Managing Your Relationship with a Professional Installer
Your relationship with a professional installer begins right away in the quote/ bid phase where you both clarify expectations for how your project will proceed. For an increased chance of success, and a home renovation that you’ll be proud of, lots of pre-planning and open communication with your installer is necessary.
Before your installer starts working, they should document site conditions and share any potential new challenges with you. For example, a good wood flooring installer will confirm the condition, relative humidity, and moisture content of the floor. Documenting the acclimatization procedure of your new floor material is important information for any warranty.
Once your project is in progress, set up daily updates and communicate with your contractor consistently to find out if they’re progressing according to plan. Quality installers review their team’s work with you to address any concerns before accepting milestones or final payments. If everything meets or exceeds your expectations, it’s a great idea to rate your contractor’s work on review sites like TopInstallers.com to help others find a similar experience.
If you run into any problems with your installation, your main points of contact should be your installer and the product supplier. You should be able to resolve most issues in 3 steps:
1. Work with your installer to determine the root cause of the problem
Common causes may include: site preparation missteps, installation errors, product defects, accessory defects, environmental challenges, product acclimatization issues, inappropriate product for installation conditions, and excessive wear under normal use.
2. Contact those involved with the installation
Work through potential causes of defects with your installer first. Even if the root case is a product defect, it’s better to have the installer made aware that you’re having issues.
Contact the product retailer / distributor / manufacturer (escalate in that order) to share details of the problems you are having. Keep your description short, on point, and include quality images (use a good camera and ensure lighting conditions are suitable) so they can see what you’re concerned about and help you efficiently. Most businesses have policies and departments that handle these types of issues.
3. Bring in a third party inspector
An independent, third party inspector (from a nationally recognised association) can help confirm the source of the problem and is commonly required for warranty claims. Standard practice is for the homeowner to pay up front for the inspection and then seek reimbursement from the installer or product retailer once the cause of the defect has been confirmed.
Legal action is beyond the scope of this article as most installation issues should be resolved through the steps above. Consult a lawyer if you believe that:
- The installation issue was caused by negligence or gross misrepresentation
- The installation issue directly caused significant damage elsewhere in your home
- There was personal injury involved in your claims
- You don’t think you will be able to reach a negotiated agreement on your own