A Big Mistake You Could Make with a Remodel

Big Remodeling Mistakes
The big day is here, you’re contractor is great, you’re finally going to get your kitchen remodel on the schedule. You just have to sign the contract and give your down payment. Wait… read this article before you sign!

You’re probably thinking, “Really Justin? Instead of telling me about some fancy range hood, you’re going to talk to me about contracts?” Yes, sir and ma’am I am. Trust me, you’ll thank me someday.

You’re sure that your contractor is going to take care of every last detail and he said you’d get the kitchen of your dreams…

Kitchen Remodel

The Problem

But are you really on the same page down to the last detail?

This is the moment you can either set yourself up for a smoothe ride or a roller coaster. Many people will glance over the scope and say “looks good!” Don’t do this. Why not?

Your conversations are full of informal commitments that you have every intention of keeping… Same with your contractor. Imagine the number of remodels he is managing per month! Imagine how many times your contractor says “sure, we can do that for you.” But the true commitment is on paper, because everyone can always refer back to it. Chances are if they are charging you for it, it’s in the scope. And if they aren’t charging you for it, it won’t be in the scope.

This is why you really must make sure that everything that you want done in your kitchen is explicitly written in the scope of work.

It’s easy to assume that they’re going to haul away the old appliances, and of course they will stain the moulding below your cabinets and of course they will hook up your sink with a garbage disposal. They called it a complete kitchen remodel so what could go wrong?

This type of attitude is a recipe for dissapointment, unexpected charges, and uncomfortable conversations with your contractor.

But don’t worry! There is hope!

The Conversation

Let’s say you have wood flooring and you want to put in tile. Do you know what they might find under the wood floor? Does the quote include any amount of structural work in case of rot? Will it cost extra if the subfloor needs to be leveled?

You can address this by asking questions like this:

“For my flooring, what steps are necessary to get this to a picture perfect flooring job? Also, what are some unlikely but possible things that you could run into?”

Then your contractor might say “ we always remove the flooring, and if the subfloor and underlayment are level and in good shape then we will lay the flooring with steps X, Y, and Z and then we will paint or stain the baseboards and then we will install them in all of these spots. Then you can say , “ok so does this price include all of those things?” Now he has a chance to double check the scope and his financials and either confirm that all steps are included or he might say something like, “ well now that you mention it, I quoted you for prepainted baseboards and I think you said you wanted them to be a different color. Lets make that change.”

Then you can ask him, “so if the floor is unlevel, will there be an extra charge or does this contract include that labor?”

Each contractor is different but this question gives him a chance to explain what he expects and what he charged you for.” He may say that you can expect a change order if they find the floor to be unlevel or he may tell you that his price has already anticipated a certain amount of floor leveling work. Then he can either show you where that is stated or edit the contract. Then you are good to go! The key is to avoid being surprised.


One more thing before signing! The “Exlusions” section… Go through it with your contractor. This is a great way to spot something that you assumed was included but is not. What if you forgot to mention that you want an extra outlet on the island? You look at the exlusions and it says “new outlets.” Now you can say, “Oh I assumed you would put an outlet here. If that is not included then can you add that before we sign?”

We’re in your corner

At Livewell we care deeply about your trust in us.

This is why we invite you to read the contract thoroughly and we’ll go through each step to make sure we’re both on the same page. If there is something in your project that you want done and we haven’t written it in the scope section of the contract, you can feel free to ask if our price includes it. Then we can either add it to the scope in a more explicit way or talk through the price differences if any and you can make a decision.

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