The following information is provided to assist all homeowners in evaluating and choosing a professional remodeling contractor in the Bay Area to design and build your project. We hope that you find the information helpful so your project doesn't turn into a nightmare.
K.C. Customs & Remodeling, Inc. is a Design Build company for Bay Area homeowners – we first design your project and then build it.
We provide home remodeling services in the Bay Area with a focus on kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, room additions, whole house renovations and new home construction.
If you are like most of our clients you are considering your first major remodeling project.
Please be aware that unscrupulous contractors that operate in the Bay Area know this and will take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. The California State Licensing Board (CSLB) website has important information that can help protect you from unethical contractors.
All contractors are in business to make money. If a contractor is offering a lower price the only way they can make a profit is to take short cuts on materials or installation and hope that the homeowner doesn’t figure it out until they get paid.
If you are seriously considering hiring any construction company, we recommend that you do your homework – use the questions on the How to Find the Best Home Remodeling Contractor in the Bay Area and our FAQ to check them out.
If a contractor gives vague answers, uses broad generalizations or is reluctant to put things in writing you should eliminate them from consideration.
“Saving” 15% or more can be pretty attractive especially if it fits your budget. Do a quick Google search or speak to friends and family and you will quickly realize that accepting the lowest bid rarely works out.
Before you sign any agreement, please consider the following information carefully.
Many remodeling contractor will offer a low bid with broad generalizations and very few details. Contractors that have the lowest bid may not have the experience to bid your project properly or they know all the shortcuts on quality that you won’t notice until the project is paid.
You have probably read or heard that you should never reveal your budget to a contactor. In reality, your decisions will have more impact on the final price. For example: there are dozens of cabinets to choose from. You can spend $10,000 or $50,000 to provide the same amount of storage in your kitchen. The same can be said for virtually every component in a remodeling project. That is why some kitchen remodeling projects are $30,000 and some are $80,000.
It can be easy to be fooled by a “nice person” that offers you a “really great price”.
Price is certainly a factor, but if it is the primary factor you are likely to make a decision you will regret.
The low bidder will use their ‘attractive” price as a starting point to negotiate. They know there will be plenty of places to make up the profit once the project is started.
There is also a pretty good chance that the low bidder isn’t licensed and properly insured. This means you will have all the risk.
Everyone is in business to make money and if you accept the lowest, you will either end up with quality issues or paying more than the original quote. Either way you end up losing.
Cabinets – As we pointed out above you can spend $10,000 or $50,000 on cabinets for the same kitchen. Many cabinets look good from the outside, but the inner construction is cheap. Doors will warp or won’t close properly, drawers fall apart, tracks and hinges come loose. It can take years to master how to properly measure for cabinets. If the measurements aren’t done properly, the installer will have to make adjustments to “make” them fit or the project will be delayed for weeks while replacement cabinets are ordered.
The low bidder can make a ton of money by using cheap “knock offs”. This is kind of like buying a name brand watch on the street for $10 – it might look good for a while but you get what you pay for.
Granite, Marble and Stone Surfaces – These are nice upgrades and they should look great. If the template isn’t done properly – it won’t fit – period. Even an experienced installer won’t be able to make it look right. Seams will show or will be uneven if the sub decking shifts. Over time the seams will get bigger and will make you mad every time you see them.
Windows – Bargain windows (10 windows for $999 etc.) are rarely a bargain. These windows will not be custom fit for your home and this will cause issues in installation.
Your home will be warm in the summer and cold in the winter plus you will spend a lot more in energy because of leaks and poor construction.
Well-made windows are custom manufactured to fit each opening. This ensures the proper sealing of the opening and can lower your energy costs by as much as 20%.
Doors – Low cost doors are available at big box retailers. Most are manufactured to fit with 4-9/16” jambs. These jambs are designed to work with 2x4 walls with ½” of sheathing on each side.
Many older homes in the Bay Area have different wall thicknesses that range from 4-3/4” to 6-9/16” walls. This means the installation will be a lot more complicated and can include jamb extensions to properly fit the doors. The low bidder may not even know how to make these adjustments or they will take shortcuts that won’t look right even to the untrained eye.
Sheetrock and Drywall – You may have noticed nail pops, seams that show and uneven sanding in other homes. These issues typically show up after the seasons change. Most of these are almost impossible to fix without starting over. The low bidder may also use sheetrock from China to save money but this can have some very serious health consequences – you can Google this.
Paint – Painting can put the finishing touch on a great project or it can make it look ordinary. There is a big difference in the final look of a paint job if the proper number of coats has been applied and if quality paint is used. If the surface preparation work is not done properly you will end up with uneven seams and lines from the rolling brush...trim work that is sloppy looks even worse when it is painted. We don’t allow our painters to use builder grade paint materials.
Plumbing – Cheap plumbing components can be very hard to spot but they can cause major headaches in the long run. If they begin to leak there will be long term damage to floors, walls and ceilings. Mold is another very costly issue caused by leaks and it can cause health problems. Mold problems are very expensive to fix and can result in insurability risks. If the mold problems are severe enough you may not be able to sell your home.
Framing – Walls have to be plumb otherwise they will cause continuing problems with the drywall, moldings, casements and other trim work. For example: it will be almost impossible to make the cabinets fit flush with the wall or ceiling. The gaps will just look awful.
Electrical – This is one area where saving money can lead to a disaster. This is definitely a subject you should search on YouTube – you may not believe what some “electricians” do. You certainly don’t want that kind of work done in your home. Make sure all of the work is done by a licensed electrician. You should also check out their reputation before they start.
HVAC – This is one more area where the low bidder can make money by installing a “no-name” brand. An inefficient or inadequate unit can be a lot more expensive in the long run. The cost of energy is likely to keep going up and the energy efficiency (SEER) rating will have a direct impact on your monthly utility bill. Your system has to have enough capacity for your home and must be balanced properly otherwise some rooms will be cold and others will be hot.
All of this information may leave you wondering if there are any ethical contractors. The good news is that there are reputable home remodeling companies that have the experience to turn your dream into reality.
At K.C. Customs & Remodeling, Inc. we are proud of the quality work we do on every project. We normally provide 20+ references and encourage you to speak to as many as you need to feel comfortable with us.
The design build and home remodeling industry in the Bay Area is very competitive and we thank you for the opportunity to earn your respect and then your business.
If you are ready to fulfill your dream and renovate your kitchen please give us the opportunity to add you to our growing list of satisfied clients.
Thanks for your time and we look forward to meeting with you in person.