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Michael James Remodeling

North Georgia Remodeling Contractor

How to Find and Choose the Best Remodeling Contractor in North Georgia

 

So, you’re ready for a new dream kitchen or a master bathroom oasis. Perhaps you’re in need of a mother-in-law suite or you’d like to remodel the basement into an entertainment hub that will be the envy of all your neighbors. 

You’ve got some ideas, maybe even a vision for your remodel project. So how do you find a good remodeling contractor, the right person to do the work in North Georgia? How can you find someone, for example, in Gainesville or Cumming who is not only skilled, but will stand behind their work and deliver an experience that won’t turn your dream remodeling project into your worst nightmare?

Remember when you choose a remodeling contractor, you’re not only hiring someone to do a job, you’re inviting someone into your home. That person (or persons) have the potential to reshape the way you live and experience your home, not just for the duration of the remodel, but for years to come. It’s important to narrow down your choices and consider more than price. Unfortunately, this is not always easy. In fact, finding and choosing a good remodeling contractor can be more difficult than the project itself. 

Don’t fret. We’re here to help guide you though the process. At a minimum, you should expect to examine portfolios of previous work, check licensing, listen to referrals and gather competitive bids before you make a final decision. Let’s walk through the steps.

Start by gathering recommendations

The first step in finding the right remodeling contractor for your project is to make a list of North Georgia contractors near you who have the right expertise. Use the internet to search Cumming, Gainesville, Forsyth, Dawson, etc. to find someone that services your area. Compile a list of more names than you think you’ll need. Ask your friends and neighbors for recommendations. Be sure to check online reviews and social media as well.

A good contractor will make it easy for you to find and contact them. It should be easy to find reviews and examples of their work. Be wary of contractors who are difficult to find or lack basic information such as a decent website, social media presence, and online reviews.

 

Ask about both design and construction

Unless you already have a designer, engineer and/or architect, your remodeling contractor should be well-versed in both functional, beautiful design as well as safe construction. Ideally whoever you hire either has an on-staff team of designers, engineers, 3-D modeling experts, and architects or has a close relationship with outside specialists who can be pulled in when needed. A one-stop remodeling contractor is often referred to as a design-build contractor. This type of contractor keeps you from having to search for different specialists and ensures those specialists already have a working relationship. However, it’s important to determine that both design and construction work are up to your standard. Ask the same questions of your design-build contractor that you would ask an architect or designer and a builder. Ask about their design style, construction team, and subcontractors. Examining portfolios and viewing previously completed projects in-person, can help assess the design and construction capabilities of your remodeling contractor.

Compare each contractor’s portfolio

Choose a contractor who specializes in the type of remodel you need. A remodeling contractor with a creative eye can be very helpful for certain projects. For instance, if you want to lay a wood entryway with a detailed mosaic, build custom cabinets, or install metalwork, you’ll need a contractor experienced in those areas.

Once you start to narrow your list, ask each contractor for a portfolio of projects. They may have a physical portfolio, or they may direct you to a website. 

Be wary of contractors with too few projects or poor quality, hard-to-see images. Also keep in mind that home improvement contractors only include their best work in their portfolios. If any completed project is not up to your standards, it’s likely their average work is worse. But also remember tastes vary. If the portfolio includes a variety of styles, even if you don’t like them all, chances are good the contractor will be able to accommodate your individual tastes.   

 

Ask for licensing and certification

Once you’ve narrowed your list to five or six names, an easy way to narrow it further is to ask for contractors’ licensing and certification and proof of liability insurance in case they damage anything during the course of the project. Workers should also be covered by worker’s compensation. Ask for a copy of their insurance policies and check that they’re up to date.

 

Check references

Any reputable contractor will expect you to ask for a list of references.  A typical contractor reference list includes the names, addresses and telephone numbers of each customer, as well as the project dates. Call each reference. If the list is long, select a few recent projects and a few older projects. Keep notes on your conversations for future reference and determine if you can visit any of the homes to see the projects in person.

 

Some questions to ask references include:

Did the contractor communicate effectively and frequently?

Was the job site kept neat, clean and safe?

Did the contractor stay on schedule?

Did the contractor respect you, your home, and your furnishings?

Were any problems promptly addressed?

Was the contractor or employees of the contractor on time for appointments and workdays?

How has the remodel held up and how were any issues handled?

Was the cost reasonable and clear?

 

Reviewing finished renovation projects

When visiting a project, here are some warning signs to look for: 

Bathrooms: Uneven floors, cheap materials or fixtures, inadequate lighting.

Kitchens: Obvious seams on countertop, cheap materials, inefficient kitchen layout, poor lighting, inadequate storage or counter space.

Paint: Runs, streaks, imperfect lines and edges, splatter on the floor.

Tile: Crooked tiles or lines, tile or grout cracks, excess grout or caulking along edges, inconsistent grout lines, uneven surfaces.

Decks and patios: Wavy or swollen boards, unaligned edges, gaps between boards or windows, separation between the side of the house and the deck, concrete cracks.

 

Get bids for the job and evaluate compatibility

Ideally you should get bids from the top three or four contractors on your list. Have each present you with a brief proposal and estimated cost for the project. Depending on the type of renovation, the bid may include details on the project timeline, material recommendations, as well as the total cost. 

See: How Much Does A Michael James Remodel and Home Renovation Cost?

Keep in mind, sometimes the materials, amount of work, or even quality of work will differ between contractors. The choices they (and you) make at this point can have a big impact on the final product, so be sure to consider more than just cost. Think about your goals for your renovation and choose the proposal that best suits your needs. You may be working with your remodeling contractor or design-build team for an extended period of time. You will also be working together on a project that is important to you—your home. It is vital that you feel that you can effectively communicate with your remodeling contractor and that you will be able to effectively work together to bring your vision to life.

Finally, it’s best to avoid any contractor who tries to pressure you into accepting a bid. Some might try to tell you their bids are only good for a limited time. You should always have the option to think about the proposal for a few days or more. A good contractor will let you take your time and be gracious if you should choose someone else.

 

Bottom line

Doing all this research may sound like a lot of work, but when you consider the investment, the potential upside as well as the potential risk, it’s worth the extra time and effort to make sure you choose the right remodeling contractor. Remember, once you’ve made your decision, signed the contract proposal, and have written the check for the deposit, you’re one step closer to your dream home.

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No More Cold Feet

Of course, one of the biggest benefits of a radiant tile floor is that you won’t have any more cold feet when you get out of your shower. There are few things more unpleasant than stepping out of a nice warm shower onto a freezing tile floor. This can be especially bad in the wintertime, when cold feet can become agony.

Heated tile floors will keep your toes nice and toasty when you get out of the shower and during those early morning chills. Best of all, studies have shown that keeping your feet warm can play an important role in regulating your overall body temperature. A heated tile floor can make your overall bathroom experience more comfortable simply by warming up your toes.

Fewer Microbes

Most people who don’t have heated tile floors cope with that chilly tile by putting down bath mats. This helps to keep water off the floor, which can eliminate slipping hazards, and it provides a barrier between your feet and the cold floor. The problem is that these bath mats can become a breeding ground for microbes.

Mold, mildew, and other microbes love environments that are warm and damp, and bath mats make the perfect environment for them. Depending on how often you wash your bath mat, you could be stepping out of your shower onto a thriving colony of germs. Because heated floors eliminate the need for bath mats, they could make your bathroom more hygienic.

Fewer Allergens

If you struggle with allergies or asthma, forced air systems could cause you a lot of problems. These systems heat your house by blowing warm air into the room through vents in the floor or ceiling. The problem is that this blast of air can kick up dust and allergens, not to mention providing a system of ducts for all these allergens to collect in.

Radiant heating doesn’t blow dust or allergens around, and it can do much more than just warm up your feet. In fact, a radiant heat system can warm up your bathroom by as much as five degrees without any forced air assistance. Using these systems can reduce the amount you have to use your forced air system, keeping your allergies and asthma at a minimum.

More Uniform Heating

One of the other major downsides of a forced-air heating system is that they tend to heat rooms unevenly. We’ve all experienced times when we were sitting under a vent that was blasting hot or cold air on us. We were uncomfortable, but the people on the other side of the room might feel perfectly fine.

Radiant heating systems can help to eliminate these cold spots in your bathroom. The mesh or tubing is distributed evenly throughout the floor, meaning every area will get the same gentle warmth. As you move through your bathroom, you’ll stay at the same perfect level of comfort, rather than sweating in one spot and freezing in another.

Greater Energy Efficiency

Now at this point, you may be thinking that offsetting forced air systems with radiant heat is fine and good, but what will it cost? Although you will be able to use your forced air system less, you will have to pay for the extra electricity or gas to heat that system. The good news is that you could actually save money on your utility bills by using a radiant heat system.

Radiant heat systems tend to be more energy-efficient than forced-air systems thanks to their design. Heat rises, so radiant heat systems have to put off less heat to get the room to a comfortable temperature than forced air systems with ceiling vents do. They can also cycle on and off without involving a heat pump and compressor, saving you money and keeping you more comfortable.

No Wasted Space

One of the biggest struggles with adding extra heating systems to your bathroom design is figuring out where to put the components. If you have floor vents, you have to arrange your furniture so those aren’t blocked. And if you’re using space heaters, you wind up with unattractive units hanging on your walls or sitting on your floors, taking up space.

Radiant heat systems are completely invisible and don’t take up any extra space in your home. Because they live under the floors, they blend in seamlessly with your layout. You can get the extra comfort you need without having to work around an unwieldy heating system.

It is important to note that if you decide to use a hydronic radiant heat system, you will have to find someplace to put the water heater for that system.

No Extra Noise

When you walk into your bathroom, you want it to be a relaxing, spa-like experience. This should be someplace you can breathe and unwind, escaping from the noise and demands of the outside world. Unfortunately, that can be a little hard to pull off if you’re listening to the buzz and whoosh of a forced-air heating system.

Other heating systems can be annoyingly noisy, but radiant heating systems are completely silent. In particular, electric systems make no noise, heating your floors without a whisper of extra sound. You can relax in the oasis that is your bathroom without having to tune out extra noise.

Customization

If you’ve ever lived with another person, you know that we all have different preferences when it comes to comfortable temperatures. You may like things toasty warm, while your partner may swelter in those temperatures. Heated bathroom flooring can eliminate fights over the thermostat, since they’re completely customizable.

Your radiant heat system will come with a thermostat that you can set to whatever temperature range is comfortable for you. As we’ll discuss more in a moment, you can even set schedules so the system heats to a different temperature depending on when you and your partner each get ready. And don’t worry – these systems never get hot enough to burn even the most sensitive toes.

Scheduling Features

As with any heating system, radiant heating systems take time to warm up. So it may seem pointless to have one of these systems if you’re still going to have to walk on a freezing floor while you wait for it to warm up. But these system designers aren’t about to let you live with cold feet every morning.

Heated tile floor controls usually come with a scheduling feature that allows you to program when you want your system to kick on. If you have to get up at 7 in the morning and you know your system takes about fifteen minutes to heat up, you can set it to turn on at 6:45. Your floors will be heated to perfection by the time you’re ready to get out of bed in the morning.

No Maintenance

One of the best things about installing a radiant heat system is that you’ll never have to do any maintenance on it. Because these systems live under tile floors, they aren’t exactly accessible. This means that designers create them to last for a lifetime without any ongoing maintenance needs.

Once again, hydronic heating systems can be a little different in this regard. The boiler that heats the water for your system may need attention from time to time, although this is rare. But for the most part, these systems are set it and forget it, providing ongoing comfort in your space for the duration of their life.

Improved Home Value

When you’re doing a bathroom remodel, one of the factors you need to think about is how it will impact the resale value of your home. You want to create something that you will enjoy, but also something that will get you more money when it comes time to sell your house. In general, bathrooms and kitchens tend to bring the most extra resale value to homes, especially when they’re luxurious.

Heated flooring says to a buyer that your home is built for luxury and comfort. When you list your home, adding that feature to your description could get you more viewings and even a higher sale price. These systems may well pay for themselves thanks to their extra energy efficiency and the value they bring to your home.

Discover the Joys of Heated Tile Floors

Heated tile floors are a fantastic way to make your bathroom more comfortable all year round. They can provide a more even heat and may even reduce the amount of allergens and microbes in your bathroom. They can also save you money on utility bills and improve your home value, paying for themselves in the long run.

If you’d like to discover the joys of heated tile floors for yourself, check out the rest of our site at Michael James Remodeling. We are here to bring your vision of your dream home to life in your kitchen, bathroom, basement, and more. Chat with us today and discover what to expect when you experience renovation the Michael James way.

 

Serving North Georgia:  Forsyth, Hall, North Fulton, Dawson, and Lumpkin Counties, Including Alpharetta, Cumming, Dahlonega, Dawsonville, and Gainesville

Michael James Remodeling

3473 Thompson Bridge Rd. Gainesville, GA 30506

(770) 599-2575