Stairs are an important part of a solid home. Choosing the right stair contractor to install your staircase is an essential part of making your home safe and sound. eieihome.com spoke with Royal Oak Railing and Stair, a company with over 25 years of experience, to comment on the most commonly overlooked factors homeowners make when selecting a stair contractor.
Every project involves certain risks that both the homeowner and the contractor undertake. Insurance minimizes the risk and provides the homeowner with peace of mind. There are two types of insurance homeowners should ask for: liability insurance and WSIB. “WSIB means that if one of our guys injures themselves on the job, the company not the customer is responsible for this,” says Royal Oak. Liability insurance protects the homeowner from any cost caused by damage done to the home by the contractor during the installation.
Asking how long the company has been in business can provide you with a greater sense of stability. A company that has been in business for several years and is able to provide you with multiple references will give you greater peace of mind than one that is just starting out and has a limited portfolio and experience.
Ask if the contractor is affiliated with any builders’ associations, in particular, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD). Associations require members to maintain a certain standard and follow a code of ethic.
If the company is credible, they should be able to provide referrals from past customers. When you contact these past clients, inquire about the quality of workmanship, the professionalism of the crew, and whether they were satisfied with the finished product.
In order to keep costs low, some companies may try to get away with using substandard materials or cut corners on building the finished product. This includes using the least amount of nails or staples possible, using an inferior grade of wood or providing finished products not exactly to size to save on materials. While the stairs may look fine upon completion of the project, inferior wood, for example, means the painter spends twice as much time sanding in order to prepare the stairs for painting or staining; a process that can result in problem later. “You’ll find the stairs may squeak a year or two down the road,” says Royal Oak.