How to Find the Best General Contractors in Fairfield County

Here’s everything you need to know to find the best general contractors for your renovation in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

Step 1: Prep for your remodeling project and determine your goals.

Before you can vet and meet with general contractors for your renovation, think about the work they’ll be completing for you. Are you overhauling every room in your home, or just the master bathroom? Are the changes structural or cosmetic?

Step 2: Research costs.

Sweeten, a free service that matches homeowners with vetted general contractors, estimates that in Fairfield County, typical home renovations cost about $220 to $350 a square foot depending on the project complexity and your material preferences. Learn more about kitchen, bathroom, and basement renovation costs below.

Once you’ve assessed your goals and budget, you’re ready to post your project on Sweeten. There’s no cost or obligation; when you post your project, matchmakers will connect you with the best Connecticut general contractors in your area, from Greenwich, Darien, and Westport to Norwalk, Bridgeport, and Richfield.

Step 3: Evaluate the experts.

The more you understand about what to look for in general contractors and how to work with them, the better you’ll be able to navigate the renovation process. Ahead, we highlight must-haves and how we can help.

Sweeten was founded in 2011 by trained architects with decades of construction experience. We take the intimidation out of renovating by matching homeowners and business owners with licensed, insured, talented general contractors for each project, providing support until project completion. Our service is absolutely free to the renovator.

Founder and CEO Jean Brownhill is a Connecticut native.
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Sweeten is free and simple to use

1. Post your project

Tell us about the renovation you’re planning and we’ll match you with the right general contractors for your project.

2. Meet your matches

We’ll send you a shortlist of contractors matched with your project; you can browse past work, read reviews, and get introduced to your favorites.

3. Start renovating

After meeting your matches and receiving estimates, hire your favorite and get started. Sweeten will be there to help throughout the process.

What to Look for in a General Contractor

A successful renovation begins with the right general contractor. For any major project, contractors are your partner. Their responsibilities include finalizing the scope of work, coordinating the construction schedule, reviewing site conditions, obtaining licenses and insurance, and coordinating subcontractors and other trades as needed.

In short, general contractors are there to manage the project from start to finish, so it’s important to hire someone you can communicate with and trust.

Look into general contractors’ previous work experience and reviews from former clients to get a sense of their qualifications. See if they’ve completed projects similar to what you’re planning. A general contractor must maintain the proper licenses and insurance for protection and accountability; after all, you want to feel confident about who is working in your home. Sweeten general contractors are vetted to ensure they have the right credentials and knowledge of varied building codes, whether you live in Stamford, Weston, or Danbury.

A note about friend referrals: just make sure they can vouch for their general contractor to be licensed, insured and with expertise in your type of project, at your budget. This is a high-stakes moment, with a lot of money (and often, emotion) on the line, so also be sure the communication style is a good fit.

Key takeaways:
  • Any general contractor you work with should have a (HIC) or Home Improvement Contractor license.

  • Remember the lowest bids are not necessarily the best ones; Sweeten can help clients evaluate various estimates.

  • Check out photos and reviews of contractors’ previous work.

  • Always check references from past clients.

  • Ask if the contractor guarantees the work; Sweeten contractors’ work is guaranteed for a minimum of one year post-construction.

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Sweeten takes pains to screen potential contractors.Fairfield County Business Journal
A free service that matches homeowners with vetted professionalsNew York Times
Sweeten makes the whole process less daunting–and even fun!Food52
A renovation game-changerDomino

Kitchen Remodeling in Fairfield County

A mid-range kitchen renovation in Fairfield County is $320 per square foot, according to Remodeling’s latest Cost vs. Value report. Depending on the scope of your kitchen remodel, the costs will vary. Simply replacing the fixtures, for example, may skew that number a little lower, while a gut renovation will definitely bring them up. In one recent Sweeten renovation in Stamford, Connecticut, the homeowners stuck to the existing layout of their kitchen and instead focused their attention on new cabinets, appliances, and flooring for a high-style yet cost-efficient remodel.

Key takeaways:
  • An average kitchen renovation costs $320 per square foot in Fairfield County.

  • Extending plumbing or gas lines increases the cost, as will choosing higher-grade materials. The inverse–keeping plumbing and gas lines where they are—is a more budget-friendly option.

  • If you have the space to store things, try to purchase cabinets and appliances before demo even begins so that you’re ahead of the game for installation.

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Bathroom Remodeling in Fairfield County

In Fairfield County, an average bathroom renovation costs around $20,000. The construction period typically lasts about a week, though you should expect the entire process, including planning, demolition, and execution, to take anywhere from two weeks up to three months. A “rip-and-replace,” which involves swapping out fixtures and finishes while keeping them in the same place, will typically take less time than reimagining the layout altogether. Sweeten bathroom renovation projects in Fairfield County range from a gut remodel of a main bathroom in Cos Cob to minor cosmetic updates of a master bathroom in Stamford.

Key takeaways:
  • The average cost of a bathroom renovation in Fairfield County is $20,000.

  • A “rip-and-replace” should typically be cheaper and take less time than a bathroom renovation involving layout changes.

  • Delivery delays can affect your renovation timeline. If you have storage space, try to purchase tile and other fixtures before demo even begins.

  • A gut renovation involves going down to the studs of the space, while a “rip-and-replace” includes the swapping out of fixtures. Be cautious of breaking down costs feature-by-feature, though. If you are just replacing a few fixtures or updating tile, there could still be behind-the-walls work (like sheetrock) that has to be done.

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Basement Remodeling in Fairfield County

Basement renovations in Fairfield County average $117 per square foot when a bathroom with a shower, a bar area, and a separate 20’ x 30’ room are included. That said, think about your goals for your basement remodel and how you’d plan to use the space. If it will simply become a storage room with proper ventilation and insulation, the remodel will cost less than if you’re converting a basement into a more livable part of your home.

Key takeaways:
  • In Fairfield County, the average basement renovation costs $117 per square foot.

  • According to Remodeling’s 2017 Cost vs. Value report, 70 percent of what goes into a basement renovation will be recouped in the value.

  • Adding a bathroom will add to the costs of the project, but makes the space more livable and convenient to spend time in.

  • Evaluate what you’ll use the space for to help narrow down the needs versus wants.

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When should you meet with and hire a general contractor?

Homeowners typically start meeting with contractors 1-3 months out from when construction begins. Every project will have a unique schedule, so look at this as a starting point. The pre-construction phase of your project can be planned even 3-6+ months in advance.

Regardless, a start date should be a big factor in your search for a general contractor. Some contractors could be booked months in advance, while others have a schedule that aligns with your timing. When you come to Sweeten, we’ll start the matchmaking process to introduce you to a shortlist of excellent general contractors to get estimates. If you do select one of our experts, you’ll receive regular check-ins until the project is complete, with encouragement to reach out with any questions along the way.

Our renovation expertise includes:
Single-Family Houses
Condos
Duplexes
Landmark Buildings
Kitchens
Bathrooms
Living Rooms
Bedrooms/Nurseries
Basements
Outdoor and Exterior Renovations
Wood Flooring
Gut Renovations
Historic Restorations

Sweeten also handles commercial projects, including restaurants, retail spaces and offices. Find out more here.

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