It really saddens me to write this particular review. Mr. Leighton had done some small jobs in the past for us in other homes, so it seemed like a natural choice to have him renovate our new home. The renovation is extensive and involves the entire house from top to bottom.
We were under the impression that he could handle a major project like ours, but as the work became more complex, it became clear that he was out of his depth. He also did not have as many connections we thought he should have for other vendors/service providers, which had us constantly cold calling other companies for quotes.
At the start, we let go the small stuff: the finishing work on some of the smaller projects was shoddy; his buddy from down the street made frequent visits to the house without asking us; he needlessly argued with some deliverymen on our front lawn; and the invoicing suddenly became more frequent.
He was also unable to ever provide a quote, estimate, or time frame for any project, and insisted on being paid straight time (i.e. by the hour), which makes it impossible to budget.
In the end, the situation exploded because Mr. Leighton did not understand the basics of stair building. The sub-trades we hired were fantastic (we were all on the same page), but unfortunately, Mr. Leighton's constant whining about non-existent problems created confusion and frustration for all involved. (We saw after the fact that every time he was nervous, he became very negative. Whenever he screwed up, it was always because of something else.)
In the end, he walked off the job after yelling at me over the phone and accusing us of being difficult. (I called him out on his negativity and asked him to think of solutions, rather than focus on perceived problems.) I was stunned by how incredibly unprofessional he was, especially since we trusted him enough to leave him a house key, paid his invoices swiftly, and was patient with him from the beginning.
I wish I had thought withhold payment of his final invoice to cover the staggering number of deficiencies we found after the fact.
The realization: this person is a handyman pretending to be a contractor. Despite knowing him, we should have interviewed him and insisted on receiving quotes for different jobs. We also should have only contracted with him on projects where he had experience. We would have saved a ton of money and prevented a great number of headaches.
As they say, hind sight is 20/20...and this brutal lesson was a very, very expensive one for us.