Renovating a small bathroom

We live in a 1BR/1BA condo in Los Angeles. The bathroom is from the 70s and is in desperate need of a makeover. It is a little too big of a job to undertake by myself. We want a contracter to do it. Where can I get educated so when I talk to a contracter I dont get raked over the coals? Thanks for your help!
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

1) Ask the Condo Assoc for requirements that have to be met. They may be able to suggest reliable contractors as well.
2) This is a ONE bath unit?? What will you do when the guy has it tore out for a month and doesn't show up?? Sounds hi-risk to me.
3) In today's market, it may be very difficult to get a contractor to agree to any kind of time-limit in writing, let alone penalties.
You will need evidence of liability coverage and workmens comp from him (call the carrier to verify) at the least. License?
This job will be a tough one (IMHO). It's a small job and it's (to you at least) vital.
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

Condo association for referrals will be your number one stop.
You need a list of action items that will need to be followed.
Be careful when selecting materials unless you want your shower, for example, out of commission for a couple days. If you choose ceramic or granite tile for a tub or shower stall - the adhesive and grout needs time to dry - meaning no showering for you. Same with the floors - if you ceramic you may not be able to use the potty for a day or so.
I have remodelled many one bath apts/condos and you need to realize your limitations if you NEED the bathroom to be operational on a nightly basis.
Things to remember:
Upgrade walls using paint rather than tiles, new wallboard etc. Replacing a vanity/sink is an easy task that should only take a few hours. Same with toilets - less time actually. Floors - if using ceramic - do it in stages where you give the floor time to dry while still be ing able to use the faciities. replace the toilet last and do it in the morning so tat at night you can use it again. Shower surrounds - maybe go with a kit - installs and can be fully functional in a few hours.
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On 9 May 2006 08:50:22 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

We had a contractor completely renovate our only bath -- down to the studs with removal but no relocation of fixtures -- about 18 months ago. We were never without a toilet but were without bathing facilities for three nights (visited friends) and without showering capabilities for a few weeks. We made do with a spray head/hose while sitting in the tub. It's a really small bath, so the fancy footwork we had to do occasionally wasn't a big problem.
A couple lessons learned...
1) However long the estimate for the time frame, add at least 50% for unexpected delays. Ours was supposed to be 2-3 weeks and in the end it was closer to 6 weeks.
2) Word of mouth/personal experience is your best referral on a contractor, in my opinion. We're not in a condo so I can't speak to their requirements but after our experience I will never again hire a contractor that doesn't come recommended by someone I know or is at least within a couple degrees of separation. Either that, or ask the contractor-provided references if they'd let you personally visit to see the finsihed work. DH found our guy on 'Angie's List', called a couple references and that was it. Pfffft. You should see the drywall joints; my 10-year-old could have done a better job.
That, and one of the delays was due to an unanticipated pipe issue he discovered when he removed the tub. He requested that we get it repaired before he put in the new tub. Huh? Can't you do it? "Not really qualified (at least he admitted that -- it could have been much worse!) so you need to call a real plumber. Only tell him you're a DIYer, or that I'm your brother or something, because I'm not licensed to do this level of work and could get fined $5,000."
Thaaaaat's nice.
Functionally we're not having problems so I guess that's a good thing. Cosmetic issues can always be amended but leaks? Ugh.
Needless to say, I don't think much of the vaunted Angie's List.
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