Whether your remodeling your current sunroom or building a new one, you’ll want to find the right contractor who will turn your dream into a reality. Building a beautiful sunroom is an exciting prospect that will be a unique addition to your home. To make sure you get a room that reflects your home’s personality, you’ll want to work with a quality sunroom contractor.
Tips for Choosing a Sunroom Contractor
As you pick a sunroom contractor, you’ll probably want to feel knowledgeable when you meet with them. If you speak to contractors without any background information, you’ll be less likely to select the best one and get a deal that benefits you the most.
To help you out, we’ve put together some of the best tips on how to choose a sunroom contractor.
1. Choose a Contractor With Experience
It’s often said that experience is the best teacher. This saying applies to sunroom contractors as well. Choose a sunroom installer that has a track record of success. New companies without much experience may make promises or claims they can’t back up, resulting in delays or cut corners. A company that has been in business for years with a line of satisfied clients will be more likely to live up to their promises and deliver a high-quality project.
Along with researching how long a company has been in business, you’ll want to ask to see examples of their past work. One reason you’ll want to see the portfolio is to make sure the contractor is willing to show you their work. A good contractor will be proud of their products and happy to show you their portfolio.
While you view their portfolio, you’ll want to check their projects for consistent quality and variety in design. If you see that the quality changes from project to project, that’s a red flag. How can you feel confident about the quality of work they’ll deliver for you?
Along with checking for quality, you’ll need to see that they mix up their sunroom’s designs rather than producing cookie-cutter rooms. Your sunroom is going to be an extension of your home, so you want to work with a contractor who will make sure the design matches your house’s overall look and feel. If they have different designs and styles listed, you can be confident that they can find something to fits\ your home.
2. Look for a Physical Example
Even better than a portfolio, a model showroom will give you the best sense of what the contractor can do. While looking at pictures of their work in a portfolio is a good way to ensure the contractor maintains quality craftsmanship in all they do, a model showroom can give you more information about the materials they use. While walking through the model, see if the materials feel cheaply made or unattractive to you.
Use this time to ask questions about the materials in the room to help you get a sense of what you might want in your own sunroom. On top of looking or touching the material, use the sunroom to gauge how comfortable you would be in it. Pay attention to the temperature and how the glass interacts with sunlight.
Seeing the contractor’s work up close will help you determine if their style is going to match your design goals. Their showroom will help you see if it’s something you would be proud to have in your home. It’s not a huge red flag if a company doesn’t have a showroom, as some smaller contractors might simply not have the budget to keep them. However, you should always check to see if they offer it, as you can learn a lot from one.
3. Talk to a Professional
Before you sign a contract, you’ll want to speak with a contracting professional, who you can develop a relationship with to build a sunroom that suits your design preferences. While many contractors may have a sales staff to speak with you initially, you’ll eventually want to talk with staff members who will actually be building your sunroom.
When you meet with a sunroom professional, you can verify their licensure and insurance to make sure they are a legitimate contractor. Additionally, you can assess their openness to your input, by seeing how willing they are to answer your questions and how much they inquire into your vision. A conversation with the contractor will also help you make a more educated choice when you do finally choose one.
One of the red flags to avoid when hiring a sunroom contractor is if a contractor sounds more like a salesperson than a professional. Conmen will often pose as a contractor, contacting a homeowner directly to offer to repair their home or build a new addition. They may ask you to pay the entire amount while they are still in the middle of construction. After they’ve got your money, they’ll disappear.
To avoid working with these types of shady “contractors,” you should take precautions to research any company you work with and make sure they are truly a professional in their field. A long track record and various accreditations can help you be sure that you’re talking to someone devoted to their craft.
4. Check Their Credentials
All contractor firms should be licensed and insured. If the contractor isn’t licensed, the homeowner opens themselves up to a great deal of liability, as a contractor without a license could be considered the homeowner’s employee under the law. If an accident occurs on the worksite, for example, the homeowner could be responsible for workers’ compensation.
An experienced, trustworthy contractor will not put that sort of risk onto the homeowner and should be happy to show all of their credentials to you. An insured contracting company will be able to cover any costs from work injuries or accidental property damage.
One way you could check a contractor’s trustworthiness would be to check their Better Business Bureau rating and accreditation. A high rating will let you know you’re working with a company that cares about providing the best possible service and will not be exposing you to risk.
5. Search for Family-Owned, Local Contractors
Though it can be tempting to go with a large company that operates nationally, you should consider meeting with local contractors first. It’s always great to support local businesses, but the reasons for choosing a family-owned, local business are also more practical.
Different counties, cities and states will have varying building codes, permitting processes and procedures for inspection. Local sunroom contractors will be more familiar with their community’s rules and regulations. This familiarity will make for a smooth building process, rather than having a construction process plagued by delays or costly fines. While your sunroom is being designed and built, you should be focused on how great it’s going to look, and not on making sure the contractor follows regulations.
Along with regulations, local sunroom contractors will be more likely to have worked with various homeowners’ association guidelines. As these neighborhoods will probably have strict guidelines for what you can build, you’ll want a contractor who can give you all the facts upfront.
If a contractor claims they can game the system to save you money, that’s another red flag. Quality contractors will make sure they follow the letter of the law to maintain your sunroom’s structural integrity and ensure you never run into fines or legal trouble. While a local contractor should know how local regulations work and how best to meet them, they should not be engaging in practices that will cut corners or break the law.
6. Don’t Choose a Contractor Who Makes You Feel Like You Need to Decide Right Away
Beware of “cheaper today” sales tactics. You do not want to go into business with a contractor who pushes you to make a decision immediately. At best, it makes your buying process unpleasant and rushes a process where you should take some time to craft a sunroom that’s personalized for your home. At worst, the contractor will be trying to take your money and move on without completing the project.
One scam might be a contractor who insists you make your decision quickly and provide an unreasonable amount of money upfront. While some money upfront is a normal part of the industry, if they are asking for more than 15% of the total contract, you should be cautious.
Many contractors engage in best practices and put your needs first, so there’s no need to engage with contractors who rush you along or seem overly focused on the money you can give them. Hire a contractor who wants to gain your trust and realize the vision you have for your sunroom.
Questions to Ask During a Sunroom Consultation
Before you commit to a contractor, make sure you ask the right questions. Your home is likely going to be the biggest investment you make in your lifetime, so explore and vet any changes properly. Asking informed questions will help you find a company that will provide the best customer service and the highest-quality final products.
Below are some of the most important questions to ask before hiring a sunroom contractor:
1. Do You Have Experience Building Sunrooms? If So, How Much?
Asking about their experience will let you see if the contractor has a track record of success. If they do have the experience, they should be able to point you to testimonials from past clients and show you a portfolio of sunrooms they’ve built.
2. Will You Be Using Your Own Crew or Contracting out to Another Company?
A sunroom contractor should be using their own crew to build your addition. They should also have someone regularly supervising the workspace to ensure best practices are followed and that they stick to a timeline. You should also make sure they obtain the proper building permits and schedule a final inspection. As long as they have their own crew on the lot, you can be more confident that they are taking the appropriate steps and responsibility for the project.
3. What’s the Timeline for the Project?
Since this project will be taking place at your home, you’ll probably want to get a sense of how long they will take to finish it. You’ll want to get a realistic timeline with the contractor. An experienced contractor can give you accurate estimates and describe common problems that could slow the project down. You can even ask their references for how long they took to complete a project.
4. Can You Tell Me About Your Daily Work Schedule?
Along with getting an estimate for how long the project will take in general, you’ll also want to know what their daily schedule will look like. For one, a contractor who can’t tell you their work schedule may not be organized enough to deliver a quality project. Additionally, you’ll want to know when you can expect people to be at your home and when they’ll leave. Also, ask for progress reports as they work, so you’re always on top of the building process.
5. How Do You Plan to Protect My Property?
Any construction project is going to require heavy materials, machines and debris. Ensure the contractor you choose has a plan to protect your property from damage, like harm to your lawn from materials or people constantly passing through it. Along with protecting it during construction, clarify who is going to be cleaning up the debris once they complete the project.
Consider PAsunrooms for Your Sunroom Contractor
As the only exclusive sunroom contractor in the Central Pennsylvania area, PAsunrooms has the know-how and ability to make your sunroom building process as easy as possible. With a variety of sunroom styles that can match the needs of a client’s stylistic taste, budget or home designs, we’ll help you build a sunroom that’s unique to you.
We take your trust seriously and are proud of the level of service we provide to our clients as a result. Speak with one of our representatives today to discuss how PAsunrooms can help you build a beautiful sunroom. If you’d for a more in-depth conversation, we offer free in-home consultation as well.