Kitchen Remodeling – Questions To Ask
Planning to remodel your kitchen? There are a lot of possibilities when you’re upgrading your space. In most instances, people thinking about a remodel fall into one of two camps: the picture junkie who wants to daydream or the appliance enthusiast who can’t wait for a new stove. However, before you jump into either of these roles, we recommend you consider a few essential questions. After all, a kitchen renovation is a big decision.
How qualified are they?
Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a great way to add the latest upgrades or simply give them a quick cosmetic makeover. You may even be able to increase the value of your home as a result of the remodeling project. However, not doing your homework when hiring kitchen or bathroom remodeling contractors can quickly turn your beautiful kitchen or bathroom you’ve been dreaming of into an expensive nightmare.
Most kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors are reputable and capable of doing an outstanding job on your project. However, there are a few out there who you might be better off avoiding. Fortunately, there are a few questions you can ask each of the kitchen and bathroom remodeling contractors you interview that should separate the best from the rest.
Is Your Company Licensed and Insured?
This is the first question you should ask the remodeling contractors you are considering, because if the answer is no, they shouldn’t be working in your home. Even if they offer to do the project for a great price and seem to have a good reputation, the liabilities you incur are usually not worth the savings. If an uninsured and unlicensed contractor damages your home, they may not have the financial strength to take care of the repairs. Even worse – your homeowner’s insurance policy holder may not pay for any damages caused by kitchen or bathroom remodeling contractors without proper paperwork. Always ask to see proof of insurance, a copy of their license, and ensure that everything is up-to-date before hiring any contractor.
What Experience Do You Have With This Type of Remodeling Project?
Remodeling contractors often have different skill sets and while one might have done a great job on your neighbor’s garage or backyard shed, that doesn’t make them qualified to remodel your kitchen or bathroom. Ask potential contractors for a list of past projects they have completed that are similar in scope to what you have in mind. Don’t hesitate to contact prior customers for their thoughts on contractors work quality, adherence to schedule, and overall competence. The same can also be true when considering the dollar amount of a project – a $30,000 kitchen remodeling project often requires a different level of expertise than one that costs $3,000.
Will There Be a Written and Signed Contract?
Unfortunately, the days of sealing a deal with a handshake are long gone. Regardless of how friendly the remodeling contractors you are interviewing might seem to be, or how good you feel about them, those sentiments can change during the course of a project. There should always be a signed contract that spells out the complete scope of work, the financial terms, and an approximate completion date for the job. Ask your kitchen remodeling contractors to be specific and precise in detail so you can make a good evaluation and decision.
How Are Extras and Change Orders Handled?
When remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, no one likes surprises – especially when they involve more money. Ask the kitchen and bathroom contractors you are interviewing to thoroughly explain what their price includes, and even more importantly, what it does not include. If their price has allowances for fixtures, appliances, floor covering, and other finishes, make sure you have a firm understanding of how much they are and how they work.
You should also explain to the contractors that no changes or extra work that may cause the agreed upon contract price to go higher are to be done before you are given a cost and approve the addition. Keep in mind that kitchen and bathroom remodeling isn’t quite the same as new construction. There are often unanticipated issues lurking that may affect the price of your remodeling project.
How Long Will the Remodeling Project Take?
Even if you have another bathroom, or an outdoor grill that can be used for cooking, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom can be a disruption to your daily life. Unfortunately, this minor inconvenience can be escalated drastically if you don’t see any progress being made on the project. Or perhaps days go by without any contractors showing up for work. Experienced kitchen remodeling contractors should be able to provide a reasonably accurate schedule for project completion when giving you a cost estimate. However, it’s also important to remember that unforeseen factors can delay your project for a few days and any changes you make during the course of construction may also add to its length. Open communication between homeowners and contractors is critical.
How Will We Communicate During the Remodeling Project?
Perhaps the most important component of successful remodeling projects is constant communication between homeowners and contractors. Contractors should be accessible for answering any questions or addressing any concerns that homeowners may have and there should be someone in charge when they’re not available. You should expect that your phone calls or emails to the contractors be returned in a prompt manner. Kitchen remodeling contractors concerned about customer service will often walk the project with clients on a regular basis during the duration of a lengthy project in order to ensure progress and good communication.
Essential Questions to ask Before Your Kitchen Remodel
How will you use your kitchen?
Of all the questions this is the most important. Do you want your kitchen to be a place people linger during a cocktail party or gather for dinner? Do you want to cook with friends and family, bake cookies with grandkids or convince the hubby to help with meal prep?
While you’ll want to strive to maintain the resale value of your home, you’ll also want your kitchen to be functional for your lifestyle. Based on how you answer this question, we might recommend:
- A large pantry for hiding your mess during dinner parties.
- Bar seating to allow the cook and dinner guests to easily interact.
- Easy access to the patio for the “grill enthusiast” in your life.
What is your budget?
At the end of the day, budgets matter. The perfect kitchen remodel is beautiful, functional, and within your spending comfort zone. Like house hunting and car shopping, the most successful kitchen remodel experiences happen when you plan with a budget in mind. This helps eliminate surprises.
Do you have the skill and/or time to do the project yourself?
Are you a DIY home remodel fanatic? Awesome! We’re peas in a pod. Updating home is our passion too! However, if you don’t have the expertise or time to upgrade your kitchen, don’t worry.
The worst kitchen remodeling mistake you can make is biting off more than you can chew. If you don’t have what it takes to update your space, it’s time to talk to a professional.
Who should you use?
When you’re picking a kitchen remodeling contractor, we always recommend you start by asking friends and family for a referral. You’ll also want to verify the contractor’s credentials and view their work.
Should you move out during the remodeling process?
Maybe. Moving out isn’t always essential, but it’s definitely more enjoyable. Even the cleanest job sites are still job sites. There is dirt, dust, and noise involved in any remodeling project. Plus, there’s the loss of your kitchen to contend with.