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Sunrooms And Patio reviews in Oakland

Real People ~ Real Reviews ~ Real Results

  • I don’t take any pleasure in this, but I feel obligated to describe my less-than-ideal experience with the small remodelling job I had done by Artifex (Michael). It is only fair to future clients. I asked several companies for bids on a small remodeling job, which consisted of putting in an exterior French door and a window in a stucco house, and finishing two walls with shearwall and drywall. The door and window were salvage, and the door was not prehung, so it was definitely a custom job. However, I have personally, with no prior experience, hung seven not-prehung doors, one of which was French, all by myself with little more than homeowner tools, and they all came out perfectly. So it’s not that hard. The main things I really needed from Michael were a properly installed exterior French door and professional exterior waterproofing (the rest of the job anybody could do.) I talked to several contractors, and I really liked Michael’s attitude. He didn’t “overtalk” the job (oh, this is such a hard job only we can do it but it is really a lot of trouble so it’s going to cost you an arm and a leg), nor did he undertalk the job (doesn’t listen, takes a quick look around, waves his arms like he’s seen this a thousand times before and gives a quick bid without talking through the actual “custom” parts of the job to see what the client really wants). Instead, he was very honest and direct, listened well, talked enough so that I could see that he knew what he was talking about, acknowledged the custom aspects of the job (like fitting a salvage door), but didn’t pretend that they were prohibitively difficult. I stressed over and over to Michael that my major concern (in fact, the ONLY reason I was hiring a licensed contractor) was that I wanted expert installation and waterproofing of the door and window. Michael assured me he had experienced experts that would do this (as well as all the other aspects of the job). I also appreciated that Michael did his best to fit in my small job into his schedule, which had been screwed up by unforeseen problems on another job. And Michael is friendly and helpful. The PROBLEM was that Michael did not send me his “expert.” Instead, he sent a workman who had apparently never installed an exterior French door before—or perhaps any door—which was patently obvious from my overhearing the first minute of their conversation. Nonetheless, Michael assured me that this person knew exactly what he was doing, and asked me not to hover. I have plenty of experience and know that 90% of all workmen require hovering; however, in deference to Michael and his assurances of expertise, I left the workman and his assistant to themselves. Well, two or three days later, they were still at it, and I ended up with a door frame over a half inch out of plumb (fortunately, in the direction that was not visible, and it didn’t affect the door swing), a crooked door with an inch unnecessarily cut off the bottom, and several other problems I don’t have to go into, but which will all take me a number of hours to repair. And, although the window seemed okay, I also do not believe the exterior waterproofing was really done correctly on the door, but decided it was “good enough” for the leeward side of a house in a dry climate. The two workers literally spent TWICE as long to hang those doors as I had spent BY MYSELF, hanging French closet doors (also salvage) for my FIRST TIME! Luckily, I was not paying them by the hour. Generally speaking, the stucco work and the rest of the interior work went okay, except that I ended up with marks all over the ceiling; it took me a day and new paint to fix that, since the color of the ceiling paint had changed from eight years ago. The drywall guy was good; the exterior stucco texture and feathering is quite good. Michael agreed to install my interior door and window trim to make up for the hours I am going to have to spend fixing the door. The guy he sent out to do that is probably the “expert” Michael promised me the first time, because he carefully asked me what I wanted (he spoke English), listened, agreed with me on the best way to do the job, and although he was not quick, he did a very good job. The trim also required custom work because of other mistakes made by the original worker. If Michael had sent me this guy for the critical part of the job, I would probably be giving him rave reviews. Needless to say, after the first guy Michael sent me, I was dubious about the expertise of every worker he sent, and of course I hovered much more than usual, which was good, because some of the workers didn’t take instruction well and I had to head off several more mistakes. One of the major issues, too, is that none of these workmen spoke English, although of course they all pretended to, so I really couldn’t communicate effectively with them. This means one cannot relay the simplest information (hence more hovering) or get answers to the simplest questions. While this is obviously not a problem unique to Artifex, from this experience I have made my mind up to NEVER have any more critical work done on my property by people I cannot communicate with. Period. (I have two homeowner friends who speak Spanish, but even they say that is not very useful because their vocabularies do not relate to construction work.) I never heard Michael speak Spanish, so I don’t know how he communicates with his employees. Finally, if Michael had just apologized to me, and admitted that he had not sent me his “expert,” because he was needed on the other job (or whatever), and acknowledged that that was a terrible blunder, having promised me an expert, and indicated that this would never occur again with another client, I might not be writing this. But instead, his last words on the subject were, “Well, you send the people you have available.” Wrong! You do what you said you would do when you bid the job. End of story.
    - Sharon H.
  • Everyone on the team were very knowledgable about local codes/requirements so inspections were never an issue. The project was completed ahead of schedule (9 weeks) and the project manager was always readily available to keep us posted on progress and answer any questions or concerns we had. Evolve team was professional and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this company for any home improvement project!
    - Samantha T.
  • Jill was great. She is an excellent listener and communicator. Insightful and inspired advice. Reasonably priced and budget conscious. Collaborative. Knowledgeable. Trustworthy. She gave me a lot of good ideas for my remodeling project. Highly recommended!
    - LESLEY P.
  • The main bathroom remodel involved gutting the entire space down to the studs. We replaced the tub and shower over the tub, which included moving the plumbing and the tub drain to the opposite wall. To accomplish this, one of the windows had to be removed. The exterior wall need to be restuccoed. The new copper plumbing was run through the attic above. The new, half shower door was perfectly installed. Crow helped in the selection and ordering of all new materials: vanity cabinet, marble countertop, sink, plumbing and light fixtures, tile, under cabinet heater, toilet, etc. The job was perfectly executed in a timely manner and without one hitch. We adore our new bathroom and so do our guests! Crow has also created and fabricated two art items for my garden.
    - Ann N.
  • We use them for all the repairs at our place. The owner is very easy to work with, very prompt and courteous. I don't feel like he is overcharging. It's excellent quality.
    - Christopher S.
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Sunrooms / Patio Enclosure Builders in Oakland

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