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Basement & Foundation reviews in Mission Hills

  • B
    Contractor was initially hired to provide us with a kitchen design.  The first meeting went well and all the parameters were discussed.  The contractor provided us with plans at our second meeting (he explained a misunderstanding on his part)  that were not what we provided.  Oddly enough, he lucked into a better design.  He provided us with a quote we found acceptable and we scheduled a follow up meeting to narrow the parameters.  I should point out that when he made his estimate, we left him alone in the kitchen for quite some time and allowed him to open and close all the cabinetry as needed.  We pointed out at this time that the cabinets had waste disposal lines and water lines running through them that were existing from a prior owner (we bought our house as a prior foreclosure).  Contractor said he didn't see those initially but didn't feel it would be major issue and didn't think it was necessary to modify his quote.
    We chose to contract with this contractor based on our feel, reviews on Angie's list and details provided in the contract and understanding of our needs.  The job was scheduled for later in the year based on mutual timeline issues and needs.  The job started as planned and demolition appeared to go well.  We again pointed out the waste lines and water lines in the existing cabinets.  It was at this time that Sean "didn't remember" the issue with the waste lines and supply lines.  These lines are needed as they are for our laundry.  We did point out this issue to Sean previously, however I honestly don't feel we stressed it well enough for him to "remember" it well.  Sean explained that a change order was needed.  We also asked to have under-cabinet lights installed as well.  This was also added to the change order.
    Prior to the demolition, we showed Sean the lighting we had bought and showed him where they should be installed.  We pointed at our beamed ceiling and explained that we wanted him to use EMT conduit for the wiring.  He appeared to understand our needs here and all was agreed upon.  Soon after the demo was done and work had begun, my wife called and said they wanted to drill through a beam in order to facilitate wiring for the lighting.  I found this confusing as we agreed on EMT conduit.  When I returned home, I found that the crew was attempting to install Armored Cable.  This necessitated another meeting with Sean and his Foreman Tal.  We again asked about the conduit and Sean explained that the "Armored Cable" they were installing was their understanding of conduit.  At this time, he said his staff' could not install the lighting with the EMT as we liked.  It was at this time that Sean and his foreman tried to talk us out of installing the lighting this way as it was non-traditional and out of the ordinary for home use.  His Foreman went so far as to call the look "Ugly!".  Fortunately, I have a good friend that is skilled in bending tubing (it's not a difficult skill) and my wife and I were able to preserve the integrity of the beams and obtain the look we wanted for our kitchen.  Basically, they did not do this part of the job.
    Flooring, the new tiles were installed well.  We were asked by the Foreman if it would be okay to install the grout after the cabinets were installed.  I explained that this worries us as kitchen's deal with a lot of spills.  We felt that if liquids leaked into unfilled grout lines under cabinetry in a kitchen it may likely lead to mold or worse (bugs!).  i'm still surprised they asked if they could skip that
    Cabinets.  The Cabinet installation was done by a subcontractor.  Their were many issues.  However, Sean would not provide us directly with the Cabinet installation company so we are providing our review here.  The install only went okay and the installers had to come back 3 times to correct irregularities and (at my suggestion) cover a scratch with trim.  I'm going to provide detail on one issue as an example.  There was a large piece of wood that needed to be trimmed for proper fit.  The size of the original piece approximated a 4 x 8 piece of plywood.  The installer needed to make a cut across the narrow piece of plywood and decided to do so with his portable table saw that placed on the floor of our driveway and plugged into the exterior plug alongside the garage (not a problem).  I noticed that he was trying to lead the extremely large piece of wood with the long side facing outside of the table saw (as he was cutting it along the narrow side) with his crew mate holding the large piece of wood level with the table saw while he leaned into the wood (on his knees) leading it through the (blade guard removed) table saw while trying to avoiding being cut himself.  I stayed away from this as I assumed they'd done this dangerous maneuver before.  However, I trully expected to have to call emergency at some point in time (glad I didn't).  Anyway, they were forcing the very thick wood through the table saw to quickly and the blade was beginning to bind and the motor sounded like it was straining.  They in fact overloaded the breaker.  It was at this time that the workers went to Home Depot to get an extension cord rather than tell me they had overloaded the breaker.  Something I could have fixed for them in 5 minutes by flicking a switch. 
    Countertops.  These are excellent.  The installers were true craftsman that take great pride in their work.
    Back splash.  This was installed beautifully as well.  Our design was a combination of stone mosaic and 3 x 5 glass mosaics.  We were worried about the design.  However, the installer explained that he had done 14 color mosaics and this was easy enough for him to do.
    Timeliness and communication.  Sean does not always keep a stable timetable and at times didn't communicate when he'd be late until well after his agreed upon meeting time. I will point out here that this does not translate to his staff'.  They were all good at keeping schedules and timeliness.
    Cost.  2 issues.  There was a 40% excess of glass tile ordered for the back splash installed in the kitchen.  I tried to overlook this, but when I remeasured the kitchen with any possible or allowable extras, the amount ordered was well beyond our needs.   Second issue.  We selected a floor tile hat was 12 x 24.  We were able to purchase a sample and take pictures of the pricing of the tile.  However, when the price was passed on to us it was passed on at twice the square footage.  When the above issues were discussed with Sean he took exception at us questioning a 40% excess.  Two things went really bad here.  I realize being told 40% overage is upsetting, but mistakes do happen and I would've accepted this as an explanation had the two following things not occurred.  First, I was accused angrily by Sean that I was trying to cheat him (I'd written check's in excess of $30k at this point ~ would I really cheat you of a few hundred bucks?  Second, I was later told rather loudly that overages were necessary in order to maintain productivity.  I do understand the latter point, but 40% is way to excessive to justify that and offsetting your worry about production flow to your clients by intentionally purchasing costly product is in my opinion a questionable ethical concern.  Sean did finally agree to write down his bill.  However, getting there was a rockier road than was necessary.  It was this last meeting that had us deciding not to use Sean for further work.  I should point out that he has very good people working for him and perhaps he let his pride get the best of him at that time.  I did wait a year to post this review as I wanted our own "feelings" to level.
    Cheers!
    - Benjamin U.
  • A
    The job went extremely well!  As owner-builders, one of our concerns was keeping our existing water and drains functional until we were ready to move into our new space.  This created about a month and a half delay between the beginning of Michelangelo's work effort and the completion of it.  The owner, Michael, was very accommodating of our schedule and made sure we were never without water, gas or drainage.  Although Michael was not on site during the actual work, his team led by Manny were always on time, courteous, neat and thorough in their work.  It was clear to us from day 1 that Michael took pride in delivering a quality product and Manny (and Michael's entire team) obviously supported that goal.  Being first time owner-builders, my wife and I occasionally had bouts of nervousness.  Generally speaking, we are always nervous whenever we have a contractor of any type work on our home, which is why we decided to be owner-builders on this project.  We were very pleased that throughout the project, Michael always took the time to speak with us directly and always set our minds at ease.

    It was clear to us from the very beginning that Michael's goal was to build a long term relationship with us, NOT cross-sell us as many products/services as possible.  Michael remained very aware of our budget and based on our price comparisons gave us a fair and reasonable bid for our project.  He also stood behind that bid and completed the job with no add-on expenses. 

    We highly recommend Michael and his Team and would not hesitate to use them again!  As far as we are concerned, they are the only plumbers in the book!
    - Michael A K.
  • B
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    - Robert & Pamela C.
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Foundation & Basement Contractors in Mission Hills

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