Obviously the title has been modified to be PC (politically correct), however I guess you already know what it meant. And I don’t mean just the bathrooms. Challenges (we no longer call them problems) are inherent in remodeling and rearing their ugly head at the least opportune moment.
The truth is, the chances of getting a major bathroom or kitchen makeover without a hitch (oops!) Are slim. Very little in life goes perfectly, and if you take it into account when undertaking a remodeling project, your experience will be much more pleasant. These projects involve almost all the merchants that exist; designers, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, cabinetmakers, etc. There are countless areas where challenges can arise (phew!), Ranging from discovering a framing that is not in code to cabinets arriving damaged or in the wrong color. So how do you minimize tribulations ahead of time, and what do you do when something goes wrong?
Over the years, I have found that most contractors really want to please their clients. A recent study by the National Association of Home Builders found that 64% of a contractor’s jobs come from friends, relatives, and neighbors of his previous clients and 20% come from repeat business. That represents 84% of your new business; too large a number to risk not doing satisfactory work. But what is the definition of satisfactory work?
Most licensed contractors know the “Industry Standards” that pertain to the type of work they are doing. These are acceptable tolerances regarding the installation of new or replacement products, and with these guidelines there is no question of what is acceptable and what is not. But problems can arise that do not have clear measures of performance.
The most disappointing problem is when you envisioned something very specific for your project, but the contractor didn’t understand what you were trying to describe. This can be very difficult to figure out after the fact, so it is imperative that you carefully review all plans and drawings in advance. Don’t be embarrassed to ask questions about the plans, until you are sure they accurately reflect what you had in mind.
Damaged product problems can be easily fixed, but patience is required. Occasionally something may arrive from the factory damaged. Cabinets and counters must first be manufactured, packaged, and then shipped by one or more carriers. Truckers don’t always realize how important their materials are to you, and they’re not always as careful as they should be. And even the most careful worker can make a mistake at work, they are only human. It is realistic to expect that there will be some unforeseen problem, but being aware of this will make your experience less stressful.
If you choose your contractor carefully (see the Kitchen Insider ©), when the “boat hits the fan” they will be happy to address any issues, in a timely manner. But be patient! If something needs to be replaced, there are time restrictions that cannot be changed. The remodeler wants the job to be completed as quickly as you do.
In the rare case, when an issue cannot be resolved amicably, seek the help of an arbitration board. This is a service that is offered to mediate between the parties and give an impartial result. Fortunately, if you are working with a licensed professional remodeler, it is rare that you will ever have to go to this extreme. Just talk to your contractor; describe your concerns in detail and try to find a solution.