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In the first installment of home improvement 101 we will be discussing selecting a contractor. This is a topic which I have read many articles about and have had varying degrees of agreement and disagreement with what was written. The hardest thing for people “in the trade” to remember is that the general public likely does not know things that are second nature to contractors and trade people because they have been in the business for so long. So let’s assume that you decided to do some type of project in your home. Before we can address how to select a specific contractor,, which we will discuss in later installments the first question you must answer is what type of contractor should you call or look for? If you begin the process calling you and discussing your project with the wrong type of contractor you have jeopardize your project from the get go. So let’s talk about some basics. As the homeowner, the first question you have to ask yourself is what type of work is the main work? For instance: you decided you want your bathroom remodeled. Many people’s first thought would be to call a plumber. Typically that is a big mistake. Think about it for a moment your bathroom is already there. The toilet, sink, shower and/or tub are all right there already. Just because plumbing is involved with your bathroom, it does not mean a plumber is your best choice. A plumber “may” be able to do a bathroom remodel, but you are likely to actually have someone with less experience, and charging you more doing the work. A bathroom remodel depending on your selections and wish list would involve demolition of the existing bathroom, perhaps some light wiring, likely some drywall and what we call “point up” work, installing new porcelain or ceramic tile, new light fixtures and plumbing fixtures, and some painting. As you can see from the preceding list there is actually very little plumbing involved with a bathroom remodel. So the best choice would be to look for someone calling themselves a bathroom remodeler or general contractor. A remodeling company or a general contractor would have in place a team of workers and subcontractors who could accomplish all of the work of the various trades. If you are not sure of what the main work will be I would suggest you start off speaking with the general contractor. Most general contractors are happy to steer you to one of their subcontractors if they feel in their discussion with you your project would be better suited for that subcontractor.

Here is a basic list of types of project and what I would suggest you look for either on the web or in a Google search.

Windows-replacement window contractor
Door(s)-replacement door contractor
Siding- siding contractor
Roofing- roofing contractor
Deck-deck contractor
Kitchen- kitchen remodeling or general /home improvement contractor.
Bathroom- bathroom remodeling or general/home improvement contractor.
Addition – general/home improvement contractor.