I initially found Bathroom Specialists via the Renomark.ca website. After getting several quotes from contractors and narrowing down to just a couple I ultimatly chose to go with Jerry. My decision was partly based on the excellent reviews on Homestars.
My own experience is quite at odds with the reviews here so I offer this review not to hurt Jerry but rather provide some balance in hopes it may help others in their choice.
Partial list of shortfalls:
- Jerry takes way too long to complete, even though I expected this based on some reviews. Basically took nearly 2 months to complete a 2 week job.
- He installed the new plumbing BEFORE reinforcing the floor joists. This resulted very ineffective reinforcement, this was a key request of mine in our contract aggreement
- After replacing the plumbing supply lines in the basement we now have a "chugging" sound when doing laundry. Jerry tried to muffle it but never solved the source of the problem
- After saying he would "straighten" the walls when applying new drywall, a critically visible wall that previously had been straight was made wavy. This in turn made the tiling look poor. Filling out with compound makes for a strange looking corner at the door. Overall his tiling work was a big disapointment to me
- Shower water pressure weaker than before reno.
There were many other defficiencies but I don't have the time to list them, and that's not even counting the ones I caught and had him correct. One of my main gripes with Jerry is that he is far from being a perfectionist; basically he counts on you to catch his mistakes. In the end our bathroom came out just ok (and only because of cabinets, fixtures etc that my wife and I chose). I cannot recommend Bathroom Specialists.
(UPDATED POST) Nov 2010, re: Company Response
1. Regarding 2 months to complete, product delays were non existent so had nothing to do with it. During our renovation he worked on & off, with many half days & skipped days. Jerry clearly had other projects on the go.
2. Floor reinforcing. Because the tub was being relocated, the contract stipulated floor joists at the new location were to be reinforced by bolting in “sister” joists. This was not done. A joist was even cut (for the toilet drain) without adding a replacement. Mostly he simply added cross bracing haphazardly. Even that was done poorly, being restricted as it was because he had the new plumbing already installed.
3. Plumbing chugging noise. Upgrading old ½ pipe with ¾ is standard practice, at no time did Jerry or his plumber warn me not to do it. No water pressure reading was taken before starting the project so he should not state the pressure was the same after the work. We use the bathroom, we know the shower pressure is lower now than it was before. East York will be replacing incoming water lines in our area soon, shower pressure should improve by that.
4. Tiling work was very average. The tiles we requested be replaced were cracked or chipped, they should never have been left up. Why did Jerry not notice them? The wall he tried to straighten, he made worse by his poor workmanship. House age is not the issue, few houses have straight walls. My error was choosing large tiles, large tiles show very poorly on wavy walls.
5. I paid in full with the understanding that Jerry would speak with another plumber to get a second opinion causing the chugging noise. I clearly asked him to do so but I never heard anything back from him.
I am glad they have warranty but baring a major failure I will not be getting Bathroom Specialists back. I have no desire to engage in prolonged repairs, much less start pulling out pipes & drywall etc.
Finally, regarding payment, I paid when the job was done because it had been going on for so long and I wanted it over. I am sorry that Jerry is using my good faith full payment now to justify his quality.
- Approximate cost of services:
- Company Response
This project was done in 2008 - This is the first and only time we have had any contact from this Client since we finished the project - it is now 2010 and we are still in business and can be readily contacted. We provide a 5 year written warranty on workmanship completed by ourselves or our sub-contractors and as far as we are concerned our files are still open with this Client until 2013. We wish to address this client's concerns as follows:-
1) Yes this project did take longer than our 2 to 3 week normal - This Client's home is an original home in one of the older districts of Toronto. We have extensive experience renovating these types of homes and each and every one of these houses have had different construction requirements in order to meet current building code requirements. All our projects exceed current building code requirements. This Client's home was no different. We take each project on an individual basis and in this case due to the age of the physical structure of the house time was required. In addition to structural problems with this house special order items (siding) took longer to obtain than anticipated. It is totally out of our control when product is delayed.
2) With respect to reinforcing the floor joists we have reviewed our Signed Contract and we have provided this Client with exactly what we agreed to do - in fact we provided structural support for the new fixtures in excess of the building code requirements.
3) With respect to the plumbing supply lines in the basement and the "chugging" sound. This Client specifically requested and insisted that the following changes in the water supply line be included in the signed contract. The Client requested that a 12 foot long 3/4 inch copper pipe be inserted between two 1/2 inch copper pipes. Their theory was that the water would rush into the 3/4 inch pipe and then flow into the 1/2 inch pipe at the end - the water would be constricted resulting in more water pressure. This work was completed to the Client's specifications by a licenced plumber. There was no change in the house water pressure after the work was completed. We recommended that the only way to increase the house water pressure to their desired level was to contract the City and have a 3/4 inch water supply line installed into the house from the street. We completed and met the requirements of the Client's contract. We recommended that the 3/4 inch pipe be removed and replace with 1/2 inch pipe to eliminate the noise - the water pressure would have been the same prior to our construction. We were prepared to do this at our expense. The Client declined. We spent our time and money to insulate the piping.
4) Tiling - The Client requested a few tiles be changed because they were not perfect - we accommodated his request. As for the wall being crooked & wavy we reinterate that this is an home in one of the older districts of Toronto and with years of settling walls are no longer plumb and it is almost impossible to make this perfect in homes of this age.
5) Our contract price was in the range of $16,000. not $20,000. as stated. The final payment was not due until the Client was satisfied that every last detail was to his satisfaction. No portion of the final payment was held back - This Client paid us in full.
Finally - We have over 40 years of home renovation experience. We worked closely with this Client and provided all workmanship agreed to. As you can see from past reviews we work with all our clients and are not satisfied until they are.