1. Hire independent contractors from your area
2. Hire contractors through local stores, such as kitchen and bath shops
3. Use certified installers for such products as Pella windows and Corian counters
4. Hire installers through big box stores such as Home Depot and Lowe’s
It is this last option that gets lowest marks according to a recently published survey by Consumer Reports that asks homeowners about more than 13,000 remodeling projects. About 40% of homeowners reported having troubles with the big box installers, compared with less than 30% reporting troubles for the other options.
"Contractors not affiliated with home centers," Consumer Reports states, "scored higher than those from Home Depot or Lowe’s in the quality of workmanship and materials, speed of work, communications skills and ability to keep costs down."
The certified installers found through manufacturers got the highest scores for getting the job done on time, probably because they were more familiar with the products, the report says.
The survey also asked what these homeowners would have done differently with their projects. Their top responses were:
• done more research
• chosen their contractor more carefully
• bought different materials
Read the full article by Consumer Reports editors in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.