How to Solve Contractor Conflict

Don't let an argument delay your remodel. Get tips for managing problems on the job site before they snowball out of control.


Don't wait to talk with your contractor if there's an issue. Fixing problems early in the process saves everyone time and money.

Don't wait to talk with your contractor if there's an issue. Fixing problems early in the process saves everyone time and money.

Related To:

Things are humming right along in your master bathroom remodel. All the materials have arrived and you're on target for the completion date. Then it happens: You're checking the progress on your lunch break and find your $25-a-square-foot floor tile has been installed on the shower walls.

With your blood boiling, you stomp into a roomful of workers to find your contractor and let him have it.

The workers creep out of the room quietly, leaving their embarrassed and furious boss to square off with you in a screaming match over who signed off on what. This leads to an angry stalemate and leaves the project grinding to a halt.

Many major projects have been delayed weeks or months over issues like this. How you handle yourself can make or break your budget and timeline. Next time you're disappointed and angry with your contractor's work, try this proven process for conflict resolution.

Working With a Contractor 02:50

A good client-contractor relationship is key to a successful remodel.

Define Your Issue

Put the facts on paper before you discuss the issues. Being clear with yourself about project expectations will make it easier to have a conversation with your contractor regarding where the project went wrong.

If you've had other conflicts before, don't bring them into this discussion. Carrying a previous problem into your current discussion can cause the other person to shut down in frustration instead of being open-minded about working through your issues.

Invite Only the Pertinent People to a Discussion

The more people who witness this exchange, the less likely your contractor is to be open to admitting wrongdoing. Resist the urge to yell in front of his employees or other workers. You'll get nothing out of it but an embarrassed contractor who's more interested in maintaining his professional dignity than solving your crisis.

State the Facts

Acknowledge that you might not know everything about the issue but state what you do know. Even if you're livid, this discussion will be powerful and solution-based if you leave your emotional response at the door.


Don't wait for your contractor to stop talking so you can jump all over him and disagree. Instead, listen. Aside from being polite, listening to your contractor can be enlightening and you might discover how the miscommunication happened in the first place. This can also help you avoid a similar scenario in the future.

Once you've listened carefully, repeat what your contractor said back to them. It might help to start with, "I think I heard you say..." or a similar phrase. That way they know you're not mocking them, but genuinely trying to understand.

Avoid Placing Blame

Even if the issue is their fault, your first priority should be to get the solution in place so your timeline and budget aren't blown. This might be one of the hardest parts of the conversation because in a remodel, deciding who is at fault can determine who should pay to fix the problem. Don't let who is picking up the tab for the error prevent you from getting back on track.

Establish a Plan

Create action items and put them in writing. Email a copy to yourself and your contractor. Set a time to reconvene to discuss next steps.

Review Your Contract

Dust off your contract if you feel like there is a major oversight. Sometimes the contract has already laid out a solution for you.

Expert Advice for Homeowners 02:48

Expert contractor advice on what homeowners should know before remodeling.

Don't Let Your Feelings Fester

If an electrical outlet in the kitchen is in the wrong place, waiting to voice your opinion until days after you notice it is a bad idea. These issues should be fixed immediately, before they snowball into other problems.

Not mentioning that the outlet is misplaced until after the backsplash has been installed, for example, means breaking and replacing tile instead of simply making a new hole in the drywall.

Keep Reading

Next Up

7 Things to Do Before Calling a Professional

After evaluating your budget, scope and needs, you'll be prepared to discuss realistic remodeling goals with a contractor.

Remodeling for Twins

Homeowners renovate a master bathroom, nursery and outdoor space in time for twins.

Income Property Flips to Sell

In three weeks homeowners renovate a kitchen, living space and bathrooms to attract buyers.

Quiz: Are You Ready to Buy Your First House?

Buying your first home is an exciting milestone, and it's likely the biggest purchase you'll ever make. So don’t jump into it without doing your homework. Take our quiz to see if you’re ready to take the big step. 

Choosing a Contractor for a Bathroom Remodel

A little legwork is required to find the best contractor for your bathroom remodeling project. Here are some ideas for making that effort pay off.

How to Hire a Kitchen Contractor

A little legwork is required to find the best contractor for your kitchen remodel. Here's what you should do before making the hire.

Increase Your Home's Value

Only select home-improvement projects offer a reliable return on your investment of cash and sweat equity. We break down the remodels that pay off the biggest in raising your home's value.

10 Investments to Boost Your Home's Value

Licensed Realtors and DIY Network's remodeling experts Matt Blashaw and Nicole Curtis have a little he-said/she-said conversation about the best home improvement investments.

DIY Home Inspection Tips

It's possible to improve a home's energy efficiency without hiring a professional. Paul Ryan, of DIY's Home Energy Savings , offers tips on how to perform an informal energy audit.

Not Doing It Yourself

For all of us, there are tasks for which we need professional help to complete a home improvement project. Whatever help you require, here are some guidelines for hiring professionals.


Big Beach Builds

7:30am | 6:30c

Big Beach Builds

8:30am | 7:30c

Big Beach Builds

9:30am | 8:30c

Big Beach Builds

10:30am | 9:30c

Big Beach Builds

11:30am | 10:30c

Rehab Addict

12pm | 11c

Rehab Addict

1pm | 12c

Rehab Addict

1:30pm | 12:30c

Rehab Addict

2:30pm | 1:30c

Rehab Addict

3:30pm | 2:30c

Rehab Addict

4:30pm | 3:30c

Rehab Addict

5:30pm | 4:30c

Rehab Addict

6:30pm | 5:30c

Rehab Addict

7:30pm | 6:30c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Pool Kings

8pm | 7c

Pool Kings

8:30pm | 7:30c

Pool Kings

9pm | 8c

Pool Kings

9:30pm | 8:30c

Pool Kings

10pm | 9c

Pool Kings

10:30pm | 9:30c
11pm | 10c

Pool Kings

12am | 11c

Pool Kings

12:30am | 11:30c

Pool Kings

1am | 12c

Pool Kings

1:30am | 12:30c
2am | 1c

Pool Kings

3am | 2c

Pool Kings

3:30am | 2:30c

Garage Gold

4:30am | 3:30c

Get Social With Us

We love to DIY. You love to DIY. Let's get together.

Consult Our A-Z Guide

Everything You Need to Know

Browse a full list of topics found on the site, from accessories to mudrooms to wreaths.  

How-To Advice and Videos

Get video instructions about kitchens, bathrooms, remodeling, flooring, painting and more.

Watch DIY Downloads Now

Watch DIY Network LIVE

Don't miss your favorite shows in real time online.