Reviews

10/10

Natanael and Rafael saved us - there really is no better way of saying this. Our kitchen needed a full gut job. Typical post-war double brick house that had an updated kitchen, but nothing had been done behind the walls, so it all had to come down. We did our homework and hired a designer. Really needed a smart layout to maximize space in our cramped kitchen/entrance area. We went through several drafts and finally settled on a design we liked. Got several quotes from contractors (including Natanael), but went with the designer's contractor because of convenience first and foremost. Big mistake. We should have gone with our gut feel and chosen Natanael instead. His quote was by far the most detailed and professional while still being competitive on price. The contractor we chose turned out to be a disaster. They ripped out the kitchen and did the framing, but it was all wrong. Plumbing was not moved away from exterior wall, an exterior corner was boxed in so no insulation would get in there, a heating vent was just left open under the floor and the list goes on. We had talked about these things beforehand, but still they were done wrong. When confronted with the issues, the contractor had all kinds of excuses and claimed that some of the problems couldn't be fixed. To top it off he started quoting ridiculous prices for extras. For example, he wanted $2500 for removing the ceiling and putting new drywall. When pushed he suddenly dropped the price to $1500. He wanted to use retrofit potlights instead of new build ones. We realized that this would just turn into a nightmare if we kept going, so we let him go. Best decision we ever made. Still, a little unnerving. Late winter, no kitchen, no living room (used as staging area), dining area set up as makeshift kitchen, cooking in a toaster oven and on BBQ when weather allowed. Not a good situation with two little kids. We called Natanael and he came to take a look. We knew we were in a vulnerable situation and a less honest man could easily have taken advantage. Natanael looked everything over and very quickly gave us a revised quote. He could have someone there within a week and the price was reasonable. It was a no-brainer. Rafael and his crew showed up in less than a week and started work immediately. They ripped everything out and started over. We told them what needed to be done, but they knew already. They could see all the mistakes and they fixed everything. It was just a massive relief for us. Throughout the rest of the project it was a real pleasure working with them. Communication was fantastic. Rafael would have a chat with me in the morning to go through what he was planning to do. Then he would be there when I came home from work to show me everything they had done. If he had to leave earlier or if any issues would come up he would call me. Just thoroughly professional through and through. Many contractors out there should learn from how these guys work. No project is flawless though, but the true test of a contractor is how they fix their mistakes. They were really good with the structural work, but some of the finishing was not 100% to our satisfaction. We discussed it, they fixed it. Simple as that. One row of upper cabinets were a little misaligned. They took them all down and reinstalled them. Some of the tiles for the back splash were uneven. They redid them. One cabinet door had the handle installed in the wrong corner. They ordered a new door and fixed it. Rafael even came over one weekend recently, a few months after the reno was done, to do some extra caulking, reinforce a toekick, and do some touchups on some of the grout. Clearly this is a company that prides itself on customer satisfaction. We have several other projects in the pipeline and there's no doubt that we will be calling on Natanael and Rafael again. May they live long and prosper!

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Company Response

Hello Jabba:

Thank you so much for such an amazing feedback, we can't thank you enough for the opportunity and for your trust. We are so glad to hear that after your bad experience we were able to help and to turn the disaster into a happy end. We look forward to work together again in the near future. Never hesitate to give us a call anytime you need our services and you may rest assured that our best efforts will be put forth to assist you. All the best, Natanael and his crew.

10/10

We had to quickly find a new electrician after the relationship with our contractor turned sour (too many shortcuts taken) and we had to fire him. We had framing going up and spray foam about to be installed, so the electrical work had to be done pronto. We called around a few places and found that Kia was the only one who would be able to do the work on such short notice. Usually I would be skeptical when someone can do a job on short notice, but we had no choice. I soon figured out why could take it on. Kia works like a man possessed! He does long hours and goes completely out of his way to satisfy client requests. The day before the spray foam company was to arrive he stayed until 8pm to make sure everything was ready. There were a number of issues with the old wiring in the kitchen and Kia had to run new wires to all outlets, hook up thermostat for in-floor heating, install new potlights, under-cabinet lighting and we even got him to pull some speaker wire for us. Everything was done quickly, but properly. When he came back to complete the job he again worked well into the evening, making sure to take no shortcuts. When I contacted him a few weeks later because I wasn't satisfied with how one of the dimmers were working, he came over after a few days (on the weekend!) and changed the dimmer. No complaints, no questions asked - he truly values client satisfaction! I would recommend Kia without a doubt and would definitely use him again for future jobs. He's quirky, but he is a true professional - something that it's hard to find these days.

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First Review

10/10

Mike and his wife just recently completed the Aeroseal duct sealing in our house. It was a thoroughly professional job. Mike and his wife have been very pleasant to deal with and have been truly professional and courteous in all my dealings with them. The initial test found that my ductwork was leaking more than 400 CFM. After applying Aeroseal, the leakage was down to ~30 CFM, and we notice that we have stronger airflow in our supply ducts. Mike also did a thorough duct cleaning and even spent quite some time sealing around some old registers that were blowing a lot of air into the walls and not into the rooms. They were very careful when moving their equipment around, making sure they put down drop cloths and took of their shoes. Absolutely no mess was left behind and I'm pretty sure my basement was cleaner than before they came! I would not hesitate to recommend both this company and the product for anyone who has leaky ductwork (and that is pretty much everyone, since ductwork is often very poorly installed even in new builds).

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7/10

We had a 19-year old Rheem tank that was working fine, but was basically a ticking time bomb, with us having no idea how it had been maintained by previous owners. We decided a new water heater was needed and started the usual research and discussions/quote process with contractors. Initially wanted a direct vent tank, but decided in the end to go with a tankless system since the price differential wasn't that great, and it would free up substantial space for us in an otherwise tight basement. Met with and spoke to a handful of contractors, and I came up against the usual problem that after a lot of research I often know more than the contractors about the product they are selling and installing. This was also the case with Brian from Stouffville Home and Comfort, but he has a good presence on RedFlagDeals, answering many questions (although usually with a sales pitch built in) and running group buys that allow for good prices on quality products. We ended up choosing the Rinnai RU98i through one of the group buys Brian was organizing. He honoured the GB price, even though I contacted him a few weeks after the GB had officially ended. Kudos for that. Further kudos for him being patient while I figured out a good time for him to come and install it. This took a few months, and even though I had put down a deposit, I understand that he wants to get the unit installed, complete the sale and get the rest of his money as quickly as possible. My main criticism concerns his installation crew and the installation itself. First of all, I have to say that the unit seems to be working fine and seems to be installed according to Rinnai guidelines. However, the install was anything but neat. Prior to the installation I had prepared the area by putting up some extra studs on the wall where it would be placed, with some strips of rubber (to insulate against any vibrations and noise while unit is running) and a piece of plywood. When the installation crew came by I asked them if the setup was appropriate (had already talked to Brian about this) or if they needed anything else. They said it was fine. I had to go to work, but I made sure that they had my contact number and urged them to call me if they had any questions. I heard nothing from them, but I got them on the phone at the end when I was speaking to my sister-in-law, who was at the house, about the payment (what amount to put on the cheque I had left). At that point I spoke to the installer again and asked him if there had been any issues or if there was anything I should be aware of. "No" was the response. The guy was clearly not the chatty kind, but it had been nice if he had offered some information. I had also asked them to service my AC and furnace, and I had to pry information out of him about this too. Nothing was volunteered ("change your furnace filter" was the extent of it). When I got home I took a look at the installation. Still quite a bit of drywall and concrete pieces left on the floor. I went outside to take a look and found that the plastic flange they had put around the vent was really flimsy and the caulking was already peeling. This was actually an issue since they had not foamed the opening in the wall. From inside I could look straight out of the hole where the vent was sticking out - daylight was coming in! I had to foam the hole myself and clean up all the mess they had left behind. Another issue was that he for some reason had loosened several of the screws I had used to secure the plywood. It is now actually quite loose in one corner and one of the rubber strips have come loose. This is the plywood that the unit is attached to. I have no idea why he did this. He could easily have explained this to me when I had him on the phone (e.g., "We had to loosen the plywood to make it completely plumb for the install" or something along those lines), but nothing was offered. So, the unit works, no complaints there. However, for someone less handy, they might never have discovered that they were left with a gaping hole in their foundation where water and critters could get through. Also not happy with the cleanup I had to do. So, overall I can't recommend this company to others, while at the same time I don't want to give a failing grade since the product is actually fully working. Update Jan 10, 2014: I had my reservations about the quality of the installation, and just before Christmas the condensation drain started leaking. We were going away for the holidays, so we didn't have time to fix it right away. On Jan 2, I contacted their office and scheduled a time for them to come in and fix it. They showed up on time and took care of the problem. Due to the prompt response and good communication by Brian I have increased my rating from 6 to 7. I still have my reservations about the initial install, but I was very satisfied with their quick response and fix, so I'm confident they will take care of me in the future if anything else goes wrong.

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Company Response

Hello Leif,

Once again we would like to thank you for your purchase from our company. Please feel free to call me at 905-642-3000 and we can discuss your concerns. We are always open and easily reached by our customers, and if I had any idea of any of these concerns, I assure you that we would have sent someone back to address them immediately. We pride ourselves on the best customer service available and I do apologize that you are not fully 100% satisfied. Please give me a call and let me know if there is anything else we can do to make you a fully satisfied customer. I will also email you in case you do not see this.

Brian

10/10

I am a home owner who likes to research a product or service to death before I buy it, and more often than not I end up being disappointed because it turns out I know more about the job than the contractor does. Even with the help of Homestars I find it has become increasingly difficult to find truly skilled and trustworthy professionals to do any kind of home reno job in Toronto. That being said, Doors & More turned out to be one of those rare professional companies that carry a quality product and truly stand behind the job they do. First contact was on the phone with Frank (the owner) who, to be honest, sounds like a used car sales man, and that initially turned me off. Turns out that he is actually just truly compassionate about what they do. Had his quote guy (Jason?) come by a few days later, and an appointment that was supposed to take 15-20 minutes stretched out to about an hour while he gave us advice and direction that we had not previously considered. He was very patient while we had trouble deciding whether to go with two side panels or one and whether the door should swing to the right or left, inwards or outwards. In the end we decided on an in-swinging door between two side panels (approximate 4.5 foot overall opening - 22" door). On the installation date (about two weeks later) the guys showed up on time and got everything installed. I was not home during the installation, so when I had a first glance, everything looked fabulous. Our shower opening is not square, so this was no easy job. However, as far as I could tell it was a truly professional install with the caulking very neatly done and the door opening and closing very smoothly - almost like a Mercedes door! Still, I'm very picky and I noticed that the washers were not perfectly lined up with the handle. This was an upgraded square handle with square washers, so I understand that it can be tricky when you are doing the final tightening to get the washers to line up perfectly with the handle. Also, the handle/towel bar wasn't perfectly level. This is nit picking to be honest, but it would have bothered us considering how much we spent. Once you notice something like that it will always irritate you. I called Frank and he had a guy out in a few days to look at it. I had to leave for work, and Frank calls me later to tell me that they will replace the door. I was absolutely flabbergasted! Turns out they had cut the door slightly wrong, so even if they could align the washers, there was no way they could level the handle. At this point in the conversation I would have usually braced for the inevitable heated argument about getting them to fix it, but Frank had already said they would replace the entire door, so I was left speechless. He actually went to great lengths to explain what went wrong, e-mailing me the quote sheet with the drawing and measurements to show me exactly what had happened. It took a while to get them to come back to replace the door, but that was entirely my fault. Frank was actually repeatedly in touch with me to try and set up a time. I finally had time to accommodate them, and the end result is perfection. The handle is perfectly level and the washers perfectly aligned. It truly can't be any more level than this! Couldn't be happier. I just find it truly rare to find a company that will so readily admit and fix a mistake. I might have seen it with a company that is just starting out and trying to create a good reputation, but Doors & More have been around for a long time, and they are really busy. If this is how they conduct their business I suspect they will be in business for a long time to come.

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Company Response

Thanks " L " , I very much appreciate the kind words , I read the review Friday after a long hard day , and can only say that it made me feel very good , and reminded me that doing what I believe ALWAYS out weighs doing what is easy ,... Frank

10/10

Our front porch is a nice older structure made of stone with a cold room underneath. Last year we had major leak during heavy rains, with water gushing into the cold room and we realized some repairs to the porch were badly needed. We had quotes from a few different companies, but Red Robin was the cheapest and most professional. Mike came out with a helper as scheduled and got started on the job which involved tuckpointing the stone surface and brick all around the porch. Unfortunately, various rain delays meant the job wasn't done until it was close to winter. Also, the work was made more complicated since someone had tried in the past to patch up the surface joints with concrete instead of mortar, and some stones had to be removed completely and reinserted since they were coming loose. There were still some minor cracks to deal with by the time winter set in, but they were mostly cosmetic and the cold room stayed dry. Now, the work done was exceptional, but what really makes me give Mike and Red Robin a perfect 10 is the follow-up this spring to get the work completed. I had expected to have to hunt them down to come and finish up, but instead they were the ones hunting me down! I wasn't always the easiest person to get a hold of, but Mike kept at it through e-mails and phone calls and finally we managed to set a suitable time when the sun also happened to shine and the work is now completed. I would definitely use Red Robin again and I have recommended them to all my friends. I completely trust their professionalism and integrity and I know that they just won't quit until the job is done right.

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10/10

We needed new carpet on our stairs and Victorious was one of many companies we contacted to get quotes. Mark turned out to be the one that gave us a good price and at the same time provided many good suggestions for how to prep the stairs to ensure a quality install. For example, due to his suggestions almost all the squeaks were eliminated. The stairs are straight, but the steps are not even width, so this was by no means a straightforward job. However, Mark did an exceptional job and the carpet looks fabulous.

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Company Response

We appreciate your business. Feel free to contact us at anytime. Thank you again for taking the time to leave us an feedback.

10/10

Our whole house renovation included complete electrical rewiring. As an afterthought we figured we would also run Cat5e cables to all the rooms in the house in addition to phone and cable. Our electrician ran all the cables and we brought Greg in to terminate, test and map the cables. We realized quickly that it was a major mistake not to have brought Greg in earlier. Our electrician was an ace when it came to electrical but made numerous blunders with the low-voltage cabling. Greg helped make sense of it all and made sure that all the network, cable and phone connections (over 50 termination points around the house) worked perfectly. He was thoroughly professional and very pleasant to deal with. Our only regret was that we did not call him in right at the beginning of the project. That would have saved us a lot of headaches!

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10/10

Our home renovation last summer included a complete gut of our basement. After much research we decided that the extra cost of spray foam insulation was worth it. Best decision we ever made! We got quotes from a few companies and Avenue was actually the most expensive. However, Andy was by far the most knowledgeable and the person I was most comfortable with. My research also told me that this seemed to be a quality company. After a bit of haggling, Andy agreed to lower the price slightly and that made it a slam dunk. The workers showed up on time and the job was completed to a very high standard. Andy had given us some very helpful tips on how to prepare the studs in advance. In addition, his people did an exceptional job on some walls where we had decided to leave the old studs even though they were a little uneven. There was no mess left behind and minimal splatter. We are extremely happy with the work Avenue did. The basement is now by far the warmest part of the house! We are currently planning to insulate the rest of the house and Avenue is our first and only choice for the job.

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10/10

Our extensive home renovation last summer included replacement of our furnace and installation of AC (no AC previously installed). As we did with all our jobs, we got quotes from a few companies and chose Reliable Home Comfort based on price (equal or cheaper than the others) and above all, my comfort level with Dave when I spoke with him. He seemed very knowledgeable and everything he said matched the research I had done beforehand. Dave showed up on the day of installation with two of his installers and they stayed the entire day (until 8pm - outside in the rain!) to finish the job that also included installation of new humidifier and media filter. They even threw in a new thermostat for good measure! As much as we were happy with the job they did, a truly great company is measured by the way they handle problems. About a week later the AC refused to turn itself off. Dave suggested a few things for me over the phone, but nothing worked. He said he would come over a couple of days later and in the meantime I had to turn the AC off using the main switch. Dave and one of his installers came as promised, ready to fix the problem - they even brought a replacement thermostat if that turned out to be the cause. To my embarrassment it turned out to be user error. I had simply pressed too many buttons at once. Everything worked perfectly when Dave left - no charge. I cannot recommend Dave and Reliable Home Comfort highly enough. I will be using them for all my future HVAC needs and have recommended them to all my friends.

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2/10

We underwent a whole house renovation last year and after talking to a few different hardwood retailers/installers we chose to go with Oakland. The service and pricing we received upfront was exceptional and we thought we were in good hands. Problems started when the hardwood was delivered to our house. We had ordered 1000 sq/ft of Appalachian natural maple, but what showed up was Continental Designs honey maple. We were assured that this was not a problem since Continental Designs is just a brand name that Appalachian uses. I took his word for it, but did some more research the night before installation was to begin. Turns out Continental Designs (CD) has nothing to do with Appalachian, and he had clearly misrepresented the truth to us. From my research I concluded that CD is inferior quality and most certainly cheaper than Appalachian. When I told Oakland about this he said that we had agreed on natural maple and if we wanted to do an exchange we would have to pay a 10% fee (around $500). Only when I pointed out to him that in our contract it specifically states that we ordered Appalachian did he agree to do the exchange free of charge. The installation then got underway, but the whole job was done by one man only. From other contractors I've heard that hardwood installation is definitely a two-man job. The installer told us that his partner was sick but that he would be fine on his own. At the end of the day the quality of the installation is OK at best and certainly not what I would expect from someone who tells us that he works with a number of custom house builders. There were several glue stains left on the hardwood that were very hard to remove. The nosing on the top of the stairs was varnished with just one coat using the cheapest varnish you can get at Wal-Mart. It looks absolutely terrible. And, you can certainly question how the planks were sorted prior to installation as many pieces with highly visible flaws were installed in high-visibility areas (should have been used inside closets, in corners, etc.) We thought we had found the perfect company, but the whole experience with Oakland was horrible in the end. I would discourage anyone from using Oakland as there are certainly many other companies out there that will do a much better job.

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10/10

We bought a 60-year old house with original windows and very old doors. Needless to say - all needed to be replaced. All in all there were 15 windows and 3 exterior doors. We got quotes from a few different companies, and we considered various options such as what kind of decorative insert to put on windows facing the street, what kind of frosting to use for bathrooms, using colour on frames, and whether to do brick-to-brick. At Baltic we ended up dealing with Rafal (the owner) directly, and the suggestions he came up with made the most sense. We did brick-to-brick casement windows on the whole house except for basement and two bedroom windows in the back that were simply too big for casements. We also got exterior doors from Baltic, which they provided at an excellent price. Our front door has a beautiful full size window with a wrought-iron insert. The side doors have half-size windows with frosting matching our bathroom windows. The installation was very quick and efficient. They came with a big crew that really seemed to know what they were doing. They got the job done and did a great job with clean-up afterward. Unfortunately, a mistake had been made with the frosting in the side door windows. I always maintain that a company's quality should be assessed by how they handle problems. A quick phone call to Baltic quickly took care of the frosting issue. They installed the doors as they were, but came back a few weeks later (once the new window inserts were ready) to replace the frosted window inserts. The problem with the frosting was due to a misunderstanding about what it was called. Since the name of the wrong frosting was actually in the contract, Baltic could have insisted that we should pay for replacements. However, Baltic was very professional and took care of the replacement free of charge. The only minor complaint I might have is the quality of the screens on the windows, which seem a little flimsy and don't all fit perfectly. However, Baltic is perfect in all other respects and we would definitely use them again and recommend them to all our family and friends.

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10/10

We are doing major renovations on the house we just bought, and we ran into an issue with the ductwork being of questionable quality in places. Some runs ending in open spaces in the ceiling, a lot of brackets loose or broken, leaking joints, some runs in odd places. This is a 60-year old house, so surprises like that are to be expected. Called Lou of Dave White Heating based on reviews here on HomeStars and I am thoroughly happy that I did. He came in to take a look and uncovered more issues than we had done initially. He quickly recommended what needed to be done and quoted me a very good price. Not long after I called him to book the work. Had to wait a week since he is a busy guy, but that wasn't a problem. One of his workers showed up on time and completed all the work in a few hours. He put in new support brackets, taped all the joints, rerouted a couple of runs, and removed and capped a useless run. Lou himself showed up to check that everything was running smoothly. All in all it was a pleasure to work with Lou and I would definitely recommend him to anyone needing this kind of work done. Will contact him again to get a new AC installed very soon!

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10/10

Needing a home inspection after having an offer accepted, we turned to Carson Dunlop. We had heard many good things about the company, especially through the Homes section in the Toronto Star. Carla arrived early at the house and had already started the inspection before I got there. As first-time buyers we have no previous experience, but Carla was thoroughly professional and approachable throughout the whole process. She answered all my questions and produced a report that definitely influenced our decision. Just what we were looking for. The comprehensive binder we were left with was a nice bonus, as were all the maintenance tips she provided. We would definitely use Carson Dunlop again.

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Company Response

Jabba in North York,

Thanks for your note about your home inspection performed by Carla. Looks as though we were able to deliver a great overall experience for you. The Home Reference Book will be a valuable aid for you in the future as you consider making any repairs or upgrades and for help with your home maintenance needs. Great to hear everything worked out well for you and thank you very much for taking the time to provide your feedback - we'll share it with everyone.
David Kitchen GM/COO 416-964-9415 ext 230