Find The Right Contractor
Once you have set your renovation goals and priorities, you need to find the right contractor to carry out your project. The type of renovation professional you need will depend on what's involved in your project.
- For simple projects involving only one activity such as replacement of roofing, siding or windows, a specialized trade contractor or contract installer may be best.
- If your project involves changes to your heating, electrical or plumbing systems, you should consult a licensed trade contractor.
- For renovation projects that will involve more than one trade or require structural changes to your home, you should look for a general renovation contractor who can manage all aspects of the work, including development of detailed plans.
Regardless of the type of work involved in your project, you need to make sure that any contractor you hire has the necessary skill and experience to do the job right. Professional contractors run their businesses properly, have a track record of satisfied customers and will provide you with customer references upon request.
To get the names of contractors in your community, contact your local Home Builders' Association or use the search engine located to the right. You can also often get contractor leads from friends and neighbours who have carried out renovations similar to those you plan.
It is important to interview any prospective contractor and discuss your project in detail before deciding who to hire. This website contains downloadable worksheets to help you with this process.
What if I Want to Do It Myself?
Many homeowners enjoy taking on home improvement projects. Today, there is a tremendous amount of do-it-yourself information available from building supply retailers, specialty television programs, bookstores and on-line through the internet.
If you're considering doing your own renovation work, but are uncertain if this is the right choice for you, here are a few things to consider:
- Think about your skills and capabilities, and the complexity of the project, before jumping in to it. Do you have the tools needed or will these need to be purchased? If you have experience in residential construction, doing your own work can make a lot of sense. On the other hand, if you lack the necessary skills, or if the work is complex, doing it yourself may be a mistake.
- Give some thought to the work schedule and your own free time. Will you be able to complete the work on time? Are you willing to devote this much time to the project or is it likely to drag on longer than you want?
- If you act as your own general contractor, you are taking on responsibility for managing the project. Make sure that all legal aspects of the project are handled properly including building permits and required inspections.
- If you hire tradespeople to do some of the work, remember that you still need a proper written contract covering this activity. Without a contract, you could be exposed to significant legal and financial risk in the event of a work-place accident.
If saving money is the main reason you are considering doing the work yourself, consider talking to a professional renovation contractor first. They may be able to suggest ways they could do the work while controlling costs or they may be able to divide the work into more affordable stages.