Choosing a qualified masonry contractor for a specific job depends partially on the materials that the job requires. While most masons can work with a variety of materials, some specialize in certain types of work and excel in doing so because of their concentration on working with certain kinds of materials and on certain types of projects. It is quite different to do a historical restoration of a chimney when compared to installing a simple concrete block retaining wall.
Contractor’s License, Certification, and Insurance
Usually, masons must have a general contractor’s license that is in good standing. Check with the state license bureau to see if there are any public complaints filed against the contractor and if the license is current. Highly qualified masons also have certification from the Mason Contractors Association of America. All masons need to have insurance, which is worker’s comp for employees and general liability insurance for the job. Ask for a copy (or to see the documents and write down the information) of the contractor’s license, any certifications, and insurance. Then check to make sure they are all legitimate.
Experience and Reputation
Ask about experience working with the materials that will be used for your project. Masons with lots of experience will have photos of many successfully completed jobs of the type you are looking for and be able to provide references that you can check for those jobs. Check for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
Work Methods, Scheduling, and Time for Completion
If there is a critical time element involved in your job, such as a renovation being made in order to sell a house, make sure the mason can complete the job on time. Unexpected delays can be very frustrating. Some inexperienced masons take on more jobs than they can handle, which causes delays in finishing the work. Make sure there is an adequate work crew to do your job and finish it within the estimated time.
Job Preparation and Final Clean Up
Be sure to discuss if there are any needs for the project to be prepared in advance of the mason doing the work. Examples of this preparation work include any excavation necessary or removing things to allow room for the project to proceed.
Discuss who has the responsibility for clean up, including if any debris needs to be hauled away.
The contract terms should show a payment schedule and who is responsible for buying the materials for the job. Usually, there is an upfront deposit and then partial payments are made based on the percentage of job completion.
By following these tips about what to look for in a masonry contractor, you are more likely to have an excellent result.