10 Things to Look for In a Contractor When Remodeling

10 Things to Look for In a Contractor When Remodeling

Stone Exteriors Stone Fireplaces Stone Veneer

Saving money for a home remodeling takes time and requires restraint in spending. So, when you get ready to launch your project, you don’t want it to turn into a remuddling due to selecting the wrong professionals to guide the work.

Depending on the size and complexity of the project, you may need to begin with an architect who not only can design the project but also provide referrals to reliable contractors.

How to select an architect is a topic for another day. What we’re suggesting here is that you’ll be happier with a remodeling if you ask yourself key questions about what to look for in a contractor and interview at least three before hiring. 

What a Contractor Does

Contractors generally aren’t designer although construction companies may have in-house designers. Instead, your contractor is the overall supervisors for your project. Their duties include:

  • Selecting sub-contractors, such as carpenters, electricians and plumbers
  • Overseeing all aspects of construction
  • Maintaining the work schedule you have approved
  • Handling payouts for materials and labor
  • Being responsible for meeting deadlines and
  • Ensuring that worksites are safe and tidy at the end of the day (especially important if you continue to live in the house during construction).

You may decide that you also want your architect to provide project management (an extra fee beyond design) aimed at making sure work proceeds correctly based on the design and materials specified in the design plans.

10 Key Questions to Consider

Here are some important issues to think about before selecting a contractor.

1. Are you hiring the contractor to be a designer as well as a project supervisor? If so, research the contractor’s design credentials and experience.

2. Do you have friends, neighbors or coworkers who can recommend contractors? Praise from someone you trust is valuable. Ask them specific questions about what went right or wrong with their projects. Negative feedback may help you to avoid hiring the wrong person or construction company.   

3. If you are relying on online recommendations, how trustworthy are these testimonials? Consider whether you or someone you know has found reliable help for other projects through these sources.

4. If an architect has designed your project, does the architect recommend any of your favored contractors? A contractor your designer respects is likely to be one on whom you can rely.

5. Does a contractor have a reputation for meeting deadlines and keeping the worksite safe?  This is a question to ask whoever provides referrals.

6. Is the contractor bonded, licensed and known for providing a well-detailed contract? Once again, ask those who provide referrals and then verify with the contractor. Also, insist on a detailed contract.

7. During the interview process, does a contractor answer your questions in an authoritative (not authoritarian) way? Your contractor should be able to answer your questions without forcing opinions on you.

8. Is a contractor able to provide referrals from former customers? If not, check the contractor off your list.

9. Is a contractor comfortable knowing that you will be interviewing others as well? If a contractor is experienced and knowledgeable, he or she will also be confident enough to accept competition.

10. Does a contractor have experience specific to your project, such as stone veneer work? A stone veneer contractor in the Chicago metro area will have experience with these kinds of projects:

The “Click Factor”

Finally, after each contractor interview, there is a certain gut-feeling factor to consider. You have to ask yourself how comfortable you were. Did the two of you “click” by communicating well? Do you think the contractor understands your project needs and can fulfill them?

Interviewing shouldn’t be rushed. You need to be patient and so does each interviewee. A prospective contractor who is willing to answer all your questions so you can make a well-informed decision is one who is likely to be a good communicator during construction.

North Star Stone is proud to say we meet all of these qualifications as a stone veneer contractor. We value our customers, their homes and their business and are always happy to explain the process and answer any questions you have. If you have questions you’d like to ask about stone veneer design for your stone fireplace or exterior stone siding, call us at (847) 996-6850 or contact us here and get a FREE estimate.

Questions about Stone Fireplaces and adding a TV

Stone Fireplaces

Questions about Stone Fireplaces and adding a TV

1. Your TV is going to need to get power and a chase to run your HDMI cables to your existing fireplace before the stone veneer is installed. If the fireplace is currently drywall it is a relatively easy process for your contractor to install the electric and chase. If you have a brick fireplace, the brick will need to be channeled out first to create a pathway. Also the drywall might need some patching. The only problem that sometimes adds a bit more time and money is if there is no electric near the fireplace.

2. Do You Add A Wood Mantel? We typically suggest that you choose either a wood mantel or a TV with your stone fireplace. Installing both a TV and wood mantel, things typically get too crowded. Either you have to mount the TV to high, or it looks like the TV is sitting on the mantel. Wood Mantel Examples

3. How High to Mount the TV? That is personal and depends on the existing height of the firebox and the height of the entire new stone fireplace. A great tool is to tape out the area with blue tape and get a visual of the size and the height of the fireplace. For most installations, the top of the TV shouldn’t be higher than 6’6? to 7? high. Also try to keep at least 17? from the bottom of TV frame and the top of the firebox and 20? would be better. Stone Fireplace Design Ideas

4. TV Mounting Brackets. There are so many different brands, but we do suggest a bracket that allows for tilt and at least some swivel. When mounting the bracket, we suggest installing 2×6?‘s to the studs of the fireplace wall and then installing the stone up to the area around the wood where the mounting bracket will be placed.

5. What is the Cost of Getting the TV Wired Before my Stone Fireplace is Installed? Labor markets differ and so do skill levels. In the Chicago market with a skilled electrician and carpenter getting involved, expect to spend about $500 -$600. But once this work is done, you will now have years of watching TV and enjoying that brand new stone fireplace.

interior stone design

Cobble Stone Fireplace with TV Mortar Joint, color light chateau

interior stone design

Cobble Stack stone fireplace with TV. Mortar Joint with soft earth tone colors. Stone fireplace design ideas.

For More Information about stone fireplaces, stone veneer, interior stone walls, stone wine cellars or stone fireplace design ideas contact us and we will be glad to answer your questions.

North Star Stone, Inc.
1921 Industrial Dr.
Libertyville, IL 60048
Showroom Hours by appointment