10 Costly Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring a Contractor

Whether you’re a new homeowner or you’ve lived in your existing home for years, the thought of remodeling your living space is certainly exciting. As you begin to develop your vision and strategy for your renovation project, it’s also easy to overlook one of the most important parts of remodeling – choosing the right contractor. Hiring a professional individual or company for the job is the best way to avoid some of the most common pitfalls associated with home remodeling. These common mistakes can delay your project for months, cost you thousands of dollars, create potential hazards, and even decrease the value of your home.

Ohio Home Inspection

Ohio Home Inspection, one of the leading home inspection companies here in Northeast Ohio, has partnered with us to create this informative guide that covers the 10 most common things that can go wrong when hiring a remodeling contractor. Avoiding a cheap contractor and choosing a reputable remodeling company like Total Restore is a smart decision that you’ll appreciate for years to come.

10 Things That Can Go Wrong When Hiring a Remodeling Contractor

#1 – Contractor Has No Asbestos Training

Asbestos is a hazardous material often found in older homes that has the potential to put the health of you and your family in jeopardy. In this scenario, imagine that you hire a contractor to remodel your basement into a rec room. Your contractor begins the demo stage of the project without realizing that asbestos is present in both the walls and flooring. Harmful asbestos particles have now been introduced into the air, unknown to you and your loved ones. Making sure that your contractor is trained in asbestos inspection and removal is an excellent way to put your mind at ease and protect your family from health hazards.

#2 – Improper Flooring Prep

Whether you’re refinishing or replacing hardwood floors, adding new flooring to your kitchen, or installing tile in your bathroom – prep work is an essential part of the installation process. Inexperienced or cheap contractors often cut corners at this stage in order to save time and money to boost their bottom line. The end result? Your new floor begins to show splits, bumps, and gaps within only a few months of regular use. Only now, your contractor is nowhere to be found and the project needs to be entirely redone from scratch. Avoid the headaches and wasted resources of an inferior contractor and trust the experts here at Total Restore.

#3 – Hiring a Handyman to Change Outlets

Electrical work may seem simple to an individual unfamiliar with the process. Even something as simple as changing a light switch or outlet can have serious consequences if done incorrectly. Going with the cheapest handyman to perform electrical work could result in a dangerous situation. For example, an incompetent handyman could accidentally reverse the polarity of the outlet. Since you can’t identify this mistake with a naked eye, you could damage your electronic devices by using this compromised outlet. Even worse, there could be a risk of electric shock. Make sure the contractor you choose to perform work is qualified and has experience with electrical as well.

#4 – Unfamiliar With Vermiculite Insulation & Knob and Tube Wiring

Attics are a common place to find antiquated electrical systems and potentially hazardous vermiculite insulation which may contain asbestos. An unethical or inexperienced contractor would likely overlook these two dangerous hazards when transforming your attic into a bedroom or home office. That insulation could be disturbed and introduce harmful particles into the air and the outdated electrical system could pose a serious risk of fire if left unattended. Professionals like Total Restore would be sure to properly identify, mitigate, and remove these hazards before proceeding with the project in order to protect your safety.

#5 – Fixtures Installed Incorrectly

Installing fixtures like a new ceiling fan or overhead lighting should be a simple and straightforward job. However, cheaper contractors might cut corners to save time and take more of your money. For example, if your new fixture uses wires that have been connected with a hidden extension cord or electrical tape – the contractor has now created a potential fire hazard. Each time you flip the switch, the electrical current may be dangerously too close to nearby materials and cause serious reasons for concern. Don’t let just anyone install fixtures in your newly remodeled home. You can count on the experts here at Total Restore.

#6 – Shower or Bathtub Installed With No Slope

You’re excited to use your newly remodeled shower or bathtub that you’ve just spent weeks and months waiting for. Once you turn on the water, you make an unfortunate discovery. The inexperienced contractor that you chose to perform the work did not take the necessary steps to ensure proper slope and drainage practices. As a result, the water pools at your feet and doesn’t go down the train. You’ll have no choice but to rip out all of the completed work in order to re-do it correctly. Avoid the headaches and inconveniences of an inferior remodeling company or contractor when considering a large-scale shower remodeling or a bathtub replacement.

#7 – Plumbing Mistakes

Consider a situation where you need to re-route or install a new hook-up for your kitchen sink drain. Not knowing the proper procedure, your cheap contractor installs an s-type drain under the sink (a practice that is no longer permitted). This type of drain results in sewer gas coming directly into your house. Dangerous and certainly incorrectly installed, this can pose a serious problem. Total Restore has the expertise and familiarity with plumbing systems to ensure that the job is done correctly and to building codes.

#8 – Kitchen Countertop or Drywall Installation

During your kitchen renovation, you’ve likely taken the time to select the countertop materials or drywall necessary to achieve the look and feel you desire. An unethical contractor could be tempted to select a thinner, substandard, or even contaminated material for the job in an effort to save money and cut corners. You may not discover this tactic until months or even years after the job is complete and the contractor has run off with your money. Trustworthy contractors and remodeling companies like Total Restore will confirm the material choices for the project before installing them.

#9 – Broken Materials or Fixtures

Another unscrupulous contractor tactic is to cover up their mistakes or damaged materials by blaming them on delivery problems. Let’s say that your contractor has broken a cabinet when trying to install it in your kitchen. They’ll quickly dispose of the damaged cabinet and tell you that they must be repurchased since they were damaged in shipping. Now, you’re out even more time and money for a job that should have been completed already.

#10 – Missing Insulation

Here’s yet another situation where you won’t see the effects of an unethical contractor cutting corners for several months. Let’s say you’ve hired a contractor to install drywall inside the new addition to your home that’s intended to be a bathroom. You notice in the colder months that the new room feels quite cold and you contact a home inspector or another contractor to address the situation. After using a thermal camera, they discover that the walls are missing insulation. Your calls to the original contractor go unanswered. Now, you’re left dealing with the headache of incorrectly performed work in your gorgeous new addition.


We’ve now covered a variety of different scenarios and situations where choosing the wrong contractor can lead to pitfalls, mistakes, and inconveniences that prevent you from enjoying the finished product of your remodeling project. Trusting a team of professionals like Total Restore is the best way to ensure that your home renovation goes as smoothly as possible while ensuring that your individual needs are met.

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