Bathroom Remodeling – What You Need to Know

One of the most important parts of the house is the bathroom. It is not only important that the bathroom is always clean and fresh-smelling. It is also important to make sure that its design meets your tastes and preferences and its layout is suitable for your lifestyle and bathroom habits.

Below is a list of bathroom remodeling ideas and tips that you need to consider if you are planning to have a major bathroom renovation.



Add storage units

You can find hundreds of different things in a bathroom especially if it’s a woman’s bathroom. There are towels, makeup supplies, hygiene products, cleaning supplies, first aid and medicine supplies, aroma therapy products, and so on. You have to make sure that you have enough storage for all these things to avoid cluttering your bathroom. You can install a medicine cabinet for your medicines and first aid kits and drawer in your bathroom counter for all your beauty products and supplies. You can also install a cabinet under the sink or counter where you can keep all your cleaning supplies.



Have enough ventilation

When remodeling a bathroom, it is important to consider the ventilation or the air that circulates inside the bathroom. Poor ventilation causes mold and mildew to develop in your bathroom walls and fixtures. It is important that air enters freely in your bathroom to keep everything fresh and dry. This also keeps your bathroom from smelling bad. When renovating your bathroom, you should consider installing a vent fan that is appropriate for the size of your bathroom.

Choose appropriate lighting

It is important to keep your bathroom well-lit. Bathrooms have different parts that require different types of lighting. For example, you can install sconces near your bathroom vanity where you apply makeup or shave to make it easier for you to see what you are doing. You can install dim lights near your bathtub for a more relaxing ambience. For general lighting in your bathroom, just install overhead lights that can brighten up the whole space.



Pick elegant and classic fixtures

You should choose elegant and classic fixtures for your bathroom that will not go out of style. This applies when choosing faucets, sink designs, bathtubs, lighting fixtures, cabinets, and so on. By choosing something that never goes out of style, you do not have to replace your fixtures every time a new trend comes out just to keep your bathroom from looking outdated. It is also important to choose something that can stand the test of time to also save money. They may be more expensive when you initially buy them but at least they will last for a very long time.



Install mirrors

A bathroom will not be complete without a mirror. You can install a mirror over the vanity area where you apply makeup and shave. You can also install a full-length mirror in the shower area if you want to see how your body looks like without clothes and a mirror near the bathtub. Adding a large mirror in a small bathroom also gives the illusion of space, which makes your tiny bathroom appear bigger.

How to Find Green Contractors

Making sure your home is green can lead to saving energy, tax breaks and the satisfaction of knowing you are leaving a smaller carbon footprint.

You and your house’s budget benefit from green home improvements. However, this will only be the case if the work quality is high.green_building_and_remodeling

So what constitutes a “green” home improvement? Just like a newly built green home, green home improvements are done with sustainable and conservation-minded materials, technology and designs. The improvements help the house utilize less water, energy and other resources, as well as generate less waste. The end results is also a healthier and more comfortable conditions for the house occupants.

The less energy is used, the less dependance on fossil fuels, which lead to pollution and depletion of natural resources.

Green techniques have only been around for less than a decade on a wide basis. Most locations’ building codes specific to green building still vary widely. It is fairly recent that contractors have been adopting these new techniques.

Finding a quality green contractor requires the same attention to detail as does hiring any other contractor for projects on your home, but it does not need to be complicated.

It is important to ask deeper questions, rather than just take a “green” label at face value.

One of the best ways to find a quality green contractor is to ask family members, friends and co-workers for suggestions on contractors they’ve worked with. You want to make sure the referrals are to licensed contractors who practice green techniques.

There is almost no regulatory government agencies which specifically license contractors as “green”, there are organizations which specialize in this.

There are several trade groups to take a look at: National Association of Home Builders, National Association of Remodeling Industry, Build It Green and U.S. Green Building Council. There are also others.


There are also publications like the Consumers Union’s Greener Choices and Green Builder that offer many resources and information that can be helpful to understanding green remodeling.

It is recommended to read about your specific project to understand the building techniques, before engaging with contractors. The contractor should be able to explain their “green” approach, as well as the benefits to you, such as lower utility bills, more durable materials and better air quality, for example.

Here are some additional tips to keep in mind:

  • As with hiring and contractor, always make sure they are properly licensed, insured and bonded and that they do not have any liens, or bad marks against them with regulatory agencies, trade groups or the Better Business Bureau.

  • While interviewing the contractor, find out about any sub-contractors they employ, as well as their partners and affiliates, like suppliers, real estate agents. Find out what they all have to say about the contractor.

  • Find out if they make a commitment to running a green business operation themselves, in addition to just building green.

  • Ask for letters of recommendation and call up past clients to see what their experiences were like. If possible, look at actual work performed from recent jobs, as well as past projects.

  • Find a contractor with good communication skills. You will be working with them until the completion of your project, so it is important to find someone who will listen to your expectations and someone you will be personally compatible with.

  • Get all project details ahead in writing. Any specifications, blueprints, payments schedules and any other pertinent information should be included, with no missing or blank pages. Do not pay upfront, but rather pay a downpayment, with incremental payments as the work progresses. It is a good idea to withhold the last 10% of the payment until the final walkthrough is performed, to ensure your satisfaction and any liens are released.

How to Create a Zero-Net Home

Many renovations may begin with design in mind, but a few homeowners might also consider transforming their home into one that can provide its own energy using renewable sources. For architects, home improvement contractors, and everyday residents, the idea of owning a zero-net home is not only appealing because of its benefits to the earth, but also because after it’s completion, the residents will have either very low or completely nonexistent energy bills. By relying on natural resources and a few key renovations, almost any home can become a zero-net building.


A zero-net home is always heavily insulated, uses energy-efficient products wherever possible, and often produces its own power by using solar, wind, or other sources. Although new homes are being constructed that have no reliance on the electrical grid, many zero-net homes are still connected. This benefits the owner, who can then create excess renewable energy and access that stored energy on high-power usage days.

Creating a zero-net home takes time and understanding and should not be a one-man project. For anyone considering a zero-net home, the first step should always be to contact a professional in order to schedule a home energy assessment. A professional can discuss where your home is lacking in efficiency, such as an absence of proper insulation, and can also point out what renewable energy source would be best for your home based on location, the size of your property, and your energy needs.

The primary feature you and your contractor should discuss is the implementation of an alternative source of energy. Solar is the most popular option, and the cost of solar installation is dropping daily. Even large retailers like IKEA have jumped on the solar bandwagon by selling home installation packages. If you have the space and funds, you can also build a wind turbine, or take advantage of a nearby heavy flowing creek or river. The advantage of using renewable energy sources is that most state governments offer monetary rewards for using alternative energy. Don’t worry if your home’s location makes it impossible to install your own renewable energy sources, since sites like Texas Electricity Providers and Energize Connecticut  can provide you with options for renewable energy sources through the grid.

In most houses, thermal bridges will exist, where your heating and cooling attempts are lost. Once the cold bridges are eliminated by properly insulating walls, the next step is to purchase and install new windows and doors that allow little to no energy passage. Even basic tricks like caulk and door draft stoppers can do wonders.

To use less energy, and therefore allow your home to be run off the less reliable renewable energy sources, it’s important to update all of your major appliances to energy efficient versions. A typical home takes more energy than a few solar panels can provide, but switching electronics and appliances to environmentally friendly brands can reduce your overall usage, making complete renewable dependance a possibility. Energy Star appliances are always a good bet, since they are guaranteed to use 20-30 percent less than the federally mandated minimum, and can also make you eligible for further federal tax credit.

As we become increasingly aware of our impact on the environment, we can only hope that the trend toward zero-net houses continues. Until then, energy-saving behaviors such as upgrading appliances and reducing energy use overall can make your home environmentally efficient, if not yet entirely zero-net. After all, once you have become a pro at running an energy efficient home, the possibility of your house being able to sustain itself through renewable sources increases drastically.

Winter Time Money Saving Tips

As winter quickly approaches, your mind begins turning towards the long, cold winter ahead. You also think about staying cozy and warm. When temperatures drop to freezing lows you can implement strategies to help keep the cost of heating our homes as low as possible. There are many free and inexpensive actions that can be done to your home that will help ensure maximum energy savings. Our no cost/low cost list of tips will help ensure your conserving maximum energy this winter and many more to come.


There are many tips and tricks for keeping your heat bill low. These will all be no cost energy savings. The first energy saver is simply turning your thermostat down as low as you find comfortable. Another good time to conserve energy is when you are out of the house. Turn the thermostat down, even if it’s 10 or 15 degrees. It all adds up at the end of the month. You can also utilize the sun on the days your are able. If you have windows facing the sun, open the curtains for a few hours and soak up some of that free heat. An absolute must is learning how to love socks and sweaters again after a long summer of shorts and flip-flops. Do not let heat escape unnecessarily if possible. Keep low traffic rooms doors closed. You can also check your air ducts. Make sure they are still connected and not obstructed in any way. Another thing you can do is make sure your vents are not blocked by any furniture or drapes. This last one does not apply to everyone. If you have a fire-place and it is not a primary heat source make sure the damper is closed. These are just a few free things you can do around the house to help save money and keep your home warmer.


There are several low cost energy-saving options to choose from. A simple filter change each month will keep your furnace running efficiently and effectively. They also contribute to good health and well-being by cleaning the air circulating through the house. Weather stripping is a strip of material that is used to fill the gap between the floor or window sill and the door and the window. It was placed to stop air leaks. Getting outside and checking around your doors and windows for leaks is a great idea. You can take caulk and fill any holes you may find around doors and windows. It is always good to check the attic for the proper amount of insulation. A few rolls may be all you need to warm the family room right up this winter. Having regular HVAC inspections should be a must for every homeowner. If not this winter could be your start. Having inspections done on your boiler of furnace will give you the peace of mind that the heat will flow freely all winter long. If you follow these simple steps you can rest assured, the heat air is kept inside and the cold air is kept out.

Renovate For Security

Home renovations are usually begun because a house needs freshening up or is lacking in one or two areas. A new owner may be moving in, and finds the layout or style simply isn’t to their taste. Renovating can be the perfect cure for a tired home, but homeowners should look beyond aesthetic appeal and also use renovations as a time to improve the security of their home.

Not everyone is keen on tearing down walls for the expansion of a home or creation of new rooms. But if you are, take the opportunity to examine the layout of your home. Where are the bedrooms? Are they in the safest location? And where do you plan on placing any new windows?

Bedrooms, ideally, should always be on the second floor. If your home is a ranch, then place the bedrooms as far back in the house as possible, and off a single hallway. The idea is to place as much distance between you and any intruders that may break in. If expanding, new windows should be high enough to avoid reaching from the outside, and placed away from any doors. The last thing you want is a burglar breaking a window in order to unlock the door.

Steel security doors


The type of materials you use can be important as well.  It’s best to avoid tempered or thin glass windows, as these are easily breakable. One easy materials upgrade for any home is a better door. Steel security doors look modern, even those with windows, and prevent easy break ins through the front or back entrance of your home. For the summer months, security screens on doors and windows are a necessary installation, and one you can do yourself. Security screens result in an impenetrable screen that allows doors and windows to be left open in the summer to bring in fresh air.

For new and old homes alike, landscaping is an important step to perfecting curb appeal, but it’s also an additional opportunity to protect your home. Tall trees and large shrubberies may look grand, but if placed too close to the house, also provide a hiding spot for potential thieves. Keep tall trees away from the sides of your house, and instead opt for flowers in the garden. If you do have large trees, ensure they’re trimmed and provide no climbing access to any of your upper windows or the roof.

Renovating can be fun and result in the house of your dreams, but it can also leave significant portions of your house unprotected. Open walls or a home in the midst of building create an area that’s easier than ever to break into. In occupied homes, try to renovate one area of the house at a time, so you’re able to lock up everywhere else. And on new homes, install a security system as soon as possible. Whatever your home security choice you should be sure that the company at the very least offers 24/7 theft monitoring, and if possible flood and fire monitoring as well. Ask for the system to be installed away from any doors or windows where outsiders can see when it is and isn’t armed, and hide the electrical within the walls, to prevent their being cut.

Home security

Lastly, don’t forget that security renovations, like most home renovations, are done at least partially for the resulting increase in your home’s value. Security renovations can encourage potential buyers with families or valuable items to buy, and can also result in immediate discounts on home insurance policies. Most importantly, though, security renovations result in piece of mind.

21 Tips to Keep Your Remodeling Budget on Track

1. Arrange the furniture in new ways. Don’t be boring and line the room with sofa and end tables against the walls. Sometimes putting furniture in new and interesting ways like on a diagonal can give the room a fresh look.


2. Use the Internet auction sites. You can use sites like eBay to comparison shop for best prices on furniture. Also make sure to utilize forums to post questions on remodeling and decorating. These can be invaluable sources of free advice and are frequented by many professionals.

3. Go with plain, then customize. Instead of purchasing expensive patterned fabrics for window treatments or pillows, you can purchase less expensive solid-color fabrics and then dress them up with fabric paint, sew-ons and iron-on transfers.

4. Always be on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. If you are thinking about going with a granite countertop, look into going with tiles instead of a single slab. If thinking about hardwood paneling, look into going with wallpaper that imitates the look at a fraction of the cost.

5. Be open to bargaining. Many stores will sell house appliances at big discounts, if they have dents or scratches on them, or if they were display models. This also goes for faucets, cabinets and faucets. Make an offer to buy them and you will likely get a discount. In such cases always inquire about the return policy of the store on such items.

6. Stick to standard sizes. When choosing cabinets, for example, it is prudent to go with stock ones, instead of custom cabinets, which can get quite expensive. You can add wood carvings and molding later on to add your personal touch.


7. Don’t turn down free advice. You can get helpful advice for free at your local home improvement store, garden center or local boutiques.

8. Find wholesalers and outlet stores. These can be great for buying supplies for remodeling, such as tile, stone, kitchen goods or plumbing supplies at a huge discount from general remodeling stores like Home Depot.

9. Don’t move appliances around. When you are doing work on remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, keeping the appliances and fixtures where they are will minimize problems and expenses, as you will not have to move gas lines or plumbing. It is always best to work around them instead.


10. When possible don’t replace, instead refresh. Look for companies that specialize in bathroom remodeling, who will resurface sinks and tubs for much less than the cost of a new model. Alternatively you can do it yourself by using spray paint specially formulated for tub touchups. For big ticket kitchen appliances like refrigerators you can purchase standard stock kits for stainless steel panels that you can use to cover the outdated fridge door.

11. Don’t overuse expensive materials. Use ceramic for the center and use expensive stone tiles only for the borders to still get the look you are looking for.

12. Opt for not conventional fabrics. Consider using sheets for shower curtains, window treatments and tablecloths. Most sheets are wider than decorator fabrics and come pre-hemmed. You can also use terry cloth or burlap, which will reduce your remodeling costs and add texture to the room.

13. Rent tools that you need. Before purchasing expensive heavy duty tools, look into home centers that will rent you many power tools, usually for a weekend fee of $40-60. Also check with friends and neighbors, if they already own the tools you need.

14. Upgrade just the details. Instead of buying a new sofa, dress up your old one with trendy fabric pillows. Use bright colored fluffy towels to freshen up the old bath.

15. Paint can do wonders. A fresh coat of paint can revive furniture, flooring and walls. Always make sure to prep the surfaces before painting, by cleaning, spackling over any defects and priming.

16. Reuse items in new ways. Visit an antiques shop or a hardware store and look for opportunities for creative use for ordinary items: use a plumbing pipe as a curtain rod, an ottoman as a table, or antique windows as wall hangings.

17. Visit garage sales. What one person is throwing out can be the treasure you’ve been looking for. Always visit antiques stores and garage stores you pass by, and keep an eye on moving sales and estate sales as well, you just never know what you can find.

18. Make use of strategic lighting. Lighting can be an easy and inexpensive way to change the look of a room. Use spot lighting and floor lamps to put a spotlight on a piece of wall art or to illuminate a dark corner of the room. Another thing you can do is replace the bulbs with lower-wattage models, which can create a romantic, dimly lit setting.

19. Decorate the walls. You do not need to purchase expensive art. Frame family photos, old calendar pages, pressed flowers, vintage clothing or old photographs (especially of black and white). This can look great on your walls.

20. Cover up, instead of replacing. Instead of purchasing a new sofa, re-cover the cushions with a new trendy fabric, you don’t even need to reupholster the whole couch.


21. Use the outside for inspiration. Many times you can use outdoor tiles for indoor projects, with the benefit that outdoor tile is cheaper, but can look just as attractive. Picket fences used inside the house, such as for headboards can look whimsical.


Which home remodeling project will raise the value of your house?


Real estate owners are starting to spend again. The housing market has been rebounding and is making many more willing to make investments in their houses that will raise the value of their homes.

There has been a big increase in home remodeling spending over the past 18 months, with many experts predicting a rise of twenty percent by the fourth quarter, to almost $150 billion.

When most real estate owners decide on home improvement projects they usually go for what they think will make their homes more enjoyable. However, if you are looking to sell your house in the near future, considering what will raise the value of your house the most might be a better idea, as not all remodeling projects are created equal when it comes to raising the value of your house.

Below are our top six suggestions for projects that will boost your house value:

1. Always consider all potential home buyers

A common example of this is a swimming pool installation. While seeming like a good investment, a lot of times you may not even recover your expenses upon selling the house and may even make the house harder to sell.

While a swimming pool sounds attractive in theory, many buyers may not want to take on the extra maintenance costs or the risks associated with small children safety.

The same idea applies to other projects too. An example is a second garage. If the house is in a neighborhood where this is common it can be a great selling point, while if it is a rarity in your neighborhood it may discourage some buyers.

2. Do not “Overimprove”

There are definitely certain home improvements that can have a direct effect on the value of the house, especially if they improve or replace something clearly dated, like appliances or cabinets. The thing to keep in mind is not to do what appraisers call “overimprovement” – going well beyond what buyers will find in similar houses in the neighborhood.

An example would be a homeowner installing expensive countertops like marble in a neighborhood with modestly adorned kitchens. Most appraisers will likely not value the expensive improvements as much, when considering the value of the house, and as a result the selling price will not allow to recoup the costs of the home improvement.

This same principle holds true for other improvements, such as lighting, flooring and bathroom fixtures.


3. Think about the risks of expanding the footprint of the house

A type of home improvement which has the least likelihood of producing a positive return on investment is one which involves expanding the existing floor plan, such as a room addition.

If a project involves taking down an exterior wall, it will also involve moving windows and doors, which usually drives the costs way up, especially when compared to converting an attic into a new bedroom, where you are utilizing the existing space of the house.

The higher the cost of the project, the more difficult it will be to recover the costs incurred.

Making major changes to the original floorplan of the house, even when this is permitted by the city has other risks. If your house becomes the only home in the area with four bedrooms, when every other house has a max of three, it will likely render the fourth bedroom not as desirable.

4. Keep in mind the cost-to-value

An easy way to estimate whether a home remodeling project is worth doing is gauging how much of what you spend on it will be recovered when you sell the house.

If you spend $1000 on a siding project, but it adds only $500 to the resale value, the improvement is going to give you a 50% return on your investment (ROI).

Something to keep in mind also is that when the housing prices are rising fast enough, like during a housing boom, it is generally much easier to recover costs that you spend on improvements. The opposite of this is also true.


5. Give priority to repairs and “curb appeal”

It might seem like a great idea to convert a downstairs closet into a half-bath or make the master bedroom slightly bigger, however this should not be done at the expense of fixing your windows or upgrading the roof. While these kind of upgrades may not be the most aesthetically pleasing, they often make it easier to sell a house.

Replacing the front door, for example, may cost you $1000, but this is the type of upgrade that will raise the value of the house, since it will the home more attractive to prospective home buyers. Replacing the front door with a steel door is an upgrade which will likely lead to the most money recouped after a sale.

6. Speak to an expert

Before you decide on a home improvement project, it is a good idea to speak to a local real estate agent or an appraiser who knows your market well.

They will be able to tell you how a particular upgrade will affect the value of your house, which will help you to determine how much of your money you are likely to recoup after the sale.

Most appraisers are independent and set their own fees, a typical consultation can cost anywhere between $500 and $1000.

You may also be able to find real estate agents who will offer their appraising services for free, with the understanding that they may be able to get your business when you are ready to sell your house.

What is the best way to run the A/C?

A lot of homeowners ask: what is the best air conditioning usage for saving electricity. Is it a good idea to run air conditioning the whole day at a certain temperature, or should it be off and only turned on when you come home from work? Which way is more energy efficient?

A/C units are meant for maintaining a certain temperature in the house. It is generally advisable to keep that temperature the whole day, rather than having it do all the work when you’re home.

indoor-acThe best strategy is to have a digital thermostat that can be programmed. You can set a schedule, where it will maintain a certain temperature during certain parts of the day, and even different temperatures on different days. The best method is setting it at 5 degrees higher when you are not home, so if you prefer a temperature of 72 degrees, set it at 77 degrees for the whole day, and have it come down to 72 when you get home. This will ensure maximum comfort, while helping you save on your energy bills.

5 degrees is the optimum temperature for the difference, anything more than that will result in the A/C unit working for too long, and will actually diminish the cost savings you would receive from the temperature differential, especially in extra hot weather. Letting the unit run to cool to within 5 degrees of your desired temperature will cost less overall, and will provide for a comfortable home.

thermostatA new product to hit the market is the wifi thermostat, which you can actually program through the internet, from wherever you are. This allows you to accommodate an unpredictable schedule, where you may not be able to program a certain temperature for the house.

outdoor-ac-unitAside from the cost considerations, however, it makes little difference to the air conditioning unit whether it runs all day or is off part of the day. Make sure your unit is in good condition and is maintained regularly. Finding a good cooling contractor this time of year is advisable, as most of them can give advice on best practices for cooling in your home and maintaining energy efficiency. Many also offer preventative maintenance for a small fee, to make sure your unit is functioning at peak performance.

Home Remodeling: Should You Do It Yourself or Hire a Contractor?

Deciding on whether to take on a home improvement project may appear easy: compare the difficulty of the project to your own DIY skill and make a decision. While this may be a good starting point, there are other issues to consider before you decide whether to pick up the telephone or a hammer. Below are some issues to consider to help you decide whether to undertake that do-it-yourself project and to prevent you doing damage to your house, or worse yet your body.

3 Reasons to Hire a Contractor


It always looks easy in a book. Many times homeowners will convince themselves that after watching a video or a DIY book that the project is within their skill level. This is fine if the project goes picture perfect, but real life always throws a monkey wrench into your plans, and your expertise may not be enough to cope with the results.


There is a chance you could make it worse. Before taking on the project try to imagine the worst case scenario. Are you prepared to deal with it? Many projects can go horribly wrong and end up costing you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to repair. It may be that the risk may not be worth the reward.


Professional results last longer. Studies show that results of a home remodeling professional’s work last many times longer than an average DIY enthusiast’s. Just because you’re able to take on the project may not mean that it is the best idea long term.

What Projects are Most Likely to Get a DIYer in Trouble


Tile grouting: if you read a manual on tile re-grouting it can sound quite simple, but successfully regrouting tile takes skill, patience and precision. You have to remove old grout fully, mix the grout mixture carefully, making sure there is not too much or too little moisture, apply the grout and carefully clean all the grout residue from the tiles. After that you have to apply more grout in places where it shrank while it was drying. If you are not sure what you are doing, perhaps this is not the project for you.

fence-installationInstalling a fence: when doing fence installation, it is important to make sure the posts are sunk deep enough, the right fasteners are used and all property lines are obeyed, otherwise the project can go south quickly. Don’t get too focused on the digging and actual physical labor, that you can miss the big picture and end up getting sued by a neighbor for not following property lines or unknowingly shorten the life of your fence, by not using the right fasteners.


Repairing drywall: many times repairing drywall seems like an easy job anybody can do, but oftentimes this turns out not to be the case. Many underestimate the amount of dust a simple project can kick up and spread throughout the house. Even something like spreading joint compound can take quite a bit of precision and skill. Many times larger water-damage problems can be overlooked by an over-zealous DIYer, if they focus simply on the drywall repair.


What Projects Can be Good Candidates to Do-It-Yourself


Caulking: learning how to caulk is fairly easy and is a skill which can be used throughout the house. You can use it to seal windows, getting rid of potentially expensive energy draining leaks. You can protect your toilet, bathroom and sink, just have to be careful not to trap water behind the seal.


Installing doors: first you want to make sure your door frame is not warped. If it is in good condition you can purchase a pre-assembled door that will require just minimal skills to install.


Insulating the hot water tank: if you are looking to reduce your heating bill, there are other things you can do other than turning down the temperature in the house. Insulating the water tank can be quite easy, if you use an insulation kit. Installing the insulating blanket can be just a two hour project, which will pay off by reducing the water heating costs.




If you are concerned about poor workmanships and high prices when hiring a contractor, many times doing it yourself may not be the best solution. Rather taking the time to get an estimate from several qualified contractors and then interviewing them for the job will lead to successful results. Doing the due diligence will help you weed out the bad apples, who are just scam artists and find the honest and skilled contractors that will be happy to do the job for a reasonable price.


How to Deal with a Bad Contractor

We all know most major home improvement projects are a hassle. But sometimes it can turn into a real disaster. Even after doing all the due diligence, vetting the contractor and the contract you sign, bad things can happen. Perhaps the contractor took on more projects than they could handle, perhaps their credit ran out before the job ended, perhaps an unskilled laborer they hired put together defective work. Worst case scenario for you is they were a scam artists from the get-go. Do not get frustrated, discouraged or mad: get motivated and fight back. Let us show you how.


Firing the contractor


Firing as the immediate thing you think of when facing with such a messy situation, but it is not easy and a lot of things can go wrong. The contractor may decide to take you to court for breach of contract, in which case you will have to prove that they breached the agreement before you did. What you need to do is document each instance when they did not follow specifics of the contract, such as failing to stick to the schedule or using inferior materials. Then send a certified letter with this documentation to the firm, stating that unless the problem is rectified within a certain number of days, you will be terminating the contract. The problem with this is that the contractor will be very unlikely to refund any money you already paid. If you wrote and checks in the beginning, this strategy can be costly.


Requesting a hearing


Some home remodeling contracts include a clause about binding arbitration, where both parties agree to resolve all differences outside of court, but through an arbitration process. Arbitration is a process which is generally low cost, where both parties present their case before an independent authority, who afterwards makes a final decision. Even if there is no such provision in your specific contract, you can ask for such a hearing. A good option if the Better Business Bureau (BBB), that offers arbitration and mediation services either for free or for a small fee (usually $50). It is not a requirement that either the contractor of the homeowner be a member of BBB to do this. The problem with this is you must get the contractor to agree to the arbitration, which may not be easy, and also if you have a poorly written contractor, you may not have much luck in mediation.


Hiring a lawyer


Look for a lawyer who specializes in construction and will know the ins and outs of your state laws and can find ways around the poorly written provisions in your contract. Unlike mediation/arbitration, the contractor will not have an option of refusing. If the contractor has pulled a disappearing act, look into collecting money from your state contractor recovery fund or from the bond the contractor posted at the start of your home remodeling project, which may be required in your state. The downside of hiring a lawyer is the cost, with most lawyers specializing in such cases charging upwards of $300 an hour, so unless this is a high ticket renovation, you may be spending more on the attorney than what money you will recover.


Going to small claims court


Going to small claims court can be a good option in many such cases, especially if the project was relatively inexpensive (under $5000). You represent yourself, so no attorney fees, and it costs just a few dollars to bring a case. There are different rules state to state, but typically the judge will hear both sides, ask questions, then render a verdict in the case. The downside to this is the limit of these courts, in some states, like Kentucky it can be as low as $1500, but in most states that amount varies between $2500 and $6000.


Filing a complaint and leaving bad reviews


There are a number of websites to post reviews about contractors, such as and You also have the option of leaving a complaint with your state licensing board, which has the ability of going public, if there are enough complaints about this contractor.

Unfortunately this is usually the last resort, as this often will not resolve any of your issues or provide any kind of restitution, but you can take solace from the fact that you protected your fellow homeowners from making the mistake of hiring the same contractor you did.