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Chicago Basement Remodeling Articles
Basement Remodeling reviews in Chicago
This was our first time working w/ a contractor, and he was incredibly honest, punctual, and transparent. Our house is completely transformed and it's all thanks to him.
We could not be more pleased with the results and plan on using him for future renovations.
basement, but in very bad shape when I purchased the property. I wanted to improve the looks, but keep the price reasonable. When I brought
The work done was as expected, very professional. Every day the worker cleaned up, took demolition waste with him, and left everything in good shape. Very happy with the finished product.
Very good experience and would certainly work with them again!!
They have since installed floors in two other condos in our building!
flood of April 2013 and had damaged trim throughout the basement.
The basement was completed in November 2012 and took about 5 weeks. We can tell there is a huge improvement in the insulation as the living area in the basement is now the warmest part of the house.
There were problems in every phase of the project. They joke that they wish they could send clients on vacation while the work is done so they
I know Matrix has several good reviews, so to explain why I gave them the rating I did, I will give some details below. They have a great product and if someone chooses to use them, at least they will have some information to work with. I learned a lot with this project and hopefully will never have this experience again.
Sales Call: The initial meeting took 5.5 hours. It was 11pm when the sales guy finally wrapped up. I gave him the benefit of
the doubt because I’m sure measuring around the basement full of stuff was difficult. While the salesman went through
the estimate I caught some items that he missed and hadn’t charged me for which I pointed out (I know they’ll find it later, so might was well get it addressed right away) plus he left and forgot to take the deposit check. I had to call him in the car at which time he drove back to the house to pick it up. At this point I have an illegible copy of the contract. I also received “sign
tonight” talk, but since I knew I wanted that material, it didn’t get that bad. It just took a little while to come to grips on the price.
Get permits. Yes, get permits. I think many of my problems would have not happened if I had them.
When they were taking the materials out of the house, they dumped it on my neighbor’s front lawn until the truck could come and pick it up. Plus they used the materials to push open the back door when they came up the steps which caused scratches and dents to the door. When we finally noticed what was going on, we took the back door off the hinges so they wouldn’t damage it anymore and called the office to have them move the materials to our yard. They did end up painting the door once the project was completed.
Drawing Review & change orders: Part of the Matrix process is they send a second person out to verify the measurements that the sales person took. The reviewer caught more of the errors that the salesman made in the estimate. He also mentioned that I should get an updated contract since the original was illegible and there were changes, but when I checked with the main office, they told me no, that the change orders and the plans where my updated contract. I had raised concerns that the plans didn’t accurately reflect the basement (doors and vents were off by a few feet, etc) and I was told this wasn’t a big deal, as long as it was “close”. This was not the case once the crew showed up and didn’t understand why doors weren’t where they were marked to be, etc. I did my best to make sure the plans covered everything – which I’m glad I did because the crew will only do what’s on the plan – although they also missed several items on the plan. They didn’t seem to have access to any of the other project documentation (contract, change orders, etc). In hindsight I would have made
them document even more because we still had problems. It was difficult for me to tell from the plans that Matrix only planned on “finishing” the walls in the living area. That meant that the walls they put up outside of that area (laundry and
workshop) were left as is – metal tracks and other hardware exposed, no trim, and 2”x2”s in the ceiling holding the wall up.
Estimates: We were told 2.5-3 weeks, which even in hindsight I believe was completely doable, but we went into week 5. There were several days where no one showed up and other days there was just one worker. Delays were causing problems
with other crews (i.e. electricians couldn’t finish because the walls were not mudded/tapped yet). Matrix installment
payments are due at certain project milestones (which is great), so when payments were delayed because work wasn’t done –that’s when things finally kicked into gear. However, then the crews seemed rushed which caused other problems.
Actual work performed: Their work just wasn’t the professional level that I expected. At the very least I would have expected them to take basic steps to protect the parts of the basement they didn’t work on. I wouldn’t expect pieces of a wall to be puzzle-pieced together to save money. Mesh tape is visible in several places, especially the inside corners. I already
have cracks in the walls (started appearing two weeks after they finished). They were almost done putting up the walls when I figured out that they never applied the mold treatment (which was supposed to be done after demolition). They ended up scheduling a special visit just to get the mold treatment applied before the walls were sealed. After my third “final walk through” I just gave up so they’d leave and we could begin painting – yes $30k for 750sf and that did not include paint.
One worker commented that they've never done a house like mine (90 year old Chicago brick bungalow) and that all they’re really done are the expense new homes in the Northern suburbs.
Communication: I think this was the biggest problem. Not only between me and Matrix, but within Matrix. I think if someone would have taken time to explain what was and wasn’t included I wouldn’t of had so many surprises, and wouldn’t have ended up calling Matrix in a panic because things weren’t being done. In hindsight I wish their documentation to me was complete and listed everything that was included -- that would’ve helped too. Many times the Matrix employees
contradicted each other which made things worse.
· 1st day of work the crew showed up with the wrong version of the plans.
· In a walk through in week 3, I found out they didn't even know that they were going to be putting up crown molding.
· Week 4, the day before they were to “finish”, we had to ask why they still hadn't dry walled the ceiling in the stairway (it was
on the plans). Turns out they didn't see that in the plans.
· I had a phone call with one person who gave me dates for payments and then later received an email from the same person with different dates. When I thought the dates in the email were correct, I was told, “No, that’s just a form letter. Your project isn’t standard (because I had demolition done) so you can ignore that email and your payment is due now.” OK, but how was I supposed to know that?
· Followed up several times about the Open House and never heard back.
· Followed up three times about the referral check for my friend, never heard back.
care of subcontracting for shower and cabinet glass, hardwood floors for the stairs, and drywall work. In addition to all of the usual electrical, plumbing, painting, and other installation, they installed stock cabinets for the basement bar and built a handsome custom media center and custom mudroom cabinets. The overall result is stylish and comfortable, and we are very pleased with the outcome for the price. Based on these results, we decided to hire M&L for the rest of our house renovations.
One of the highlights of working with
We paid for all style-choice items (e.g., flooring, backsplash, vanities, lighting, etc.) separately, and
If you are going to buy fixtures and other finishes online, do so early, and make sure you find out from
Overall, we were very happy with the result and we feel lucky that we found M & L. I'd hire him for any other projects in the future.
We think we're the best, and we can prove it.
Try an annual plan and if you want to cancel in your first year, we'll refund you 110%
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