Penguin Basements

Basement Renovation
906 Magnetic Drive Toronto ON M3J 2C4
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Best of 2021 winner 3 timesBest of 2021winner 3 times

Reviews for Penguin Basements

Average customer rating:
8.9 10 (282 reviews)

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Usama in Toronto
Usama in Toronto
1 review Oakville, ON
3/10

Basement Build for Legal Second Unit

TLDR version:
In week 18 of a supposedly 4-week contract. The project is still not finished. Massive mistakes, non-responsive, lack of coordination and ownership, bad project management from Penguin. I would not recommend it.

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Long version with details:
This is going to be a long review and I would try to be objective as possible along with breaking down different sections of the review. I also have almost all the messages and schedule pictures from their software so I can provide additional details if needed.

• Initial Sales: 9/10, very good service. The person estimating was knowledgeable, understood why we are building the basement (separate legal unit), gave good advice on keeping the costs low. They also set the right expectation in terms of City approval process, and that it takes time etc.
• Cost: 7/10, Cost was competitive to other large builders but more expensive than small builders.
• Quality 5/10, quality of work is fine. When they work, they work quickly and are generally good. However, in my case, they just simply didn’t work, didn’t show up, didn’t care about quality (paint finishing, door hinges, baseboard colors are not properly done). I put 5 because of one single person who was amazing. He got stuff done, pushed to get stuff done but literally everyone else dropped the ball.
• Mistakes 0/10, the number of mistakes they have made in my project are crazy.
o Kitchen cabinets were delivered 3 times with the wrong size, finally I asked one the site leaders to make changes on-site and somehow finish.
o Cabinet handles were simply forgotten and even after multiple reminders, missing. I eventually went to a shop, bought those myself and asked them to put it.
o Kitchen design (interior designer) was terrible and not well thought out. It only becomes obvious once finished.
o My smart thermostat was burnt because HVAC movers forgot to unplug it before the surge after moving. They did ask me to unplug other things and simply forgot to unplug the thermostat! They were also likely unprofessional and took 6 hours for something they initially mentioned as 2 hours themselves. Penguin then had the courage to say, “well we planned for 2 hours and covered 2 hours of work in your contract, but it took 6, so to balance it, please pay for the thermostat yourself and we would put the new one on”. This was the start of my project, in order to be accommodating, I agreed. Looking back, I should have told them to stop at that time and gotten out of the contract.
o “Forgot” to put the dry wall on the ceiling in one of the rooms, it took multiple reminders to get that work done. Then while putting the ceiling, they unplugged the bulb socket and then it took 4 weeks, literally 4 weeks for someone to come in a put the bulb socket back in. Clearly, it wasn’t complex work, they simply were not bothered to do it.
• Project Management 0/10, Multiple agreements (written ones), were simply not acknowledged.
o I paid for an extra 220V line to the garage for car changing in the initial contract. Then I reminded them again, they asked for a CR, reminded them it's covered, next day they forgot again. Reminded a third time, they put in a 40A wire because “that’s all they had” that day. Reminded a 4th time, then they brought in the right wire, fished out the previous one, broke ceilings again and then asked painters and wall resources to come finish.
o I signed off on interior designer selections with a clear agreement that close to actual project work appliance sizes would be validated again. Close to actual project, was rudely told nothing can be done. My existing appliances, 30 inch ones were all made useless and we had to go find more expensive 24 inch options. Had they told us beforehand, we would likely have asked for change in kitchen design to accommodate but they didn’t give any chance. My signoff on design included comments on their own software that sizes need to be confirmed beforehand, so it wasn’t verbal, it was all on their tool.

• Overall, 2/10, Considering project management and coordination is one of the MOST important pieces of work, instead of you dealing with multiple third parties, they completely bombed on that and based on that I would NOT recommend them. I have yet to see how they would honor “warranty” but if they are unwilling and unresponsive while on the project, I am not holding out much hope. I have also lost a minimum of 3 month rent from basement from the original schedule that Penguin promised themselves.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Company Response

Not too long for us, we read every word. And you make valid points. We have been doing our very best to maintain a level of professionalism and quality during Covid, which frankly has proven to be a challenge at times. Industry wide, we are dealing with staffing shortages and supply chain issues, , even from formerly reliable partners. And we didn't do so well in this case, letting you down.

Our GM will reach out to you directly, if he hasn't done so already. We need to review this project in detail and figure out why it was a shamble, and why we were not getting the correct picture back at the office.

Frankly, we’ve had some issues recruiting replacement labour and finishing supervisors but as it stands for November 1st, most of our hiring has been rectified for 2022. We’ve repurposed our head office to have more racking and storage to even order finishing materials right out of selections. We understand that a temporary lack or staffing and supply chain issues can have a trickle down effect. To our knowledge we’re simply waiting for your cabinets and we look forward to wrapping up your project shortly.

It is our belief that we need to own our failures as much as our successes, and to continually look to improve. We appreciate that you took the time to post this Usama, and we hope that your effort will not go to waste as it is indeed appreciated. Finally, we do, and will stand behind our warranty. We need to earn our credibility back. We hope you'll allow us to do so.

Zeeshan in Nepean
Zeeshan in Nepean
0 reviews Ottawa, ON
10/10

Basement

We did our whole basement with Penguin and are satisfied with the quality of products and service, extremely professional and good communication, from day 1 to finish everything went smooth and as planned. We will be recommending them to our family and friends, Thank you

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Company Response

Thank you Zeeshan for your kind words and recommendation. Enjoy your basement.

Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Vaughan, ON
10/10

Finished basement in our townhouse in Vaughan

We have recently decided to increase the space in our house and finish the basement so that our youngest son can have dedicated space to study and work. We have hired Penguin Basements to do the job. We have not bee happier. The Penguin team is nothing short of professional, organized group of skilled and friendly people. We were impressed with how efficiently everything was done, right from the initial consultation on site, to the meeting with interior designer, and finally to construction and final beautifully finished space. Our space was roughly 700 sq. feet and with the help of very experienced space planners and architects, we ended up with a spacious modern one bedroom apartment. The whole project was completed in short 3 weeks as promised. All materials were provided by Penguin. We had considerable flexibility to choose from builder finishes, which were great by the way. We even had good options to upgrade few things at the very reasonable prices. Once again, can't say enough great things about the entire crew at Penguin. We highly recommend this company from quality, value, process and experience perspectives.

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Company Response

Thank you for the positive review and for recommending us. Nothing beats a finished basement as a cost-effective way to add living space. Enjoy your beautiful basement😃

Jason
Jason
2 reviews Mississauga, ON
10/10

Basement

My wife was pregnant and about to deliver; Penguin was willing to work around the schedule. Even more, they were ready to do whatever necessary to have the basement completed before her coming home. It takes confidence, competence and experience to deliver on such a request. I love the one-stop feel of the project. I love that everything is above board with no side deals; "if you want to pay less, we can do this without a permit". I love how they wanted to make it happen and make it a surprise. Finding contractors and having any degree of security that the job will get done right is daunting, in fact, foreboding. Not with Penguin basements, Penguin has an organised system that prevents all of the dead-end researching for reliable contractors. Every project starts with a design consultation followed up with a visual rendering of how the basement will look. Permits, measurements, contractors and timelines all fall under the watchful care of your Penguin representative. It gets done right, within budget and on time.

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Company Response

Thank you for taking the time to post the review Jason. Congratulations, can't wait to meet baby penguin:) Having a talented in-house team of designers, project managers and trades comes with its benefits and efficiency is one of them. Enjoy the beautiful weather, take care, and if you need any help, we're just a call away😊

eileen_w
eileen_w
1 review Richmond Hill, ON
10/10

Basement Finishing

Was very impressed overall with Pengiun. It was a great team to work with and we were amazed at how quickly and efficiently the work got done. Any concerns we had were taken care of and there were no hidden costs. There was even a pre-existing issue discovered during our build and Penguin was able to bring in the right contractor and get it dealt with affordably and without negatively affecting the overall schedule. We are very happy to be using our new living space!

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Company Response

Come on Eileen, you're making us blush ;-). We love working with clients who appreciate how a renovation works and values the lengths we go to to ensure our clients are happy. We appreciate the kind words and wish you many years of happy living in this new found space your home now has.

Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Sharon, ON
10/10

Basement

We had Penguin do a full gut and re-finish our basement. The design process was easy with the designer's expertise and suggestions. All of the workers and tradespeople were respectful of our family and our home throughout the renovation. We are very happy with our new and improved bright, open-concept basement.

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Company Response

Thank you for your kind words, enjoy your basement😃

M Jenkins in Oakville
M Jenkins in Oakville
2 reviews Oakville, ON
10/10

The Jenkins Family Basement

Where to begin.. a six month horror story of a previous renovation that left a family with more repairs to do by others, very upset and mostly disappointed in themselves for hiring who they did and utterly scared to make the same mistake again for another renovation. The question begged to be asked … Do we do this again or do we move? Along came a global pandemic.. the decision was made, we stay and we renovate once again to keep us living together happily. Does this story have a happily ever after ? It sure does !!
First impressions are everything. Our initial meeting was with Matt who listened to our original horror story and figured out very quickly that we would need a lot of reassurance and communication. The plan was explained thoroughly and laid out for us to see - the job was sold.
From there, we were given the opportunity to clear out 20 years of stuff (quite the undertaking) and then…The selections process (Virtually - I must say how amazing was that!!). Permits were obtained and then truly a whirlwind of work by many trades working together but apart. Our home was treated with respect, the work was done cohesively, well and communication on what was coming up was daily. Each contractor that came knew the other trades and the word “family” came up a lot. Everyone from the garbage bin delivery to the demo crew down to the finishing folks were professional, happy to be hard working, on time, and respectful of our family.
If you look up the meaning of the dream symbol for Penguin – it says “Penguins are harmless and non-threatening creatures. They reflect a person’s honesty, positive attitude and cool headed nature.” This company resonates these traits.
What do you expect from a contractor you ask? A plan of work, trades properly coordinated, materials set up and available (a challenge in a pandemic), a tight knit crew that is respectful of each other and your family, a respect of your home, a ton of communication and at the end of the day – value for the money that you have saved and spent with these people to come up with an end result that is more than what was expected. Our first clue should have been Town Inspectors showing up knowing the company and leaving satisfied that things were going well and being done right! Penguin is all of these things.
We would like to thank everyone that was part of the team that turned a 20 year dumping ground of a basement into an amazing living space that added not only value to our home but gave us the happy space that was so needed! A heartfelt thank you to Matt, Rodrigo, Roberto, Robert, Lisa and especially Vince who went above and beyond to ensure this project was a success – words cannot express enough the gratitude of our entire family.
Was there construction dust.??. Oh yes there was.. Was there a cleaning team at the end of it that cleaned up everything left behind as they walked out the door – ABSOLUTELY YES and a BIG thank you ladies YOU ROCK!!
Are you considering doing your basement? You need to hire Penguin – if you don’t, well, moving is also fun !!
Respectfully,
The Jenkins Family

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Company Response

Thank you so much for taking the time to let us know how happy you are. Your positive feedback is very much appreciated. We all work together as a family at Penguin, and it is fun and rewarding when we have great clients like yourselves. We hope you and your family will enjoy the basement😊 All the best.
The Penguin Crew.

Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Oakville, ON
10/10

Basement Completion

Penguin Basement carried out or renovation in a professional, timely manner. The work was beautifully completed.

We are satisfied with the work and we will recommend Penguin to our friends and colleagues.

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Company Response

Thank you for taking the time to post a review, we appreciate it. Enjoy your beautiful basement😀

Suniel in Toronto
Suniel in Toronto
0 reviews Halton Hills, ON
10/10

Quick and efficient renovation team

After evaluating many contractors for my basement renovation, I finalized with Penguin Basements. The team understood my requirements and suggested the most functional design within my budget. They followed all building codes, approvals from respective authorities and most importantly - COVID protocols. The team which came onsite was professional, courteous and highly efficient. They finish the complete job in less than 2 weeks (while the expectation was set for 3 weeks during design phase). I highly recommend Penguin Basements for renovation.

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Company Response

Thank you Suniel for taking the time to write a review. We're glad to hear that the whole build process was quick and efficient. Thank you for the recommendation and enjoy your basement😃

Private User
Private User
Private User reviews Ajax, ON
10/10

Basement Project

We were very satisfied with all phases of the work. Each team was efficient and extremely courteous. The timeline from start to finish was as expected. Everything was cleaned up after each day's work. With the "Finish It Yourself" option, it gave us the ability to do the painting and flooring which has saved us some costs. We highly recommend Penguin Basements. They are true professionals!

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Company Response

We're happy to see you took advantage of our "unfinished basement" FIY option. This is our first review on this product introduced during Covid. We are glad that your experience was a positive one. We hope to see many more as this has become quite popular. Thanks for kind words, and please, enjoy the basement.

The reviews on this page are the subjective opinion of the Author and not of HomeStars Inc.

More about Penguin Basements

Penguin Basements is your full-service Basement Renovation Company.

Nothing beats a finished basement as a cost-effective way to add living space or rental income to your home in the Greater Toronto Region. Whether you need design, permits or a stunning build, be sure to call the Renomark certified contractor Penguin for a Free Estimate today.

You'll find hundreds of our satisfied customers all across Southern Ontario in the GTA, the Tri-Cities Area and the Greater Ottawa Area. Our experienced, trained professionals make it easy for Penguin Basements to stand behind every job we do. So, If there's a basement renovation in your future, contact Penguin Basements today, where 100% total satisfaction is guaranteed! Don't get scammed by fly-by-night operators, unrealistically low prices, too short build times or fake reviews. We invite you to visit us in person anytime.

• Basement Renovation Specialist
• Guaranteed Mold-Resistant Materials
• FREE In-Home Design & Estimate
• Easy Financing Available
• No Interest for 12 Months*
• Transferable Limited Lifetime Material Warranty
• 2-Year Comprehensive Warranty
• Exclusive Penguin Benefits

Be sure to check our one of our Basement Showcase Open House weekends where you can inspect our work up close and in person!

CATEGORIES
Basement Renovation
PRODUCTS
Fully finished basement design and build inclusive of Kitchens, Bathrooms and Custom features.
SERVICES
Basement renovations, basement waterproofing, foundation repair, crawl space encapsulation.
BRANDS
Penguin Family of Companies Penguin Basements Penguin Condo & Reno
STYLES
Classic, Country, Modern, Contemporary, Retro, Unique.
SPECIALITIES
Custom basement builds within your budget.
WEBSITE
http://www.basementscanada.com
YEAR ESTABLISHED
2011
NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES
120
LICENSES
Fully Licensed in every municipality we serve.
MEMBERSHIPS
BILD, RENOMARK
LIABILITY INSURANCE
Yes
WORKERS COMPENSATION
Yes
BONDED
Yes
WRITTEN CONTRACT
Yes
WARRANTY TERMS
2-Year plus Limited Lifetime Material Warranty.
Company profile information is not moderated by HomeStars. Ask the contractor to verify before hiring.