Avoid Surprise Remodeling Fees & Getting Skimped on Material Quality

Now more than ever, contractors are looking for ways to cut costs and increase their profits, often at the homeowner’s expense.  Instead of staying afloat by having exceptional customer service and producing superior results, these contractors practice unethical methods, by way of hidden fees and cheap products, that bring in quick cash and short term recognition.  As the homeowner, you risk getting left holding the bag either by a home full of inferior materials and finishes, or getting nickel and dimed for extra “fees.”

“Sorry, Clean-Up Costs Extra!”

During the course of a remodeling project, people complain the most about the overwhelming clutter and disarray present from demolition on Day 1 of remodeling.  It is not only unsightly and often unsanitary, but it also infiltrates the rest of your house that should theoretically be a remodeling-free zone.  Before signing a contract, make sure procedures for dust protection and trash removal are clearly specified in the contract. Make sure to discuss and include literature in the contract to have the remodeler:

  •  Make an honest effort to keep the dust contained, or notify you when the heavy dust generating operations will take place so you can place sheets over furniture or move sensitive belongings.
  • Make sure the contractor agrees to sweep up and place all construction debris in a predetermined place or refuse container at the end of every day.

“You Never Said You Didn’t Want Cheap Materials”

A lot of low-end contractors like to save money by using the cheapest materials they can get away with as specified in discussions with the homeowner or in the contract.  Make sure to specify up front what types of finishes and materials you want to prevent the remodeler from either up-charging you during the process for “premium finishes above original scope” or installing these sub-standard materials that doesn’t meet your criteria.  Here are some examples of types of materials contractors where try and give you the slip:

  • Warped lumber: Though most of it is behind walls, it still may show through with uneven framing causing wavy drywall or skewed doorways.  You especially want to pay attention to wood used for decking since the warped boards will be visible to all.
  • Cheap fixtures: We’ve all seen the spec houses with “builder-grade” finished for faucets, lighting, and cabinetry.  Often the cheapest fall apart the first, or look dated more quickly.  If this is your custom renovation, don’t settle for el cheapo everything.
  • Watered down paint: It may look great now, especially when you still have on your rose colored glasses from the mess of remodeling, but it often fades or becomes slightly “see through” after just a few months.

Good contractors will listen to your wishes, give you the most accurate pricing up front as possible, and do the best they can to give you what you want with your budget.  But it doesn’t just stop at hiring the right remodeler – be sure to have an open and honest line of communication with them throughout the whole process!