If the home you love needs a little more space, function, or design, you need the right contractor to construct your addition or remodel. In fact, the quality of the new construction will fall heavily on the shoulders of the Pittsburgh home additions contractor you hire.
Your specific needs play a big role too. It’s important to find the right contractor that you feel comfortable working and communicating with. One of the best things you can do is hire a local contractor with the right skill set, experience and credentials. And if you can find one that specializes in additions for the popular home styles in your area, that’s another bonus!
So how do you find the right home addition contractor for your remodeling project? While the addition process can seem overwhelming, there is a simple solution to the chaos. A seasoned home addition contractor can help alleviate any frustration and worry. But the Pittsburgh area is filled with an overabundance of contractors. How then can you be certain to find the right one? Here are ten tips to help in your search.
1. Do your research.
Never hire a contractor without first setting aside the time for proper research. Being an informed homeowner means fewer surprises when it comes to the building process. Here are some important items to look into when considering a contractor.
- Licensing – Ensure that any contractor you are hiring has the proper licensing for your state.
- Insurance – All contractors should have insurance. Accidents happen to everyone, so finding a contractor with insurance that protects their workers and your home’s wellbeing is essential.
- Expertise – Figure out the specialization of every contractor you look into. You don’t want to hire a contractor who specializes in roofing to build your addition, even if additions are a service they provide. Find a specialized home addition contractor.
- Subcontractors – Figure out if the contractor you are looking into utilizes subcontractors or if they complete the process themselves. If subcontractors are used, this may require more research into the licensing, insurance and performance of subcontractors.
2. Read Reviews and Testimonials
Past clients are the best resource for information regarding a contractor’s abilities. They know how a contractor communicates, how timely they are working with projects, how respectful they are of your home during the renovation process, and the quality of work they provide.
You can ask for testimonials from past clients or search the company’s website for reviews, but often, these evaluations will be the best of the best. And while they may be true, another great way to garner honest reviews is from outside sites.
Search for ratings and written reviews on Google and from websites like:
Not only will previous clients be able to provide information on the quality of workmanship, but they can also provide valuable information on whether the contractor completed projects in a timely manner and if the contractor was easy to work with.
Also, note if a contractor responds to reviews. It’s a good indication of their communication efforts to keep a good rapport with their homeowners.
3. Look for a Clearly Defined Process
Did you know you can ask to see contracts and general project processes before hiring a Pittsburgh home additions contractor? Understanding how a contractor works and their process for renovating a home will help you prepare not just the project, but your family, for the large task ahead. Ask for these documents ahead of time or ask a contractor about their processes. Ensure it has a clearly defined process before proceeding.
The benefits of a good design-build process over architect services should include:
- A consultation to determine the scope of the work
- Working with the design team to create the details and blueprint
- A comprehensive and clearly laid out quote.
- Clean and orderly construction of your new addition
- See our design-build process for an example of what a detailed, complete project process plan may look like.
4. Assess Galleries of Past Work
A great way to know if a design-build contractor can not only achieve the scope of your project but can match your design taste is through a gallery of their past projects. This is a great way to see what aesthetic you may get or how flexible and expansive the design-build contractor’s knowledge is with various designs.
Some great places to look for galleries are:
- Company website – look for a gallery, case studies or featured projects
- Social media platforms (Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter)
Don’t just look for pictures, but find out the budget for each project, what neighborhood the home was in and the challenges the contractor addressed to make the homeowners love their new home addition and renovation.
5. Evaluate Scope of Projects
It’s important to understand the scope of projects a contractor typically handles. You wouldn’t hire a roofer to fix your foundation, so why hire a contractor to do the job of a design-build contractor for a whole-home remodel.
If you are looking for a large, multi-room or multi-story remodel, ensure a contractor has completed prior projects of this scale. If you want more space, be sure a contractor specializes in additions.
6. Calculate Quality vs. Price
Don’t simply hire the lowest bidder. Take time to assess the quality of work you will be receiving with regard to the price of the project. Have an idea of what you want your completed project to look like and get a bid for the standard of material and craftsmanship. Lower bids often equate to cheap labor and materials. And highest bids can mean bloated costs that exceed your desired budget.
7. Confirm Licenses and Insurance
Any contractor you hire needs the proper licensing to keep accidents and injuries from becoming your problem as a homeowner. Ask a contractor to provide proof of insurance before beginning a project. You can also ask for the company’s license or their license number to verify.
If you really want to go the extra mile in your search, you can search the Pittsburgh court records for previous issues a company may have had.
8. Ask for Referrals from Friends
If you had family members or friends who recently underwent a home renovation and were happy with the results, ask them who they used. What problems did the contractor’s designer and construction crew solve for them? What did they enjoy about working with them? What was the communication flow, design-build process and follow through like? They will be a wealth of information to help you make the right decision in finding a home additions contractor in Pittsburgh.
9. Consult and Interview at Least Three Contractors
Take the time to reach out to the contractors you are considering via phone call. This will allow you to ask specific and detailed questions about your project so you can get a feel for what a contractor provides. It will also provide insight into a contractor’s communication process.
Contractors who are difficult to reach or problematic to communicate with in the beginning will likely remain that way throughout the entire process. This can make a home renovation or addition a headache rather than a joyful experience. And if you’re getting the home addition of your dreams, you should enjoy the process too!
Ask the right questions.
Hiring any contractor to work on your home is like inviting someone into your personal life. You want any additional construction to flow seemly with your home and have peace-of-mind through the process. Ask the following questions.
- How long have you been in business?
- How many projects like mine have you completed?
- How does your company handle warranty complaints?
- Are you properly insured? Does your insurance cover property damage and personal liability?
- How many projects do you have lined up before mine?
- How long before you can start on my project?
Meet face to face.
Hiring the right contractor cannot take place strictly online. Written information, while valuable, can never tell you everything you need to know about a contractor. Meeting face to face with any potential contractors provides you with information you cannot find online. Not only do you want to look for a contractor who does good work and is honest, you want to work with someone who communicates well and has a temperament that is easy to get along with.
10. Take Your Time.
While all of the above steps are important, taking your time may be one of the most vital tips anytime you hire a company to work on your home. The contractor you choose is the most important step in the construction of your new home addition, so take your time. No rush is worth a poorly constructed addition. If you are making the decision to invest both your time and money into adding onto your home, ensure that you have set aside not only enough time for the project but also enough time to find the right builder.
The Right Design-Build Contractor for Your Home Addition
Don’t just hire any contractor. When you are looking for an immaculate home addition that flows seamlessly into your current home, you need a home addition contractor with credentials and experience who is easy to work with.
Our design-build team at Action Builders employs skilled designers and licensed contractors to create a home renovation or addition that fits seamlessly with your home. At Action Builders, we believe our client’s voice is the most important, and we are excited to see your new addition come to life.
Our goal is to give you a design that looks like it should have always been that way, leaving you with a home you can be proud of. If you are looking for a large-scale, multi-story home renovation, see the host of success stories that Action Builders has given to many Pittsgurgh homeowners. If you like what you see, schedule a consultation to see how our design-build team can transform your home.