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Tile Installation reviews in Fairfield

  • B

    Okay.  I needed a new kitchen and wanted a professional to help with the design as well as to coordinate with subs so as to minimize household disruption and speed the job (grumpy husband).  I emphasized many times that I did not want to be treated as a small job and sandwiched between larger jobs, when they could fit me in.  I wanted to be their first priority that for that moment.  I needed the job to proceed right through to completion, not linger on and on like you hear about with other people.


    My space was small and limited in floor plan changes.  Superior's design was excellent.  No complaints, it works perfectly.  I had several ideas of my own and they were accepted w/o objection or argument, I knew what I wanted.  They listened to me when I described my wants and needs--that was impressive--and important.  The cabinets that were put in  were high quality and fit perfectly.  The  quartz counter is marvelous.


    The designer/project manager never forgot the budget and worked to stay within it.  I did exceed my budget by buying some things myself (pulls, faucet, microwave, backsplash tiles, paint).  But that was my decision.  Superior did a good job of steering me in the direction of things that would fit the budget, I did not get any sense of an attempt to inflate the profit margin.


    Superior's available arrays of cabinet pulls & faucets were too limited--disappointing--so I provided those myself.  I found a far superior LED tape system of under-cabinet lights than they offered.   There was no problem with them using what I provided--they were not included in the budget, I paid separately for those.  I was disappointed that they seemed unaware of some of the latest products that were available, like the Kichler LED tape lights, which are so far superior t clunky LEDs or inefficient halogens.  Or the premium Legrand switches.  I found those on my own.


    Superior provided me with a firm timeline that I found acceptable and would meet my goal of minimizing household disruption.  That was critical to me when I signed the contract.   I was forced to delay start of the job when we discovered a structural issue in our  roof/wall that would have impacted this job.  I could not find a local contractor but Superior was able to recommend someone who did a great job.  That was about a 2-3 week delay.  But Superior said they were ready to roll, so we began.  Demo was quick but the cabinets took twice as long to install as predicted, but they were carefully & professionally done--and the installer was creative in dealing with a heating duct that was in the way, I liked that.  Then came the delays that were not supposed to be happening.  The counter guy couldn't measure b/c the cabinets weren't in place when he showed up.  So he had to come back the next week.  Then the counters had to be fabricated, yet more (but scheduled) delay.  I will say that we only spent 3 days without some sort of kitchen sink, even if  a temporary sink, and the refrigerator & stove were available, so it could have been worse.  And the week + we spent w/o counters was less bad b/c I laid plywood over the tops of the cabinets as a temporary measure.  It would have been nice if Superior did that w/o asking b/c we were living in the house, but I had Lowe's cut a sheet of plywood into three 2-ft strips and put them down myself.  After all, I was dealing with a grumpy husband who can't stand change. . .


    Workers left my side yard littered with cigarette butts and food wrappers where they took their breaks.  That was disappointing and unprofessional.  I mentioned that to the project manager but got no response, perhaps that is a common practice with workmen?  I would have been happy to provide them with chairs and ashtrays if I'd known it at the time.  But otherwise the construction debris was cleared away promptly by the end of each day. 


    The flooring was swiftly but not carefully installed by Superior's crew.  This was very disappointing.  A crew had to return to fix many visible gaps that should not have been there at all, that 2nd installer said the first crew could not possibly have missed, they were so obvious.  Uh, why would they leave it like that?  Did they just think that this little old lady wouldn't notice?  Or did they just not care?  There are still some minor gaps.  I was then asked, "Now are you happy?"  Not sure why it wasn't installed carefully and correctly the first time.  But I do have an eye for detail.  OTOH, shouldn't a professional flooring company have an equally good eye for detail when they install their own product?  I think so.  This is said to be an excellent product..


    The cabinet maker had omitted or provided incorrect storage systems for 2 key cabinets and was very slow to remedy his error, I had to repeatedly remind Superior to fix this since I could not re-load those cabinets--the contents were filling up a spare bedroom and we needed them for daily use during the delays.  For some reason, Superior had the cabinetmaker call me to explain his delay and he in turn blamed Superior to some extent, I felt very much caught in the middle.  I thought the purpose of having a project manager was to remove the homeowner from that part of the process and keep things moving? 


    Numerous subs were involved and every time there were delays/problems, it always ended up in finger pointing.  I had to make numerous calls/emails to Superior to get things moving, I really was not interested in who blamed who..  Yet every time an installation milestone was met, the project manager was there promptly to get the check.  If only the same level of interest and attention had been paid to getting the job done!


    To the credit of the project manager and Superior, they met with me near the completion of the job to discuss changes in their procedures to keep such delays from happening again in future jobs.  Perhaps in anticipation of this review?  Possibly not.  They readily accepted that the job did not go as planned or as promised and there did seem to be genuine regret.  They did absorb some small expenses, mainly involving cabinet storage systems, as a token of remorse.  The company is small and possibly some staff was lacking in experience?  That was the sense I got.  OTOH, I am sure every job presents new and unique problems that must be dealt with.


    Fortunately, the final product is superb.  The design is great.  The function is fantastic.  If only the floor had been installed w/o unsightly gaps, it would be perfect.  Should I have not paid until they re-laid the floor?  Perhaps.  I don't want to be unreasonable and perhaps my personal standards are too high. But  I don't think it is unreasonable for a kitchen floor to be installed as advertised--so there would be no gaps for water to penetrate.  But the idea of moving all that furniture and starting all over again was really too much after all the other delay and disruption, I was dealing with a grumpy husband!  We  were just worn down by that point.  So I accepted it as is.  I do intend to continue that same floor throughout an adjacent room but plan to lay it myself since I was disappointed in the professional's work.


    Anyway, I've never used a professional designer before but I do think that Superior provided a splendid final product, all things considered--minus the wear and tear on me and the floor.  If they actually do make the changes in their practices that they articulated voluntarily to me, then the future clients will greatly benefit, as will Superior.  After all, a professional planner needs to be on top of their game, it's the premium the client is paying for.  I would openly discuss in full the timeline and potential issues, and how they will be dealt with.  Too much of this seemed to be crisis management, which was exactly what I was trying to avoid.  And I think their contract should include a penalty clause regarding delay on the part of Superior.  After all, the client ends up bearing the brunt of the delay, as anyone who lives w/o a kitchen can attest.  Hold their feet to the fire.  I don't think they dodged my calls, but I do think they should have been more proactive so I didn't have to goose them at all.


    I want to emphasize that the kitchen I ended up with is far better than I ever anticipated.  I love it.  Superior met and/or exceeded my expectations over all.  I did receive the benefit of paying that premium for a professional design.  There are a lot of new things out there in the way of storage systems, etc. that average people just don't know about, so it pays to consult the experts.  I do not regret using Superior, I think they did a great job overall. 


    My new kitchen is a pleasure to work in.  And I now have the answer to that age-old question:  Yes, it is more fun to clean a nice kitchen than a dump!



    o
    - Laura S.
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