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Mea Ku'i'o (Fact)

We have compiled a few well known facts about the construction field in general but particularly related to the tile and stone industry and how these affect you.  This page may be updated from time to time so our customers are well informed.  If you have any questions or concerns that have not been addressed in this section please don't hesitate to contact us and we'd be more than happy to assist you further and possibly include them in our Facts section.  Mahalo Nui Loa
  1. When is a Contractor's License Required?  Answer:  Any work that exceeds $1000.00 or where a Building Permit is Required.
  2. Why hire a Licensed Contractor?  Answer:  A licensed contractor has the training and experience necessary to obtain a contractor's license. The State of Hawaii's Contractor's License Board has checked into the contractor's background and is satisfied that the person is qualified to hold a contractor's license.  A licensed contractor has worker's compensation and liability insurance. This protects you as a homeowner from putting your property at risk if anyone is injured on your project or if anything is damaged while the work is being done.A licensed contractor is able to obtain and sign building permits. Lastly, if anything goes wrong with your home improvement project, the Contractor’s Recovery Fund is available to you only if you have hired a licensed contractor.
  3. How can I be sure a Contractor is Licensed?  Answer:  Get the contractor's name and license number and call the Licensing and Business Registration Information Section at 587-3222 then press 2 or go online to www.businesscheck.hawaii.gov.
  4. Where can I obtain additional references?  Answer: Many companies like SMi are members of the BBB (Better Business Bureau) a great source for company profile, ratings and assistance.  Go to BBB for more info.
Things You Need to Know:

  1. Insurance bi-laws state that any sole proprietor cannot employ workers under his sole proprietorship.  If you plan on hiring a Tile Contractor or any Contractor for that matter that has more than one individual working on the premises, be sure that they are a Corporation and carry current Workers Comprehensive Insurance.  If an individual working for a sole proprietor was to be injured on the job, the owners of the premises could be held responsible for any and all injuries including death.
  2. Our experience has proven time and time again, cheap work is just that, cheap work.  The old saying, "You get what you pay for!", applies in it's entirety to all construction trades, no exception.  Among the many things that could potentially go wrong on a project, there is nothing worse than finding out a year or two down the road that hollow or broken tiles and shower/lanai leaks become present due to inferior materials or improper install methods, very common in this trade, even amongst those that may be licensed.  In this economic crunch be careful not to lower your expectations so far that you find yourself grinning at your teeth during the work process and beyond.  In some instances, Stonemasters, Inc. demolished significant areas of tile and countertops that were improperly installed by other tile contractors.  This cost the owners significant amount of money, time and heartache.  Don't make the same mistake.
  3. When receiving multiple bids, be sure to analyze and compare them.  Be sure all the bids are based on the same described work being supplied and same quality of materials.  If bid amounts vary significantly it is in your best interest to find out why?  Be sure to compare the installers methods and recommendations each has described. You will likely be able to distinguish the level of knowledge from each contractor.
  4. Know how much you can spend.  Fix your budget in advance and keep some in reserve to pay for changes or unanticipated costs.  As a rule of thumb a Quality Ceramic or Porcelain tile install will begin at $6.50/per square foot and Natural Stone at $8.50/per square foot.  Take into account that additional cost will incur for things such as installation in condominiums/upper floors, wood substrates (require additional underlayment), very uneven substrates, the level of complexity, type of layout and so on.
  5. Get everything in writing, Outlining the work being provided, materials being used, payment arrangements as well as start and completion dates if necessary.
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