always an element of risk when you’re hiring a professional for any sort of job and trying to find a reputable general contractor for the first time may be a bit daunting for new homeowners. However, by doing your due diligence and carefully vetting a few Seattle bathroom remodelers, you can find the best fit for your specific vision and preferred design and build process.

What Questions Should You Ask a Contractor?

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The search for a good contractor to handle your bathroom remodel in Seattle often begins by searching online through websites like the Better Business Bureau, Angie’s List, and Houzz. You can also ask for recommendations from your friends, family members, or neighbors, as well as trusted tradespeople who work in the industry, such as your electrician, plumber, or realtor.

However, one of the most critical aspects of the vetting process is meeting with your top contender to find out more about their experience, construction process, and overall business approach. As you plan for your interview, here is a look at what to ask a prospective contractor before hiring them for your bathroom remodel:

See also: IHR Client Testimonials 

1. Are You Licensed, Bonded, and Insured?

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Although this may seem like an obvious question, it’s worth mentioning, especially if this is your first time remodeling your home in Seattle. You may be tempted to hire an amateur remodeler or an acquaintance who claims to have experience. They may even offer you the best deal on pricing. However, keep in mind that the state of Washington requires all construction contractors to register with the Department of Labor and Industries. State law also requires them to be bonded and insured to protect the public. Not only are those items proof that the company is reliable and reputable, but you also can research the license number to see whether your prospective bathroom remodeler has a clean record.

See also: Creating the Bathroom of Your Dreams with Innovative Home Renovations

2. How Long Have You Specialized as a Bathroom Contractor?

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There are numerous competent home builders in the North Seattle area, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are adept with bathroom remodels. When you upgrade or renovate a bathroom, there are several different factors to consider, such as waterproofing, plumbing, exhaust, and heating. If not executed properly, you are at greater risk for mold, water damage, and other issues in the future. As you search for a Seattle contractor, make sure you’re looking for one who is experienced with bathrooms and stays on top of current design trends and best practices.

See also: Top 7 Design Trends for Kitchen Remodeling in Seattle 

3. What Do You Charge for Your Services, and What’s Included?

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Budgeting for a project is often a complex process; however, you should be able to get basic information about whether the contractor calculates costs by time and materials, or by fixed price. Find out if the contractors are able to provide a Fee Disclosure, and if so, ask about their profit rate. More importantly, ask the bathroom contractor what processes and practices they use to help control the price of a remodeling project and what cost-saving measures they typically implement with their clients.

See also: IHR's Remodeling Process

4. Do You Offer a Warranty on Your Services and Products?

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Getting warranties on services rendered and products used for your bathroom remodel is an effective way to protect your investment and make sure the work holds up over time. One of the questions to ask contractors before you make a hiring decision is how long they guarantee their work. IHR guarantees its work for five years, while our competitors only do it for 1 to 2 years.

See also: 10 Questions to Ask Before Starting a Bathroom Remodel

5. Can You Refer Me to Previous Clients?

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Every reputable professional bathroom remodeler should have a portfolio of past projects for you to peruse. While the images can give you an idea of their skills and abilities working with various styles, there are other questions to consider, such as does the contractor communicate well? Do they stick to a schedule and budget? Do they exhibit professional behavior at all times? You won’t know the answers to these questions unless you reach out to clients who have worked with the contractor in the past. A trustworthy bathroom remodeler should have no issue putting you in touch with their previous clients as references.

See also: IHR's Remodeling Portfolio

6. Are Permits Required for My Bathroom Renovation?

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You may not explore every detail of your bathroom remodeling vision during the initial interview with your contractor, but they should be able to assess whether you’ll need permits based on the general scope of the project. For example, in Seattle, you don't need a permit for minor repairs or alterations that cost $6,000 or less in any six-month period. However, any work on load-bearing supports or changes to the building envelope requires a permit, no matter how small the project. You should also find out whether your bathroom remodeler will handle pulling permits for you.

See also: Do You Need a Permit for Your Remodel 

7. Who Will be my Point of Contact, and How Can I Communicate with Them?

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No matter the size of the contracting company, having one point of contact or project manager for the duration of your remodel helps mitigate stress and miscommunication. Find out when you will be assigned to a team and how to best communicate with them, whether that be via text, email, phone call or in-person meetings. If you’re working with a small remodeling firm, it’s essential to ask if they have a plan in place for when the contractor is out of town or unavailable. Who should you contact with questions during that time?

8. How Do You Handle Disputes or Unexpected Challenges?

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No matter how much planning and preparation you do, unforeseen circumstances can arise, or you might run into disputes with your bathroom remodeler. During your interview, ask your prospective bathroom remodeler how they deal with conflict, disputes, or even simple obstacles, like material being backordered. How will they communicate with you? What protocol do they follow to work toward a solution? This is also a great question to ask any of their references. Make sure to include a clause about dispute resolution in your bathroom remodel contract.

See also: 5 Cost-Effective Ideas to Give Your Old and Outdated Bathroom New Life

Hiring a Bathroom Remodeling Contractor in Seattle

Trying to find a bathroom contractor for your project is not a task to rush or take lightly. The person you hire for your bathroom remodels impacts every other aspect of the project, from the cost and schedule to the quality of craftsmanship. At Innovative Home Renovations, bathroom and kitchen remodels in Seattle are our specialty. Whether you know exactly what you want from the project or simply looking for creative inspiration and guidance, please don't hesitate to get in touch with us today to discuss your ideas. We will be happy to help you plan the next steps.

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