By Nancy Brumback, Contributing Writer
Business name: Valois Home Improvements
Owner: Raymond Valois
Contact Information: 508-845-1107
What type of projects do you specialize in?
“Over the last year, we have been doing larger remodeling projectskitchens, bathrooms, basements, large decks,” said Raymond Valois, who started Valois Home Improvements 15 years ago.
“Projects like kitchen remodels are very detailed and finish-oriented, and suit themselves to my skill set. Dealing with the idiosyncrasies of old and new houses is my strong point. I don’t typically take on full-size additions.” Valois works primarily within a 20-mile radius of Shrewsbury.
How does a customer get started on a project?
“For a basic deck or screen room, I can usually take a look and provide an estimated cost range. For a larger or more intricate job, I prefer a set of drawings ahead of time. I am looking into being able to offer some design-build services and produce the actual drawings in the future.
“For a kitchen remodel, usually I bring in a kitchen designer who looks at the space and offers a design. From there, people may choose a specific cabinet style and then I can work up the pricing for the cabinetry, countertops and installation. I try to make the proposal as inclusive as possible.
“There are a lot of choices to be made with a bathroom or a kitchen, so before I can give a hard number, the home owner needs to choose, or at least have a very good idea, of the types of finishes and products they wantfaucets, type of tile, countertops, cabinets. We want to know as much as we can upfront to give a more accurate number in the proposal.
“I do charge for detailed proposals on larger projects, especially if there are no plans. When a proposal becomes labor-intensive and thorough, I need to be compensated for my time. If I am hired to perform the work, the cost of the proposal is credited toward the project cost.”
What are some remodeling trends?
“Years ago, kitchens were arranged in a classic triangle of sink, stove and refrigerator. Now we are building separate stations so more than one person can work in the kitchen. In a kitchen expansion, people frequently add desk space for a computer, often with a charging station. If a homeowner is an avid cook, we might install a pot filler, a faucet over the stove. People are looking for energy-efficient LED lighting, which is more expensive but much more efficient.
“In bathrooms, people often add a double-bowl sink. Some people are getting rid of tubs and going for a larger stand-up shower, often fully tiled. I rarely see the big tubs and Jacuzzis any more. People want a big shower, sometimes with multiple shower heads. But a fully-tiled shower, when done properly so it’s waterproofed underneath and depending on the tile used, can become costly quickly.
“With decks, the new composites are almost maintenance-free. You don’t have to deal with sanding, power-washing and staining to keep the deck looking good. There is, however, a premium price associated with the minimal maintenance of composite materials. For many folks, that premium is worth it when they see the end product come together.”
What sets you apart from other contractors?
“I really care about my work,” Valois said. “The satisfaction of my customers is very important. I do my best to treat a customer’s house as I would want my own house treated during a remodeling project. I want them to be happy with me and the work I’ve provided so they will hire me again and will recommend me to friends, family and co-workers.”