Reviews

6/10

Updated October 31st We have lowered our review to 6 due to the absolutely pathetic warranty support offered by Penguin. Just like most companies, once they have your money, you no longer matter to them. We have to chase them over and over just to get simple things fixed. Even when we do get them to do the work, they do it so fast and screw things up further. Original Review We just completed our renovation and are very happy with the end results. That said, the 9 out of 10 rating only applies to the quality of the end product and the services tied to it. Since we cannot break down the ratings any further here, I wanted to provide a secondary rating for the planning/communication aspect of the project: 6 out of 10. Initial in house consultation Quite frankly, this meeting was just too long. We had to sit through 3 hours of why our materials are great, why we are great, history of laws, history of materials. There was lots of “this is how we do it, too bad for you if you want it done a different way”. This actually was a really big turn off for us. We were really on the fence and almost did not sign on. People are not stupid, we do our research and we understand what Penguin is about. The initial designs that were presented to us were pretty bad to be quite honest. We really had to push to get it closer to what we had in mind. We had to fight through a lot of “this is how we do it” as mentioned before. Looking back on the project, our sales rep missed all kinds of obvious things that ended up affecting the budget. He also made us promises that were not communicated to the rest of the team. In house measurements This is where the project manager comes in and does measurements for the drawings and city permits. We had Robert come through with a few other people and the process went well. Design meeting If you have ever purchased a new home, you will be very familiar with this process. It’s just on a smaller scale since it’s only for the basement. Our project was relatively simple and I found that travelling all the way to their office to pick of few things was a waste of time. Many of these selections could have been made online. I understand that more complicated basements would require in person discussions but for simple ones, this could free them up for other things. Decisions on certain aspects of the project such as where the washroom would be, how big it would be, where the appliances would be were made based on the measurements taken while the team was in our house. We were happy with those and they made sense. Radio Silence As time moved on, we heard nothing from Penguin in regards to a start date. We wanted to get an idea so that we could plan things on our end like moving everything out the basement. I repeatedly reached out to various members of the team and heard nothing. Not even an acknowledgment of receipt of my messages. After repeated attempts to contact them, they finally responded with the excuse of “we are growing, it’s crazy busy, people have been transferred to different roles”. That is understandable but there is no excuse to let people hang like they did. Is it so hard to say “We received your email and will get back to you soon”. They were finally able to slot us in since another job was put on hold. Once that happened, the ball got rolling really fast. In house wall placement Our project manager changed due to the restructuring mentioned above and we had the pleasure of dealing with Juliano. Great guy but not really part of the nitty gritty of the project, basically wasn’t present after this meeting. He was good at answering our questions via email afterwards though. This was a good meeting. The guys doing the framing were there with us to provide insight on placement, etc. What completely baffled me however was the fact that choices made during the design meeting with the laser measurements taken had to be completely thrown out the door. For example: the placement of our washer, dryer and sink did not even come close to working when done in person. Not sure why this was the case, our basement did not shrink… Juliano and the team were great at making adjustments on the fly. I am glad that we made the choices we did during this meeting, everything turned out great! Construction In general, this process went well. There were however some hiccups and issues along the way. Two rather large issues: First of all, there are some big communication issues going on internally. This is a common theme throughout most reviews. Promises made by sales people are not communicated forward even though they were supposed to be. Decisions made during design are not communicated forward even though they were supposed to be. Reminders of these decisions were given to every manager that came through our house and yet when the trades arrived to do their work, they knew nothing of these items. At the end of the day, Penguin did live up to all of the decisions without much fuss which was great! We found that in general, it wasn’t very clear who was in charge each step of the way. We dealt a lot with Seth, he was really good at helping with the flow. I think some improvement can be made here, it should not be too hard to keep people informed. Penguin makes use of an app to, in theory, keep people informed but the schedule isn’t even close to being accurate and it is not updated. Nature of the beast I suppose, in the end everything was figured out. If I could go back and do it again, I would have made sure to get every single promise in writing just to avoid issues. Secondly, many of the trades treated our house like a job site. The basement is the job site, the rest of my house is our house and you should have some respect and follow what we instruct. You will have an option to get a porta potty outside your house… I advise you take it. Our bathroom was disgusting, so much so that I had to cover all of the walls in plastic. It was like animals were in there. The biggest concern that we had was the fact that many of the trades would leave the front door wide open. Having flies and bees in your house is not fun but the big issue here is security. Anybody could just walk in. Thankfully we were home most of the time but there were some occasions that we were not and came home to a wide open door with people working away in the noise, clueless as to who is coming and going. The dry wall guys even left our basement window open with no screen on it. We mentioned to many of the trades that we wanted the door to remain closed. It was like we were asking them to cut off their hand or something. Our house, our rules. It got so bad with them ignoring us that we had to escalate up to management. After that, things got better but we still had to remind some of the trades. In contrast, some of the trades were the most amazing and considerate people. Top marks to the tapers and the painters. A+ guys! Finishing This was the best part of the job because it is when a gentleman named Roberto takes over. I can’t thank him enough for his incredibly hard work at coordinating all of the last bits of the project such as painting, trim, electrical/plumbing, cleaning, etc. He even went above and beyond to help us with various other things. Absolute pleasure to work with, I can’t state this enough. A+++++. Penguin has a cleaning crew come through at the end and they did an amazing job. Basement is spotless, they cleaned up all of the areas that the workers came through. And yes, they even returned our bathroom to it’s former state. At the end, we stood in our basement and were completely over joyed with it. Yes there were bumps along the way but the team really did their best to make it all work.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful.
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Company Response

We appreciate the honest and generally positive review. As you noted, there were some bumps along the way, and much of it was due to us not being properly prepared for an explosion of business this year that was beyond our staffing expectations. We have been onboarding new people as well as implementing new standards, and communication protocols to ensure things run much more smoothly as this is of benefit to us as well as our customers. Our first "new process" job just finished and while it is premature to say we've addressed everything, this job went off without a hitch. There are still some "old process" jobs in the pipeline as we felt switching over mid-stream may cause more issues that it addresses. We do listen to client feedback here and elsewhere carefully, and appreciate suggestions for improvement. To that end, we will take this comment, "Many of these selections could have been made online. I understand that more complicated basements would require in-person discussions but for simple ones, this could free them up for other things." to heart and look to add an online catalogue for the Spring. Thank you. We hope you enjoy the basement for many years to come.

10/10

One of the best experiences with any contractor. From the initial contact, to the quote, through to the day of work, all was excellent. The team showed up right on time. We friendly, professional and incredibly patient with all of our questions. They explained exactly what they would be doing, they let us see up in the attic before and after. Photos were also provided of the before and after. The job was perfect, they also went above and beyond to fix issues created by our builder. No mess was left behind. Great experience!

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Company Response

Thank you for taking the time to write out a review for us! Our #1 priority is to make sure all of our customers are 100% happy with the work done in their attic as well as with their experience with our company - glad to hear you're satisfied with our services! Thanks again!

10/10

Vule did an amazing job with the backsplash in our old house and we always knew that we wanted to bring him in to our new house to take care of it once again. We have done many renovations here and honestly, most contractors are not very good or honest. Many fail to point things out that could cause grief later on and just come up with excuses. With Vule, it is the complete opposite. Every step of the way, he kept us informed, pointing things out that were wrong with the area and gave us options. Vule and Bosko are great workers, very polite and they actually care. We plan to do a lot more tile work in the future and want Vule back for that as well. One of the few contractors out there that I didn't want to strangle!

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Company Response

Thank you for this great review. We always try to involve our customers and give them our honest opinion and options.
Regards
Vule
Vule Tile
https://vuletile.ca/home/
416-970-3232

5/10

We have dealt with some of the bigger players in this space and had a hard time getting the answers we wanted. We decided to go with Higher Ground based on their reviews here and the friendliness and knowledge of Romel when we went to visit.<br><br> Romel was able to answer all of our questions and the selection process was easy and smooth. But honestly, things went downhill from the measurement process.<br><br> We had another company in to do measurements and they spent a good hour and half doing so. Romel was in and out in about 20 minutes. That did seem a little odd to me compared to our first experience.<br><br> The installation crew was on time and were generally pretty careful with our house. <br><br> We were not very happy with them though. The lead was very moody and grumpy. The other guy didn't seem to know what he was doing most of the time as the lead was always yelling at him.<br><br> All of our questions were answered with attitude which was not appreciated.<br><br> The biggest complaint that we had was that the attention to detail was just not there:<br><br> - One of the countertops was over *an inch* too short. This is what happens when you rush through the measuring process. Double checking measurements is a must. Lucky for us, they were able to get a new slab the same day and return a few days later to install it.<br><br> - We asked for 4 inch tall backsplahes on our vanities, most of them have different heights. Not the end of the world, they look nice, but again, where is the attention to detail? 4 inches, not 3.8 inches.<br><br> - Our slide in stove did not fit in the opening. They had to cut large chunks off to get it in but, not before refusing to do so. Again, this goes back to rushing through the measurements. Had they left without moving back the stove, we would have had to call them in yet again to cut more of the quartz.<br><br> - The silicone job was very sloppy. The solution? We can paint over it. Great, more work for us.<br><br> - Since they had to come back a second time, they rushed through the final install so that they could go to their next job. We were not happy with the finishing touches but they wanted to get out.<br><br> - We have a rather large L shape in our kitchen that required 2 pieces and thus a seam. We were told that the seam wouldn't be very visible but honestly, it is quite visible. When we asked the installer about it, his response was "I don't know".<br><br> - The height of those 2 pieces that made up the L were not even. They were going to leave it like that, the installer didn't seem to care. We had to call Romel and have him come in to look. The solution? Grind down the one side so that it curves in and matches the other. The whole entire piece should have been ground down to match. Not once did anyone stop to think, "this is going to make a mess, maybe you should move your dishes". We had to spend hours cleaning all of our stuff.<br><br> - All of our baking trays got covered in epoxy when the installer was doing the seam work. Not once did he stop and say: you have some things in there that should be moved because they could get some of this one them.<br><br> - They had to remove a few kitchen cabinet doors to do the grinding. In the process the stripped one of the mechanism which I had to replace. Plus they did not put them back on correctly.<br><br> - They left quite a mess at the end of the day and didn't make any effort to at least try and clean up a bit.<br><br> In the end, we had to settle with extra work for us afterwards. ========= UPDATED REVIEW ========== Company response: It is a good thing that we take full responsibly for all measurements taken and we never leave the customer stranded. We are all human and make mistakes; unfortunately it happened to this customer. Once we realized our mistake, we wasted no time. Romel ordered another full slab of quartz to redo the one piece at no extra charge to the customer. Customer response: as mentioned in our review, yes, another slab was ordered and the issue was resolved. Company response: As for the joint in the kitchen, if you contact any supplier they will tell you that there is no such slab that has the exact same thickness as another. Slabs slightly differ in thickness and that is why, on occasion, during an installation we sand the bottoms of the joints to even them out at the customer’s house. Customer response: so sanding them down on one side to create a curve is acceptable? I am fine with sanding it down but do the whole piece, not just one side. Company response: It is a shame that the customer felt the way she did with the installer, we have never had any problems with him, maybe he was having an off day. Customer response: have a look at your other low review and will see the same thing we wrote in our review. Obviously not a 1 time thing. Company response: Just to inform the homeowners, caulking is a paintable material, and is a common process during kitchen renovations to protect from water damage. Some areas may look thicker than other areas due to uneven walls. Quartz is not a bendable material, therefore caulking is needed. Customer response: please don't make us look like we don't know what we are talking about.We know silicon is paintable and we know that there will be more in areas that need more. The issue is that the application was SLOPPY. It is all over the quartz and up the walls. Yes we could paint it but why are you creating the extra work for us? Apply it properly and we wouldn't have to paint it. In fact, we have shown your "quality" job to other contractors and they just laughed. Company response: We could have walked away from the customer and left her stranded, but we took the loss in order to do the job properly. This goes to show you our commitment and dedication to our customers, no matter what the case may be; measurements, fabrication, installation, etc. We take responsibility when you hire us! Customer response: if you had left us stranded, you would not have been paid the outstanding amount. You failed to respond to other concerns mentioned in our review. What about the backsplashes you cut that are all of different heights? What is the excuse there? What about the fact that the stove did not fit? What about rushing through the second day? What about the very visible seam on top of the countertop and the installer not knowing why it was that way? What about your installer getting glue all over our baking pans? What about all the quartz dust on our things? They didn't even have the decency to suggest that we move things. What about screwing up our cabinet door hinges? What about the mess left behind? Anyways, to anyone else reading this, just beware. I am sure there is an excuse for everything.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful.
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Company Response

It is a good thing that we take full responsibly for all measurements taken and we never leave the customer stranded. We are all human and make mistakes; unfortunately it happened to this customer. Once we realized our mistake, we wasted no time. Romel ordered another full slab of quartz to redo the one piece at no extra charge to the customer. As for the joint in the kitchen, if you contact any supplier they will tell you that there is no such slab that has the exact same thickness as another. Slabs slightly differ in thickness and that is why, on occasion, during an installation we sand the bottoms of the joints to even them out at the customer’s house.
It is a shame that the customer felt the way she did with the installer, we have never had any problems with him, maybe he was having an off day. Just to inform the homeowners, caulking is a paintable material, and is a common process during kitchen renovations to protect from water damage. Some areas may look thicker than other areas due to uneven walls. Quartz is not a bendable material, therefore caulking is needed.
We could have walked away from the customer and left her stranded, but we took the loss in order to do the job properly. This goes to show you our commitment and dedication to our customers, no matter what the case may be; measurements, fabrication, installation, etc.
We take responsibility when you hire us!

9/10

Some of the best money that we have ever spent. These shutters are solid and have held out really well so far other than a few minor adjustments here and there. I would never dare purchase plastic ones. The overall process with M3 was pretty good. Mike took his time to measure everything and dealt really well with the not so level window frames. The turn around time was really quick and the installer was great. The only somewhat negative comment that we have is that Mike is not the most on time and reliable person. He was late a few hours on 2 different occasions and would not have shown up for one of those appointments if we had not called him. In the end, it was really worth it. Can't go wrong with these shutters!

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9/10

We had Millennium in to refinish our stairs to match our new dark floors. Overall, we are very happy with how they turned out. It was quite a process since our builder gave us natural oak stairs that were sealed. They had to strip them, sand them, stain them and seal them. While not as nice as stairs done from scratch, I must say, they turned out very nicely. My only complaint is that the base of our metal pickets are covered in sealer which is now very hard to remove. It isn't really visible but it would have been nice if they were covered.

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9/10

We purchased a new runner from Patti-Lynn and had them install it. Patti-Lynn herself is a little abrasive/rude and really shouldn't be dealing with customers. This opinion is echoed by many contractors in the Stouffville area. In any case, everything went well. The installer was a really nice guy and did a pretty good job. Other than a scratch on our laminate, the process was really smooth.

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0/10

Update, 1 Year later: as noted in the original review, our subfloors were not prepared for installation by the crew at Canwood. We have since brought in a proper crew to fix these issues. We have found some additional things that really make use question the skill of the Canwood crew. They seem like Jack of all trades instead of a flooring company. Things that we discovered when we took up the laminate: 1) the amount of dirt and debris was incredible. They did not take the time to properly clean the floors before hand. 2) The under padding was installed upside down. 3) There was spacing between the sheets of under padding which was causing some dips. 4) There were double layers of under padding in certain ares which were also causing dips. Long story short: Ali + his crew are nice people and the flooring that we purchased is very nice. BUT The big issue that we had is that our subfloors were not in the proper condition for flooring installation. There are multiple areas that have dips and there are areas where the joists are raised up. The sad thing is that we discovered most of these issues after installation. We have since talked to many flooring companies and they all make sure that every inch of the subfloor is ready for installation. This is something that Canwood did not do. Canwood's response to this: "it's not our job to fix and level subfloors". That's fine, but at least notify the customer that there are many issues and what troubles can come from not fixing them. If we were told about all of the problems, we would have had them fixed. Sadly we were not told and now we have quite a few things that need to be repaired.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful.
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8/10

We needed to purchase faucets for our kitchen and 3 bathrooms on quite a short timeline. In the end, we found what we needed but it wasn't the most smooth process. The first rep that we dealt with was a little on the high and mighty end. The second rep was just lovely. Long story short: we selected a kitchen faucet but it needed to be ordered from the manufacturer. 2 different reps told us that it was in stock and that it would be in the store within 2 days. Through no fault of their own, the product turned out to be on back order. Due to our tight deadline, it would have been nice if they talked to someone at the manufacturer to see if it really was available. The manager was quite helpful though and was able to recommend a similar faucet that had just arrived that same day. He gave us a good price and everything worked out.

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Company Response

First of all, we THANK YOU for your business and sincerely apologize for the buying experience of not being the most smoothest. 'Excellent Customer Service' is something that we pride ourselves with and has been an integral part of our success. We will review your situation and make changes accordingly, so that your experience with us is pleasant and enjoyable in the future.

6/10

We purchased a brand new Lennox XC-14 and are very happy with it. It is a very solid machine and is very quiet. It is a rather large unit though, so make sure you have room for it.<br><br> As for the overall process with Cosmopolitan, it was less than pleasant.<br><br> The sales person, Paul, was nice but a little pushy when done with his pitch. I have every right to shop around and hate when sales people try to push you to sign. Not the end of the world, but give the customer some breathing room.<br><br> The unit was to be installed on the side of the house next to our living room. As we spend most of our time there, I specifically asked Paul if we would hear the vibration if the unit were mounted to the foundation. I was assured that we would not... turns out that we do hear it. Putting the unit on the ground was not an option due to ground movement in our new sub division.<br><br> The installation process felt really rushed. As soon as they were done, they just wanted to get out of the house as quickly as possible. What they passed off as an explanation of the system was a joke, I had to pull information out of them. On top of that, the installer could barely speak English and I could not understand most of what he said. In the end, I had to give up.<br><br> The installation of the AC coil introduced a rather loud high pitched whistle that drove us mad. I have to give the service manager Kevin points for trying to deal with the situation but in end, the blame was placed on our builder and the technician really didn't seem to care much. I spent quite a bit of time researching this issue and I had to mention the various solutions to him while he was at our home. It was like pulling teeth with him, every response was "that's normal" or "I don't know". If I had not mentioned the things I did, he wouldn't have tried anything.

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10/10

Out of all of the renovations that we have done, this was by far the easiest one. Dealing with Alon was very easy, he is not pushy and knows his stuff. The work was complete within 2 weeks and they did a great job!

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Company Response

Appreciate the feedback

10/10

If I could rate Charlie more than 10, I would without hesitation. He installed our dishwasher, hooked up the water line on our fridge, installed 50 cabinet handles and all bathroom fixtures. He did a great job and even gave us advice on all kinds of other things that we asked him about without question. He even gave us some good advice about other things around the house. He is very reliable and responsive, you can't say this about many other contractors out there.

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Company Response

Thank you for the awesome review.
We are so glad that you are so happy with the completed project done in the time frame you expected.
It was a pleasure to work with you and look forward to doing so again in the future.

10/10

We have moved many times in the past and have dealt with some bad movers. This being our biggest move, we were quite nervous about hiring someone. We did quite a bit of research and Arby seemed like the best choice. If we had to describe them in one word, it would have to be AMAZING. Very nice guys, they really know their stuff. The were very fast and very careful with everything. They even took apart and re-assembled large items for us. If you are looking for movers, do yourself a favor and hire these guys. Don't waste your time with anyone else.

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