Home & Design

Remodeled by Four Brothers, LLC, a Victorian row house in Logan Circle embraces original architectural features while adding freshness via vibrant color and chic furnishings. Photo: Four Brothers, LLC

Checklist: Remodel

Tips from Four Brothers Design + Build on hiring the right contractor

The most important decision you’ll make when planning a remodeling project is who to hire. Keep in mind that you’re giving a third party free reign in your house—and paying a substantial sum for a product whose costliest components are hidden, from plumbing and electrical wiring to framing and HVAC. It is essential that you trust your remodeling partner implicitly. Below, Four Brothers Design + Build lists the dos and don’ts of choosing your contractor.

Do

  • Use a company with strong pre-construction/planning, even if little or no design is involved. A well-run construction project takes many hours to plan. If the design is not finalized with materials selected and ordered before construction begins, expect delays and stoppages.
  • Check online and print forums for reviews. If multiple negative reviews exist, chances are there is a good reason.
  • Interview at least three companies before settling on one.

Don’t

  • Hire the lowest bidder. As with anything else in life, you usually get what you pay for. Many companies will secure a contract by low-balling an estimate, then assess premeditated change orders once construction begins.
  • Choose a “yes man.” You need someone who will tell you the truth even if it is not what you want to hear.
  • Hire anyone who pushes their own agenda. Your remodeling partner should be receptive to your input.

What to Ask

  • How much of your business is repeat- or referral-based?
  • Do you have examples of projects like mine that you have completed recently?
  • Are you licensed, bonded and insured in my area?
  • Do you have a fixed-price contract, and what is your policy on change orders?
  • Will you pull the necessary permits?
  • What work do you subcontract out, and how are your relationships with your trade partners?
  • Who will be in charge of the work once it begins?
  • What is your timeframe for completion, and will you work every day?
  • Are you LEED-certified by the EPA?
  • How will you ensure that my home stays clean and safe?

Pro Tips

“Solid oak is our go-to for hardwood flooring. Unlike vinyl or engineered wood, hardwoods like oak can be countlessly refinished, making them the most timeless selection.”
—Fritz Eisenbrandt, Eisenbrandt Companies

“Everyone wants control via a smart device—often voice-activated—from HVAC, lighting and entertainment systems to exterior and low-voltage landscape lights.”
—George Papaheraklis, FineCraft Building Contractors, Inc.

 

You may also like:

A Remodeling Checklist
Careful planning will keep your project on track
Quiet Refuge
Barbara Hawthorn breathes new life into a mid-century rambler in Great Falls
Remodeling Case Study
Bright & Airy: Carmel Greer lets in the light in a 1920s Cleveland Park bungalow
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