Talking to contractors

cefsterFebruary 18, 2013

Planning a gut remodel of our tiny master bath and having trouble finding the right contractor. When I ask questions like, "what is your system for waterproofing the tub/shower surround?", "do you use a vapor barrier?" I usually just get blank looks and give up after a few tries to ask the same question in different ways. I have one written estimate that has come back, but it is pretty vague on details and just says cement board.

I am not an experienced DIY-er so I don't want to assume the contractors don't know what they are doing, but it concerns me that they can't/ won't talk specifics.

The other problem I am having is that they don't give an overview of the process -- so I wind up saying things like "so, do we purchase all materials and just have them here ready for you?". And then they say, "sure, we could do it that way". And I just want to say -- what is the way you normally do it? We are first time remodelers and you do this all the time, right? A little guidance, please!

So, my question is -- do you have any advice on talking to contractors? I feel as if I am not speaking the same language, and don't know whether it's me or them! Thank you everybody.

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there was a recent discussion regarding this topic. see the link. you can see my comments regarding waterproofing.

I just recently had two bathrooms renovated. I purchased all of the materials and the bid from the contractor was just for labor and basic building supplies, including cement board.

I think this is very different than most renovations. My contractor has a showroom that their clients go to to select the materials and the contractor usually orders them. But I had been planning my bathroom renos for a few years and I had a set idea on the tile and fixtures I wanted. I didn't want to choose from limited options that the contractor normally uses.

If you use my method, I suggest being very clear in your contract about who is providing what items and what the items are.

Here is a link that might be useful: questioning the contractor

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Thanks for the perspective! Sounds like I need to look for a contractor willing to do a little more hand-holding. Good for you for doing it all on your own!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 5:43AM
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