We were looking at doing our basement for over a year until we ran into Guy at the HomeShow. We looked at very inexpensive options, where one guy would come to your house and do all the work, and we also explored large companies like Penguin. We selected Penguin after our experience at the Homeshow and the in home consultation.
The inhome consultation was a little long, but it added value because it validated our concerns with the inexpensive option we were looking at. We have lived in other homes and found a guy to come in and put lipstick on our home so that it could be sold, but because this is our “forever home” we were willing to put the investment in to make sure we have a mold free basement.
After signing the contract, we were set up with some dates to do the measurements and drawings for the permits. No issue with that part of the process, it was smooth and painless. We then had to go to the Penguin office to meet up with Gemma to select finishes and explore options of a wet bar. Gemma was great, and provided some great ideas and helped facilitate colour pallets that we are happy with. What we liked about this part of the process was that there was no high-pressure sales tactics for us to buy the upgrades.
After a few weeks, contact was made and we had a date to start the project with a completion timeframes of 3 weeks. I was very skeptical because we had work done at other homes and previous contractors and designers could never stay on schedule.
The start of the project was delayed by 1 day based on the web-based schedule on homebuilders, so we were expecting a rocky road ahead but Penguin recovered. Communication could have been better at the start.
We had a little hiccup with the trash bin delivered on the wrong side. It would have been nice if the delivery person knocked on our door so we could move cars and tell them what side to put it on. But one quick call and 1 hour later, it was resolved.
The material delivery was the first stage. The team that delivered were not very friendly and dinged up some walls, but it was minor. We didn’t have a lot of interactions with Juliano (our PM) but when we did have questions he answered all of them and answer emails quickly.
First day was doing the chalk lines and framing. That team was efficient and were quickly done in one day. The next day was the drywall team. They were a young team and listened to loud music for most of the day. We lived through the whole renovation and I work from home, so at times I had to move upstairs to buffer the noise. The team that did the drywall left a huge mess. Future trades people that came in complained about the state of the job site. The plumbing and electrical team were great. Viktor was very nice in discussing options of pot light placement and options for the room. We decided on just a utility sink in one of the storage rooms, so the plumbing requirements was very simple but the team that did the plumbing work was great.
Tap and sanding was next. The team was quiet and listened to music at a more respectable level. They were a little slow, and took many long breaks but left a huge mess. The flooring team came in to install the floor and were shocked to see the mess. They cleaned up a bit and installed the floors. The contractors that installed the floor were great. The painters were next and that team was great. They were very late on the first day…but did the work in 3 hours. They were very quiet and at times we couldn’t even tell they were in the house. Trim and doors were next and that team was fast and efficient. We were excited to start seeing the basement coming together.
We were then introduced to Marlon Garganta (Finishing Project Manager) who help supported the last few stages. Marlon was great in terms of addressing the deficiencies. (missed access valve, patching drywall, paint, missing trim and additional dings on the drywall on our main entryway). The final team cleaned up the extra material and then the cleaning staff came in to clean up the basement.
The basement has only been completed for a few days, but so far, we are very happy with the space. Penguin delivered on all promises, was on budget (except for the extra’s that we asked for) and for the most part all the contractors used were very good. Lets see how they handle any warranty issues. I believe we paid a fair price for what we wanted, and the most important fact is we are not worried about what is behind the walls. We know the work was done correctly with really good trades people. We would highly recommend anyone who is looking at doing basement renovations to explore Penguin basement.