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6 Essential Tips for Hiring a Contractor

newly remodeled bathroom with construction worker insideKitchen and bathroom remodeling can be a frustrating process if you’re not working with the right professionals – and the right materials. As a tile store in Anaheim, we’ve heard from a number of our clients who have had poor experiences with the professionals they hired to carry out their job, so we’ve put together our list of tips for selecting the right contractor!

Referrals

Word of mouth is generally the best way to find a contractor that you can trust with your remodeling project. If you don’t have any friends, family, or coworkers that can help you out with a referral, you can certainly reach out to your tile vendor for a recommendation on a contractor they’ve worked with in the past.

Meetings and Interviews

We advise our customers to conduct phone interviews with their prospective contractor before they schedule a face-to-face interview. There are a few questions you’ll want answered before you make the time commitment of inviting a professional into your home. For instance:

  • Do you take projects of this size/budget?
  • Are you licenses and insured?
  • Can you provide references?
  • What subcontractors do you work with?

Pay Attention to Price

It can be tempting to jump at the lowest price – but we always recommend that you proceed with caution. A substantially lower price than competitors can potentially mean trouble for your project. It’s possible that this contractor is cutting corners, desperate to get a gig, or intentionally underbidding so that they can jack up the price due to “unforeseen costs” in the middle of the project.

Research

Once you’ve received a referral, or found a contractor you would like to vet, the next step is to research their business online. Websites like Yelp, Angie’s List, Houzz and Home Advisor are a few of the most trusted review sites in the business. The information you find on these sites will be invaluable in your search for a reputable contractor in Orange County.

Now you have to imagine yourself as a judge in a beauty contest. At this point, it would be wise to narrow down your choices to three possible candidates for your bathroom or kitchen remodel mission.

Deals on Materials

Different contractors will have different relationships with tile stores in Anaheim. Depending on the volume of business the contractor is working with, this can lead to significant discounts on materials like marble, granite and quartz. If your project will include new kitchen countertops or bathroom flooring, you’ll want to make sure that your contractor can get you a good deal on the material.

Get It In Writing

We saved the most important tip for last. It’s crucial that you detail every aspect of your remodeling project in writing. We know that this process might be slightly uncomfortable for some homeowners, but it is absolutely necessary. We recommend having the following action items in your contract:

  • Start date and estimated completion date
  • Materials to be used
  • Proof of insurance

A well written contract will ensure your peace of mind, and will make the entire remodeling process much smoother.

5 Crucial Tips for Remodeling your Bathroom

Newly Remodeled BathroomWhen it comes to home remodels, bathrooms can be especially tricky projects to tackle. To help you create the bathroom of your dreams without (much) trouble, we’ve put together a quick list of 5 crucial mistakes to avoid.

#1: Hiring the wrong kind of Help

Remodeling bathrooms is considered a specialty in the world of construction, and for good reason. A typical bathroom overhaul has dozens of components that must be installed perfectly to ensure a quality finished product. Using a tradesman who builds decks or installs windows will likely not provide the end result you’re hoping for.

We recommend researching companies that specialize in building bathrooms. These installers are trained to anticipate and resolve any potential challenges quickly and without unnecessary expense.

#2: Hiring a contractor without a fixed-price contract

Failing to set a fixed-price contract with the professionals you hire will almost always land you in a bottomless money pit. With each contractor, it is absolutely essential to put into writing a detailed contract that outlines an itemized list and cost breakdown of materials and tasks to be performed.

Without a contract, when changes are made to a project or unexpected issues pop up, a contractor can slam you with high fees for a new job that must be completed before the project can continue. Prices for porcelain tiles and other materials can also change unexpectedly, so a contract can help keep your budget intact.

#3: Putting aesthetics ahead of usability

It’s so easy to get carried away with creating your dream bathroom that you forget to approach things from a practical point of view. However, in any remodel, functionality should always be the main goal. It won’t matter how gorgeous your new marble tiles look if the bathroom counters have a poor layout and the wasted space interferes with your daily routine. Make sure that in planning your design, you remember to consider safety, accessibility, and comfort above everything else.

#4: Cutting corners on sealant

If you choose natural stone, ceramic, or porcelain tiles for your new bathroom flooring, the grout lines must be sealed. Unsealed grout quickly becomes dirty and acts as an ideal breeding ground for mold. Although most improvement stores carry a basic sealant, buying the cheapest version will spell trouble later on.

Our tile store in Anaheim carries the highest quality sealants available, which in many cases are guaranteed for twenty years or more. These new formulas are designed to penetrate and fill grout so that no moisture can enter the space, and come in aerosol cans that can be applied better than using a traditional jug of liquid sealant and sponge.

#5: Choosing the wrong materials

The most important thing to remember when shopping for bathroom remodel materials is that they should be highly durable and water resistant. Although you may love the look of wood or wallpaper now, over time moisture can cause major problems that require costly repairs or replacement. Choose water resistant porcelain or granite tiles, and make sure to install a strong exhaust fan to help get rid of excess moisture.

If you’re ready to learn more about how Trendy Surfaces can help make your dream bathroom a reality, please contact our tile store in Anaheim, Costa Mesa, or Laguna Niguel to set an appointment today.

5 Mistakes to Avoid When Remodeling Your Kitchen

kitchen remodelA kitchen remodel project is a huge undertaking, and requires extensive planning and attention to detail. Unfortunately, over the years we’ve heard hundreds of horror stories from our customers about issues they’ve encountered. To help shed some light on the subject, we’ve compiled a short list of some common mistakes people make when remodeling kitchens and how to avoid them.

  1. Being Penny Smart and Dollar Foolish. Kitchen counter tops are something you’ll look at every single day, and if they turn out crooked with a huge seam down the middle it’ll be impossible to ignore. We can’t stress enough how important it is to invest in the best quality materials and workmanship you can afford. Sub-par work will have to be redone sooner, and wastes more of your time and money than paying more upfront the first time. That being said, it’s not usually advisable to pay for the entire project before completion, just in case of unforeseen circumstances.
  2. Not identifying your needs and wants beforehand: Whether you have a zoo of kids and dogs running around, or you’re a neat freak that expects things to be just so, make sure to make decisions based on your real day to day life. Whether you’re looking for durable marble tiles for your kitchen floor or decorative quartz tiles for your backsplash, our tile store in Anaheim has a vast selection of exceptional materials to fit every lifestyle and budget.
  3. Ignoring expert advice: Architects, designers, contractors and even other remodelers all have years of knowledge and practical experience that you should be willing to listen to and apply. The more you can learn from these experts early on, the better- so ask questions! Even if it’s as simple as worrying that the granite tiles you picked out won’t fit your home’s aesthetic, your project manager can help reassure you or steer you in a better direction. In the world of home remodels, there’s absolutely no such thing as a silly question.
  4. Not trusting your instincts: It’s always better to go with your gut when making decisions to avoid buyer’s remorse six months down the road. Besides the obvious advice of playing with some samples to decide which porcelain tiles would look the best, don’t forget to do your homework on your contractor and other providers. Remember that high quality companies won’t pressure you to sign a contract since their body of work speaks for itself. If you feel that your contractor is untrustworthy or they have less than optimal reviews, revisit point #1 and take the time to find someone that has the qualifications and experience you’re looking for.
  5. Expecting things to run perfectly: Murphy’s Law always seems to kick in when you least expect it, and the same is true for kitchen remodels. Be okay with the fact that problems will most likely come up, and remember that you’ll drive yourself crazy worrying about every little issue. Trust your contractor to keep you in the loop and handle any problem appropriately, and things will be so much less stressful.

Trendy Surfaces has tile stores in Anaheim, Costa Mesa and Laguna Niguel.

Call our showroom for more information. (714) 284-0118

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