Sunday, October 2, 2011

Bathroom Renovation Rant...


I know... I've been uncharacteristically silent for the past week or so... (okay, maybe not so "uncharacteristic!" But what-EVAH!!!).

Actually, I was really hoping that this whole Renovation Project would NOT result in a rant but... Unfortunately... It did!

I can't say that I would give American Kitchen and Bath "Rave Reviews."

In fact, I'd even go so far as to say that I am kind of "regretting" my decision to go with them, to be perfectly honest.

:::Big Sigh:::

I really try not to go down the path of "Coulda-Woulda-Shoulda" - as a rule. But, in this case, I am really thinking I "shoulda" gone with Isaac - the guy who did our kitchen. I genuinely liked Isaac. He wasn't big into up-selling and he delivered what-he-promised, when-he-said-he-would. Those are REALLY big selling points when one is talking about dismantling the ONLY BATHROOM IN THE HOUSE!!!!

Admittedly - with this being the ONLY bathroom - there is a LOT more stress involved. And I might've even had some "pain and agony" if Isaac's crew was doing the job. But some of the bullsh*t I've been dealing with has been just-plain uncalled-for. JMHO....................

For starters: There were two PRIMARY reasons I went with AKB for the Bathroom Reno.
  • One was my Boss' Glowing Recommendation (Great work, Great Prices). To be fair, my boss has the Exact Same model house as my mom's house - which means they have three bathrooms so the "inconvenience" was certainly minimized in their case...

  • The Second (also - quite significant) reason I went with AKB was that they were a "One-Stop-Shop." Isaac had moved more towards "Kitchens" and didn't have a full-blown Bathroom Showroom. My fear, had I gone with Isaac, was that - while their "Labor-Only" bid was lower - I would've had to do a whole lot of running-around and schlepping of materials. Whereas, with Joe/AKB, it seemed that I could leave the running-around/schlepping to THEM!

    (Not So, Kemosabe!!!)

Anyway, "Woulda-Coulda-Shoulda's" aside, I *will* say that Joe's crew DOES do a Good Job. I have no qualms about the "Quality" of the work they are doing. In fact, his crew is Very Good. Very Personable and (not that this is necessarily a huge "selling point"), the DOGS even like them. Actually, it *is* kind of an off-hand selling point because I *do* think that the dogs are an Excellent Judge of character (but I'm weird that way!!!).

But Joe (the owner) does kind of "keep their hands tied" - meaning, if it's not stated *explicitly* on the contract, they're NOT supposed to do it - right?

Case in point: The Tile Guy was here for two days. Around the same time, his electrician had ripped out the old light fixture (one Big Ugly Brass "Hollywood-Style" light bar) and replaced it with TWO new fixtures. The old fixture had ONE junction box. The new fixtures required two...

This left ONE gaping hole in the middle of the surface-mount Medicine Cabinet (which was not going to be replaced - due to budgetary constraints). I knew this, up-front. And I STATED this, up-front. We *knew* there was going to be a HOLE in the middle that needed to be patched, right?

Well, after the new fixtures went in, we circled back to discuss "what to do" about the hole in the middle. I had suggested, maybe, a sheet of oak veneer (to match the existing medicine cabinet). He claimed that would require a "cabinet maker" to fabricate - and a huge up-charge to handle it.

He suggested an MDF "patch" - which would be painted blue to match the walls.

"Uhh, no!" (that would look just-plain STUPID, actually!).

Then he suggested that maybe *I* could buy a "Decorative Tile" and glue it over the hole.

Well, I countered with "Why not have your Tile Guy put a 4" wide strip of my 'Accent Tile' across the top of the Medicine Cabinet to cover the hole?"

He hemmed and hawed about "Up-Charges" for the add'l labor.

Okay, Fine! ("F**ker!")

Wellllll.... I can "act" pretty obtuse, at times (if it serves my needs!), so while the Tile Guy was here, I queried him on how best to stick some of my Accent Tile up on the Medicine Cabinet to cover the hole, right? He couldn't offer to do anything about it (since it wasn't stated explicitly on Joe's contract). He did, however, offer some suggestions about just using "Liquid Nails" or Silicone to glue it up (but that would have allowed the "brown" stain-color to show through). I started asking him about using thinset to glue-it-up "Would that stick to wood?" (and "Can I have the leftover thinset?") and other assorted INANE questions 'til we reached the point where he OFFERED to put a patch of tile up FOR ME (just to get me to stop asking stupid questions!!!).

"Oh, could you?! That would be GREAT!!!" :::Big Smile:::

Took him all of 5 minutes to accomplish, I'm sure (given that he was already installing tile throughout the rest of the bathroom!).

Well, when Joe showed up, he seemed a little torqued about it and indicated that that *should have been* a $200.00 up-charge!!! (Are you f**king kidding me??? I certainly HOPE he was joking!!!).

Anyway... I have other gripes as well. And those gripes have resulted in *significant* delays to the completion of the job, unfortunately...

For example, when we were in the "Pre-Sales" stages (before I signed the contract), I was perfectly content to stick with a tile countertop. Yeah, I know that's not the Latest 'n Greatest, but it seemed like the most expedient/cost-efficient approach to take, right? And, when we started out, I had actually found a 6" tile (with matching edge-pieces) that actually matched the tub-tile I had originally selected (which later got changed - but whatever...)

"Ohhhh noooo!" sez the Sales Guy (and, later, Joe). "Nobody does tile anymore... I can get you Solid Surface or Quartz for the same price!"

Okay fine. Now, I know for a fact that sticking down a single-slab o' Quartz is most-definitely less labor than setting a Tile Countertop (what with all the tile-cutting involved). But, unfortunately, with the "change-in-direction" (based on the original sales-quote). the tile colors changed slightly, which meant that the counter-top selection had to change as well...

Well, long-story-short, I ended up selecting a Quartz Counter-top that couldn't be obtained. The original excuse was "Well, we can't get it because of the size and shape of your countertop." (Excuse me??? The size and shape of my countertop hasn't changed!!!).

Then he offered "Cultured Marble" as an alternative. "Oh, you mean that plastic crap they used to put in 1970's homes? No thank you!" (I'm not spending *this* much money to end up with a cheesy, plastic countertop)

Then it was - we can't find a remnant and the only way we could do it is with a "significant up-charge."

"Well, how MUCH is the up-charge?"

I asked that SEVERAL times and never got a satisfactory answer (Never got ANY answer - let alone a satisfactory answer)!

"Are we talking a couple-hundred? A couple THOUSAND?!" Give me a CLUE here, buddy!

(Seriously - I don't mind paying extra if the End Result will be worth it, right?!!)

I could NEVER get a straight answer!!! So I was forced to find a local countertop fabricator (fortunately, just around the corner from me!). I ended up emailing Joe and telling him I'd found someone else to fabricate my countertop for me.

All of a sudden, it seemed that Joe *was* able to procure an acceptable countertop (well then WHY THE HELL DID *I* HAVE TO SPEND MY WEEKEND AT A COUNTERTOP-SHOP BEFORE YOU "DISCOVERED" THIS?!??!!!) (Jeeezus that's freaking ANNOYING!!!)

And, honestly, this has been the way a LOT of the stuff has been. I.e. He "offers" Delta "LaHara" Fixtures. Okay, fine. But I don't really like the "style" of Delta LaHara. What about Delta "Dryden?" Can you get that for me? What is the cost difference? Uhhh, Errr...

Turns out *I* have to go to the Plumbing-Supply Store to order them (and deal with the cost difference - which is fine - butttt...). Same thing with Tiles actually (and the "Tile Allowances" he gave me in the contract were - ummm - laughable!)...

Anyway... Reason #2 for going with AKB: "One-Stop-Shop" turned out to be - NOT advantageous AT ALL!!! I had to run all over Hell-And-Creation to make all the decisions. PLUS a LOT of the sh*t I had to purchase (AND schlep home!!!) MYSELF!!! Shower-door: He offered ONE model. Not bad, but not what I was looking for. "What about 'Euro-Style?'" "Oh, that's more than double the price!"

Soooooo... Off to Lowes I go. Yes, I ended up purchasing (AND SCHLEPPING HOME) a Euro-Style Shower Door for HIS GUYS to install (at an hourly rate!) (BTW - the *First* attempt at installing resulted in a significant LEAK! I'd BETTER not get charged for the re-install!!!!).

Anyhooooooooooooooooooo..... If you have not surmised by now that I am "less-than-impressed" with the Quality of Service at AKB, well, let me state - most emphatically - that I am Less than Impressed with the Quality of Service provided by AKB! The WORK Quality appears to be good, but the "Service" and "Nickel-And-Diming-To-Death" that I am dealing with, now, make it far more painful than it needs to be!!

This was supposed to have been a week-and-a-half job. Well, it's been 2 weeks now and the counter-top and sink *still* aren't complete or installed (maybe... next week... I hope???).

The shower is in. And it's FANTASTIC.

The new toilet is in. I have joined the "cult" of Toto Toilet Fanatics (Love-Love-Love my Toto!!!).

Sink and Counter-Top are still "TBD." I have NO DOUBT that I'll love them when they're finally installed. But I can't say that I am 100% "Warm 'n Fuzzy" over the Customer Service (esp follow-up if - Gawd-Forbid - we discover a problem!). But, for now, I will remain "guardedly optimistic!"

I'll post Progress Pics in a separate post. We have a concert to go to, tonight, so I probably won't be able to update anything more.....


Unknown said...
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Roger said...

OK, now I'm logged in correctly. Nice writeup. Well, at least it's finally coming to an end.


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