How do I choose a ceramic contractor?

Tips on finding a ceramic contractor.
Thinking of replacing your kitchen floors? Considering a new touch of class for your master bathroom? Then you're looking for a ceramic tile contractor who can install and replace tile on your floors, walls, countertops, showers, tubs, patios, and decks. Many also can design tile work.

When you need to hire a ceramic tile contractor, check out our profiles of local professionals. Then keep these helpful tips in mind when you're deciding on which one to hire.

  • Know what you want from your contractor

    Even if you're looking for ceramic contractors who also are designers, it's important to have a good idea of the work you want done so you can get accurate estimates and ask the right questions when you're interviewing them.

  • First impressions matter

    From the very first phone call, evaluate each ceramic contractor's customer service. Was it courteous and timely? How did your face-to-face meeting go? Customer service is an important element of your experience. Don't underestimate it.

  • Get estimate from at least three ceramic tile contractors

    When possible, get itemized bids that include the cost of labor, materials, taxes, and permits so you'll know exactly why one contractor is more expensive than another.

    Ask each prospective ceramic contractor for a time estimate for your project. Planning your life around construction is never fun, so it's best to know how long you'll have construction going on in your home.

  • Examine samples of previous tile work

    Nothing speaks quite like the finished product. Looking at samples of previous jobs will not only show you an individual contractor's quality, it also may give you ideas for the project you have in mind.

  • Ask your ceramic tile contractor for references

    Very few people like calling complete strangers, but no one likes to pay someone to do a shoddy job. Save yourself the aggravation and call contractors' references.

    Find out how long prospective contractors have been in business and whether they work on a full- or part-time basis. In Georgia, contractors aren't required to hold licenses, so it's important to make sure a contractor has a satisfactory amount of experience.

  • Confirm the contractor's insurance

    A ceramics contractor should have personal liability, worker's compensation, and property damage insurance. Current, sufficient insurance is essential.

And pay attention to a contractor's explanations and design ideas. Do they make sense? Most of us know little to nothing about ceramic tile and which kind works best in different situations. That makes it all the more important that a ceramic tile contractor is able to explain tile choices and aspects of a proposed design or repair.

A contractor's inability to explain his or her work in a way that you can understand is a sign you shouldn't discount when you decide who to hire.

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