CHOOSING A CONTRACTOR
Although the recent resurgence in the popularity of plaster finishes has made the number of contractors increase, it can still be difficult to find a good plaster craftsman. This is because many finish tradesmen were trained in drywall instead of plaster and there is a big difference between the two trades. Also, the limited number of good plasterers, an increase in the demand for plaster, and an attractive square foot price has enticed other specialty contractors to make a go at plaster contracting. If you’re not careful, you may be paying someone to gain his experience while working on your project. This can be counterproductive because inexperience can lead to inaccurate bidding which might result in the contractor “cutting corners” on labor and materials. These cuts can affect the final look and longevity of the plaster finish. Therefore, it is important that you do your homework and select a good plaster contractor so that you will receive a great plaster project and be happy with your decision. A good plaster tradesman can make a big difference in the final look of your project. Therefore, you will want to hire someone with proper plaster application knowledge and technique. Inaccurate lathing (the material upon which plaster is spread) can cause hairline cracks to appear in the finish long after the job has been paid for and the contractor is gone. It is because of these important hidden areas that I suggest you spend time looking for an experienced tradesman.
A good place to start looking for contractors is in your local yellow pages under “Plastering Contractors”. You may also want to look under “Stucco and Exterior Coating Contractors”. This is because, although stucco is different than actual plaster, there are many stucco contractors who are experienced in both applications. Another place to acquire names would be from your closest plastering bureau (many big cities have them). Also consider calling your local material suppliers of plaster products (ex. Suppliers of Gypsum products) and ask them to recommend quality applicators. Stay away from the big home improvement stores as most plaster contractors deal with smaller specialty material suppliers. Finally, of course, look on the internet. More and more contractors are listing their businesses on the internet for advertisement and you may find an experienced contractor who lives near to you.
Once you have the names and numbers of several experienced contractors, call them up and ask for work references. Do not be afraid to look at their completed work and talk to their prior clients. As with any construction bid, you will want to obtain prices from at least three quality contractors. A quality contractor is someone who has good references, is up front and honest in his business dealings, and has the proper licenses, bonding and insurances for your particular state (i. e .he is legitimately in business).
When you receive the bids, don’t just compare prices to make your final choice. If materials are not listed, inquire as to what products each will be using and why. Read through this site and gain some knowledge on the type of plaster you need or desire, then ask the applicator questions about your plaster project. You will also want to inquire as to what guarantees they offer for their work. Although cracks can occasionally occur, through no fault of the plasterer, you will want to discuss this possibility and the length of time in which they will be willing to fix and/or guarantee their work. Also, inquire as to their protection of surrounding areas, disposal of debris and clean up. Another important topic will be the timeline for completion of the job. Keep in mind, that the more experience a plasterer has, the busier he is. He will probably charge higher prices as well. All in all, if you do your homework, you should be able to find a plaster contractor that will do quality plaster work for an affordable price.