1. Does the contractor have a good reputation and track record?
Make sure your stucco finishing contractor is not a fly-by-night operation and has been providing quality service in your area. Look for supporting indicators such as does he has an office location? Does he have letterhead, company forms or are you getting your quotes on the back of an envelope?
2. Does the contractor carry general liability insurance?
Make sure your stucco finishing contractor carries general liability insurance. This type of insurance protects your property in case of damage caused by the contractor and/or their employees. The insurance company will pay for the cost of replacing and/or repairing any damage that might occur.
3. Does the contractor carry workplace safety and insurance board (WSIB) certificate?
Make sure your contractor carries workman’s compensation. Workman’s compensation insurance protects you from liability if a worker is injured while on your property.
4. Does the stucco finishing contractor guarantee their work?
Your contractor should guarantee his work. Every job should be backed with a material and labor warranty. Many contractors will not guarantee in writing their work. Most faulty workmanship will be easily detected within one year time period. A manufacturer warranties their product for 5 years only if it’s installed according to the specifications and only by approved applicators. If your contractor won’t guarantee it, don’t buy it. If the warranty is to long (10+ years) again don’t buy, it’s a sales trick to get your job.
5. Will the contractor provide you with written lien waivers if requested?
Your stucco finishing contractor should be willing to provide you with written lien waivers. Sub-contractors and suppliers have the right to file construction lien against your property if they are not paid by the contractor. Even though you may have paid the contractor for those materials or work, if he doesn’t meet his obligations the supplier can look to you and, sue you. On the bigger jobs, you may want to get copies of lien waivers to protect yourself from these suits.
6. Who will be in charge of the job?
Ask who will be on the job every day? The foreman, superintendent or the business owner will be present? This is especially significant on a large project where several workers and/or sub-contractors will be necessary to complete the project. If you will be gone during the day and will leave your home unlocked for the work to be completed, you do not want to be worried about what is going on when you are not there.
7. Will the contractor provide you references?
A good stucco finishing contractor should gladly provide you references. You should look for a well established contractor who can give you several customer references – usually previous customers from the last 6 months to five years. Make sure and receive minimum 2 references from the contractor.
Ask the contractor about how they handle their “dirty work”.
Styrofoam, base and finish coat. It can get everywhere! Especially when sanding is being done, make sure the contractor will cover your windows, doors and roof with poly or driveway, patio deck, flowers with tarps. If possible have him seal off the construction site with a plastic drop cloth. Make sure it’s understood you want the debris cleaned up at disposed at the end of the contract.
Do your Research! Home improvement, and stucco, is an investment; it is wise to check carefully how you invest your money!
1. Don’t rush into a project or take the first bid that comes along (including door-to-door solicitations).
2. Don’t accept a verbal estimate; it must be in writing.
3. Don’t make cash payments or full payment up front.
4. Don’t think you’ve discovered a great bargain if you get a bid that is substantially lower than other bids. Remember, you get what you pay for…and if it looks too good to be true, it probably is…