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Siding reviews in Berkeley

  • A
    American Home Renewal Inc
    The process from beginning to end went great. Their estimate was exact and no surprises. They showed up when planned and finished sooner than expected. The only negative was with clean up. It just wasn't as thorough as I had hoped and expected. After they left we filled almost 2 garbage bags of debris and picked up a pound or so of nails. To be fair, AHR did not do the removal of the original siding. That was done by another company since it was asbestos. So some of the trash was residual from the removal. I would hire them again without question!
    - Marci L.
  • A
    Carl Gaard's Work
    Overall, we have been very pleased with the extensive work that Carl has done in our home.  Our home sits in the Berkeley hills and was built in 1911, as one of the first homes in the area.  The top two floors underwent significant remodeling in the 80's, and we bought our home in 2008.

    Work on our living room

    We had been thinking for some time about how to fix several things about our living room.  A large corner fireplace took up significant space, and made the options for furniture placement tricky.  The living room ceiling was raised, but completely asymmetrical, with part of the raised ceiling ending abruptly into a side wall.   There were a set of floor-to-ceiling glass doors that led out to a precarious looking balcony off the back of the house. Finally there was a large bannister and stair rail that extended from the entry hall (where stairs lead to the downstairs bedrooms) into the living room.  The bannister was very heavy, and we wanted something that was smaller, used less wood, and that wouldn't become such a dominant feature of the rooms.
    With that in mind, we contacted Carl to see what he could do for us.  Carl transformed our living room into the gorgeous central room of our home that it now is.  His solution for the ceiling was elegant and simple  He created a 3 level soffit, beautifully and tastefully crafted with fir and redwood trim, complete with in ceiling lighting that squared up the room.  The lighting, in fact, is one of best things about the room.  Multiple lighting configurations allow for different types of illumination at different times.  One of the nicest touches he did was the creation of a hidden rail in the upper level of the soffit.  He ran some LED lighting on the inside of the rail, and then attached the lights to a dimmer.  This allows us to turn on that light at night for a striking soft bead of light that reflects off of the ceiling.  It is truly striking and highlights the ceiling almost as a work of art (which it is).  
    After consulting with an engineer who determined that our chimney was unsafe, we decided to take the chimney out.  This opened up an entire corner of our living room to be used which was unusable before.  He replaced the precarious bay window balcony with a window and window seat (that we could also use for storing our kids endless supply of "stuff").  He added a couple of additional windows on the back wall to provide more light and more opportunities to view the bay from the back side of the house.  Finally, Carl is first and foremost a wood worker and cabinet maker.  He created an entertainment center built in for us and some built-in book shelves and side board out of cherry wood. 
    During all of this, one of the things we appreciated the most was the other little things that Carl noticed along the way and just took care of.  As he was working through the remodel, he noticed that the west wall facing towards the bay was completely exposed to the outside with no insulation.  So Carl fixed that and packed in very tight insulation.  While replacing the balcony with a new window and love seat, Carl noticed that the roof above the balcony was completely unsupported and had sagged by as much of 4 inches from front to back.  So he popped that roof back up, and reinforced the framing around the love seat with large heavy wood (4x4s) to give it more structural integrity.  As he tore the sheetrock off the old room, he noticed that the sheer walling that had been put up in the 80's was very shoddy and in fact had not been done correctly at all.  So he put in all new sheer walling in the room.  He noticed that a large portion of the weight of the living room was resting on a non-bearing wall in the downstairs bedroom, and so he bought and placed a very large engineered beam (4" x 12" x 30') to tie the west wall of the living room so that it would rest on the bearing structure of the house.  
    While we appreciated Carl's attention to the visible craftsmanship of the room, we equally valued the fact that Carl did significant work to improve the seismic stability of our home.

    Work on our kitchen, dining room, and sun room

    We were pleased enough with Carl's work in our living room to ask him back a couple of years later to remodel our kitchen, adjoining dining room, and sun room.  The kitchen was in the front of the house with a door way leading into the dining room, which then also had a wider door way leading into a sun room that faced west with an expansive view of the Bay.  We had a relatively small kitchen for the size of our house with very little counter space, and we wanted to open up the wall between the kitchen and dining room and add an island for more counter space. as well as to provide a view of the Bay from the kitchen.  In the sun room, we mostly wanted to replace the cold slate tile with warmer hardwood flooring.  
     As with our living room, we were pleased with the overall results.  He did all new custom cabinets in the kitchen, took out the wall in the between the kitchen and dining room, replaced some old glass display built-ins in the living room with new custom cabinets that matched the style of the kitchen, put in new counters, new sink, moved the fridge, moved our pantry, and built a new island.  In the dining room, he raised the ceiling and created a smaller version of the soffit that he had created in the living room with in ceiling lights to provide continuity with the rest of the house.
     Probably the most impressive piece of work that he did as part of this remodel (in my opinion) was the new hardwood floor that he installed in the sun room to replace the cold slate that had been there previously.  I had a vision of a unique geometrical design that I wanted him to place in the center of the floor.  When I explained this to Carl, he was super enthusiastic about doing this, and he worked with me on crafting this design.  Though I could tell that there was part of him that wasn't sure he could pull it off, he took on the project.  The results were simply amazing.  Carl used different types of wood for different parts of the design to provide color and depth, and then went one step further to create another smaller version of the design inside of the larger one.  He also took care to orient the grain of the wood in ways that made it appear that the design had movement.  The result far surpassed anything that I could have imagined.  In the middle of our floor, we have an appealing geometric design that has the look of a moving MC Escher piece of art.  A truly fantastic and unique piece of work that will be in our house forever, and an example of the type of output that is possible with Carl if you work with him, and he takes the time to do it right.

    Some downsides

    The work that Carl can do is outstanding, and overall, we have been very pleased with him.  But if you are going to work with him, you probably need to know a few things, so that you don't get too disappointed.  It would be wrong to state that we were super pleased with absolutely everything.  

    His personality -
    Carl has a unique and quirky personality that I enjoyed, but he can be sensitive to criticism at times, and you kind of have to plow your way through that so that he will listen to what you are saying.  I have done *a lot* of remodeling myself in my day, and I am *very* picky about every little detail, and so I felt that Carl at times wouldn't want to hear what I was telling him.  I found that he listened to me more than he did my wife, and she grew pretty frustrated with him over time.  In addition, we brought in a designer who helped us pick designs for the backsplash, cabinet and wall colors, counter top colors, etc., and I felt that there were definitely times when Carl had his own strong opinions about how things should be, and wasn't always respectful in his tone and language with the designer.

    Sometimes he gets over his head -
    This is harder to spot, but at times, I felt he took on things that he would have been better leaving to another expert.  The most glaring example of this in our house was when he tried to replace part of the floor in our living room where the chimney was.  He tried to seamlessly blend the new flooring with the old 100-year old flooring and match the finish.  The results were pretty disappointing and I think any floor man would have said, forget it, and would have not tried to do that.  At some point we will have to fix that up.  For now, we have an area rug there anyway, and we don't notice it.

    Carl can rush things at the end of a job -
    While Carl can do truly outstanding work with attention to detail, we have noticed now in two separate jobs, that when he has other jobs at other locations that are on his plate, the quality of his work near the end of a job can go down significantly.  This probably contributed most notably to some of the less optimal work with final paint, stain, and varnish.  He can definitely get antsy and start to rush things at the end if he starts to stress about needing to move onto the next job on his plate.  Make sure you work with him up font on timelines and try to stick to those if you want to avoid this.  Also, if you are super picky about even stain jobs, drips in paint and varnish, consider hiring your own person to do this final finishing work.  I had to personally do a lot of clean-up on shoddy work in this area that was done near the end of his job with us.


    Despite the criticism I mention above, as I stated in the beginning, Carl did some great work in our home, and we are overall very pleased with his work.  At the end of the day, you can tell he cares and want to do good work for his clients, and we're happy to know Carl and to have used him.
    - Matthew M.
  • A
    Pace Builders, Inc.

       We were very happy with everything that they did.  This house was built in 1939 and is in quite good condition but it needs several upgrades and some TLC.  We will be working with Peter and his crew again.
    - Judith W.
  • A
    J D's Roofing & Remodeling
    I couldn't recommend him more.  He was efficient and on time.  He did beautiful work.  He did work in pieces that we didn't' think could be done, so it saved us money by not doing whole sections of the house.
    - Barbara N.
  • A
    Precision Roofing Co
    We purchased a 100+year old home that needed some serious work. The roof had 6 layers on it, and the cedar shakes on two sides of the house were paper thin.
    We got quotes from several roofing companies to replace the roof and re-side half of the house, including from several A-rated Angie's List companies. 
    Precision came in with a fairly detailed bid, and also a higher-than-average price. We met with Michael a few times and were convinced by his professionalism and treatment of his employees that Precision would be the right company for the job.
    Turns out we were 100% correct. They did an excellent job, dealing with all kinds of problems along the way without a hitch. They were meticulous in their construction and the finished product looks fantastic. In retrospect, given the quality of their work, the slightly higher price was a total bargain. We were glad to pay it. We've had multiple people comment on the quality of the craftsmanship. Their warranty is also top-notch, and considerably longer than that of their competitors. 
    We intend to use them again if we ever have any additional roofing needs. Can't recommend them highly enough.
    If I had to nitpick, one issue was timing -- they had to move the start date a few times to account for unexpected delays at another project they were working on.
    - AJ S.
  • A
    Exterior Remodeling Specialists
    Paul and his crew did an excellent job. We live in a 3.5 story hillside home, with a lot of exterior surface area. As we got in to the job, we discovered extensive water damage that had been caused by our old leaking siding, and quite few areas that required new underlying plywood and sheetrock. Paul and his crew handled all of the work, and did a fine job on everything. The scope of the work went beyond what we originally expected, but that was only due to the water damage and some additional items we chose to add in to the scope. We would definitely hire Exterior Remodeling Specialists again!
    - Dan K.
  • A
    Elliot & Elliot Co
    We needed to replace the shingles on two sides of our house because they were worn and curling. Craig from Elliott & Elliott looked at the job and explained everything that would be involved. The job required scaffolding, and we were considering adding a window in one wall, so Craig gave us contacts for a scaffolding company and a contractor, while assuring us that we could use anyone we wanted. The Elliott bid was lower than the other one we got, so we booked them for the job. Their recommended scaffolding company was also the lower bid, so we used them too.

    The job involved framing around the garage door, a window, and other openings, and all of that work looks great. The shingles were carefully applied and look great too.  After they tore off the old shingles we got some unseasonal rain. The Elliott guys ran over and covered up the whole three-story wall with waterproof backing material, so no harm was done.

    The job was finished on time and Elliott was very easy to work with. Craig was available to answer any questions we had. Highly recommended.
    - Bea D.
  • A
    Dan Martinez Construction Inc.
    I interviiewed five contractors and decided to work with Martinez Construction because they were willing to incorporate my ideas, while providing me guidance - but they took my opinions seriously. Martinez Construction was about mid-point when compared with other contractor's pricing - but they were worth the price because of their professionalism. They showed up on time and completed both projects on schedule. The work was impecable. Martinez Construction is busier than some of the contractors I contacted but they kept me apprised of changes in their schedule and I knew when to expect them to complete projects. Communication is key when working wtih contractors and I was very happy with the way Dan Martinez called me, almost daily, the let me know what to expect. Overall the experience was really positive.
    - Stacie b.
  • A
    Above & Beyond Construction
    Above & Beyond Construction were always available by phone and very patient in explaining the damage and the scope of the proposed work. Their team was extremely thorough and spent many hours revisiting the work during the rain storms to ensure that they had fixed the leak before closing the drywall in the garage. They were honest in diagnosing problems and never employed "scare tactics" like other contractors we interviewed. We needed our water heater replaced and had already given the job to ABC, but were waiting to have more work done first. One morning we woke up, had no hot water, called ABC and had a new water heater installed in hours. We have an older fix-upper house and will be using their services again in the near future. Highly recommend!
    - briana l.
  • A
    Joe Gaba did bathroom remodeling and inside painting work for us two years ago, and had offered to do minor repairs for us from time to time. Just before winter set in this year, I noticed that several large wood siding panels on the outside of the house were starting to fall off. Joe came out to look at it within two days, and returned with a helper to do the repair two weeks later. He found the source of the problem (panels not nailed to studs in the wall) and reattached them properly. The work had to be done from ladders, standing on a slope, about 20 ft in the air. I'm sure that I would have had a hard time finding anyone else to do a small job in such a difficult spot on short notice. As always, Joe did the job carefully and correctly, and his charge was very reasonable.
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Siding Contractors in Berkeley

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