We hired Ceiling Specialists for popcorn ceiling removal and installation of LED pot lights.
Louie came out to our place to give us an estimate. We had originally planned to separately hire an electrician for LED pot light installation. Instead, we opted for Louie's electrician (Allen of Unique Potlight), after Louie strongly recommended him and said that it would be easier to coordinate the project with him.
We confirmed with Louie that we wanted to move forward, and he arranged the start date for our job at the beginning of Sep. leading up to Labour Day weekend.
Allen the electrician was the first one to come work on our place. His crew was quick to install the pot lights and worked with us to figure out good placement for them, which we were happy with. He also installed a new chandelier. However, he did a poor job with the light switches: his original plan made little sense (one single kitchen pot light on one switch, the rest on a separate switch) and I needed to convince him to change things around. Rather than consolidating two of the switches together, he installed a new one a foot away, at a different height on the wall (see pic)!! For a switch that was no longer needed, he just left a "dummy switch" in the wall rather than covering it up with a wall plate, insisting that it "doesn't do anything". How hard would it have been to just install a plate there instead??
The LED pot lights themselves make good light and dim well. HOWEVER, they make a high-pitched ringing/buzzing noise when they're on! Although the noise is quiet, it is noticeable and stronger at certain places in the room. This is very disappointing, since we had a different contractor install different LED pot lights in our basement that are almost identical but make no noise whatsoever! I reported this issue to Allen after the job was done, and only after repeatedly reminding him, he finally came by to examine it firsthand. He tried replacing one of the lights, which didn't help, and he otherwise didn't apologize or do anything to make things right. It seems to be just a low-quality type of LED light. I had expected high quality light fixtures from a pot light expert!
Next up on the job was Carlos (Louie's partner), who worked over the next week or so to smooth the ceiling. Carlos was nice, but lacking professionalism. He hardly communicated with us at all, we felt left in the dark about what work was being done and what would be done next. He was unreliable with his arrival times, e.g. he said he would arrive 8:30am on Labour Day and did not show up until 11:30. There also seemed to be really poor communication between Carlos, Louie, and the rest of the crew, since Carlos was not aware that he was supposed to patch up the holes made by the electrician. Also, when Carlos was saying there were still a few days of work left, Louie was telling us that the job would be done tomorrow, and was asking for payment. This made it seem like Louie was pushing to get paid without finishing the job, and made a bad impression on us.
Carlos did a great job of removing the popcorn ceiling without making dust by moistening it first. However, that technique made a mess on the walls (water stains and white splotches), and we were concerned about our hardwood floor since he only covered it with a thin layer of kraft paper, despite Louie saying it would be "rubberized water proof paper". The tape he used on the walls removed chunks of paint too. Thankfully, Carlos was very good about fixing that -- he repainted the portions of the wall that had been messed up and even cleaned up some defects in the wall that were there prior to the job. Carlos came back the day after the job was done to do a few touchups.
Overall, the outcome of the job was good, but not great. We did notice a bunch more minor defects (dents and small holes in the ceiling) later on, so it was certainly not perfect. The pot light noise is a bit irritating. Louie never came back to our place since the initial estimate, so he never saw the end result in person. These guys seem to know their trade, but their customer service needs a lot of work.