Whether you need new door installation or simply door repair, choosing the right door installation contractor can make all the difference. You don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Never was this statement truer than when considering door installation in your home or office.
Good door contractors will not only install doors, but will educate you about how to install door types and the types of doors that are best for you. For example, discuss the different varieties of entry doors with your door contractor. Doors are available in a variety of sizes, materials, and finishes. Skilled door contractors can tell you which doors are best suited for your needs.
Steps for choosing a qualified door contractor include:
- Using local door contractors whenever possible
- Finding and verifying that door installers are qualified, insured, and bonded
- Getting all bids and contracts in writing
Set a realistic budget for your door installationDetermining your budget will dictate the style, quality, and type of doors or windows you choose and will help you evaluate the bids you receive. When deciding how much to spend on installing doors, estimate what percentage of your income is actually available for the project and how much you may need to borrow.
Find qualified door, window contractorsFinding licensed, insured, and bonded door contractors is essential to ensuring that your door installation meets all building codes and that the appropriate permits are acquired.
Verify that door contractors are licensed, bonded, and insuredConfirm that your contractor has General Liability Insurance to cover any damage that might occur to your property, Workers Compensation Insurance to cover the door contractor or any employee of the company who might be injured while working on your property, and Bonding to protect you if the contractor goes out of business or is unable to complete your project. Ask to see your door contractor's state or local contractor's license, Certificate of Insurance (or insurance company and agent's name), and Certificate of Bonding.
Get at least three written bids from door installersA good door installation bid should include a detailed materials list with specifications, labor costs, specific time frame of your project, and a payment schedule.
Get written contracts from door installers with explicit payment schedulesStarting your door installation project with a well-drafted contract can head off trouble later. It is important to settle on a schedule of payment. Beware of door installers who ask for full payment before the job is completed.
New York City Department of Consumer Affairs also has an excellent contract form that may be modified to suit your project.
- Ask your door installer for references and check them. This one step may make your choice apparent.
- Consider the energy efficiency of replacement doors and windows. Good window/door contractors will be knowledgeable about the energy rating of doors and windows currently on the market.
- Communicate with your door contractor. If you need to make changes to the original contract or if unexpected problems arise, communicate in writing. Most door contractors have change order forms to address these events.