A room addition will increase your living space and add value to your home. It’s a big project, and you should consider hiring a trustworthy contractor for the job.
Here’s why you should hire a contractor and how to pick the right professional for your room addition.
Why hire a room addition contractor?
It may be tempting to DIY, especially if you’re a handy person and have basic construction knowledge. However, a room addition is not a small project, and you may just find that you don’t have the expertise or time to fulfil the job.
So here are some reasons to hire a room addition contractor.
Plan and design
An experienced contractor can plan and design your room addition according to your budget. He or she will be able to provide building concepts and shape your ideas into functional designs. Additionally, a contractor should be able to rework designs if anything unexpected happens during the remodel.
Permits and inspections
A contractor is also likely to be familiar with local regulations for renovation works. Permits and inspections required by your local authorities may be extensive, and having no experience of going about it can be stressful. A contractor should be able to navigate the process and paperwork for you.
A room addition will require several subcontractors. For example, you will need electricians, roofers and plumbers. A general contractor can help you oversee, coordinate and manage all other work by subcontractors. Thus, you will have someone who will be able to set things right if something unforeseen happens.
Your contractor will help you oversee/manage site preparation before the actual construction begins. This could be demolition work, excavation or adding and stabilizing structures. This step needs to be properly executed so that your house is not damaged and the addition work is of quality.
A contractor will have knowledge of building materials, finishings and fixtures available. He or she will also have the relevant contacts to purchase the materials you need.
As a result, your contractor may be able to get better prices for a wide variety of materials, giving you many choices that you otherwise would not have.
How do I pick a contractor for my home addition?
Choosing the correct contractor for the job can make a huge difference. Here are some tips to help you choose a room addition contractor.
1. Get recommendations
First, get recommendations and create a list of local contractors who have the skills and knowledge to do the job. You can then narrow down the list gradually according to the next few steps below.
To compile your initial list of contractors,
- Ask your friends who have had renovations done or recommendations.
- Look online for services that you need in your area.
- Check reviews – you’ll be able to find them online.
- Utilise social media to ask for local recommendations.
2. Compare portfolios
Once you have your list, choose one specializing in the type of addition you have in mind. For example, someone who specializes in bathroom additions might not be suitable for a kitchen remodel.
Ask the contractors on your list for their portfolios. This may be a website or an actual physical portfolio. Good portfolios contain a minimum of ten projects, and photos in the portfolio should present the before and after of the project.
Be careful of portfolios that seem to have few projects and no photos before the renovations. Grainy images of the final product are also a red flag. Cross the contractor of your list if the completed work in the photos doesn’t meet your standard.
3. Check for certifications, licensing and insurance
You may still have several potential contractor names on your list at this point. You can continue to narrow it down by asking for their certifications and licensing. Do note that licences and certifications vary from state to state.
Remove contractors who do not have the relevant licenses or credentials and those who take a little too long to respond with the information you requested.
Additionally, it’s wise to ensure that the contractor you choose has liability insurance in case of damage to your home. You can check if their insurance is up to date by asking them for a copy of the policies.
4. Check references
It’s important to check the references of the contractors on your list. There is nothing unusual about this, and reputable contractors expect you to do so.
Once the contractor supplies you with the reference list, call each reference. Select a few new and old projects if you cannot reach out to everyone on the list. Then, ask if you can visit their home to see completed projects in person.
Ask the following questions when you make your calls:
- Was the contractor able to stay on schedule?
- Was the contractor punctual?
- How did they address problems that arose?
- Was the job site tidy?
- Was the cost clear and reasonable?
- Did the contractor communicate well?
5. Review the project
Once you’ve checked in with the references, remove contractors who have poor reviews from your list. Next, try to view similar completed projects by the contractor you want to hire. Visit at least one project from each of the contractors left on your list and take a close look at their work.
6. Get bids and hire
By now, you should only have three or four contractors left from your original list. Your next step is to price the project. Ask each contractor to present you with a project proposal and estimate cost; or a bid.
The project’s total cost will be dependent on factors such as project size, materials, and labor. Thus, it’s not always best to go with the lowest bid. Better quality material and workmanship is likely to cost more. Consider your budget and your overall goal and purpose for the room addition when choosing the best proposal.
For reference on budget estimates, read our article on “How Much Does it Cost to Add a Room to a House?”
Your project will start once you’ve signed the proposal, so take your time to make sure that you hire the right contractor – do not be pressured into accepting a bid.
Interview questions for your contractor
The following are some questions to ask potential contractors to ensure that you end of with ‘nightmare’ renovations:
- Can you share references?
- Can you provide a cost breakdown? (in addition to the total estimate)
- How long have you carried out renovations in this area?
- Are you licensed and insured?
- Will you obtain a permit before starting work?
- What are the approximate start and end dates?
- Who will be doing the work? And can I meet the foreman before work starts?
- Is it possible to put everything into writing?
If you feel that the answers given are off, then go with your gut and look for someone else to do the room addition.
Room addition contractor in San Diego
If you’re in the San Diego or Bay Area, Style & Structure is a top-rated home remodelling company. Committed to excellence with the highest quality service, our team will be with you from vision inception to the final walkthrough.
We believe that the renovation or remodelling process should be one that is enjoyable, interactive and engaging. Contact us for an estimate today.
Room additions are not small projects that you can DIY. Thus, it’s crucial that you choose the right contractor who can work together with you and turn your dream into reality. Don’t rush the process. It’s far better to take it slow – hiring the wrong person for the job won’t do you any good.
Check out ‘10 Room Addition Ideas for Small Homes’ for remodelling inspiration.