Review Backlash

This is the last time you’ll hear me complaining about our contractor. I promise!

You all saw my Yelp review I posted about last week. Well, I also posted that to BBB and a few other sites that The Basement Men and The Creative Approach are on. I decided that I was going to write a shorter review on FB, directing readers to the Yelp review.

Steve, our contractor and owner of the companies decided to write back with nothing but lies. I was actually in so much shock that I retaliated quickly. Normally I wouldn’t react publicly. I would let them get the last word because I would have zero need to defend myself for something I know I’m right about. This time however, I couldn’t help myself.

My response was probably irrational and immature but it had to be said. It’s one thing for Steve to defend himself and his company but to flat-out lie about me and David- nope, I won’t have any of that!

Here is how all of the drama went down. If you don’t like drama I highly suggest exiting out of this post ASAP

https://m.facebook.com/The-Creative-Approach-Builders-The-Basement-Men-The-Concrete-Man-108344832553947/

Our Final Review

I’ll be honest, I am not one to write reviews unless it is asked of me to write one, I’ve had an exceptional experience, or an awful one. I really don’t even write reviews on awful experiences because it’s not worth my time or I quickly forget about it within a couple of days. After our experience with this contractor, I couldn’t help myself. I wrote a long and horrendous (but honest) review of our experience with him/ his company.

He has three names for his company which is weird to me. He has The Basement Men, The Concrete Men, and The Creative Approach. We were writing checks out to The Basement Men even though our project wasn’t in the basement. Anyway, the contractor, Steve, didn’t want to see the final reveal of the bathroom, I lost my sh*t and decided I wasn’t going to sugar coat my review.

So, here it is. I copy pasted it from Yelp. Was I too harsh? Probably! But, hopefully Steve can take this and learn so that his company thrives.

Readers beware: this is long but honest
When we first met Steve, we liked the work he showed us in his notebook. He also gave us a really low quote which my husband thought was actually a fair quote for a small bathroom. We signed the contract and were excited to get this project started. The contract said we had to give a 50% deposit and a 50% completion check.
Things were going pretty smoothly, but Steve was annoying when it came to payments. We decided to remove some concrete and he said it was an extra 600 dollars. We agreed to the cost& he came over to collect a 50% deposit and the following day he came over to collect the rest. We thought it was odd that he needed 2payments for such a small bill or why he couldn’t have just added it on to the final invoice.
He then asked for more progress checks and we gave him them even though our contract said NOTHING about progress checks.
We started to notice that Steve ONLY came over when he wanted a check. He never checked on the project unless a check was involved. Our previous contractor was here every single day and was an active part of the remodel. So strange.
We went through a polar vortex which delayed our counters from being installed. Steve was on us about it but it wasn’t something that we could control.
The second the counters were installed we contacted Steve to let him know. He said that his workers would be over the next day. The following day we expected the guys to show up, and they didn’t show up in the morning. Steve called my husband and texted him asking if it was ok if he came over for a completion check. What???? The bathroom wasn’t completed or anywhere near it. My husband told him that he wasn’t comfortable with giving him a check until it was completed and Steve asked if we could write a post dated check instead. My husband said it depended on how much progress was made that day but he wasn’t sure he feels comfortable writing the check. Well, 12pm rolls around, no workers, they showed up at 1:15!! We didn’t care that they showed up so late, but we knew that the bathroom would be nowhere near completion to write a check for Steve. My husband texted Steve to inform him that he would not be writing a check that day. Steve did not like that answer. One of his workers came to find me and had Steve on the phone for me. Steve told me how rude my husband’s text message was to him and how it’s not ok for my husband to say he will write and check and then go back on his word. I reminded steve that our contract states a “completion” check and the bathroom isn’t completed, therefore he should not be getting a check. He proceeded to push me into writing a check and post date it, and he would not accept no for an answer. When I told him over and over that he won’t get a check until it’s completed since that’s what the contract said, he told me we were playing dirty and kept saying “so that’s how you want to play this game”. He mentioned that we delayed his project with the counters and he took a higher paying job than ours and now has to pull his men from that job to finish ours. So I told him to have his men finish today and we will hire somebody else to complete the job. He said he would pull his men from our job and reschedule in a couple of weeks when they finish their bigger job. Finally I cut him off and told him I had to deal with my two small children and hung up.
I was waiting and waiting for his men to leave, they never did. My husband got a lovely text that Steve was pulling his guys, and my husband didn’t respond. When he came back from work at 5:00 the workers were still there. So it was an empty threat. They didn’t leave until 6:30 and then my husband got yet ANOTHER text saying that the men made lots of progress, how about my husband gives him half of the completion check?? Are you serious??? Is this real?!?! My husband said nope, not until the job is complete.
The men showed up the next day (Thursday) , Friday, and were at the house from 8-6:40 on Saturday. They came back Monday as well. We heard that the workers got in trouble for installing our mirrors, painting our trim, and potentially sealing our tiles.
They finally finished Monday afternoon and Steve texted my husband about when he could come collect his check. He agreed on 5:15 and didn’t show up until almost 6. HE DIDN’T EVEN WANT TO SEE THE FINISHED PROJECT!! Can you believe that?! What contractor doesn’t want to see the work his men did on a job?!
This was the most disturbing, uncomfortable experience and I would never ever ever work with Steve again or recommend him to my worst enemy. The way he spoke to me was unacceptable and inappropriate and the harassment for a check made him come off desperate and shady. It’s a shame because his workers do a good job and some were pleasant to be around, but save yourself the hassle and do NOT use this company. We would have rather paid 3 times more than we did just for a more pleasant experience.

Broken Tile, Messy Grout, Bad Vanity Planning, and Paint Splatters

I think that our contractor and his men wanted to be done with the bathroom just as bad as we wanted it to be done.

Besides not reading the reviews for this company, our biggest regret was not having the contractor do a final walkthrough because there was a lot more to be fixed than we anticipated.

Last weekend, David went to deep clean the bathroom so that we could move the boys into it. Who would have thought sharing s bathroom with two small children for 2 months would be such an ordeal?! As he was cleaning we discovered quite a few things that we would have expected to be fixed.

The grout is kind of mess but I really think if we used a lighter color it would have turned out great. I just expected more from a professional company. We noticed one broken tile and three scratched tiles in the shower. All which can’t be fixed but need to be chiseled out.When David was walking in the bathroom, you can hear and feel that some of the floor tiles are loose. Again, they need to be chiseled out.They did terrible planning when installing the vanity because the drawer on the end cannot be opened all of the way due to the window trim being in the way. Unfortunately, this is something that can’t be fixed at this point.Lastly (from what we could tell), there was ceiling paint splattered all over the counters. I’m not exaggerating here, splatters everywhere. Luckily the counters are light so it’s hard to tell, but it took a while to scrape them off and we didn’t even get all of them!I am so mad we didn’t have the contractor do a final walkthrough but I am so grateful that David could fix all of this stuff. We would be in big trouble if he couldn’t.

We learned so much during this experience and with all of the trouble and stress that came with it, at least the bathroom is done…but no the boys still aren’t moved into it yet!

Blue Tape and No Final Walkthrough

One thing that we were asked to do, was walk through the bathroom and blue tape anything we might need to be fixed.

David and I walked through and found so many things, it really wasn’t even worth blue taping. I figured that when Monday rolled around, I would basically tell the guys that they need to clean up their grout job as it is thicker in some places and thinner in others. It looked like David could have done it and the point of paying money for a contractor was so that it looked more professional than David’s grout job (not that there’s anything wrong with David’s grout job), we just wanted a professional look.

Fixing the electrical problems from the weekend was on our punch list, there was some bad dry wall work and painting that needed fixing, sealing the counters and shower, and then just cleaning up so that the bathroom could finally be used.

When the guys showed up they weren’t thrilled that we didn’t blue tape- understandably so. I showed them where the grout looked good which was pretty much one side of the shower, and explained that that was how I wanted the grout to look everywhere. He told me that because we picked black grout, it’s very dark and really hard to get perfect. He said if we looked at the grout in our master bathroom and kitchen we wouldn’t notice the imperfections because it’s white and light gray. That makes total sense but I still think that they could do a much better job considering they are professionals. They shouldn’t blame their work on our color choice.

I mentioned the dry wall and he gave me attitude about it, and lastly I said the electric needed to be fixed because we weren’t paying until it was fixed. He proceeded to blame us again and said that they have already done enough free stuff for me and they wouldn’t fix this too. Umm what?? What free stuff he was talking about I had no idea. I obviously asked and he said that they hung the towel bars and mirrors for us and that wasn’t in the contract. That was super confusing to me. Never met a contractor that doesn’t include hanging mirrors to complete a bathroom. Thanks for the free work I guess?? I told him that David cut his foot and wasn’t able to get the sealer for the bathroom. Don’t worry everyone, that wasn’t in the contract either so he wasn’t going to seal even if we had it. Ridiculous.

At around 2:30-3:00, the guys packed everything up, left, and that was that. Our main contractor, Steve, told David he would be over at 5:15 to collect the completion check and we also assumed he would do a final walkthrough like our last contractor (and I think most contractors?).

David rushed to get home in time and was pretty nervous to see Steve since we hadn’t talked to him or seen him since the previous week when he called and attacked me over the phone. 5:20 rolls around, no Steve. 5:40, no Steve. 6:00 and he finally shows up. Some nerve not letting us know he would be that late.

Anyway, he showed up, had zero desire to see the completed bathroom and just wanted the check. David was way nicer than I would have been. I would have demanded that he looked at the bathroom especially since David didn’t even see the final product yet!

Steve left without seeing the bathroom, with his check, and fortunately we never have to see this man again. Let’s just say, I was fuming and all I could think about was writing my review on this awful man and the horrific way he does business.

Outlet Problems and Pre “Walkthrough” Completion

Even though our contractor said we only had a days work left on the bathroom, his guys were here late Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. The bathroom still wasn’t finished come Friday night, so the workers told us they would be here Saturday. We really didn’t want them here Saturday since our cleaning ladies come, but we also wanted the project done.

They arrived at 8 am and didn’t leave until almost 7. You would think that the bathroom was done but nope, still work to do. By work I mean minor things like dry wall and paint touch ups, tons of grout touch ups, some grout cleanup. Nothing too major.

One big item that was installed Saturday was the new bathroom fan. The old one wasn’t very powerful and it had an attached light which was a good thing. The new one is more powerful but doesn’t have a light.

They noticed that after they installed the fan, none of the outlets in the bathroom worked. They kept trying to figure out the problem, but they ended up not being able to solve it.

It got a little frustrating because at one point they were trying to convince us that the outlets never worked in the first place. Umm don’t even try that with us, we know for a fact that those outlets worked. Eli has an electric toothbrush and it charged in his bathroom. I think I also used to do my hair in their when we were renovating our bathroom. Super frustrating that they would blame us.

They tried and tried to figure it out and it was a giant mystery as to what happened. Everything was wired correctly, it just didn’t make sense. We tried the breakers, that didn’t fix it, we knew the next step would be to get an electrician in which would have been on our dime.

That afternoon we decided to check the outlets in our bathroom since they are on the same circuit and sure enough our outlets weren’t working either. They were 100% working the previous night, heck even that morning. The only thing that could have possibly caused this was the new fan. David thought that maybe the fact that the new fan didn’t have a light had something to do with it since the “light” wire wasn’t being connected to anything anymore. Nope, that wasn’t the problem.

The workers were nervous for the contractor to find out so they told David they would bring in their electrician to fix it and would give us a good deal if we didn’t tell Steve, the main contractor. Slightly annoying we were expected to pay for this but oh well, whatever gets the outlets to work again.

They worked until 7pm when we finally had to kick them out since the kids needed to go to sleep. The grouting was finished, they hung the mirrors and hardware, and put up the towel bars. The next step was for us to blue tape the bathroom and buy the sealer so that it was all ready to walk through on Monday and we could finally say goodbye to our awful contractor.

We were hoping that there wasn’t much to blue tape, but man were we wrong. At least everything looks great in pictures right?

More Grout Progress and Other Fun Updates

The drama, I mean progress, continues…

The guys were working hard on the bathroom until 6:30 Wednesday night, 4:30 Thursday, we had to kick them out at 5 on Friday. And the contractor wanted a completion check the previous Wednesday…HAH

Anyway, they made a ton of progress from Wednesday through Friday. They pretty much finished grouting, they installed the shower head and faucet for the bath.

We were debating between using matte black hardware, shower head, and sink/ bath faucets. I’m so glad we went with chrome instead. I think it would have been a bit black overload. Agree?

As happy as we are with how it looks, we were starting to doubt our color choice for the grout. Black seems to be really tricky and messy to work with. Stay tuned!

Tile and Black Grout

We contacted our contractor immediately after the counters were installed. We were just as anxious as they were to get this project going again.

David got a text Tuesday night that the workers would be there Wednesday to continue the bathroom. Wednesday comes along and nobody shows up. Then, David got a weird phone call from the contractor. He told David he wanted to come over that evening to collect a check. David was confused because all we owed him was a completion check, and the bathroom was absolutely nowhere near being completed. So, David said if enough progress got done he would consider a post dated check. That was that.

1PM rolls around, still no workers. Obviously we want the bathroom done so we could get the boys out of our bathroom, but we aren’t in the hugest rush. It finally gets to be 1:15 and the guys show up. I texted David and he was shocked they showed up that late, not that we care they showed up late, but that the contractor expected the job to be completed and for a completion check with a half days work.

There was still a ton to be done. There was no way the bathroom would be finished that night. No way. The tile wasn’t done, which meant the grout wasn’t done. The ceilings needed to be primed and painted, walls patched, drywall, and painted, fan switched out, hardware installed. That’s just to name a few.

David decided that he didn’t feel comfortable giving the contractor a check and this is when the real drama began. I’m going to save that for it’s own post since it’s a long story.

Until then, here’s some tile and grout progress from that day. We went with white long subway tile and black grout. The guys left our house by 6:30 which is really late for a weeknight, but it’s looking really good!