Woodrow Aames | Improvement Center Columnist | July 23, 2012
There's a cabinet contractor out there that has the perfect expertise and credentials to handle your kitchen remodeling effort. But it's up to every homeowner to find the company with work standards and know-how to match the scale of the project and materials. Starting with the right questions - not necessarily the ones that first come to mind - can make all the difference.
Asking the right questions
You'll probably ask a contractor how long it will take to do the job and how much it will cost. While knowing the cost is essential for your budgeting, you need to know more about prospective cabinet contractors themselves.
Better qualifying questions, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, are:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you carry a contractor's license, liability insurance and worker's compensation coverage?
- Can you give me a list of referrals, especially recent ones from people who have had similar projects completed?
- What guarantees or warranties are included?
Always ask for a formal written estimate done on company letterhead. And always check with the Better Business Bureau and state licensing agency to see if your prospective cabinet contractors have been sued or had complaints filed against them.
Costing the project
Of course, the materials and styles you choose have the greatest impact on your budget along with the installation costs that contractors charge. You can begin your project planning by gathering quotes from local contractors through the request form on this page.
Many manufacturers can help you determine material costs. Check with cabinet contractors to see if they can get discounts. The cost for stock cabinets often is the best, but you're limited in styles. They begin around $5,000 for a 10x12-foot kitchen, according to Costhelper. Semi-custom cabinets begin around $8,000, with custom cabinets beginning around $16,000. A cabinet refacing project costs anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000, says Old House Web.
Working with your cabinet contractors
Once the project is underway, you're still responsible for keeping an eye on things. Don't become a nuisance, but check in on regular intervals to see how the work maps to the expectations done on the written estimate. Ask your cabinet contractor to show you the assembled parts so you can judge if doors fit snugly and drawers open and close smoothly. If they don't, then ask when they will be repaired to meet your standards.
Your contractor should welcome your limited participation in ensuring that the job is done on time, on budget and to your satisfaction.