Contractors I would recommend

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Submitted by jpinpb on June 28, 2011 - 8:09am

I've been meaning to start this thread for a while, but I've been elbow deep in remodeling. I already posted the Appliances thread.

There doesn't seem to be hand-holding instructions on remodling and it's pretty stressful to say the least. I thought at a minimum I might offer some input on who we used and for what and how it turned out. I thought I'd share my experience. Perhaps others could contribute to this thread, as well. I was not able to find a thread on Piggington that had sources for contractors. If there is one already, forgive the duplication. And if you have the thread handy, insert it here, please.

First off, we had some crazy textured walls on the interior of the house. It was really horrible and we couldn't stand it. Thick cement. We almost tore them out. DH spent the better part of a week sanding it down. We hired a GREAT lath and plaster guy who had been doing it forever, mostly for people in RSF. Ed was referred to us by a guy we know who had recently done work at his shop. This guy did not have a cell phone, so leave a message! Not sure if he's got a cell phone by now. He is old school. He is worth every penny, which IMO was cheap and the walls look great now. Ed 619-449-6527.

We also wanted two pony walls put in to open up the kitchen. The guy we hired was recommended to us by the neighbors where we used to live who had a lot of work done on their place. His name is Gary Bowen, general contractor. Good guy. Nice work and decent price. 619-276-3012 His electrician Keith was good, not great, though. DH was watching some of their work and sometimes requested it be done differently. I know contractors don't want people standing over their shoulders. It's great if you don't have to babysit them. And you don't on the good ones. Be VERY specific on what you want done in your contract. For example, they were going to re-route our gas line. Turned out they intended to route it behind the cabinets. DH did not want it done that way, but have it run under the house. So DH crawled under to do it. I'm sure they could've done it, but extra money and we were way over budget already.

The house originally had wood floors that were later NOT professionally stained a very dark walnut espresso color that looked like crap. Gary recommended Royce. Royce is a good guy and he may talk your ear off, but he brought our floors back to life. I definitely recommend him. 619-280-0636. However, I would not recommend him for carpet.

For our kitchen cabinets, we initially got an estimate from Home Depot. The choices I was considering was Kraftmaid or Thomasville. They would not be custom, so I was constrained by their dimensions. I wanted cherry wood and lazy susans and soft close, etc. It wasn't cheap and I'd have to hire an installer in addition to the cabinets.

Then we got lucky and my brother suggested his high school friend who makes cabinets. I was hesitant at first, but ended up very pleased w/his work. He was excellent and I have no problem recommending him. He is detail-oriented and priced fairly. Best of all, he custom makes them himself and installs them himself. If you need cabinet work done, call Jason Hovencamp 909-226-6467. He will work w/you and do whatever you want done, however you want it. He will also share his experience on what might be better. He will make and install them as if they were going in his own kitchen. Conscientious.

We initially weren't going to redo the floors in the kitchen, but DH wanted to. We found some nice italian tile at Lowes. DH knew someone from many years ago in the tile business and we called him. Ceasar at A & L Tile 619-947-1470 is a good guy, been in the business a very long time. He sent one of his workers who did a great job installing them, was quick and priced fairly.

We shopped around for granite. We found Tutto Marmo and Bedrosian were pricey. Though if you have some small counters, they have orphans for less. The best deal we found was at Brazilian Exotic. Talk to Kathy. She's been in the business a long time. She's a little rough around the edges, but we liked her and she worked w/us on pricing.

For the granite installation we hired Ceasar again. If he's got the time, maybe he'll tell you stories of when he was working at the Ivy Hotel, though it's not a happy one. I'll just say he has integrity. The guy he sent to do the granite had been doing it for many years, knowledgeable and priced fairly. We were very pleased.

For the back splash, I didn't find anything that thrilled me. We just happened to stop at San Diego Marble and Tile, 7946 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. Turned out they had some nice honey onyx basket weave that they ordered, but then the ordered was canceled. So they had it really discounted. We got a great deal. Shop around and check for items on clearance.

We also used Ceasar for the back splash. I wouldn't recommend the guy he sent for the backsplash. Slow, sloppy and actually seemed disgruntled.

The main problem we had w/all this was coordinating w/their schedule and ours. We had delays in closing, which then pushed back work that we wanted done, which meant that their schedule was impacted b/c they had other jobs lined up and then they conflicted w/the schedule of other workers so then it became a mess. Gary was busy doing a big job in Ramona and we were on the back burner by the time we were ready for him. Our cabinet guy was great and worked w/us and accommodated us no problem, luckily, b/c when Royce did our floors, that meant no one could come in the house for a week. More delays. Ceasar will work w/you in a pinch, too.

I hope this information helps others who are planning any remodels.

Submitted by masayako on June 28, 2011 - 9:30am.

And recommendation for electrician and installer of outdoor lights?

Submitted by jpinpb on June 28, 2011 - 11:20am.

I have to look for the phone number of an electrician that was recommended to us. We didn't end up using him b/c we used Gary's guy. I'll dig it up later and post it.

We did our own painting, but in case anyone needs a painter, our neighbor recommended Vic Furentes 858-270-4618.

Submitted by cvmom on June 28, 2011 - 2:57pm.

Thanks very much--I will save this thread!!

Submitted by Ricechex on June 28, 2011 - 11:12pm.

Wow. Thanks JP. I am saving this thread too.

Submitted by familyguy on June 29, 2011 - 9:57am.

Great thread, thanks for starting it.

Submitted by Aecetia on June 29, 2011 - 11:39am.

Thanks for all the detailed information.

Submitted by wooga on June 29, 2011 - 11:57am.

Make sure that the guy is properly licensed and doesn't have prior disciplinary action.
https://www2.cslb.ca.gov/OnlineServices/...

If he screws something up, a licensed guy is going to have a bond and insurance that might cover the damage.

In addition, a contractor without a license is deemed to be your employee as a matter of law, not an independent contractor. See Labor Code 2750.5. So if an unlicensed contractor (or one of his workers) gets hurt on the job, YOU (or your homeowners insurance) will have to pick up the tab.

But on the flip side, you can technically stiff unlicensed contractors on your entire bill, even if they've already done all the work and installed materials. B&PC 7031.

Submitted by jpinpb on June 29, 2011 - 12:21pm.

Thanks for that link. Very good to know. I hadn't even thought of checking.

Looks like Gary is in good standing. I know in watching how he works that he makes sure he does stuff right.

Looks like Jason's Tailor Made Cabinetry is active and in good standing.

Looks like A & L was suspended (issue w/workers comp insurance) and then active. I still think Ceasar is a good guy w/some good employees.

Edit: And looks like Royce Gilmore - Custom Reflections Hardwood Floors is also active and in good standing.

Submitted by jpinpb on July 6, 2011 - 8:09am.

Not really a contractor post, but part of remodling sometimes means buying new light fixtures. I did many hours of searching for something different beyond the usual made in China lights at Home Depot, Lowes, Lamps Plus, etc.

If any of you are interested in some unique light fixtures, try Vintage Barn Lights or Barn Light Electric.

Submitted by sdsubie on July 6, 2011 - 8:17am.

Any recommendations on someone to install engineered wood floors? We are looking at picking up the wood from lumber liquidators, but the going cost of 1.99 sq/ft for install price seems pretty steep when you're paying under 4 sq/ft for the floor itself.

Submitted by ljinvestor on July 6, 2011 - 10:13am.

If LL is charging $1.99 sq/ft and you can't find anyone a lot cheaper who is recommended, then I would go with LL in case you have any issues after install.

I did floating engineered wood floors from Home Depot once and had someone else install. Starting having issues a few months later and HD/Manufacture blamed it on istaller and installer blamed it on product. I got stuck with the huge bill to resolve.

Personally, I will only go with glue or nail down applications now.

Submitted by sdsubie on July 6, 2011 - 12:23pm.

That's good advice gleaned from your experience ljinvestor, thanks!

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on July 6, 2011 - 8:16pm.

ljinvestor wrote:
If LL is charging $1.99 sq/ft and you can't find anyone a lot cheaper who is recommended, then I would go with LL in case you have any issues after install.

I did floating engineered wood floors from Home Depot once and had someone else install. Starting having issues a few months later and HD/Manufacture blamed it on istaller and installer blamed it on product. I got stuck with the huge bill to resolve.

Personally, I will only go with glue or nail down applications now.

What kind of issue did you run into?

Submitted by ljinvestor on July 6, 2011 - 9:05pm.

They cracked, squeaked, & popped. Floors were level, spacers around walls, and expansion joints to make sure no runs were too long. I truly believe the boards had defective locking mechanisms and they tried to say my installer knocked them too hard during install.

Submitted by jpinpb on July 14, 2011 - 8:18am.
Submitted by jpinpb on July 14, 2011 - 1:48pm.

Also, for anyone contemplating back splash and don't want to do the typical tile, I saw some really cool rigidized metals at Home Depot. But they wanted way too much for it. I really liked it, but way out of our budget. Anyway, today I was at Industrial Metal Supply and they have textured/rigidized metal plates for backsplashes, matte finish w/designs. They has stainless, copper, etc. It was a fraction of HD pricing. I definitely recommend it for a different look.

Submitted by UCGal on July 14, 2011 - 2:41pm.

jp - do you know if they fabricate countertops? We've been talking about (forever) getting stainless steel counters.

(Part of the much discussed, much planned, but never implemented kitchen remodel.)

Submitted by jpinpb on July 14, 2011 - 2:55pm.

I honestly don't know if they "fabricate." I think Industrial Metal Supply is a source for contractors. I would give them a call, though. I think they can steer you in the right direction. It did say for countertops. I hadn't seen any countertops w/the metal anywhere, so it didn't really sink in. I kept visualizing backsplashes b/c I did see it displayed at HD and a few other places. I bet you can get countertops there at IMS. Let us know what you find out. In any case, it will be far less than HD.

Submitted by jpinpb on August 3, 2011 - 8:47am.

I thought I'd put this here, though it probably should go in some landscaping thread. I highly recommend Gordy's for stump grinding. I finally chopped up the three mega oleanders in the yard, but since they are so toxic, I wanted the stumps out. I called Gordy's up and they did a great job grinding them down. They don't remove the ground up pieces. Ordinarily, you probably don't need to remove them. They can be mulch. But again, since they're oleanders, I wanted the remains removed. After shoveling out all the ground up pieces, I still found some more stump. They said if there's any problem, to call them and they would come back free of charge. So I called them up and sure enough, they came out and did some more grinding. They are on Facebook and I've seen photos of some impressive jobs they did. They were the lowest price. I called around. They do really good work. Father and son. Son quit his job at Intel to do stump grinding w/his dad. 619-210-3105. They have been doing it for 30 some years.

Submitted by LAAFTERHOURS on August 4, 2011 - 8:15am.

Anyone got a good floor tile removal contractor and know their price?

I want to replace 1st floor flooring and have about 600 sq ft of ugly ceramic 18x18 tiles. I could leave it, rip the carpet out of the carpeted rooms and level those with the tile and drop something on top (more tile or a floating floor). If its demo'd, the flooring would be level but I would have a lot of sq ft to mask off to protect against the dust and thats my only reason for possibly not demo'ing.

Submitted by jpinpb on August 4, 2011 - 8:35am.

I have no idea on price, but since Cesar does tile, have you tried to give him a call to see if he can do it and/or get an estimate? If he doesn't do it himself, he probably knows people that do it. I would at least get a quote.

We took out our on tile in our kitchen and took out the hardiebacker. It was not fun at all. Luckily, not a lot of it. Let us know how it goes.

Submitted by jpinpb on August 13, 2011 - 11:50am.

I wasn't going to put this information on Piggington b/c he's not a contractor and I wanted to keep him all for myself ;) But I'm going to share it so that others may benefit from his service. Antonio Fletes 619-462-1109. He is here legally living in Spring Valley and knows how to do a LOT of different things. Only charges $150 a day and earns every penny. Older guy, but do not be fooled. He works hard and kicks ass.

We are putting in our patio. He helped clear and dig up the yard and set the forms. We had a little surprise when removing the planter which butted up against the house, which oddly and unbeknownst to us apparently somehow was propping up the wall of the house. Also, as we were removing the dirt, we uncovered the sewer drain had a huge hole in it, covered by a brick. God only knows how long it was like that. He fixed that. He set forms and cemented supporting walls.

We had some cracks in the stucco and we asked if he could fix it. He showed us photos of his work. While removing the stucco, we had rotted, termited wood. Had to have been 20 years of damage. He replaced all the bad wood. The guy is great and I feel really lucky I came upon him. He knows his shit and doesn't mess around.

All I wanted was a patio and uncovered a can of worms. It could have been much more costly. This guy saved us a lot of money and headaches down the road. Not only is he a good, hard worker, but honest and very respectful and appreciative.

Submitted by bearishgurl on August 13, 2011 - 12:03pm.

jpinpb wrote:
I wasn't going to put this information on Piggington b/c he's not a contractor and I wanted to keep him all for myself ;) But I'm going to share it so that others may benefit from his service. Antonio Fletes 619-462-1109. He is here legally living in Spring Valley and knows how to do a LOT of different things. Only charges $150 a day and earns every penny. Older guy, but do not be fooled. He works hard and kicks ass.

We are putting in our patio. He helped clear and dig up the yard and set the forms. We had a little surprise when removing the planter which butted up against the house, which oddly and unbeknownst to us apparently somehow was propping up the wall of the house. Also, as we were removing the dirt, we uncovered the sewer drain had a huge hole in it, covered by a brick. God only knows how long it was like that. He fixed that. He set forms and cemented supporting walls.

We had some cracks in the stucco and we asked if he could fix it. He showed us photos of his work. While removing the stucco, we had rotted, termited wood. Had to have been 20 years of damage. He replaced all the bad wood. The guy is great and I feel really lucky I came upon him. He knows his shit and doesn't mess around.

All I wanted was a patio and uncovered a can of worms. It could have been much more costly. This guy saved us a lot of money and headaches down the road. Not only is he a good, hard worker, but honest and very respectful and appreciative.

Thanks for posting this, jp. I know several hard workers like your guy. I don't know how long the owners you purchased from owned your home, but obviously they didn't disclose these obvious flaws to you in their Transfer Disclosure Statement. Perhaps they were never disclosed to them when they bought and thus they didn't have knowledge of these problems themselves.

I myself dug up quite a bit of large concrete pieces from my own backyard the first year I owned my place, when removing large high-maintenance plants I didn't want. It was very old garden border but it did not interfere with the foundation of the house. It's amazing what you find (incl extensive damage) when you endeavor to install a window or otherwise disturb something on an older property that has not been seen or touched by human hands or tools in decades.

I'm happy for you that you were able to fix these problems reasonably with your good and experienced help :)

Submitted by briansd1 on August 13, 2011 - 12:06pm.

LAAFTERHOURS wrote:
Anyone got a good floor tile removal contractor and know their price?

I want to replace 1st floor flooring and have about 600 sq ft of ugly ceramic 18x18 tiles. I could leave it, rip the carpet out of the carpeted rooms and level those with the tile and drop something on top (more tile or a floating floor). If its demo'd, the flooring would be level but I would have a lot of sq ft to mask off to protect against the dust and thats my only reason for possibly not demo'ing.

You really have to demo to do it right. It's not hard to do.

I've removed tile using a pneumatic hammer with chisel. The tiles generally just pop up.

Submitted by jpinpb on August 21, 2011 - 3:31pm.

It was a small miracle, but we got our patio poured. It was a little tricky coordinating workers (Antonio to the rescue again), cement truck and concrete pumping to show up at the same time. We were able to get a good guy to come w/a pump after making several calls. Only charged $150 for a truckload. Mike Poulson, 619-466-5535.

Submitted by jimmyle on August 21, 2011 - 3:38pm.

I want to recommend Socal Steam Cleaning carpet cleaning. They are more affordable thant the big chains and do an amazing job.

Here is their yelp page, I think they have a perfect record. I was skeptical at first but after they cleaned my four bedrooms I was shocked how they could turned a foreclosed home carpet that was intentionally soiled into like new carpet.

http://www.yelp.com/biz/socal-steam-clea...

Submitted by jwizzle on August 22, 2011 - 9:03am.

This thread has been incredibly helpful as I have sunk way too much money into my new home.

I have a request that I haven't been able to find any recs on in any past posts. Does anyone have a recommendation for someone who can build an outdoor deck? And what is a reasonable price for a roughly 10x15' deck?

Submitted by sdsubie on August 22, 2011 - 10:06am.

question for you jpinpb,

Who did you have do the cutting, prepping of the granite that you got at brazilian exotic? Would you recommend them?

Thanks!

Submitted by JC on August 22, 2011 - 12:38pm.

I love this thread. Can anyone recommend someone who can do a simple wood gate -- approx. 4 feet wide by six feet tall. It just needs to keep my dogs in. A fence company just quoted $600 which seems high? Of course, I could be wrong. It's not like I have priced simple gates before. Thank you!!

Submitted by jpinpb on August 22, 2011 - 12:59pm.

jwizzle - I don't know anyone who does decks, but that is somewhere on the list of things we would like to do, so if anyone has any input, chime in!

sdsubie wrote:
Who did you have do the cutting, prepping of the granite that you got at brazilian exotic? Would you recommend them?
Thanks!

I used Cesar. The guy who he employs was awesome. He did a great job cutting and prepping, having the grain go in the same direction for all countertops, and installation. I was impressed and very pleased. I don't know how many people Cesar has that does that work, but the guy that did ours was just great. I wish I could remember his name. I'll have to find out and if I do, I'll add the name later. I would recommend him for the granite.

JC - I can't help you too much on the gate, except to say we had to replace a broken down gate at our place. DH went to HD and bought pre-made cedar (or redwood, not sure) fencing and sawed it down to size to replace the one that was in disrepair. It was quite a long weekend project, but he was able to do it for a lot less than 600 bucks. If you're handy, you might check that route.

For odd jobs, Phil - Mr. Fix It. 619-920-7745. Seems pretty reliable and trustworthy. He may even be able to fix that fence, now that I think about it.

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