Remodeling, A Survival Guide

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Remodeling survival tips, by Kris Egan

HIRING A CONTRACTOR:  You’ve been thinking about a remodel project for your home, but what should you know before you start talking to a contractor?  How do you even find a reputable one?  The first place to start is by talking to your friends, co-workers, and neighbors – their experience with local contractors can be an enormous help.  You can also look up local contractors with the National Kitchen & Bath Association, Oregon Remodeler’s Association, or Houzz. You can access the Construction Contractors Board website at  to search the contractor’s name and access records like how long they’ve been in business, the expiration date of their license, complaints & judgments against them, etc.  You can also see that they’re bonded & insured.  The next step is to ask the contractor for references.  Call their past clients and ask for all the positive and negative elements of their project.  Was the contractor responsive to problems? Did the contractor schedule the project efficiently? Was his communication timely and helpful?  Was the client happy with the final project?


HIRING A DESIGNER?  While an architect or engineer may be needed for structural changes, an interior designer will be appropriate for interior changes. Many contractors are now design/build firms with a designer on staff, making the whole process run more smoothly. An interior designer works with the floorplan and layout of things like appliances, countertops, bath fixtures, and skylights to make the space efficient and attractive.  An interior designer is also trained in colors and styles to make the whole room work in your home.  At Corvallis Custom Kitchens & Baths we have Brian Egan, Certified Master Kitchen & Bath Designer, Bettina Rasmussen, Associate Kitchen & Bath Designer, and Kim Adams who has a Bachelor of Science degree from OSU in Interior Design.


PAYMENT:  You’ve heard this before: don’t give your contractor 100% of the cost up front.  At our company we ask for a 30% deposit, 30% when we start work at your home, 30% upon cabinet or counter delivery, and the balance on completion.  Other reputable contractors should have a similar plan.


PROTECTING YOUR HOME, ETC:  Your contractor should have a plan to keep dust and debris in the work area and not spread all over your home.  Our CCKB crews hang plastic to isolate the work area, and put protection on the floors.  We also work hard to protect your landscaping.  We need a dry storage area for materials, and a bathroom for our workers to use.  What about your kids & pets?  You need to make arrangements to keep them safely out of the work area, and ensure your pets can’t escape through an open door or window while we’re working on your home.  Wagging tails are a happy sight but not when the tail whacks a freshly painted wall! Some of our clients have booked their dogs at “doggy day care” for the days we’re working on their homes.


WORKING HOURS:  Every contractor works a different schedule, but they should give you that schedule ahead of time and confirm that it works well with your family’s schedule.  Our crews work Monday – Thursday from 8:00 am to 6:30 pm with subcontractors sometimes working on Fridays.  If that doesn’t work for you we can adjust it to make the impact on your life less stressful.


LIVING IN YOUR HOME DURING A REMODEL:  It’s not easy living with a remodel going on.  If it’s a kitchen remodel you will need to think about things like where will you do dishes?  Can you set up a temporary kitchen in your garage, deck, or elsewhere?  How much can you afford to eat at restaurants?  If it’s a bath remodel and you only have 1 bath you’ll need to make alternative arrangements for showering and other care.  Maybe you can shower at your health club or a friend’s house.  Corvallis Custom Kitchens & Baths will minimize the “down-time” of your room so you can use parts of it after work hours.

PROJECT COMPLETION: Remodeling is very different than new construction; we help people live in their home during construction. This means that remodeling contractors must be constantly aware of the occupants and respectful of their needs. Scheduling is of utmost importance so that we can efficiently finish the project and move you into your new space. Once the project is completed according to the contract terms pay the balance to your contractor so he can then pay for materials and subcontractors. Then sit back and enjoy your newly remodeled home.


Kris & Brian Egan
Own Corvallis Custom Kitchens & Baths

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