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remodeling fort collinsYou’re planning for a home remodel, and you’re starting to get excited! It might be your kitchen, your basement, a whole floor, or even just a single bathroom, but you’ve got a pretty good handle on what you want, from the materials to the colors to the timeline, and you’re ready to start budgeting and looking for a contractor to do the work.

So, you send out your queries and the quotes come back, and then the lowest bid winsright?

Well, not so fast.

Sometimes the best bid, and the best value on the table, isn’t the lowest offer. Here’s why:

1. Unusually Low Bids Might Not Be Accurate, or Honest

Some contractors will intentionally toss out lowball bids as a negotiating strategy to get you roped in. These quotes will often omit specific details regarding materials and work needed, as well as explanations and on-site consultations.

According to a 2007 Wall Street Journal Article, “Construction firms often make unrealistically low bids to get jobs… but they can count on finding plenty of reasons later to jack the price up enough to allow for a profit. When the building is underway, it becomes prohibitively expensive to fire the contractor and start anew. The owner has become a hostage.”

If your contractor doesn’t put in the time to give you a complete and detailed estimate up-front, there’s good reason to think that their goal posts are going to move as soon as you start working with them.

2. You Get What You Pay For

To stay in business, all contractors have to make a profit. So, if you receive a number of quotes and one is 15-20% lower than the others, it might mean that that team is going to be rushing the work, cutting corners, using low-quality labor, or playing games to make up the difference in cost.

Craftsmanship takes time, so invest in a team of professionals who will do the job right and give it the time it deserves.

3. They May Have Left Something Out

Compare the bids carefully. It’s sometimes possible one bidder has left out a portion of the project intentionally or unintentionally. This will lower the cost, true, but you’ll be in for an unpleasant surprise later on when you realize that your project won’t be finished when your contractor is finished with it.

4. The Bidder Might Not Be Legitimate

Sometimes low bidders aren’t licensed or insured contractors at all. Instead, they’re working under the table, using low prices to turn projects around quickly without properly permitting the work or doing their due diligence, and that can lead to big problems for you if someone is hurt, if they walk away from the job with your deposit before it’s finished, if they do poor quality work, or if your less-than-legal project is eventually found out in the future.

These “contractors” leave a black mark on the industry. Make sure that your chosen business is properly licensed, insured, and committed to high-quality craftsmanship.

Work with Your Local Fort Collins Home Remodeling Experts-

If you’ve been seriously considering moving forward with a home remodeling project, it’s important to take the time to find a contractor you can trust, and with the reviews and references to back up their past performance.

So, we hope this blog helps you to understand why the lowest bid might not be the right way to go. At Artisan Remodeling & Design, we work hard every day to be just that kind of contractor.

When we provide a bid, it is 100% all-inclusive – the price you see is the price you’ll pay. No surprise billings! Additionally, we are licensed, insured, and take our work and reputation very seriously. When you hire us, you’re choosing a company that puts quality, integrity, and communication above all else. Check out our portfolio of recent jobs to see what we can do for you! 

general contractor fort collinsAre you a Northern Colorado homeowner thinking about a home renovation project? Thinking about what your home can be like after a renovation is exciting. The thought of finding a reliable home remodeling contractor to bring your vision to life… not so exciting. A lot of homeowners hesitate to get their renovation project underway because they fear hiring the wrong contractor. They’ve heard stories about contractors who don’t communicate well, worked too slowly, or do a poor job.

When you’re making a big investment you want to know you’re working with the right people. The good news is there are ways you can check to see if you’re hiring the right contractor before you hire them. This guide will give you the tools necessary to ensure you’ve done everything possible to hire a qualified and reliable home remodeling contractor.

Talk to People You Already Trust

 

The foundation of any healthy relationship is TRUST. The first step to finding a remodeling contractor you trust is asking friends and family for recommendations. From there you can move onto the National Association of the Remodeling Industry for a list of members in your area. Talk with local building inspectors; they will know which home renovation contractors consistently meet code requirements.

Social Proof

 

You’ve talked to the people you know directly, now see what past customers are saying. Reading online reviews is a great way to see the experience the community has had working with any business. It’s also a smart move to look into whether the company in question is a BBB member, and whether they have any previous complaints.

Pick up the Phone

 

Once you’ve assembled a list of candidates, make a quick call to each prospect and ask them these questions:

 

  • Can they take on a project like yours?
  • Can they give you a list of previous clients?
  • How many projects do they work on at the same time?
  • If they use subcontractors, how long have they used them?

 

The answers to these questions will reveal their availability, reliability, and how much attention they can give your project.

 

Meet in Person

 

You will have learned a lot and narrowed down your search after your phone interviews.  Choose three or four contractors to meet for estimates.  A contractor should be able to comfortably answer your questions.  When you meet in person, you can get a “feel” for another person. Pay attention to how you feel when communicating. Do they put you at ease with their transparency and ability to clearly communicate? Remember the contractor you choose will be in your home for days or weeks.

 

If you like their personality that’s good, but always check with the state consumer protection agency and your local Better Business Bureau before you hire a contractor to make sure they don’t have a history of disputes with clients or subcontractors.

 

Investigate

 

You’ve narrowed down your list, you’ve met in person, you have your estimates, now double check to see if the facts check out. Call the contractor’s former clients and ask about how the project went and ask if you can see the final result. If possible, go to a current job site and see for yourself how the contractor works. Check to see if the site looks organized and safe. See if the workers are professional and are careful with the homeowner’s property.

 

Plans & Bids

 

You’ve done your homework, and you have the information you need, now it’s time to get your project moving. Choose two or three contractors you that passed the vetting process and get some bids. A good renovation contractor will ask for your goals and what you hope to spend. The best way to compare bids is to ask for the contractors to break down the cost of materials, labor, profit margins and expenses. Usually, materials will account for 40 percent of the total cost, overhead and labor will also account for about 40 percent, which typically leaves a profit margin of about 15-20 percent.

 

Payment Schedule

 

It’s important to work out your payment schedule before you hire a contractor. Payment schedules can reveal a lot about a contractor’s financial security and work ethic. If they ask for a 50% deposit before any work takes place, they may have some financial issues or be worried you won’t pay after you see their workmanship. With Artisan Remodeling & Design, payment starts with an initial deposit for materials, and then weekly or bi-weekly payments ONLY based on work completed.

 

Don’t Let Price Guide You

 

If you take several bids and one bid is way lower than the others, throw it out. Contractors that present below market value bids are usually desperate for work, cutting corners, or both. You want a quality job, with good materials, done right the first time.  The great thing about getting multiple bids is it gives you an idea of what appropriate pricing should be for your project. If you receive a high bid ask the contractor why it’s higher, and they may give a good reason, and you may hire them because of it.

 

Get it in Writing

 

Once you’ve found the right contractor, you’ll want a contract that details every step of the project. It should include:

 

  • Payment schedule
  • Proof of liability insurance
  • Start date
  • Projected completion date
  • Specific materials & products to be used

Any change in the project, whether you change your mind about products or ask for additions, should be written into the contract, dated and signed by you and the contractor.

 

Ready for Your Home Renovation Project?

 

Now you have the knowledge to move forward and finally get started on your project. If you know you want to change your home, but are not sure exactly how, a good home renovation contractor will be able to help you, like US!! We will also be happy to show you different designs, suggest the best materials that will work with your style of home, and give you lots of fun options to choose from. But regardless of who you choose, just be sure to follow these guidelines. You’ll be glad you did.

 

If you have any questions about any step in the process of home renovation, call us today at 970-691-6995and check our work.

Kitchen Remodel Fort Collins

 

Quartz vs. Granite Countertops

Are you shopping for a countertop and trying to decide between quartz and granite? Both quartz and granite are good choices when it comes to beautiful and durable countertops. However, there are some differences worth noting that can help you make a more informed choice. For starters, granite tends to have a more natural look, while quartz requires lower maintenance. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at quartz and granite countertops, so you can walk away knowing the pros and cons of choosing each one for your kitchen project.

What is the Difference Between Granite and Quartz?

Granite

Granite is a 100% natural stone. It’s formed during the cooling of hot magma. The flecked pattern seen on quartz comes from mica and other trace minerals. The combination of the different minerals gives granite its unique color. Whites and creams are common granite colors, but pink and red color variations and darker colors like black are also available.

Quartz

Quartz, the second most abundant material in the earth’s crust, is created when silicon crystallizes. When we talk about quartz, we generally are discussing two different types of quartz.

  • Quartzite – a naturally occurring form of sandstone that has undergone intense heat and pressure. Quartzite countertop slabs are very common, but like other natural stones, the porous surface needs regular resealing.
  • Engineered Quartz – fabricated, unlike quartzite. It’s made by crushing rocks and then binding them together with resins. Caesarstone and Cambria are the two major manufacturers of engineered quartz.

So, which is better when it comes to your countertops? It really just depends on your goals. What we can do is break down the characteristics of granite and quartz by evaluating aesthetics, affordability, durability, and maintenance.

Appearance & Colors

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Natural appearance
  • Found in a wide variety of colors, ranging from common off-whites to exotic blacks and greens.
  • Seams are more noticeable.
  • Can have naturally occurring imperfections, although some consider this appealing.
  • Can only be found in naturally occurring colors.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Can come in almost any color you can imagine, from a natural marble look to bright greens and reds. White with light gray or beige highlights are most common
  • Slabs have a consistent look throughout, which reduces the appearance of seams.
  • Over time, exposure to direct sunlight can discolor the resin that binds the slab.
  • Some think it doesn’t look as ‘natural’ as other types of stone, because of the more uniform look and size of the crystals.

 

Most Natural Looking Winner: Quartz

 

Cost Comparison

Granite

  • Averages $60 per square foot. If it features unusual colors or larger sizes, the price can be increased. Smaller pieces or tiles come in at a lower price point.

Quartz

  • Averages $75 per square foot. Special edges can increase the price.

The Most Affordable: Granite

 

Maintenance 

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Natural stone is very durable and can last a long time when properly cared for.
  • The porous stone will absorb spilled liquids if they’re not wiped up quickly, resulting in stains and bacterial growth.
  • Regular sealing every 1 to 2 years is a must to help resist absorption.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • The non-porous material is highly resistant to staining and bacterial growth as it will not absorb liquids.
  • Some liquids or foods with heavy dyes can stain the surface of the counter, so make sure to wipe clean right away.

 

The Easiest Maintenance Winner: Quartz

 

Installation

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Slabs can be cut to fit precisely into the exact shape of your kitchen counter layout.
  • Professionals should be used to measure and cut because a small mistake can require re-cutting or even replacing an entire slab.
  • Extra care should be taken during the transportation of the slab and placing to avoid cracking.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Manufacturers will shape the slab to fit your requirements. Any seams will be less noticeable.
  • Cabinets will need to be reinforced because of the heavyweight of quartz. Special equipment is needed to transport, carry, and move into place.
  • Aligning cutouts for sinks can be a challenge to get right if you choose to install yourself.

 

The Ease of Installation Winner: TIE

 

 

Durability, Hardness, & Strength

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Chip, crack, and scratch-resistant. However, it’s not recommended using your countertop as a cutting surface.
  • Can chip if struck with hard objects.
  • Edges and corners are vulnerable to chipping. Rounded edges can help reduce this risk.

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Highly resistant to chipping and cracking.
  • Because of the resin used in the manufacturing process, it’s more flexible than natural stone, making it less prone to breaking during installation.
  • Although it’s very scratch-resistant, it’s not 100% scratch-proof.
  • Scratches that do occur may be more visible because of the uniform color.

 

The Toughness Winner: Quartz

 

Heat Resistance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Because it’s formed through the cooling of molten rock, granite is very heat-resistant.
  • A possibility of cracking from thermal shock exists. Always use a trivet and never place hot pots or pans directly on the surface.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  •  Can easily take temperatures up to 150 degrees, so hot water or warm plates pose no threat.
  • Although its relatively heat-resistant, the resin used to bind the stone together can become discolored when repeatedly exposed to excessive heat. Always use a trivet or hot pad.

 

 

The Heat Resistant Winner: Quartz

 

Moisture Resistance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Resistant to moisture and staining when polished well and sealed with a proper sealing compound.
  • Sealant wears down over time, making the stone more susceptible to moisture.
  • Moisture absorbed by the stone can result in staining.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • The non-porous surface will not absorb moisture.
  • Dark-colored liquids with dyes can stain the surface if left sitting for extended periods of time.

 

 

The Moisture and Staining Resistant Winner: Quartz

 

Repair and Maintenance

Granite

Pros
Cons
  • Repairs for small chips or scratches can be done with an epoxy kit that is available at most home improvement and flooring stores.
  • Can be accomplished yourself, but for larger or multiple scratches, it’s best to hire a professional.

 

 

Quartz

Pros
Cons
  • Small nicks and cracks can be easily filled with epoxy.
  • Discoloration from heat is permanent.
  • Cracks are difficult to repair because consistent coloring makes them more visible.

 

 

The Ease of Repair  Winner: Granite

 

Environmentally Friendly

Granite

Lots of energy is used to mine and transport large pieces of natural stone. Buying locally is one way to reduce the carbon footprint.

Quartz

Made from crushed rock, the mining is easier, and there is no need to preserve large slabs. Sometimes “waste” product from other uses is the raw material for engineered quartz slabs.

 

The Green Choice Winner: Quartz

 

 

Resale Value

 

Granite

It USED to be that granite countertops were specifically sought out when buyers were looking for a home, and it USED to be that having granite in the home added resale value that was equal to 100% of the initial cost. But, alas…it seems quartz is becoming the new granite.

Quartz

Quartz is all the rage these days, and can actually be the tipping point when a buyer is making a choice between your home and another one without quartz countertop.

 

The Most Likely to Pay for Itself Winner: Quartz

 

The Winner: Quartz

Whether you’re planning an upcoming bathroom remodel or have your sights set on the kitchen, we feel quartz countertop is the way to go. In the bathroom, countertops receive a lot of moisture that can sit for prolonged periods of time. Unless you want to always be wiping up water on your bathroom countertop, stain-resistant quartz is the better choice. In kitchens, quartz yet again edges out granite as the better choice. Just like bathrooms, your kitchen countertops receive a lot of moisture, especially around the sink. Plus, quartz is more heat-resistant and has a wider variety of colors to choose from. But, if you love granite and are diligent with maintenance, it can work great for your kitchen remodel as well. Feel free to reach out to us for more information about choosing a countertop or other home remodeling topics at 970-691-6995.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fort Collins Home RemodelingMaybe it’s a decades-old bathroom complete with the original wallpaper, or a closed-off kitchen with cabinets that have seen too many coats of paint over the years. Or it could be a dirty, unfinished basement with so much wasted potential. Maybe it’s all of these at once.

In all of these cases and more, remodeling can vastly improve your home experience and give you a modern, comfortable space to enjoy. But many homeowners who would love to make this change hesitate, year after year, with no real plan to make it happen.

Why homeowners hesitate to experience a Fort Collins Home Remodeling project?

  • Cost
  • Stress
  • Fear

Cost

Home remodeling a big investment, no doubt about it. But just think of how valuable that new and improved space will be to you and your family. And what’s more, the return on investment for home improvement projects are not too shabby. You can recoup up to 90% of your project price when  it’s finally time to sell your home and cash in your nest egg.

If you aren’t sure about the potential cost of your project, we invite you to give us a call today at 1-970-691-6995 or 1-970-402-2099 for a free quote. You might be surprised at how achievable your dream kitchen, bathroom, or basement can be from a financial standpoint.

Stress

True, home improvements are disruptive, and during a home remodeling work you’ll need to adjust your schedule and make some alternate arrangements. But when your project is delivered by a qualified, professional team with the right tools and equipment for the job the work goes surprisingly fast, allowing us to minimize the disruption and stress you and your family encounter.

On top of that, when you choose to work with us, you will be choosing an organized experience from start to finish. We even have a software program that allows you to track daily schedules and financials right from the comfort of your own home. And, if you ever have a question, our 3 levels of management ensures that you will get an answer promptly, each and every time.

Fear

Most people only remodel a few times in their life, and not all of those experiences are universally positive. Perhaps you’re worried about picking the wrong materials or design, or you or a family member have had bad experiences with less-than-professional remodeling teams.

Whatever your fears, Artisan Remodeling and Design is here to help. We’re a 100% independent, family-owned local Fort Collins remodeling company which means that our reputation means everything. We would love to meet and work with you to develop a design you’ll love complete with our outstanding customer service, great value, and picture-perfect results.

You can start your Fort Collins home remodeling journey by checking out our work.

Then, take the first step of arranging your free estimate by filling out our contact page.

Or

Give us a call us at 1-970-691-6995 or 1-970-402-2099 for your Fort Collins Home Remodeling project.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Why Hire a Fort Collins General Contractor?

 

Are you on the search for a general contractor in Fort Collins? If you’re planning something like a remodel or home renovation you’ve probably been told or already know you’ll need to hire a general contractor. You might be wondering why you shouldn’t just hire sub-contractors yourself and take charge of the project. If you have time and experience, you could certainly pull it off, but for most, hiring a general contractor is critical for the success of their project. Let’s take a look at why hiring a Fort Collins general contractor for your next Northern Colorado renovation is a good choice.

 

Building Knowledge

 

A general contractor has the experience and expertise to keep costs down during the building process. If you’ve ever taken on a new project and found yourself take three trips to Home Depot in one day multiply that by a lot more if you take on a renovation project for the first time. Like everything, there is a learning curve, and learning is expensive, especially when it comes to construction. If a mistake happens when you work with a general contractor, they eat the cost and time to fix it, not you.

 

Trade Knowledge

 

A good general contractor will closely supervise all of their subcontractors and are always checking for quality work.  If a subcontractor does a poor job, the contractor will make sure it gets remedied because it’s their name on the project.  If you’re in charge, unless you have the expertise and experience, you can easily miss poor workmanship that can cost you later.

 

Building Code Knowledge

 

Can you look at a subcontractor’s work and know if it will pass inspection? A good contractor knows what will pass inspection, which helps you avoid a re-inspection fee and delays. Codes can be complicated, and a local Fort Collins general contractor will know the local variations in codes.

 

Construction Scheduling Knowledge

 

Do you want to finish your remodel in a reasonable amount of time? A general contractor knows how to stay on top of a schedule get things done on a timeline. They hold their sub-contractors accountable, make sure suppliers have materials ready and in stock, and keep projects moving in a forward direction. If one sub-contractor misses his scheduled work, it can negatively impact the project and delay it for days or even weeks. A good general contractor knows when critical deadlines must be met, and makes sure they are met.

 

Relationships With the Right People

 

Like any industry, people network and build mutually beneficial relationships. Suppliers and subcontractors are going to be much more responsive to a general contractor they know and trust versus somebody they’ve never worked with. They want to know they’re working with a professional and will get paid on time.

 

Questions About Hiring a General Contractor for Your Next Project?

 

If you planning or ready to hire a Fort Collins general contractor for a home remodel and have questions, we can help. Contact us today, and we’d be happy to answer any questions about the process of hiring and working with us–your local, licensed and insured Fort Collins general contractor.

 

Call Today – 970-691-6995