Monthly Archives: November 2014


Warning Signs of a Bad Contractor

posted in Renovation Tips

Choosing a reputable contractor can be daunting and often stressful but it’s crucial to ensure your renovation goes smoothly. Whether you’re looking to renovate your kitchen, bathroom, basement or something else, it’s important for homeowners to be aware of the telltale warning signs of a bad contractor.

Top Warning Signs:

  • Watch out for contractors who drop by unexpectedly and offer a bargain price, claiming they have leftover materials from another job they’re doing in your neighbourhood
  • Contractors who don’t have a verified address, or who only use a post office box or an answering service with no listing in the phone book
  • Contractors who won’t give you references for similar jobs they have completed
  • Contractors who promise heavy discounts but don’t mention the actual specific cost of the job
  • Additionally, promises of discounts if you let the contractor use your home as a “demo”
  • High-pressure sales tactics that threaten to take back the special price you were quoted
  • Contractors who try to alarm you by telling you your home is unsafe unless you sign a contract right away – e.g. “Your house could catch on fire because of the electrical wiring.”
  • They do not have insurance that protects you from liability
  • They do not have good relationships with subcontractors like electricians, plumbers, framers, etc.
  • The contractor doesn’t have a portfolio or work history
  • Possession of a licence or other information that you’re unable to verify
  • They haven’t been in business for very long and you can’t find a history of the company
  • They ask for strange payment arrangements or insist that you pay most of the renovation cost upfront
  • The contractor shows up late or continuously cancels appointments without any warning

Another important thing that can be hard to quantify is if you get a bad feeling from them. Trust your personal instinct and ask yourself if you would feel comfortable with this individual being in your home unattended. Even if you hesitate to answer the question, it’s a sure sign that you should look elsewhere.

For more information on how to have the most successful renovation possible, contact the experts at Menno S. Martin for more information and a free quote today.


5 Questions from the REEP Kitchen & Bath Seminar

posted in Bathroom, Community Connections, Sustainable Renovation

Timber frame house -interior
There was a great turn out at last night’s Kitchen and Bath seminar. Thanks REEP for hosting and for doing such a fantastic job educating the public with REEP House. Everyone was very engaged and had great questions about kitchens and baths. The conversation also moved to talking about the house as a system. Here are 5 questions that came up last night. Continue reading


How to Choose a Contractor You Can Trust

posted in Renovation Tips

Get Recommendations
This is perhaps the most telling and important way to start your search for a contractor. Ask your friends, family and neighbors which contractors they have had good experiences with in the past. You can also check in with building inspectors since they’re usually aware of which contractors routinely meet code requirements. Also check with local suppliers and trade workers who you trust.

Conduct Phone Interviews
Come up with a list of questions to ask all the prospective contractors that you’ve found. Some great questions include: What size projects do you typically take on? Can you provide financial references from suppliers or banks? Can you provide a list of previous clients? How many other projects will they be working on at the same time? How long have they worked with their subcontractors for? What type of insurance do you carry? How long have you been in business?

Continue reading