Frequently Asked Questions

Your local home remodeler for Edmonds, Woodway, Shoreline, north Seattle, Mill Creek, Lake Forest Park, Bothell, Woodinville and more

It is our hope that you will help us make this page a place where you can ask questions and we, in turn, can try and answer them. Below are a few Frequently Asked Questions you may find helpful. Got a question? Complete the short form in the right column and we will do our best to answer you by return email and on this page, if appropriate.

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Does every remodeling job need a permit?

In most jurisdictions in Washington a building permit is required whenever structural work is involved or when the basic living area of the home is changed. Any job that entails moving, adding or changing electrical, plumbing or load bearing walls will require a permit. It is your contractors’ job to know the local regulations and secure the permit for your job.

10 questions to ask a potential contractor

Homeowners often want to know “When can you start the job? How long will it take? How much will it cost?” But these are not really the most important questions. Here is a sampling of what you should be asking a contractor you are considering for your remodel:

  1. How long have you been in business?
  2. Have you done similar projects to mine and how many?
  3. Can you provide customer references?
  4. Are you fully licensed, bonded and insured? This includes worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability insurance.
  5. What professional organizations do you belong to? National Association of Home Builders, Master Builders of King and Snohomish County, BBB, Angie’s List, Houzz and others are important trade associations for any professional remodeler and provide a line of accountability.
  6. Will one person be assigned as project supervisor and what is that person’s level of experience?
  7. Will you be using company employees or subcontractors?
  8. Do you offer design services? If you have a large and/or involved project the services of a design/build contractor are important. You may also need the services of a structural engineer or other professionals, depending on the size and complexity of the job.
  9. Who will be the main contact for problems or questions throughout the remodel? Chermak Construction uses the Project Developer model. The P.D. will manage the entire remodel process from beginning to end. He/she will be assisted by others on our staff.
  10. Are you, or other employees, certified in remodeling or had any special training or education, such as earning a Certified Graduate Remodeler (CGR), Certified Aging In Place Specialist (CAPS), Certified Remodeler (CR), Certified Remodeler Specialist (CRS) or Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) or Certified Kitchen & Bath Remodeler (CKBR) designation?
I have a bid from a contractor/remodeler that is much lower than yours. Why?

One of our Project Developers recently presented an estimate to a new client who was surprised that our price was almost twice as much as a bid she had already received from another contractor.  She wondered why we would be so much more expensive. The Project Developer asked if she could share the estimate that the other contractor had given her. In looking over the estimate with the client, he noted that there were quite a few details missing. The Project Developer then suggested that she call the original contractor back to ask if his price included framing, insulation and drywall at the new walls along with a hand full of other items. The Contractor admitted that he had not specified those items. We found our bids fairly comparable after he added the missing items back in. At the end of the day, we were not more expensive, just more thorough.

The first question you should ask of a contractor/remodeler is what does the bid actually cover. Be sure you are comparing apples-to-apples. Look carefully at the “Scope of Work” and be sure every phase of your project is spelled out in detail.

Is it really necessary to hire a licensed and insured contractor?

Yes it is! Washington State requires a state license for all contractors, and many municipalities also require a local business license. Be sure your contractor carries full L & I state insurance. If you have questions contact the Department of Labor and Industries at

What payment arrangements will I need to make?

For all projects, we accept checks and all major credit cards. Payments will be setup as weekly or bi-weekly, depending on the size of your project.

I sometimes see the letters CGR or CAPS on a contractors' business card. What do these mean?

CGR is for Certified Graduate Remodeler®. This is an exclusive, National Association of Home Builders designation that is meant to emphasize business management skills as the key to a professional remodeling company. Our owner, Howard Chermak, was one of the first builder/remodelers in Washington State to receive this designation.

CAPS stands for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. Many of our Project Developers carry this designation and it provides you with the assurance that we are specially trained to be able to design home remodels that allow you to stay in your home safely and securely for years to come.

What is the start-to-finish process for a remodeling project?

Visit our Design/Build page to see a short presentation outlining the steps.

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