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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Posts
    2

    Default Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    I just purchased a house and need to do a full bathroom remodel of a 9x6 family bathroom. Does anyone have any opinions or advice on which is the better deal with regards to time and money ... A general contractor/Home Depot or one of those bathroom showrooms which claim to be a one stop shop? I am looking for a pretty standard remodel - tile floor, double vanity sinks, tiled bath and shower combo area.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    559

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    my first word of advice is to get 3 estimates, check references and ask for pics of their work. you can get an estimate from a contractor or two, an estimate from one of the one stop shops and an estimate from home depot. keep in mind that home depot sub contracts their work out to local contractors so you should treat that as a regular contractor and check their work as you would any other contractor.

    the biggest wod of adice is be very very wary of anyone that comes in considerably below the others.....remember, you get what you pay for, don't cheap out, you don't want to have things falling apart or in need of fixing after a few months or a year or two.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    93

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    It's always best to get a solid referral from someone you know that has completed a project similar to yours and was completely satisfied with the process and end product.

    Unless you have drawings and specifications so that all three compamys can bid the SAME EXACT SPECIFICATIONS you can take those three bids and flush them down the toilet.

    The biggest mistake homeowners make is ask for estimates without handing the estimator drawings and specificatoins.
    Take three contractors and give them a brief idea on what you want and all three will build it differently to their building standards.


    What is your budget?
    How old is the house?
    Was the bathroom ever remodeled since the house was built? if so when?

    Where in the house is the bathroom located? (Main-floor easily accessible from entry door, 2nd floor? etc.. )

    What is directly below the bathroom? and if a basement is the basement finished?

    Where are you located?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    Being a remodeling contractor I can tell you what it's like from this side;

    1- The worst are customers who haven't done any research or aren't clear about what they want. This makes the estimates all over the map. A customer who has a list of items is perfect and very easy to please. The estimates can be easily compared. It is possible to structure the bid with a base package then have options thrown in to add choice for the home owner.

    2- Materials can make all the difference. It costs the same to install a cheap $60 toilet as a $200 toilet. Have your items picked out ahead of time, even if the contractor is buying them.

    3- I like a customer who is educated about the project at hand. I tell my prospective clients to do a LOT of research from reputable sources. This is one of them. The John Bridge Forum is another for tile work and remodeling.

    4- Make sure there is a guarantee on the work for at least 1 year.

    5- Ask to see any licenses needed for your area.

    6- Ask the contractor to provide proof of insurance from their agent, not a copy they hand you. Part of the insurance agents role is to provide a fresh 'proof of insurance' to anyone who asks. These are original copies that cannot be xerox'd.

    7- Pick a contractor you get along with. If something doesn't feel right, move on to the next.

    8- Good contractors are busy contractors. You might have to wait a spell.

    9- Ask about continuing education courses the contractor has taken. Ask how they learned the trade. If it seems like they aren't sharpening their skills as the years go by, then show them to the door.

    10- When it comes to showers and baths, make sure the entire area is waterproofed. Tile + grout + sealant is NOT waterproof. Cement board is not waterproof. Green drywall has not been allowed in showers by the TCNA for the last 2 years.

    11- Become familiar with the local building inspector. Speak to them to get good referrals. They are the ones who know who pulls permits and does nice work.

    12- Get your stuff out of the contractors way. Toys, pets, furniture, personal belongings. Move your car out of the driveway and allow room for deliveries. The guys will need room for their materials AND room to work aside from the one room they are working in.

    13- Do NOT give any money up front without a written contract that states what will be done and by when.

    14- Visit the contractors web site. He should list a physical address. Do not hire anyone with a PO Box, or a mailing address that doesn't match the company name.

    15- Call and go to the homes of past customers. Closely examine the work. Don't get fooled by a pretty exterior.

    16- If, after work starts, you sense something is wrong or they keep jacking up the price, cut your losses and get rid of them. An experienced contractor knows to build a certain amount into a bid for some unseen contingencies, and will only add to the bill if something is a complete surprise. The contractor should show you clear evidence of why something was not estimated.

    17- Don't go changing your mind after the project starts and expect the price to remain the same.

    18- Don't expect your contractor to add in a small item for free. Sometimes it isn't as easy or as quick as you think, or requires some prep work that should have been done 3 steps ago.

    19- Select only a contractor who can show up every day, and works 8 hours a day.

    There are lots more but my fingers are getting tired.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    7,080

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    My recommendation would be to go with a licensed general or bathroom specialty contractor, you will have more control over the process and quality of the job. Be sure to follow the outline offered by HoustonRemodeler.

    You should run away from the likes of Home Depot like your hair was on fire! While the contractors themselves may not be too bad, the conditions of being a subcontractor for HD does not allow for good quality work. I'm not big on boutique dealers either because often they're just a more expensive version of Home Depot.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Hampshire, UK
    Posts
    7

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    I suggest you to hire any company for bathroom remodeling work so that the remodeling work done perfectly according to bathroom space and your need.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    New London County, CT
    Posts
    120

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    First, I am permanently saving HoustonRemodeler's post to give to others when they ask. Good post!

    Second, Do not overlook the plumbing stores in selecting products. We picked out a shower and toilet for our remodel at the big box store. Our contractor was able to get it for a little less and free delivery. We did our own install and have had no problems.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Boston
    Posts
    1,004

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    are you guys aware that this post is over 2 years old?????????

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    SoCal
    Posts
    6,598

    Default Re: Bathroom Remodel - General Contractor or Bath Store?? Which is better?

    Quote Originally Posted by MLB Construction View Post
    are you guys aware that this post is over 2 years old?????????
    I always look at the date.

    The posting is old but the question is not, and HoustonRemodeler summed it up conclusively.

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