Working days: 13
Ended on project day: 123
Before — master bath
Before — guest bath
The bathrooms were outfitted with the same cabinetry as the kitchen, in the same faux-wood plastic. Although it's not visible in this picture, the countertops match the tub-surrounds, a "class" touch, I'm sure.
Shower curtains will be replaced by glass tub doors. Which should have been done ten years ago when I moved in.
Ask anyone who has done any remodeling, "So, would you recommend your contractor?" The answer is invariably "well, not really." So it went with everyone I asked about possible contractors to do the bathroom remodels.
I tried the yellow pages with very unsatisfying results:
- They don't return your call — of course contractors never answer their phone, since they want to give the impression that they are out on the job making some other customer's dreams come true.
- They return your call but don't want to even bother coming out to see the job before giving an estimate. In this case, the estimate is equivalent to "how much money do you have?" — an exhorbitantly high amount, clearly intended to suggest that they don't want to be bothered with any job less than $50,000.
- They return your call and make an appointment to come estimate the job. They don't show up.
Then I remembered that one of the home improvement web sites I had consulted (ImproveNet.com) offered a match-making service: you describe your project, they refer it to contractors who might be interested, then give you contact information for those who indicate interest. How much worse could it be? I submit profiles for my jobs: one to paint, one to remodel the bathrooms.
There is no free lunch. ImproveNet charges the contractor a percentage of the job contract as a finder's fee. And they are very persistent in requesting that information from you. This motivates the contractor, of course, to engage in some creative bidding and contracting.
All said and done, ImproveNet really facilitated finding contractors who were interested in the job. I wish I had used it sooner. I'll use it again, should the occasion arise. Your mileage may vary.
"Good news! The following contractor is interested in your job..." Within a couple of days I had two or three prospective contractors for each of my jobs. All but one actually proactively called me rather than waiting for me to call them.
As it happened, one contractor responded to both jobs. After checking references and license status, I decided to go with DR Painting and Home Improvement for both jobs. Although I thought I would probably get a better quality paint job from one of the other contractors, the convenience of having to deal with just one contractor ("one neck to choke") instead of two tipped the balance. Sign contract.
Work begins by ripping out the vinyl floor, tub surrounds, and toilet of bathroom #1. I cringe at the thought of all this carrying of dirty stuff over my new carpet to get it outside. Inconveniently, I have no one to blame for this sequence but myself.
Ta da! Bathrooms are finished: tile tub surround, tub door, tile floor, new toilet, new paint. Here's the guest bathroom all gussied up, "staged" for showing to prospective buyers.
It's so white! a person could get snow blindness in there.