If you are thinking about getting new countertops for your kitchen or bathroom, keep in mind that the quality of the installation is a crucial factor in how those countertops will look and perform in the years ahead. Your kitchen counters for instance are the focal point of the entire room and with a substandard installation, will leave the whole room looking less than perfect.
Ask Others for Recommendations
Making random calls out of the phone book is never the best plan. You want to hear personal reviews from people who have experience with the contractor. If you've got friends who have had similar countertops installed, ask them who did the work. If the countertops look good and if the friend gives a good recommendation, consider giving the countertop professional a call.
Get Recommendations From Retail Pros
In some cases, you’ll buy the countertops from the same people who will handle the installation. If that is the case, ask for references and give them a call. They will also likely have a photo album, possibly online, that will show their work. If you are buying the countertops from a home improvement store, ask for recommendations from the sales people.
Interview Several Contractors
If you truly want the best installation possible, it takes some time to find the right installer. Call the contractors that you’ve heard good things about. Ask these important questions: How long have you been installing countertops? How experienced are you with this type of countertop? Who else will be helping with the job and how experienced are they? Are you working on any jobs now that I could drop by and look at? When can you start and how long will it take?
Always Get Written Estimates
Choose the top few contractors from the interview process and request written estimates from them. They may want to come to your home and take a firsthand look at the work. They will probably also want to know the brand of the countertop you are having installed. If you've got the countertops already, they will want to take a look at them before providing you with an estimate.
Follow Your Gut Feeling
Look over the written estimates and ask questions about anything you are unclear on. Once you agree to an estimate and sign it, the estimate becomes a legal document. Choose the contractor you believe has the right level of experience and skill to do a great job installing your countertops. If you like 2 equally well, choose the one that has the lower price or the one that can get started more quickly, whichever is the priority for you. If you prefer one over the others but that one doesn’t have the lowest price, ask the contractor to match the competition’s price. You might be able to negotiate a better deal.
Once you’ve chosen a contractor, work out the details about when the job will be started. Ask what time they expect to arrive and leave each day so that you can plan your schedule. As the countertops are being installed, if you have any questions or if anything doesn't look right, feel free to speak up. Good communication with the countertops contractor is important to the successful completion of the work.