Working with home improvement and renovation professionals can save you time and money in the long run, especially if you don’t want to learn what to do and how to do it. But it can be hard to know who to call for help.
In some cases, it’s obvious who you should call. If you’re remodeling a bathroom and know what you want but need help with plumbing, you could call a plumber. Or, if you only want to retile your bathroom, you could look for a tiling contractor. But in other cases, you may need a lot more help. Here are the main types of professionals to call when planning a home remodel.
What’s a general contractor, and what do they do?
A general contractor oversees the entire home improvement project. They can hire and direct subcontractors to do some specialized work like electrical, flooring, cabinetry, and appliance installation. They may also be able to do the work themselves. Many states require general contractors to be licensed, which usually requires passing an exam, sometimes multiple, and documenting work experience.
A general contractor may also be able to design your project in addition to building it.
What’s an architect, and what do they do?
If you’re changing the actual structure of your home or increasing the footprint, an architect could be a smart hire. In fact, in some areas you may be required to hire one if you’re making structural changes. Architects must have a degree in the field to be licensed. They also go through an apprenticeship or similar experience and must pass an exam.1
You can hire an architect to plan and design your project only, or sometimes you can hire them to oversee the full process, which includes hiring contractors and sticking to a budget.
What’s an interior designer, and what do they do?
Interior designers can help you plan and design your space. They can offer expertise on everything from layout to finishes. Designers are licensed in many states and can get certified in a couple of different trade associations. For example, the National Kitchen and Bath Association offers several levels of certifications. The National Council for Interior Design Qualifications certification is required in states that mandate licensing.
An interior designer doesn’t usually supervise the building of their plans, but some may be able to hire contractors and manage the project.