Mistakes in a natural stone installation project—new or remodeling—can be extremely expensive. They cost you time and money. Additionally, there’ll be jagged edges and undesirable finesse. More savvy homeowners understand that when it comes to natural stone installation, it’s better to get a professional job done. This is because they’ve probably learned the hard way that a low ball price will always produce inferior results. You cannot expect inexperienced craftsmen to deliver exceptional work that’ll last for decades. That’s rank stupidity! Only a reputable company engages professional workmen. Let’s look at some indispensable tips when choosing a reputable company for natural stone installation.
Tip #1: Research, Research, Research
In today’s Internet age, there’s absolutely no reason for you to hire any company without being able to obtain in-depth information about the company’s activities. In case there’s limited information on the web about the company, just look at this information. Even if one individual has left a negative review about this company, it’ll sit there—permanently.
Also, understand that people are strongly inclined to inform everyone about an unsatisfactory or downright poor experience than one with which they’re completely satisfied. For instance, if someone is happy with the installation of their countertop, they’ll inform the next person who asks them about countertop that they were happy with the company’s installation. Conversely, if they aren’t happy with it, they’ll talk about their dissatisfaction with many people they know. They will discuss the poor workmanship of the company even with people who don’t ask them about countertop.
Ask your friends and workplace colleagues for recommendations on natural stone installation companies. List qualified companies focusing on the ones you hear good things about. Select five best companies based on experience, professionalism, and skills. Let the companies know you’re getting numerous estimates. This’ll indicate to them that they need to quote their most competitive price if they intend to bag your project.
Tip #2: Never Use Price as the Sole Criteria for Awarding the Natural Stone Installation Contract
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Countless homeowners have committed this blunder and continue to do so!
If a company gives you a price that’s too good to be true or significantly lower than other bids, you should be suspicious. So, when choosing a reputable company for natural stone installation, you should be prepared to pay premium level prices for premium level work.
Although it’s tough not to permit price to become the deciding factor in the selection of the company, you need to understand one thing. Natural stone installation or renovation is unquestionably one sphere in which you’ll get precisely what you pay for. While you need not necessarily spend a prohibitive amount of money, it’s worthwhile to scrutinize any bid that’s considerably lower than the others.
The quotations may vary somewhat. However, since you pick companies in your neighborhood, they’ll probably be in the same ballpark. But it depends on the scope of the project as well. If two or three bids are for around $20,000, and one bid is for $14,000, you shouldn’t probably go with the lowest. This is because no reputable company will quote way below the prevalent local prices.
Tip #3: Check Credentials Carefully
Regardless of your location, make certain that the company you select has liability insurance. If other craftsmen work for the company, ensure the company has workman’s compensation insurance. This is mandatory to safeguard you and your property. If a company lacks insurance, it isn’t a company. The company owner is treating your project as a mere hobby.
Before the commencement of work, have a comprehensive contract written. The company you choose should give you an in-depth contract outlining precisely the scope of work, an accurate timeline for completion, and the down payment as well as full payment schedule agreed upon. This comprehensive contract safeguards both of you from any miscommunications or assumptions that either of you may make.
A written contract that lays out exactly what each party is responsible for and a clear-cut timeline for specific checkpoints or completion leaves both of you a way to evaluate progress. And you can make the necessary modifications and adjustments along the way. Also, the contract helps the company to stay on schedule, and you know each step of the natural stone installation project.
Tip #4: Ask About Alternative Methods
A reputable company is without question fairly knowledgeable about several methods available for executing your project. For instance, a company can build your shower using at least four different methods and possibly eight different products. Each of them is at a different price point and has different strengths and deficiencies. With this knowledge, it’s easier for the company to adjust certain elements in the bid to stay within your budget and yet deliver the look you expect and the functionality you desire. Conversely, if the company only knows how to do an installation in a specific way, it’ll be impossible for the company to deliver the outcomes you expect.
The capability of doing this indicates how committed the company is about learning continuously in their specific field. Although older time-tested methods of natural stone installation have been around for years, and in the case of some types of flooring, even decades, there are dynamic methods and novel products that can be used. The newer techniques deliver equally good outcomes with reduced labor costs, lower maintenance, and lighter weight. Make certain the company you choose understands and can explain to you the nuances—advantages and drawbacks—of the most recent methods.
Tip #5: Superlative Communication
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The key factor in natural stone installation is being able to communicate your perceptions and vision to the installation company. You must feel comfortable speaking to the company personnel. And they must listen to your ideas and goals for your project. Alternatively, the company personnel must be able to give you better ideas for installation hurdles that aren’t viable. Being absolutely comfortable in the mutual exchange of designs or ideas is obligatory in any home project—new or remodeling.
If the company representative—owner or employee—isn’t capable of understanding and appreciating what you’re attempting to accomplish, you’re guaranteed to end up unhappy. Conversely, the company representative should be able to clarify to your satisfaction any point in the installation process that may not be practical or financially viable. An example would be if you want natural stone tile installed directly on the wooden subfloor. Most tile installation companies won’t do it. Some type of substrate or tile underlayment is mandatory for movement on the floor. Also, this method of tile installation will stand up to the rigors of everyday use. But tile on the base chipboard (wooden floor) will not last.
Mutual communication is indispensable for the successful execution of the project. Show images, make lists, draw pictures—do anything that relays exactly what you imagine your finished project to look like. All these will help your installation company to deliver your dream!
Tip #6: Know How the Company Handles Unforeseen Circumstances
In any new natural stone installation project, you may encounter unforeseen problems that you hadn’t planned for. For instance, the installation of a natural stone paver driveway can throw up unexpected challenges. If the level of the driveway is uneven, it may entail higher labor costs. Likewise, installation of an outdoor fire pit throws up some unique challenges. If you opt for a more sophisticated finish after the commencement of the project, the labor and material costs will be higher.
Your natural stone installation company cannot visualize every small element perfectly all the time. So, change orders should be a normal part of your installation company’s contract. It should include stating of the problem encountered, the suggested solution, and the extra expenditure before anything is undertaken. Your company needs to make certain that you are notified and knowledgeable of the problem. Importantly, the company should wait for your approval before continuing. Thus, a company that handles unforeseen circumstances with aplomb can be relied upon to install natural stone professionally.
Be wary of any natural stone installation company that comes in and promises you a miracle-in-a-bottle approach. In a professional natural stone installation, this is merely a myth. Remember, first-grade natural stone reflects light. It doesn’t need wax or topical coating to achieve excellent finish. Instead, natural stone needs proper installation by master craftsmen. A company that lacks expertise and experienced installers may offer you the lowest price. However, your cost in the long run will surely end up being far greater. You’ll end up with wavy or dimpled surfaces or even worse. So, never choose an installation company based on price only.