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"We worked with
to redo the shower in our master bath. The stone tile he showed us was unlike anything we had ever seen; absolutely beautiful...." We ended up tiling the walls and ceiling! We described what type of rainfall/showerhead we were looking for and he put together the perfect package for us. They also replaced our old mirror/lights and added new recessed lights and heater. What a difference!!!! The bathroom turned out so great that we decided to do the kitchen as well! Although we kept our existing cabinets, he made it look like we had a full kitchen remodel. When he helped us pick out our beautiful 4piece faucet, we thought for sure that would be the focal point of the kitchen. But now, after adding such unique backsplash, granite, cabinet handles, pendant lights and a stone tile wall it's impossible to decide what we love the most. I really appreciated all the little things he recommended that I never would have though to do....new grout made just for glass tile backsplash, under/over/inside cabinet lighting, and
outlets are just a few. We are just so happy with everything we found there and for all the help putting it all together. Their showroom is full of great new ideas, but if you have something in mind that you don't see, let them know. I'm convinced they can find it for you (for a better price AND better quality than anywhere else). Everyone there was so helpful and patient with us I would definitely recommend at least stopping in to check it out!

-michael M.

"I called two days after dropping it off for an estimate of when the work would be completed. They had to order a belt..., it might be in Monday (two more blizzards" later). Called Monday. Snow blower? We have your snow blower? Oh yeah, he's looking at it today (I thought you were waiting for a belt). Called Wednesday (now a full week after dropping it off). Just adding up the prices now..., drive train $150, auger drive $150, cables and....... STOP!! don't do ANYTHING to it. I'll be down to pick it up in 20 minutes. Well yeah, we thought that was high too, but we have some new Toros coming in this afternoon..... Unbelievable. These people seem incapable of giving a straight answer about anything and appear to have no sense of urgency toward providing service in a timely fashion. Not to mention the premium pricing for substandard service. I later learned from, well just about everyone I talked to about them, that they have just about the worst reputation in town, and pretty much all had or heard the same complaints that I had,. Ultimately, I gave it to a friend to bring to the junk yard, but also likes to
. He replaced a belt and a spring and got it going for about $40.
wanted north of $300, then tried to sell me a new one when I didn't take the bait. Save yourself the aggravation. Go someplace else.

-Don S.

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Angie's Answers

Todd said it best.

An itemized list / cost breakdown, more often than not is used against the contractor when it is shared with other builders who will then beat it.

Good contractors use good people, and good people cost more.  Just the cost of having the appropriate insurance / bond can be the difference between winning a job or losing it ot a 'lower bid'.

It is the rule of three; there is Good, Cheap and Fast.  You can have any two:  Good and Cheap, won't be Fast; Good and Fast, won't be Cheap;  Cheap and Fast, won't be Good!

When comparing bids, it isn't the cheapest or the 'nicest' person you should select.   You should understand why there is a large price difference (it shows there are gaps in your design program or what you have asked for specifically, which means there may be arguments later).  If most of the bids are in line, and one is way high or way low,  you want to know why before dismissing or selecting them.

A price-only decision almost always costs more in the long run. 

Good luck!
There are two sides to this and everyone will have an opinion.  I can tell you that from a contractor's point of view a customer that is up front with me is much easier to work with and the entire experience is much more pleasurable to all parties involved.  If you treat your contractor like there's always something to hide from him expect the same in return.  A good contractor is going to take your budget into consideration and make recommendations based on that budget.  When possible, he's going to estimate the work 10-20% under your target to leave room for the unexpected.  With any remodeling work, there's always the possibility and likelihood that there will be surprises that will have to be added such as mold damage, improper existing framing, etc.  The cushion allows room for the project cost to grow without going over your budget.  If no problems are found and you decide to spend that money some of the final finishes can be upgraded or other projects added.

Another good arguement for disclosing your budget to your contractor is to save you both some time and aggrevation.  You may have a $10,000 budget and want $30,000 worth of work.  Wouldn't you like to know your desires aren't possible before you get your hopes up or spend money on design fees for plans you can't afford?  Likewise, the contractor doesn't want to put in the hours of calculating the estimate only to find out it was all for nothing or that he has to refigure for a much lower cost after pricing what you specified.

Be fair and honest with your contractor if you expect the same respect in return.  You'll get a lot more out of it with the right contractor.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services
San Antonio, TX

Herlonginc's answer stated that it is not the contractor's job to pay for materials and labor to do the job. I say baloney - a reputable, established contractor has the funds (or a business operations line of credit) to "carry" the job between interim or partial payments, each of which should be keyed to completion of distinct easily measured mileposts in the job, and for a homeowner I would say should be in not more than 20% increments for jobs exceeding a week or so. For shorter jobs, then an initial payment, 50% completion, and completion would be normal. His cost of carry funds is part of his cost of doing business, and is figured as part of his overhead.Bear in mind when he is buying materials and paying labor, his materials he typically pays for on a 10-30 day invoice, and his labor typically a week or two after they work, so he is not really "fronting" that much money if you are giving him weekly or biweekly interim payments, on a typical residential job.

If he does not have the funds to buy materials (excepting possibly deposit on special-order or luxury items, which still typically are 10-30 day invoiceable to him) and hire personnel then he is a fly-by-night operation, and he should not be bidding that size job. You should never (other than MAYBE an earnest deposit of not more than the LESSER of 10% or $5000) let the payments get ahead of the approved/inspected work progress - typically payment should be 10-20% BEHIND the progress, with at least 10% retained at the effective end of work until final inspections and completion of the final "punchlist".

That promotes rapid continuation of the work, discourages the all-too common nightmare of contractors taking on more work than they can handle so they leave your job for weeks or months to go work on someone else's job (frequently to start that someone else's new job so he can get the job), and does not leave you out a tremendous amount of cash if he does not finish and you have to hire another contractor to finish the job. Remember, if you have to hire a new contractor to finish the job, he will charge you a lot more than the original bid to finish someone else's unfinished mess.

This may seem cynical, but having started in the construction business about 50 years ago and seeing the shenanigans that a lot of contractors pull you cannot be too safe. You have to remember contractors are like any other people - I would say maybe 10% are outright crooks, another 25% or so will pull a fast one or overcharge if the opportunity presents itself, maybe 30% will do the work but not any better than they are forced to, about 25% are good conscientious reputable workmen, and the last 10% or so are really spectacular - conscientious, fair, and efficient craftsmen. This top 35% are the only ones you should have bidding in the first place. Therefore, only get bids from long-term reputable firms (so you shake out the marginal short-timers with less experience and also generally less ability to finish the job on budget and schedule), only those that have good RECENT references, and preferably with excellent word-of-mouth recommendation from people you know and trust. That way, you are starting right off with the cream of the crop, so hopefully whichever one bids low should be a good choice.

NEVER start with bids, then check the references of the low bidder - why even consider a vendor or contractor who you do not have faith in from the start ? Get references and short-list you possibles BEFORE you ask for bids.

Low bids - that is another matter - commonly the low bidder is NOT who you want, especially if he is significantly lower than several others, which might mean he is desperate for work, made a math error, or did not correctly figure the entire scope of work. You want a reasonable bid with someone you connect with and trust - that is worth a lot more in the success of the job than the absolute lowest bid.


You should always get a set of print and pull a permit when remodeling you home. It is a good thing that you want to be involved in your project. I do have some reservation about the electrical work. There is a lot at risk with doing the work yourself. If the house burns down you will never get the insurance money, unless your a certified electrician. Now of days 90% of home fires are blamed on electrical problems because the insurance company is to lazy and cheap to investigate the true problem. Also find out if the city you live in will allow you to perform the work. Make sure you coordinate your subs to have the proper time and space to perform their job. You don't want people working on top of each other. If you order all you materials make sure everything is there before you start your project. Have your subs check for proper and full items to be installed. Make sure every sub has a working set of prints. Make sure you have all the demo done before your subs show up to work. Schedule your plumber first, do any final framing or electrical work while you wait for inspection. Electrical inspection next followed by framing, insulation, and wallboard. All subs must get a final inspection on the job before you (the GC) can call in your final inspection.
The answer depends on your contract.  If you do not have a written contract, you need to begin documenting everything.  Begin by using a calendar and marking the days the contractor started, worked, you had to speak to him/her about the work, etc.

Next photograph the work you feel is sub-par.  If work has been corrected, photograph it now to have a record of its condition.  If you have any "original" or "before work began" pictures get those together, too.

If you do have written contract, see what it says about warranties, complaints, failure to finish / comply, etc.  Holding the money may end up with the contractor taking YOU to court for the funds - you cannot just hold the money.  You need to document in writing what is wrong, what you expect to happen (be specific) and when it should happen by.  A good contract will explain if and how money can be held, how the arbitration or complaint is filed, etc.

You should also invite another contractor to come in and bid the work to finish the job.  They can confirm the quality of the work and give you a price to fix / finish the job.  This gives you justification for holding the funds and an option to finish the job.

If the contractor is not willing to fix the work or listen to direction, do not allow them back in the house.  A judge will ask you why you let them continue to do work if you found it unacceptable.  Take back the key or access to the building - you can also attempt holding any materials or tools as collateral if the cost of repair is higher than the amount owed.  Again, document what you are holding, its estimated value (google or ebay search), etc.

Finally, in writing you should fire the contractor and state the exact reason(s).  Document everything; if it is done in person after they leave make notes of what was said, agreed upon and disputed.  If you are satisfied that what you have paid is fair compensation for the work done, make sure this is noted in the letter firing the contractor.  If you feel money is owed, you will need to file a small claim in your local court.  Include the documentation you made, notes, letters, etc. when you file your claim so the judge will have a copy of everything.  Don't forget to contact the BBB.

Do not wait for the court date; go ahead and hire the other contractor and have the work completed.  Bring this invoice to court with you (file it before the court date if you can).  Bring photos of the finished work (again, file it with the court before the date if possible).  You must show what good quality work looks like vs the poor quality work.

Otherwise it will be a your word against the contractor and you will most likely lose, (the contract is a promise to pay for work) or even if you "win" you will most likely split the difference between the argued amount of money.  Also be prepared for the contractor to file a small court claim against you.  Same process as above, except now you will respond to the summons with a copy of your stuff to defend your reason for holding funds instead of asking for money back.

Good luck!
Yes, you can ask for these items.  Second Century Homes answered your question well - most contractors do not do a break down to prevent haggling on items that shouldn't be part of the discussion.  People sometimes forget to allow the builder to make money. . .  Builders also want the entire job, not the nickle and dime menu selected items - you may find the contractor says "Thanks, but no thanks" if you ask them to remove portions of the work.

The real question is why do you need this break down?  If you are thinking you will do the demo yourself to save money, you can certainly tell your contractor this - but I would be willing to bet once you buy or rent the tools, haul the trash to the correct disposal dump (many trash dumps will not take home building materials anymore) and clean up / prep for the new work - you will have spent more and delayed the project more than just letting the professionals do it. Plus, do not be surprised when they still have to do additional demo work that you didn't know would be needed to complete the job, etc.

Also keep in mind that cutting portions of the work out of the job to do later is not a money saving move.  You will find that the cost for the individual items go up when done seperately - the contractor has to come back multiple times, has to set the equipment back up, possibly pull seperate permits, schedule the work crew / subs, etc.

If you are asking for the break down to compare bids, then again, tell the contractors what numbers you want to see.  If you are doing it because you feel the total price is too high, have a discussion with your contractor; they may be able to suggest ways to save costs, etc.  Ultimately if you know the materail costs, and have the total figure, you can do a pretty good estimate of the percentage for labor and profit in the job.

It is your project and your contract, so you can ask for anything you want on the quote - just be clear on why you want the information so the contractor can work with you.

Good luck!

Home Improvement Store reviews in Elk River


Great old time hardware store with excellent customer service. Spot on employees always available for any question.
- Mary K.

He went the extra effort and played with it until it was perfect for us. Well above and beyond. I was very impressed with his dedication to going the extra step and he helped save us quite a bit of money. I would definitely recommend his services to everyone.
- Pete and Susan O.

im only writing this so you'll stop 'reminding' me to provide a review. It's been two and a half YEARS. Why isn't there a way to say I don't WANT TO DO A REVIEW? THIS IS RIDICULOUS.

- Nanci L.

Angie's list has been bugging the crap out of me for over a year to write a stupid review on a $5 gift card. There was not an option to go away and never ask me for a review again.
- Paul W.

They are really great. They have a store that is plumbing oriented; I can go here for any kind of plumbing issues. When I've called them to the house, they were friendly and on time. I was impressed that he didn't charge me for coming out to look at my drain. It's a very "mom & pop" feel. They're my go-to plumbers!

Had my bathroom remodeled. Was not happy with the subcontracting company. The tile job is awful. There are sharp edges and indented tiles. You can see the line where they replaced the dry wall. They didn't grout around one of the tiles, when I pointed it out, they caulked it instead of retiling it. They dropped my mirror during install and broke it. In the process, they chipped my counter and hoped I wouldn't notice. When I did notice, brought it up to
Elk River Lumber Stores Provider Name Locked
attention. Finally after months of going back and forth, I went into the store to get a refund on my counter. The GM wouldn't give me a refund and insisted I pick a new counter top. So I did. When he realized the counter top I chose, he offered me the refund. I went with the counter top. The company came to install the granite. Then the plumber came to hook up the sink. The sink leaked. When I called the plumber back, they said it was just condensation. It was a lot of water for condensation, so I called my plumber (who I had to pay) and he stated the drain wasn't sealed. He sealed the drain and now there is no water. It was very expensive.
I purchased a shower head kit because I liked the handles. I chose to use a different shower head. The shower head I didn't use disappeared along with all my extra tiles and grout. I'm still working with
Elk River Lumber Stores Provider Name Locked
to get the tiles and shower head.
I refuse to even shop at
Elk River Lumber Stores Provider Name Locked
any more.
- Rebecca H.

I was amazed at the speed and quality of work. I will tell anyone who wants to know that this is the place to get your concret done well, fast, and GREAT people to work with. Mr.
Elk River Lumber Stores Provider Name Locked
has been doing this since he was a child working for his father. We are impressed.
- Carol P.

Arrived on time, had all supplies needed for the job , quick work and did a wonderful job. Left the area cleaned when job was finished.the whole process was great, from talking with the consultant to the installers. I would recommend their service.Explained in detail what they were doing when changes were make, due to the type of fence I ordered adjustments were made and every thing came together. I love it. We done
Elk River Lumber Stores Provider Name Locked

- Rosalyn J.

All Lumber Stores in Elk River, MN

Companies below are listed in alphabetical order. To view top rated service providers along with reviews and ratings, Join Angie's List Now!

AA Garage Door Service

401 9th Ave
Saint Paul Park

ABC Supply - Coon Rapids

10141 Woodcrest Dr.
Coon Rapids

Arrow Building Center

755 31ST ST E


15851 85TH ST NE
Elk River

Bauer Brothers Salvage

2432 N 2nd St

Cemstone Products Co

2025 Centre Pointe Blvd Ste 300
St Paul


11755 213TH AVE NW
Elk River


17369 HIGHWAY 10
Elk River

DirectBuy of Indianapolis

8450 Westfield Blvd


10130 Davenport St NE

Dream Floors

1200 Mendelssohn Ave N.
Golden Valley, Mn

Ferguson Bath, Kitchen & Lighting Gallery

925 Decatur Ave N
Golden Valley

Frattallone's Ace Hardware

13735 Round Lake Blvd NW

Galleria Restoration Hardware

3670 Galleria St

Geek Squad - Best Buy

1000 W 78th St



Hamline Hardware Hank & Rental

755 N. Snelling Ave.
Saint Paul



Johnson Hardware

7936 Portland Ave S




840 Payne Ave
Saint Paul


2210 Geddie Pl

Lampert Lumber

1225 S Hwy. 3


Lake Elmo


11651 Ulysses St NE

Lowe's Home Improvement

3205 Vicksburg Ln N

Menards Hardware

3000 S Broadway

Metro Area Builders llc

PO Box 112


Elk River

Minnesota Barnwood, LLC

Store Location; 104 Railway ST

Minnesota Tile & Stone

6001 Culligan Way

Natural Built Home

4020 Minnehaha Ave


Saint Paul

Remodel Card

2575 Fairview Ave N
Saint Paul

Rent N' Save

504 Wilson Ave.

RepairClinic.com Inc

48600 Michigan Ave

River Lake True Value Hdwe

3605 E Lake St

Siwek Lumber and Millwork, Inc.

2536 NE Marshall St

Target Crystal

5537 W Broadway Ave

The Brass Handle

3165L Galleria

The Home Depot

1705 Annapolis Ln

The Home Depot

5800 Cedar Lake Rd S

Tilford Contracting

6530 Balsam LN N
Maple Grove

To the T Consruction

4335 Pheasant Ridge Dr.


7550 University Ave NE


801 State Highway 284

WBL Home Improvement

4550 Evergreen Dr

White Bear Rentals & Sales

3865 HWY 61
Saint Paul



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