Leonard Sasso on Angi
9 years ago
01/01/2012, 02:19 AM
After our flood, we interviewed a ton of contractors for wood, tile, wall repair, painting, etc. You don't appreciate how many different types of contractors you need to do these types of things! What I heard a lot from contractors was, "Well, I do hardwoods, but I don't do baseboards," or "I can do tile, but I don't do hardwoods," etc. It was getting to be a major hassle coordinating several contractors. We had decided on Designer Lifestyles (DL) for our tile, upon the recommendation of our painter, and we were consulting with them about a backsplash and installing carpet as well. I had actually picked another hardwood installer, but Jon kept (gently) reminding me that DL did wood too. I was trying to figure out who should go first, wood or tile, and I decided wood should go first because DL was putting the baseboards back (the original wood installer didn't like to do trim) and they would need to put them back over the wood floor, after it was installed, right? Apparently not right. The wood installer got really agitated when I told him that he was going first. He didn't trust another installer (in this case, DL) not to "mess up" his wood floors, plus, since they were doing the tile as well, the dust kick up from that would leave his wood floors not as pretty. (Yet, if he would just put the baseboards back in place, it wouldn't be necessary for him to go first; he could go last, and replace the baseboards.) I was beyond frustrated trying to be a project manager for something that is unfamiliar to me. I ended up firing the wood installer the week before the job and asking DL to do it all, and boy, am I glad I did! First of all, from the beginning, the thing they have beat over all the other installers I interviewed was attention to detail and putting everything in writing! Their invoices were super professional and left no room for misunderstanding. It makes me cringe to think about the "nod and handshake" deal we almost had with the other installer. If something had been not as we wanted, how do we prove we told him what we did want? Not having everything in writing is asking for misunderstandings! Every time I made a minor change with DL, I would get a new change order invoice emailed to me, lickety split, replete with EVERY detail. In fact, Chris (the "office" guy, for lack of a better term) was always SUPER responsive to any questions, and would even email me on weekends often. As far as they work, they did a beautiful job with EVERYTHING. They were professional, arrived on time, their workers were clean-cut and respectful, they left the house neat and clean every day. Our neighbors even commented that they would see them take maybe a 20 minute break for lunch, eat their sandwiches in our driveway in the sunshine, and then, back to work in no time. They weren't goofing off, that's for sure! We had moved a lot of stuff into the bedrooms where the carpet was going to go, and were going to move it back, once they got to the carpet portion of the job (last). They didn't even give us a chance to move the furniture out, they did it for us, before we even knew they were that far along. They put the baseboards back in place, though they had not removed them (thereby making it a puzzle piece job for them, since they weren't able to number them, etc., as they would have done if they had removed them). They coordinated with our painter for him to come in on the back end and touch up the trim and make it look fresh. The backsplash they installed was truly beautiful. They had us coordinate our design with their design rep at a local wholesaler (where we bought our tile, wood, etc.) She was great too, and helped us design something beautiful. They implemented it, and when one of the tiles was a little yellower than the others, and really stuck out like a sore thumb on the backsplash area behind our stove, we notified them the next day that we hoped they could still switch it out for a tile that was more similar to the others, and even though the grout had set overnight, they changed it out for us with no problem. We could not believe they did everything they did for us in 3 1/2 days! Super fast! They had to come back a few weeks later because one of our bull noses for our tile had not come in in time, so they came to add that last piece. When they came back, I showed them a place on our stair rail where their wood tear-up machine had backed into it or something and caused the wood to be damaged. They took full responsibility and re-caulked, repaired, and painted the area. No matter what, both Chris and Jon (and all the guys really) wanted to make sure that we were absolutely 100% happy with everything, and they would not rest until we were. (In fact, we decided not to have them put our transition wood pieces in at our fireplace because we are thinking of having the tile re-done there too. They basically told us to let us know when they need to come back and do that, and there is one tiny section of baseboard that went missing that they have promised to replace as well, when they come back after we decide whether we are retiling our fireplace. Even though it's been several months, I just spoke to Jon the other day and he was like, "Yeah, just let us know when we need to come back, when you decide what you're doing.") These guys are real pros! I unequivocally recommend them to anyone looking to do a wide variety of home repairs. Having a one-stop shop keeps the contractors from pointing the fingers at each other for problems, also. I don't think these guys would have ever done that, but having one installer do everything just avoids the problem of YOU being the project manager!
We had a flooding incident with one of our appliances, so we had to have our hardwood floors replaced. We actually elected to have hardwood replaced in our entire downstairs (large open floor plan) except for ceramic tile put in the kitchen/breakfast nook area. We also had to have carpet replaced in two bedrooms. Designer Lifestyles installed the wood, installed the tile, put back all the baseboards (even though they had not been the ones to take them out), installed the carpet, and we ended up throwing in a tile backsplash for good measure.