Expensive kitchen renovations worth the price

Kitchen design with white cabinetry

If you’re ready to put your home on the market or if you’re staying put and want an updated look, one great place to focus on is the kitchen renovation.

Updating your kitchen can be a big project that comes with an even bigger price tag, but believe it or not, it’s worth the cost. Upgrades to the kitchen often come with a great increase in the value of your home with a return on investment as high as 75 to 100 per cent.

Here are four kitchen renovations that add major value to your home:

Spend money on fixtures
It’s the little things that count when it comes to adding value to your home. Improvements such as faucets, light fixtures, and cabinet hardware can instantly improve the look and feel of an otherwise outdated kitchen.

Don’t scrimp when it comes to your kitchen fixtures. You can shop for a variety of styles, materials, and price ranges at home improvement stores such as The Home Depot. Prices can range from as low as $4 to as high as $30 per cabinet fixture and kitchen faucets can range from $90 to over $400 per fixture. Remember, you get what you pay for when it comes to increasing the value of your home.

Updated cabinets can sell a home
You don’t need to tear out absolutely everything to have a modern look. Refacing your kitchen cabinets is a cost-effective way to improve the look of your kitchen. Refacing means you keep the cabinet boxes, and either paint them or put a new material on top of them, plus add a new door. However, if you find the cabinets or cabinet layout isn’t functional, then consider replacing them altogether.

Invest in a stand-out countertop
Countertops and backsplashes are eye catching aesthetics that can add value as well as durability to your kitchen. When choosing countertop materials remember that you want to pick something that looks nice but will also sustain everyday wear and tear such as heat from pots and pans and spills from drinks or other liquids.

Spending money now will help save money later because high quality materials will last for years to come. Homeowners can choose from a variety of countertop materials such as soapstone, granite, and quartz, just to name a few.

Install an Island
Kitchen islands are a fantastic addition to many kitchens because they add functionality, more countertop space, and more storage to the room. According to ConsumerReports.org, “76 percent of potential homebuyers considered a central island either desirable or essential to a kitchen.”

If you spend wisely for a mid-range kitchen upgrade that focuses on quality, appealing materials, you should be in good shape to either re-sell or just enjoy your home. Make sure you look at popular kitchen upgrades in your own area, and check in with your real estate agent about which upgrades are most often requested.




From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist for July

With summer in full swing and vacation just around the corner, this month’s to-do list focuses on Home Maintenance and Safety Checklist. A few simple preventative measures can save you from property loss and make your getaway the stress-free break you intended. Care for your house inside and out, and enjoy the good times of summer.

Parades and fireworks and clambakes. With summer in full swing, the month of July can seem to zip by. Make the most of your month with these 14 to-dos, covering everything from weekend guests to flag etiquette.

Things to Check Off Your List in an Hour or Less

1. Clean porch lights. If you have glass light fixtures that are easily removed, bring them inside and wash in a dishpan of warm water with gentle soap. If the fixtures must stay in place, turn the power off and carefully wipe the exteriors with a damp microfiber cloth; dry with a soft cloth. When finished, change lightbulbs as needed.

2. Unfurl a flag for the Fourth. Get in the Independence Day spirit by putting up an American flag on your porch in time to celebrate the Fourth of July. Don’t have room for a full-size flag? Try lining your walkway with mini flags, or hang a pleated fan above the door instead. Whether you hang your flag vertically (as shown here) or horizontally, be sure you keep the union (the part with the stars) in the upper left corner.

3. Clean windows inside and out. Keep that summer sunshine streaming in by giving windows a quick rinse with glass cleaner or a vinegar solution, then squeegee them dry or wipe with a clean microfiber cloth. If you want to avoid using a ladder outside, reach exterior windows with a window-washing hose attachment or telescoping window washer, or hire a window-washing service to get the job done.

4. Check window screens for holes. It’s summer, and the mosquitoes are out in full force. If you’ve been getting bitten inside the house, check your window screens and screen doors for small holes and tears. Use a screen patching kit from the hardware store to repair any damage, and keep those pesky bugs outdoors where they belong.

5. Check safety devices. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors should be tested monthly; replace batteries as needed, and replace the entire device if it is more than 10 years old. Interconnected smoke detectors (when one alarm goes off, they all sound) are the safest because it is more likely that everyone in the house will hear the alarm. Also, take a moment to check the expiration date on any fire extinguishers in the house and replace them if needed.

6. Prepare for summer guests. Before guests arrive, be sure to clear out your own personal items, make up the beds with fresh sheets and set out a stack of fresh towels. Small extras such as bottles of water, a basket of travel-size toiletries and a card with the house Wi-Fi password will be much appreciated. If you host frequent overnight guests, consider adding a trundle bed or bunk to make the most of the space, especially if you know you’ll be having kids visiting.

7. Care for furry friends. Summer poses some unique challenges for our pets, but with a little extra care, you can ensure your furry friends are healthy all season long. If you will be traveling this summer without your pet, be sure to plan ahead to set up care. Most pets are more comfortable in their own homes, so consider using a professional pet sitter rather than a kennel, which can be stressful. To keep pets safe in the heat, you should provide access to shade and ample fresh water and never leave pets in a car unattended.

8. Refresh summer whites. Fresh, clean and crisp, nothing says summer quite like white linens. Keep your white textiles looking their best by laundering slipcovers, cushion covers and curtains, or sending them out for dry cleaning if they’re not machine washable. Keep white upholstery and Roman blinds looking fresh by vacuuming them regularly using your vacuum’s upholstery attachment.

9. Check Bathrooms for Leaks around Sinks and Toilets. While it’s okay that your toilets and pipes sweat a bit, you should look for leaks near anything that is puddling or dripping. The last thing you want to come home to is water damage from an unattended gusher.

10. Run Water and Flush Toilets in Unused Spaces. That bathroom no one ever uses? The toilet probably has quite the ring since you last checked it. Make sure everything is still in tip-top shape and give it a flush.

11. Conserve water. Cut down on unnecessary water use by watering your lawn and garden during the cooler, early morning hours. If you water when the sun is high, much of the water will simply evaporate instead of sinking into the soil where the roots can access it — and it can even scorch tender leaves. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends using a WaterSense-labeled timer for your sprinkler system, which acts like a thermostat for your lawn and can reduce water use by up to 15 percent per year. Inside the house, keep an eye out for leaky faucets and have them repaired promptly.

12. Keep landscape fire-safe. If you live in an area with dry summers (such as California), it’s important to remove weeds, fallen leaves, needles and other items that could become fuel in a fire, particularly from the area immediately surrounding your home.

13. Check fences and repair or replace as needed. Inspect fencing and gates around your property. If you find damaged areas (for example, broken boards, sagging areas and soft or rotted wood) schedule repairs or replacement as needed.

14. Upgrade pool safety measures. If you have a pool in your backyard, it is essential to keep it securely fenced with a self-closing, self-latching gate at least 4 feet high, to prevent children from jumping or falling in. Place a safety cover on your pool when not in use, and never allow anyone to swim in your pool alone. The American Red Cross also recommends installing a pool alarm that will go off when anyone enters the pool. And if you have children, it’s important to make sure they all learn to swim well, whether or not you have a pool of your own.

15. Add shade to the yard. Make your backyard more comfortable with an umbrella or shade sail. With ample shady spots to sit, you’ll likely find yourself wanting to spend more time in your outdoor space — and shade is a must for summer backyard parties.

16. Keep your home safe while traveling. Before you leave on a trip, take some time to put safety precautions in place. Let your neighbors know when you will be away and ask a friend to check on your house from time to time. Motion-sensing exterior lighting, timed interior lighting and well-trimmed hedges can make your home a less appealing target for break-ins. If you will be away for a longer period of time, have your mail held for you at the post office and hire a lawn service to keep your yard from getting overgrown while you are away.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Kitchen Cabinets Installation Lowes vs Home Depot

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If you do any kind of home remodeling or kitchen cabinets installation – whether something as simple as painting your kitchen, or on up to full-scale remodeling in the capacity of a contractor or homeowner – then Lowe’s and Home Depot are both a fact of life.

Try as you might to religiously pick up mulch and plants at your local nursery, tools at your friendly little Ace Hardware, and wood at your local lumber yard, you eventually have to come to these stores for something.

They may be your best buddies or worst enemies, but they are not going away anytime soon.

Following is feedback I have received over 10 years of writing about home remodeling, incorporated with my own experiences.
1. Customer Service: Experience and Advice

Winner: Tie

Lumber yard/supply houses tend to be staffed by very knowledgeable–and often very grumpy–older men, many of whom were once in the trades. If you want to parse the differences between two types of arcane plumbing pipe, this is the place to go.

Neither Lowe’s nor Home Depot has that type of staff. But the consensus of readers–and my experiences–indicate that Home Depot has a somewhat more experienced staff. Since most of these employees did not come from the trades, this may mean that Home Depot has a higher employee retention rate.
2. Accepting Returns

Winner: Equally good and equally bad

Lowe’s and Home Depot’s CEOs are not aware of this, but the return desk is their single biggest PR opportunity.

First, the basics. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot are relaxed about accepting returns. Return with receipt, get cash back; return without receipt, get store credit. If you used a credit card, you do not need to show a receipt, as your credit card is recognized when you swipe for the return.

But returns go beyond this.

It is the first counter that serious DIYers visit upon entering the store (because there is always something to return). Yet it is always understaffed and overflowing with carts of items that need to be restocked. And the more time that customers wait in line at returns, the less time they have to shop.
3. Solving Your Customer Service Problems

Winner: Home Depot

At some point, there must have been a memo passed from Home Depot CEO Menear to every employee, saying, “Fix the customer’s problem, however you have to do it.”

I have multiple stories that illustrate Home Depot employees fixing things for me (and far fewer Lowe’s stories). Two of my favorite:

I cannot find the $49 Ryobi hammer-drill that I wanted and tell the person I am with that I am unhappy about having to spend $79 for the Makita hammer-drill. A Home Depot employee overhears me and says that she will give me the Makita for the Ryobi price–no hassle, no questions asked. She even walks me to the register to smooth over the process for me.
The Cadet baseboard heater that I essentially bought for one penny.

4. Prioritizing Selling Products to Customers Over Restocking Shelves

Winner: Home Depot

Products move off of shelves; shelves need to be restocked.

This is understood.

At both stores, restocking happens while customers are shopping. Yet at Lowe’s, employees are laser-focused on this activity. Customers must shop around the employees. At Lowe’s, I am continually thwarted from buying items simply because employees have blocked off the area for long periods.

One morning at Lowe’s, I witnessed three contractors (who generally are decisive buyers because they need to get to job-sites) barred from an entire tile aisle because the employees had netted it shut. While this is an event at either Lowe’s or Home Depot for safety reasons, it happens more often and for longer periods at Lowe’s. The contractors patiently waited several minutes and then left without purchasing anything.
5. Lower Prices

Winner: Tie

This is a pointless battle to engage in, as prices readjust all the time.

On an ongoing basis, with all prices averaged out, Home Depot and Lowe’s have basically the same prices.

Lowe’s and Home Depot stores engage in competitive pricing. For example, today at Home Depot, 1/2″ 4′ x 8′ drywall is $10.76 per panel. At Lowe’s, it is $10.76 per panel. This is no coincidence.

At Home Depot, 100 ft. of 1/2″ PEX pipe is $28.52. At Lowe’s, it is $27.95.

That is not to say you cannot find spot deals that are particular to a certain moment in time. On one weekend, Lowe’s might be offering a common item such as a cedar fence privacy panel for $30.85, while Home Depot is offering them for $36.25. So, it does pay to be aware of each store’s weekend sales.
6. Better Online Store

Winner: Tie

There was a time–not too long ago–when Lowe’s online site felt like it was designed by two college kids on spring break. Home Depot’s site was easy to navigate, light-weight, with smartly-designed filters.

Lowe’s has followed Home Depot’s lead, and now its site is comparable to Home Depot’s. This is a very recent development.

Not only that, Lowe’s will deliver heavy items–fence panels, masonry, landscape rock, and the like–that many Home Depots will not deliver.
7. Wider Brand Opportunities

Winner: Both equally fail

We all know about store brands and exclusive brands.

Lowe’s has Kobalt and Task Force branded tools, both decent but not amazing. It also carries Utilitech lighting. Lowe’s is also the store that carries Pella new-construction windows, which I find inferior to its nearest competitor, Andersen.

Home Depot has Behr and Glidden paints. And it carries Ryobi tools, extensively covered in our tool guides. It also carries RIDGID, typically the cheapest way to purchase some tools such as wet tile saws.

Yet both fail in their obsession with locking in these exclusive brands. Consumers want choices; they do not want to buy a Toro lawnmower simply because Home Depot offers 37 Toro lawnmowers (and one Ryobi cordless mower).
8. More Pleasant Store Atmosphere

Winner: Home Depot

By atmosphere, we’re talking about lighting, ​the width of aisles, cleanliness, keeping areas stocked and organized, etc.

Both stores tend to be close in terms of atmosphere, but I feel that Home Depot’s stores have surpassed Lowe’s.


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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Outdoor Kitchen Remodel

Designing the Outdoor Kitchen Remodel – The grill is the main ingredient, but there’s a lot more to a successful recipe.

Today’s outdoor kitchen designs—whether part of a new home or a remodel—are more likely than ever to complement a home’s architectural aesthetic and environment. To create inviting and functional living spaces, where all the features work together, you need a refined and thoughtful approach. Here are a few design concepts to help you make that happen.

Start With the Grill

The heart of any outdoor kitchen, big or small, is the grill. It can make or break a client’s satisfaction with a project, so select the best one that fits within the budget.

When it comes to grills, there are no uniform depths, heights, or widths. This means that upgrading a grill sometime in the future could present a challenge, so its selection should be based on the cooks your clients aspire to be, rather than on the cooks they are now. Also keep in mind outdoor cooking options other than the standard gas grill, such as pizza ovens, smokers, cooktops, and charcoal- or wood-fired grills.

Once the grill has been selected, the next big decision is placement. If your clients entertain often, position the grill so it is perpendicular to the dining area to keep the cook in the party. That way, the cook can work without having his or her back turned to the guests and without having the open hood in the way.
In the Zone

The perfect outdoor kitchen for entertaining is about more than just the appliances. Like indoor kitchens, outdoor kitchens are made up of functional zones. These include hot, cold, wet, and dry zones.

Hot zones, not surprisingly, consist of all cooking areas, like grills, pizza ovens, and cooktops; cold zones include refrigeration and freezers; wet zones include sinks and adjacent workspace; and dry zones are dry prep counters and storage. The key to designing an outdoor kitchen that functions well is planning for all four zones to work together, along with providing plenty of countertop space to support the “workflows” of prepping, cooking, serving, and cleaning. For example, the cold zone should be next to the wet zone, to facilitate moving food from the refrigerator to the sink to wash it and get it ready for grilling in the hot zone.

Think about other outdoor living activities, as well. If there is a pool, consider placing beverage refrigeration near it.

Defining Size

Outdoor kitchens come in all sizes. When you’re determining design, layout, and available space for your clients, it’s helpful to think in terms of four basic categories.

Small (10 linear feet). A small kitchen generally includes a grill, a cooktop, a sink, and storage. It needs at least 36 inches of usable countertop frontage, no less than 24 inches deep.

Essentials (13 linear feet). A bit larger, this size typically has a refrigerator in addition to a grill, a cooktop, a sink, and storage. It should have at least 48 inches of countertop frontage, at least 24 inches deep.

Medium (16 linear feet). To the essentials kitchen, a medium kitchen adds more storage and counter space and sometimes more refrigeration. There should be at least 72 inches of countertop frontage, 24 inches deep.

Large (more than 20 linear feet). A large kitchen has all the amenities and can accommodate multiple cooks. Provide 156 inches of countertop frontage at 24 inches deep.

Space to Land

You can almost never have too much countertop space. Outdoor kitchens are typically smaller than their indoor counterparts, and insufficient countertop space is still one of the most common design shortcomings I see.

Ideally, you should provide your clients with free and clear “landing areas” on both sides of grills, sinks, and cooktops. This space can be used for ingredients, cutting boards, platters, colanders, and other items that the cook needs to have close at hand while using the station. When it’s time to pull the swordfish steaks off the grill, for instance, there needs to be space next to the grill where a platter can be ready and waiting.

Omitting landing areas on one side or both sides of key equipment such as the grill or the sink is the most common design mistake. Similarly, grills and sinks should never be placed at the end of a counter run; there should always be landing areas to the left and right sides of both.

To figure out how much space you should provide for your clients, you can use the following recommendations of basic landing-area dimensions for common outdoor kitchen workstations:

Grills. Be sure to keep 24 inches of open counter on one side and 12 inches on the other side.

Cooktops. Maintain 12 inches of open counter on each side. However, when you combine a grill and a cooktop into one station by positioning them next to each other, use the landing area recommendations for a grill (24 inches on one side and 12 inches on the other).

Sinks require 18 inches of open counter on each side, because your clients will be doing a lot of washing and cleaning in that area.

Pizza ovens. Landing areas are especially important for pizza prep work. Provide 24 inches of open counter on one side and 12 inches on the other side.

Kegs. Having room to place and set aside glasses is important for the keg tapper, so provide 12 inches of open counter on each side.

Under-counter refrigerator/ice maker. Be sure to have 15 inches of open counter above it.

When multiple workstations are combined, the minimum landing area between two pieces of equipment may be determined by adding 50% to the largest landing-area width recommended for the two pieces of equipment. For example, the landing area between a grill and a sink should be at least 36 inches wide because the largest recommended landing area related to those two pieces of equipment is 24 inches next to the grill.

Storage

Many homeowners want fully functioning outdoor kitchens. That includes having places to keep pots and pans, as well as dishes and plates, during the season. Other items, like wood chips, hot mitts, charcoal, and grill brushes, normally remain outdoors at all times, and need permanent storage there.

Because it’s outside, cabinetry needs to be able to withstand the elements. Whatever you select should be able to keep the items inside dry when it rains. I recommend weathertight cabinetry with seamless rain gutters around the door and drawer openings to help divert water.

The recommended amount of linear storage frontage varies depending on the size of the kitchen. The following suggestions assume that smaller kitchens will need to store fewer items outdoors, while larger kitchens are more likely to store pots, pans, and serving pieces:

• Small outdoor kitchen: 21 inches

• Essentials outdoor kitchen: 36 inches

• Medium outdoor kitchen: 72 inches

• Large outdoor kitchen: 96 inches

Seating

There are three main types of seating to think about: dining, bar, and lounge. Having all three is ideal for entertaining. When laying out a space, always try to keep the cook nearby; make sure the primary cooking areas are not isolated from the seating areas.

When planning for seating in an outdoor kitchen, you need to allow adequate width for each seat, as well as space for knees below the table, counter, or bar, and adequate space for traffic behind the seats. Typically, you should allow 24 inches width for each seat, but for more accessible seating, allow 30 to 36 inches.

If there won’t be any traffic behind the seats, you need only 32 inches between the table, counter, or bar and the nearest obstruction. To allow people to just edge past behind the seats, provide 36 inches. If you want guests to be able to walk past unobstructed, make sure you leave at least 48 inches.

For counter and bar seating, also provide space for knees. Here are recommended measurements:

• Lowered-counter/table-height seating (30 inches high) needs 18 inches for knee space.

• Counter seating (36 inches high) needs 15 inches knee space.

• Raised-counter/bar-height seating (42 inches high) needs 12 inches knee space.

• Accessible seating (30 to 34 inches high) needs 19 inches knee space.




From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

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How to Hire Bath Remodeling Contractor

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We’ve got Everything You Need to Hire a Bath Remodeling Contractor

It’s time for a makeover! Whether you’re buying, selling, or just want to update that late ‘80s powder room a bathroom remodel provides great return on investment. Remodeling’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report shows a nation-wide 65.7 percent ROI for bathroom remodels, while areas like the Pacific region, bring back 76.2 percent. The numbers are on your side, it’s time to stop the bathroom suffering.

Alex, Paul, and Leo share their remodeling expertise to prep you for your bathroom redo. Because you might as well love your loo.

What are the financial benefits of a bathroom remodel?

The bathrooms and kitchen are the primary rooms a prospective buyer looks at when purchasing a home, explains Leo. Remodeling a bathroom, updating its features, and even reconfiguring the floor plan can greatly increase the return on investment of your real estate investment. Besides improving the appearance of the room, shares Paul, you improve the functionality of the room. In addition to the value it adds to the home, a space that accommodates you and your family is important for daily life.

How long does the average job take and what are the most common remodels?

There are typically 3 phases to any remodeling and construction project, shares Leo. The planning and permitting phase, the construction phase, and the punch list finalization phase. The planning and permitting phase varies from city to city due to different procedures in each building department—however, the average time for this phase is 3-4 weeks, he explains.

The construction phase can also vary depending on if the remodel is a straight same-for-same replacement, or if plumbing fixtures and electrical devices are being added or relocated. The average length of a full bathroom remodel—taking into consideration inspections—could take anywhere from 4-6 weeks, Leo shares, citing that the most common updates for a bathroom remodel are tile flooring, tub/shower wall tiles, vanity, counter top, and lighting.

SemBro Designs and Remodeling does a lot of what they call “facelifts.” These jobs are typically completed in five to eight working days, shares Alex, while more extensive bathroom overhauls take longer.

One to three weeks is common depending on the amount of work, says Paul. His clients often start with the shower area, he says, by customizing the plumbing, tile size, setting, and design. New paint is always in order after the shower is done, he says. Next, flooring and cabinetry can be modernized with updated materials. Last but not least, the lighting in a bathroom is very important, says Paul.

How much does the average job cost?

Wouldn’t you know, there is no average job! The remodelers share the ranges of what can commonly be expected.

Most jobs we handle cost between $10,000 and $15,000, shares Alex.

The baseline for a bathroom remodel averages around $3,500, according to Paul. More frequently, a bathroom remodel can cost between $5,000 and $10,000. I personally have been involved in bathroom remodels that have cost $22,000, says Paul.

The average bathroom remodel could cost anywhere from $6,500 – $12,250, depending on size, scope, and materials used, says Leo.

The moral here? Be upfront in your requests about budget and desired outcomes.

What happens from start to finish once someone books your quote with SemBro Designs?

First, we schedule an onsite visit to make sketches, take photos, discuss scope of work, and materials, explains Leo. Then we prepare floor plans, permit applications, notice of commencement and supporting documents for the building department. We then record the NOC and submit the application package to the building department. Once the permit is issued, we perform the demolition. After the demolition we do the rough plumbing, then rough electrical, followed by framing, drywall, plaster, paint & flooring. All in that order. There are several rough inspections that occur in that sequence as well, to make sure things are going as planned. After the walls, floors, and ceilings are finished, we install the vanity, plumbing fixtures, electrical devices, and trim out all of the accessories. From there we schedule final inspections and perform a walk through to address punch list items to complete, shares Leo. When the client is 100% satisfied, the project will be officially completed.

Bathroom remodels can be an enjoyable experience, says Paul. I speak with clients one-on-one by phone before a site visit to prepare myself for what they might need. After inspecting the site, I go over design options with the homeowner, then write out a specific and detailed estimate, explains Paul. Once the estimate is accepted, I send a written contract and we sign. At this point, a collection of 10% of the job’s estimated total is legal and common for a contractor to do. I find jobs go well when a client has done their homework and identifies the materials they want used. This process of material selections by the owner can take some time but is well worth the diligence, according to Paul.

SemBro Designs reviews the request and follows up with a phone call/ email to introduce themselves and set an appointment to meet and discuss a proposal for the requested work, says Alex. The proposal is written and presented to the homeowner during a secondary meeting, and if all is agreed upon, a contract is signed. From there, work is scheduled by the production manager to be completed.

What questions should someone ask before hiring a bath remodeling contractor?

Do you plan on applying for any permits? Do you have the proper insurance and licenses? Do you have before and after pictures of previous projects to preview? You want to make sure they are going by proper procedure, recommends Alex.

How long have you been doing this type of work? May I speak with past clients of yours? Who will be performing the work? How long will the process take? Will you be servicing other jobs at the time as my home? What can I do to make the process easier on you as the contractor? Get all the information you need upfront, suggests Paul, so there are no surprises later on down the line.
What do you wish new clients knew about the process?

I wish more clients knew how long some building departments take to approve a permit. Many people are surprised by the time it takes, although we do our best to communicate the timeline before any contracts are signed, says Leo.

That you get what you pay for, says Alex. And that it’s always best to have a General Contractor handle the management of the job.

Not everything goes as planned, states Paul. For example, after demolition problems like bad framing by the original home builder might be revealed. That needs to be dealt with before contractors can move forward. Another example of the unexpected could be structural water damage from previously undetectable or unnoticeable leaks. A homeowner should be prepared for these possible problems, because the total cost of the remodel will increase due to the additional work that was unforeseeable but is necessary to do a good job.

Any advice about choosing a contractor?

Unfortunately, in Ohio, licensed people will often illegally “rent” their licenses to unlicensed companies, says Leo. Look out for companies where the licensed qualifiers are not present. A second warning sign is a company asking for a large deposit up front. We only require a 10 percent deposit up front; followed by progress payments as work progresses. The key is not to overpay up front so the contractor owes you a substantial amount of work to get caught up, explains Leo. Keep pace with the work as far as payments go and request partial lien releases with each payment to be released from liability for materials or to subcontractors.

Homeowners should always check out the contractor’s insurance policies and their accreditation, suggests Alex.

Investigate the contractor’s past work and clients, recommends Paul. Good, clear communication is very important. If you can’t communicate with the contractor, look for someone else. Also, a contractor that asks for too much money up front is someone you want to stay away from.

Where can clients save money on a bathroom remodel?

Find a contractor that does most of the trades himself, recommends Paul. Although it’s not easily accomplished—because it is difficult to be good at more than one trade—it will reduce the cost of having a general contractor subcontract out to multiple companies to tackle various parts of the project. Price shopping is very important when it comes to the materials. Local retailers are the best places to buy your materials, opines Paul, because you don’t have to pay for shipping costs and there are fewer problems if a return needs to occur.

Select materials that are within a budget you can afford, suggests Leo. The actual rough work and labor will always be more or less a fixed price, but the costs can jump substantially if you select really expensive tiles, vanities, and fixtures are selected.

Alex agrees that when the client purchases their own materials it’s a cost-saver, but warns against doing so without the guidance of a professional contractor.
Where should someone absolutely not cut financial corners in their remodel?

All three resoundingly agree that you should never cut financial corners when hiring a reputable, licensed contractor. Someone who is not skilled can damage your home or your materials, costing you more money in the long run. Do your research to avoid sorrow later.

You’re all set with the questions to ask, are you ready to redo your bathroom and hire a bath remodeling contractor?


From kitchen upgrades to total home remodeling, SemBro Designs and Remodeling knows how to do it right and we love to build the confidence of every Columbus client, year after year.

Leave your Comments below!

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