Kitchen Remodeling

How to Tell if You Need a General Contractor
By: Brooke Sikula


Making major home improvements can be a great way to improve the value, and the looks, of your home, but it can be a daunting task, and involve no small commitment of time and money. Many homeowners are unsure whether to do the home improvements themselves or hire a general contractor. The answer to that common question lies in the time the homeowner has available, and of course in his or her own skills and abilities.

One thing to remember is that few homeowners are highly skilled in all the elements that go into a major home improvement. Few of us have the extensive construction, plumbing and electrical skills it takes to complete a home addition or similar large project without professional help.

Of course finding a great general contractor, and qualified subcontractors, can be a job in itself, and it is important to take that job very seriously. It is of course important to ask family, friends and coworkers for recommendations, and to check their references carefully.

Those considering a major home improvement project or home addition will need to first determine exactly what the job entails, and what the time frame for the project is. If the new addition or home improvement requires specialty work it is probably a good idea to hire a contractor who has experience in the specific project you need. For instance, those who wish to install a new hot tub would be advised to find a skilled plumbing contractor, while the installation of a deck may call for a good carpenter.

For more extensive projects, like a kitchen remodeling job, a bathroom remodel or the addition of a second story, a general contractor is probably the right choice. It is the job of the general contractor to manage all the various aspects of he project, including such things as hiring the subcontractors, obtaining all the necessary building permits, ordering the materials, and scheduling the needed inspections. The general contractor will also work with the designers and architects to make sure that the job meets their specifications.

It can sometimes be difficult to exactly when a general contractor will be needed, but in general it is a good idea to seek a qualified general contractor when any of the following factors are involved in the project:

-An addition to an existing home, such as an extra room or a second story.

-A major remodeling project, such as remodeling the kitchen or the bathroom.

-Adding an additional building, like a workshop or garage.

-Finishing the basement.

All of the above projects call for qualified professional help, and it is a good idea to make them a reality with the help of a qualified general contractor.

Brooke Sikula is a freelance writer based in Ventura, CA and writes on a wide range of topics from home improvement to credit repair and everything in between. She is a regular contributor to and

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