Your Contractor Will be Your Roommate: How to Pick Wisely

Warning: Your new roommate is going to wake up early, be a bit loud and, if you’re not careful, could make quite a dust storm. For about six months.

Image Credit: Sam Nowak and Son’s Construction Co. via DesignMine

Fortunately, you can pick this roommate (unlike your first one in college) and make sure he/she is an ideal match when you’re undergoing one of the most stressful activities as a homeowner – a major remodeling project.

Most homeowners continue to live in their homes during a major renovation. For that reason, 8 in 10 homeowners say that livability is one of the most important factors during a remodeling project.

Your first step is to hire a professional contractor who is licensed, insured and certified. Look for a firm that is conscientious about everything it does, has an experienced team and is used to handling large projects. To find an ideal firm, get referrals from friends and from the firm itself and look at company websites.

During the interview process, talk to prospective firms about timeline, logistics, realistic expectations and budget management. It’s important to understand the scope of the project and how your contractor proposes to handle any challenges that arise.

Image Credit: Lux Renovations, LLC via DesignMine

Knowing contractors’ habits and the amount of time they will be invading your space is very important, especially when your family is involved. There is no room for “roommate hate” during your remodeling project.

Here are some points to review with your contractor – timeline, schedule, logistics and dust control – before you give up your peace and quiet for quite a while.

Timeline: Ask about timing for major milestones in the project, so you can measure the contractor’s progress. You could update this with regular, informal check-ins. Unlike your college roommate, these check-ins are necessary to make sure your project is going smoothly and your deadlines are being met.

Schedule: When will the contractor arrive, and leave? What considerations – such as piano lessons, a party or a vacation – do you need to discuss that might affect the contractor’s schedule? Knowing each other’s schedules makes it easier to navigate the rest of the project and communicate special situations before the first wall comes down.

Logistics: Think about everything from where the contractor can park to how careful he/she has to be about the placement of tools (because of small children and pets). Your roommate should be considerate of your lifestyle and take all of these elements into consideration for your overall safety and happiness.

Dust control: This is the No. 1 threat to livability for homeowners. That’s why you need to insist on a “clean” contractor that will talk to you about his/her dust control plan right away, well before you begin your project. Remember how annoyed you were when your roommate left the place a mess, leaving clothes and trash all over the place? It’s just like that, except this mess is harmful to your family. The good news is that many contractors are using the latest technology to control this nuisance as part of their dust control plan.

As a homeowner, you know you’ll need to adjust your life during a major remodeling project. Look for a contractor who address your concerns and ensure your family’s livability during the project. This will make your overall experience more enjoyable and will remove the urge for you to “accidentally” lock your roommate – contractor – out of your home. Whoops!

Brian Paich, Business Development Manager for BuildClean Dust Control System,
A Division of Illinois Tool Works | Brian has extensive experience in the home remodeling market through working alongside his grandfather, a carpenter in Chicago, and through his work at ITW, a Fortune 200 company, and other businesses. At ITW, he leads the team that developed the new BuildClean Dust Control System, a groundbreaking invention that has transformed the way contractors manage remodeling dust in residential projects. Brian has worked directly with contractors and homeowners across the country for several years, learning what is most important to both audiences.  He has an MBA in Finance from University of Chicago. Brian is very active in the remodeling industry and its many associations.