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Interior Design reviews in Penn Valley

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  • The ceiling corner was stained and crumbling down inside a tub-shower enclosure with a sliding glass door, so it was an awkward spot for the workers to maneuver in.  They carefully removed the old ceiling back to the joists, cleaned out in the between-floors space, relined the edges of the ceiling hole, sheetrocked, and then re-textured the entire bathroom ceiling (first removing the light fixture), so it looks perfectly smooth.  Two fellows (both named Mitch) worked on the sheetrocking and their texturing specialist, Mike, completed the ceiling over the next day and a half, taking time to let the layers dry properly.  They took care to protect the floors, walls, and doors where they were working and cleaned up the area very well.  All three were professional and friendly, and I would definitely call upon Mitch's Drywall again.
    - Kathleen B.
  • Summary: 
    1. Ken?s work was mostly well done.
    2. He left a mess in my yard for me to clean up.
    3. He billed me for twice the hours he worked, and charged me more than double what he paid for paint and materials. 
    4. He adjusted the hours part way, so instead of being charged 34 hours for 16 hours of work time, I was ultimately only charged 26 hours for 16 hours of onsite work.
    5. I made several attempts to resolve issues directly with Ken Lynch and K L Painting.
    6. K L Painting insisted their estimate was a fixed price contract. I understood we had an agreement for a time and materials job. The estimate was presented on a ?K L Painting Estimate Form?, and included an estimate for hours, paint, and materials. There was no written or verbal mention of fixed price. There was no signature requested. 
    7. K L Lynch justified their position and refused to budge on the final bill.
    8. I contacted the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), where a representative said an estimate is not the same as a set price. There should have been a written, signed contract specifying a fixed price bid. There was not. 
    9. I filed a formal complaint with the CSLB  (Contractors State License Board). The review is in process. 
    The story from start to finish:
    Following a referral from a contractor whose work I was very pleased with, I asked Ken Lynch of K L Painting for an estimate to stain the exterior of my house, as well as to refinish my cabinets. I had obtained multiple bids for the exterior work, but other painters submitting bids either did not include the kitchen cabinet refinishing, or stated they did not work with lacquer.
    On May 22, 2013, Ken emailed his estimate, which included sections for staining the exterior, for some minor deck repair, and for refinishing the kitchen and bathroom cabinets.
    The estimate for refinishing cabinets in the kitchen and 2 bathrooms was: 
    32 hours @ $55/hour for 2 people (Ken and his assistant). 
    paint (lacquer and sealer / primer)     $690
    materials (paint thinner, latex gloves, ?)  $340  
    estimate total: $2790
    I hired Ken to refinish my cabinets, and hired someone else to stain the exterior of my house.
    On June 18-20, Ken and his assistant refinished my cabinets. They were onsite 17 hours and 45 minutes, including lunch breaks, over a 3 day period.
    After Ken and his assistant left the first day, I discovered an area of paint chips in the dirt behind his parked trailer. I asked him about the mess the following morning. Ken responded the paint chips were from shaking out his tarps. He said he would rake them up. 
    Ken presented me with a final bill on the 3rd morning as he and his assistant were packing up. The final bill listed 34 hours for labor. I asked Ken about it. He said they were here 4 days. I said no, this is day 3. He adjusted the final bill to 26 hours. I was operating on trust, and still quite impacted from the toxic lacquer fumes. I did not question the bill further at that time, and paid it in full.
    After Ken left, I began discovering issues with his work. The 2 oak coffee tables still drying in the garage were covered with blisters and grit. Ken later acknowledged he had used his blower to clean the garage, and assumed the coffee tables were dry enough not to be impacted. I found the foyer finish to be very rough, and filled with hair and grit. I discovered not only were the original paint chips still there, but there was a new, larger area of paint chips where he had used a blower to clean up his work space in my garage. There was no painting involved in the work he did for me - the paint chips were not from my job. Ken had left an unsightly, environmentally unfriendly mess for me to clean up.
    I contacted Ken to let him know about the oak coffee tables, and to tell him there was other work I thought needed to be touched up. He offered to return at no additional charge to address the issues.
    Ken came out on July 1. He refinished the coffee tables and looked at some of the areas I had marked in the kitchen. I hadn?t mentioned the foyer on the phone, and Ken didn?t have the materials with him to re-do it this trip. He agreed the foyer was rough, and offered to return again. Regarding the paint chips, he said he didn?t want to pick them up. When I showed him a log of his onsite hours and asked about the discrepancy between the 16 hours he and his assistant worked onsite and the 26 hours I was billed for, he replied ?That?s what was on my computer. There was a lot of prep work off site.? 
    I experienced Ken as dismissing several of my concerns, including about the bill and the debris he left.
    I now began to question the paint and materials charges as well, and did some research. I showed a specialist at the local paint store a photo of my kitchen, and asked how much lacquer he estimated would be required to refinish the cabinets. He said 2 gallons of lacquer at $37/gallon (retail) which would cover double-coating the doors front and back. I asked if Ken had purchased any lacquer in mid-June prior to starting work on refinishing my cabinets, and was told Ken purchased 2-3 gallons of Lenmar (Benjamin Moore) lacquer, and 2 gallons of sealer. If I added another gallon of lacquer for the bathrooms and the hallway counter top, plus stripper, my rough estimate of Ken?s cost was less than $300 (retail) for the lacquer and primer / sealer. Ken had charged me $1090 for paint and materials.
    On July 12 I sent Ken a letter listing my concerns about his work, the mess he left in my yard, and the bill. I asked for receipts for the paint and materials, and I asked to be reimbursed for overcharges on labor, paint and materials. 
    On July 17 Ken and his partner Jeannette came out to address my concerns. Ken re-did the foyer, and Jeannette cleaned up the debris Ken left in the yard. So far, so good. 
    Then Jeannette began addressing the issue of the bill. K L Painting?s position is that the estimate Ken submitted was a fixed price contract, not a time and materials estimate. The estimate was titled ?Estimate Form?, and included an estimate of hours, paint and materials. There was no mention of fixed costs. There was no signed contract. I understood the estimate to be just that ? an estimate for a time and materials job. I didn?t expect to be charged for 34 hours or even the adjusted 26 hours when Ken and his assistant only worked onsite for 16. I didn?t expect to be charged $1,090 for paint and materials that cost Ken hundreds of dollars less. 
    Jeannette said they had run in to this problem before, and she handed me internet print-outs of information about ?fixed price contracts? and ?labor and materials?. The print-out didn?t address the specifics of what should be included on a fixed price contract, namely fixed price language and signatures, none of which the K L Estimate Form had. 
    If it were me, if I?d had this issue come up before, and if I cared about being clear and fair with my customers, I would have modified my estimate or bid forms long ago to include the fixed cost language. I would mention it to the customer verbally, and I would have the customer sign an agreement to that effect. K L Painting did none of that. 
    Regarding the cost of paint and materials, Jeannette refused to share their invoices, but handed me a revised final bill stating that 6 gallons of lacquer and 7 gallons of primer were used on my job. Their revised final bill said they used twice as much lacquer and primer as the paint specialist estimated would be required, but even with 13 gallons of lacquer and primer at retail, plus the latex gloves and other materials they listed, the total would be several hundred dollars less than the $1,090 I was charged for paint and materials.
    Jeanette further justified K L Painting?s position of insisting on sticking with the high initial estimates rather than actual time and materials by saying they need to pay the expenses of a small business, and if they put $65/hour on their estimates instead of the $55/hour they currently quote, they would lose business. I understand there are challenges in owning a small business. At the same time, if I cared about providing fair value to my customers, I wouldn?t mislead them by quoting $55/hour, then charge them $114.38/hour. (Their initial labor charge was $1830 for 16 hours of onsite work, which works out to $114.38/hour. They later adjusted the labor charge to $1390, which works out to $86.88/hour.)
    When Ken and Jeannette refused to budge on the final bill beyond reducing the hours part way on the cabinet work, I told them I would be following up with the Contractors State License Board (CSLB). I have filed a formal complaint with them asking that the agreement be treated as the time and materials job I understood it to be rather than the fixed price contract K L Painting insists we had, with it?s resulting charges for much more labor than the job required and for significantly exaggerated materials costs. We are now waiting for CSLB to respond.
    bottom line: 
    If all you care about is quality of work, Ken Lynch of K L Painting did a good job refinishing my kitchen cabinets. Where there were issues with the coffee tables and the foyer, he voluntarily re-did the work.  
    If you care about integrity and fair dealing, I suggest you have a very clear, specific, and detailed conversation with Ken about what the agreement and contract is prior to agreeing to any work. Given that Ken?s estimates for my job were quite high compared to what was required, I suggest you obtain bids, estimates, or proposals from multiple sources. And I suggest you be clear with Ken about what you expect in terms of how clean he will leave your home and yard, and where he shakes out his tarps filled with paint chips and debris from previous jobs. 
    - Terri H.
  • In October, 2009 it became necessary for me to come to California from out of state to prepare my parent's home for a renter. Once all the furniture, etc. was removed from the house, it became apparent that the house could stand to be painted. Doug's name was provided to me by our renter and he was able to come out immediately and do the painting needed in the time frame we needed to work within. Having done a lot of painting myself, I can appreciate all that is involved in a good job. Doug and his helper took the time to make the necessary prepartions and do a quality job including caulking and two coats of pain. Everything was put back in its place and trash removed. It would be a pleasure to recommend Doug to anyone needing a quality paint job.
    - Dawn G.
  • He came in when he said he would and did exactly what he said he was going to do and gave me a reasonable price. I would recommend him highly to anybody. He is excellent, very cleanly, cleaned up properly. He does great work really quick and was done before I even expected him to be.
    - LOEL M.
  • the job was finished on schedule and looked great.
    - richard s.
  • TerribleCustomer Service, Dishonest, Untrustworthy , No Integrity
    - Jeanie M.
  • unknown
    - Suzie N.
  • unknown
    - JON B.
  • Done well and on time.

    - Dale J.
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Home Interior Contractors in Penn Valley

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