We’ve just endured a horrible four-month renovation experience with Robert of Delinia Construction.
Robert told us it would take him and a team 2 to 3 weeks to do the following: remove carpeting from two entire floors plus a 3-story staircase, replace it all with hardwood, and re-sand and refinish our current hardwood ground floor. Incredibly, three weeks became four months (!), and all the while Robert continued to insist that everything would be “done soon”.
At the four-month mark, we had (i) hardwood flooring on two floors, completed by his two-man crew; (ii) a first floor that had to be re-sanded twice, by two different companies, because the first company Robert brought in did a horrible job; and (iii) a poorly built, unsafe set of stairs built by Robert himself since he said he was a stair specialist. (They were so bad we had to give him an ultimatum and a deadline to bring in a professional stair building company to completely re-do the “finished” staircase from scratch.
The first staircase company he recommended had a 2.9 out of 10 rating on Homestars and Better Business Bureau complaints against it. We immediately rejected that recommendation and asked Robert to present another choice.
This next company he proposed had a good rating on Homestars and we allowed them into our home. They told Robert what we already knew: the staircase was beyond fixing and had to be completely re-done at a cost of many thousands of dollars. (Not surprisingly, Robert didn’t tell that company that he himself did the stair work.) Fortunately we had held back a significant amount of money. At any rate, Robert never got back to that company and he never got back to us. He went silent. His deadline came and went and we had to engage another stair building company on our own and they did a great job. We are appalled at Robert’s lack of professionalism.
Check out the Before & After photos included here. The “Before” photos are what the stairs looked like after Robert declared the stair job complete! The “After” photos are what the stairs look like after being properly re-done by a stair building company.
There’s so much more detail and photos we could include about this terrible experience, but we’ll stop here. We were definitely fooled by Robert’s ingratiating manner and we recommend staying far away from this contractor.
I’d like to address a few misrepresentations in the Company Response below:
Robert says he performed the following “extra services” at no cost: “install baseboard”, and “move furniture twice”. Removing and attaching a baseboard and moving furniture off (and then back onto) a floor about to be sanded is not an extra service; it’s part of the process.
Robert says below we had the first floor re-sanded because we changed our minds about the gloss – not true. The first sanding was done poorly, with numerous unacceptable gouges. Robert agreed it was an inferior job and said he would not pay the first company for that. He brought in a second company and their sanding job was much better. The gloss was changed at that point, but it was not the reason for the re-sanding.
He says a week was lost due to the December ice storm in Toronto. Yes, but according to Robert’s own timeline, the entire job should have been completed 3 to 4 weeks before the ice storm occurred. At any rate, the entire job was not merely one week over Robert’s estimated time, which would not have been a problem, it was 12 weeks over. That’s a problem when you work from home as I do and your home office is disrupted for four times longer than originally estimated. We expected a professional contractor to give us a reasonably accurate estimate of the time a job would take.
He says they were “working up to 7-day weeks” on this project. I believe there was one 7-day week. More to the point, he and his crew did not always work 5-day weeks or even 8-hour days. Robert determined the schedule, not us. In addition, Robert was often away when the sub-contracted workers were here.
We were never presented upfront with a range of price/quality options for our stairs, i.e., Robert never broached replacing spindles and railings at the beginning; it was something we discussed after the job had begun and quality issues arose. We naturally expected professional quality work for the originally quoted price. When we asked Robert about the cost of replacing the current spindles and railing, he told us it would be five thousand dollars extra. Yet the high-end stair company we later had to bring in ourselves wound up replacing the entire staircase – spindles, railing and all - for the same amount as Robert was getting for the stairs now, not for five thousand extra.
He says we refused to pay the sub-trades for work we were satisfied with - not true. It was Robert who said he would not pay the first floor sanding company after we pointed out the numerous gouges and poor work. We paid the second sanding company for their good quality work after they contacted us to say Robert was not returning their phone calls when they asked him for payment.
As for “never having found a contractor we were happy with”: we weren’t happy with a contractor we had 25 years ago, and we aren’t happy with Robert. But we have had several good experiences with other repair and renovation tradespeople. In that regard, we have placed three reviews in Homestars recently. Two have been glowing, while only one – this review of Delinia - is not. We’re about to add a fourth review of the company that we found to do our stairs and it too will be a very positive one.