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Basement & Foundation reviews in Bath

  • A
    Upright Building Services
    A year ago, my wife and I relocated from Chicagoland to the Midcoast of Maine where we purchased a lovely garrison colonial home on 2 acres of land on the top of granite and pine covered hill top.
    As we moved into our first winter we discovered 2 shortcomings to our house.  The first was that the building did not have rain gutters and rainwater and snow melt shed all along the foundation.  As a result the floor of our cellar would occasionally get wet enough to require the use of a shop vac.  Second, the house is oriented on the property so that the back of the house where our deck was located faced north and the roof line ran from east to west such that the sun did not shine directly through any window on either the north or south side of the house.  This resulted in the interior being very dark in the autumn and winter months and not coincidentally difficult and expensive to heat.  We determined that a room addition added to the living room on the north side of the house had the possibility of providing sunlight to enter on 3 sides of the room and with ample windows and screening could provide a light, airy room in the warm months and a snug, bright room in the cold months.  Further we decided to add a Vermont Castings wood burning stove in the center of the north wall. 
    We had some rudimentary ideas about how this addition properly designed could remedy the 2 issues listed above.  At this point we realized we needed to acquire some real talent for consultation and execution. 
    We knew no one in the area so we referred to Angie?s List where we had found success in the past.  And through it we identified Fred Hilchey the owner of Upright Building Services.  The interview process was critical for 2 reasons.  First we needed to discover a great deal about the character of Fred Hilchey, i.e., integrity, work ethic, creativity and problem solving. 
    And second we knew we needed a builder with a very broad and complete skill set.  We were fortunate since Fred
    and his small crew met all of our needs. 
    His consultation and advice at the beginning of the project turned out to be spot on.  He recommended a metal shed roof that attached to the existing roof of the house and continued the same pitch 15? further into the back yard.  Powerful rain storms during the latter part of summer and early fall have shown that he was right and the water is sluiced far enough into the back yard so as to drain down the granite hillside and not into the cellar which has remained bone dry.  We expect the same result as snow slides off the metal roof this winter.   
     The second issue regarding heat was that the interior of the addition has a cathedral ceiling that slopes up and attaches above a window to a den.  Fred advised that when the stove was heating the addition it would not only provide heat to that room but with the aid of a ceiling fan heat would vector up the ceiling and through the sliding window he installed and provide some heat to the upstairs rooms.  As it turns out he was once again quite correct as that little wood burning stove now supplements the heat for the 4 upstairs rooms and bath and we can nicely regulate the degree of heat by opening and closing the sliding window and the doors to the various rooms.  Thus 2 mechanical issues regarding the house with Fred?s experience were ameliorated in a very satisfactory way.  Additionally as can be seen from the list above Fred?s aesthetic and architectural sense have made this addition both functional and beautiful.  The exterior is consonant with the overall design of the house and the 5? casement windows and functional transom windows and the sliders at the east and west ends of the addition allow us to capture a breeze no matter the direction of the wind.  The interior is also beautiful due to the size of the windows and the proximity to the pines and wild life.  But also the finish work and detail once again exceeded our expectation.  The ceiling is
    tongue and groove pine which will color and develop a fine patina with time.  The window sills are all over sized to accommodate tea or coffee cups and small plants. 
    The project as Fred warned was not without its difficulties.  Immediately in trenching out the foundation Fred ran into ledge which required pinning the foundation and where the addition attached to the house was also where the attached garage
    joined the building.  This made for a very difficult roof transition.  At each step as problems were encountered Fred and his team analyzed and solved them elegantly.  There were no surprises.  Fred consulted with us each time the unexpected occurred or he had an idea to enhance the finished project.  No corners were cut.  The work was meticulous inside and out.  The result is beautiful and exceeded our expectations.  Would we hire Fred Hilchey again?  You bet.  We have already scheduled him for our kitchen remodel right after the Thanksgiving holiday.  As a side note Fred?s team reflects what Upright Builders stands for notably his right hand man, Jason, has the same dedication and work ethic that Fred Hilchey personifies. 
    - Jan B.
  • A
    Upright Building Services
    He explained what he was doing, showed us clearly when it was finished,
    and refrained from pointing out all the other structural work that we
    know needs to be done. We are pleased with the work of Fred and his
    crew. He is obviously capable of doing much more complicated jobs and we
    would not hesitate to hire him again. His prices are not the lowest,
    but he will do the job right.
    - Lora S.
  • F
    Bill Whorff Inc
    We moved into our house 3 years ago. This was our first experience with a septic system. Before closing on the house, we negotiated into the settlement the addition of a new and complete septic system including new tank, leach field, pipes, and an electric "lift" pump station since, unfortunately, we were "told" that a simple gravity leach system couldn't work in our field. The $18,000.00 cost was negotiated between us the buyers, and the sellers, into the final settlement cost of the property. No one was living on the premises at the time of the sale. We moved in to find the pump station electric wires entering a large open hole in the stone basement foundation wall. We caulked it up. I called Whorff a few times early on to get some idea of the layout of the system, operating and maintenance instructions, etc. They maintained they had nothing to tell me, that there was no documentation detailing how the system was actually built. They claimed the person responsible for the actual installation was no longer with the company. They insisted that the system had been built according to the designer's blueprints and that that was the extent of any documentation. The design plans didn't show where the tank was. It only showed the layout of the yard and details of the leach field. Our multi-acre property is field, woods and marsh, made up of mostly ledge. Finding this tank was like finding a needle in a haystack, a solid ledge haystack. It would have been impossible to know in advance where that tank could be placed. Now, our third summer, it was time to clean out the tank. We called a highly recommended local company and they weren't sure where the cleanout was. We called Whorff again, a number of times, asking that someone come out and either FLAG WHERE the cleanout was or uncover it. (Since there were now apparently two different cleanouts- one to the house and one to the tank, we were really confused. This information could have simply been provided to us! Why was all this confusion necessary? Finally they came out, the soil moved aside and the lid exposed. Directly across the concrete lid lay electric wires. Even if the cleanout company was able to slide the lid out from under the wires, they would never have been able to attach a hose with the wires stretched across the opening like a rubber band. Another phone call asking who had been responsible for the installation of the electical. They again weren't interested- telling ME to simply dig up and move the wires. They said for me to dig out both ends, relieve the pressure, and pull off the lid! Why would we pay $18,000.00 to have to dig up and rewire the system ourselves!? My conversation with "Tom" grew heated. I enlisted someone who had much more "clout" than us and Whorff sent out two young men (in the pouring rain) to, I supposed, dig up the wires and fix their obviously unsafe and unprofessional work. After the rain stopped, we looked again and couldn't believe what they left behind. Worse than before. They had exposed yet another lid (supposedly the correct one this time); had cut, spliced, and lengthened the wires, thus relieving the tension, but on either end lay a foot or so of completely exposed BARE WIRE in the soil, the spliced ends covered with tiny bits of plastic used in a car engine. Now, mind you, the young men sent out had done the best they could under the circumstances and in the pouring rain. They had most likely been sent by their superiors. I loaned them a circuit tester to insure the power was off so no one got hurt in the pouring rain. Didn't their supervisors have any concern for their safety, their company's workmanship and reputation, or our or the cleanout company's safety? Since things were obviously going from bad to worse and we were wasting a great deal of time, we gave up with Whorff and my husband did the work himself. $18,000.00 indeed. It is obvious that this company has NO interest in customer service or quality control. They knew that the long-time former home owner was no longer living in the house and must have felt that a less than adequate job would suffice with new homeowners. Not a shred of documentation came from them to us. At one point "Tom" actually asked who had paid for the system, knowing that the sellers had "paid" out of the settlement, and claimed that therefore, they had no responsibility to us. That pretty much says it all. We've been in the "rehab" business for 20 years, buying, rehabbing, renting and selling beautiful old Victorian homes in a Historic District in the mid-west. We've seen shoddy work before but rarely electrical due to its inherent danger to anyone working in or around it. This tank will need to be cleaned on a regular basis and safe electrical is a no-brainer. Buyer, beware this company.
    - MARK & SANDY A.
  • A
    - Terry A.
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Foundation & Basement Contractors in Bath

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