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Phoenix Contractors: Avoiding Construction Horror Stories

Updated on June 9, 2010

Choosing A Contractor: Getting Estimates & References

Your home is one of your most prized possessions and choosing the right contractor to work on it is extremely important. Horror stories about lazy contractors who took years on a job and left the project incomplete are all too common. Even if you have never hired a contractor it is a good idea to know what to ask and what to look for in an individual who will potentially be tearing out and building up parts of your home. Not choosing the right contractor can cost you a lot more money down the line, especially when it comes to specific home improvement projects.

The Phoenix construction industry is huge. There is a multitude of construction and contracting services for homeowners to pick from, and this is to the homeowner's advantage. Since there are so many Phoenix contractors to choose from, homeowners can research many different contractors for the job, get many estimates and proposals, and compare one contractor to another. In any city you are in, these are things that you must do.

Hopefully your construction projects never turn out this bad. This is a humorous photo of a building with a balcony that is completely inaccessible--unless you jump down from the balcony above that is.
Hopefully your construction projects never turn out this bad. This is a humorous photo of a building with a balcony that is completely inaccessible--unless you jump down from the balcony above that is.
This is another funny image of what seems to be either a bad, incomplete, or poorly planned construction job. In any case this angular stairwell does not go to heaven. It simply doesn't go anywhere.
This is another funny image of what seems to be either a bad, incomplete, or poorly planned construction job. In any case this angular stairwell does not go to heaven. It simply doesn't go anywhere.

The Importance Of Choosing A Contractor Who Specializes In Their Work

The remodeling and building industries in Arizona have picked up slightly over the last year in spite of the state's still fledgling economy. The housing industry is the 3rd worst in the state and many homeowners have taken on home improvement projects to help increase the value of their homes. According to Remodeling magazine, minor kitchen remodeling projects show some of the highest returns for the amount of money spent, and Phoenix kitchen remodeling is a big industry. (Phoenix was one of the hardest hit cities during the housing market bust.)

There are many projects that you might need to hire a contractor for that are not typical jobs or that are specialized jobs. When it comes to these types of projects it is even more important to ask for references and to see the contractors previous work. Depending on the type of work you would like to have done, it is a good idea to find a contractor who specializes in that specific type of contracting. Many homeowners hire general contractors. This is not an issue if you will be having many different things done--and if you see samples of their work. But it is still suggested that if you are only having a tiling job done that you hire a contractor who specializes in tiling. Many other fields that contractors specialize in include:

  • Tile & Stone Work
  • Hardwood Floor Installation
  • Carpet Installation
  • Laminate Floor Installation
  • Air Conditioning Maintenance
  • Residential Electrical Services
  • Pool Installation
  • General Pool Repair
  • Pool Plastering
  • Pool Tiling
  • Cement Work
  • Painting
  • Landscaping
  • Hardscaping

Creating custom built in BBQ grills. Outdoor islands can be purchased from manufacturers but you can also have an outdoor contractor build you a truly custom unit. However, it is not a very typical contracting job. If you are looking for a contractor who can build outdoor kitchen islands, make sure that you see some of their previous work. Many contractors may just SAY that they have worked on the project you ask them about because they want your business. This and other outdoor contracting jobs are a bit of a specialty. A general contractor may have experience creating new kitchen cabinets and counter spaces, but may not be well versed in creating new decks or attached patio fire pits, for example.

Glass tile installation. There are a number of horror stories about bad glass tile jobs done by "professional" contractors. I've specifically heard of cases where the glass looked like it was chewed around the edges because the contractor did not know how to properly cut glass. Glass tile is such a popular material right now. Kitchen remodel Phoenix contractors get requests for it all the time, but just because a contractor is certified (and may do wonderful work with other materials) it doesn't mean that they're specialty is glass tile installation. You MUST ask to see previous work they have done with glass tile. This tile is a bit on the expensive side so having to redo an entire glass tile installment can be incredibly expensive.

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