Dear Angie: Should painting or flooring come first when remodeling? — Jane B., Richardson, Texas
Answer: Thankfully, this isn't quite the conundrum posed by the old "chicken or egg" question. Top-rated remodelers tell our team that the right answer depends on the situation.
If you paint before doing a flooring project, you'll avoid the hassle of paint drips or spills, ladder scuffs or other hazards to the new floor.
If you start with a hardwood flooring project and follow with painting, you'll avoid the dusty mess from sanding. Also, flooring workers might scuff walls or baseboards or the polyurethane coating might splatter.
However, if your project includes other components, such as cabinetry and countertops, the order of work will depend on when those are scheduled.
Overall, you'll have fewer problems if you hire an experienced remodeling contractor. That means asking the following questions before signing a contract:
■ How long have you been in business? Do you have a physical address? You want to work with a company that has an established record, and will be in business during and after the job.
■ Are you appropriately licensed and adequately insured? Confirm that the company carries workers' compensation insurance and general liability insurance in case of accidents on the job. Ask for copies of the policies.
■ How do you deal with complaints? Read reviews of the company and make sure to get client references, and take time to contact them.
■ What does your contract look like? Review the company's standard document to make sure it covers all basics, including payment terms and schedule, but add other details that are important to you. Get all promises in writing, and spell out exactly what the contractor will do.
Angie Hicks compiles the best advice from the most highly rated service pros on Angieslist.com to answer your questions. Ask Angie your question at firstname.lastname@example.org.