I hired Daniel and Darryl to do pavers in my back yard. It was a small area. They did it on time and budget, but the quality was lacking somewhat, like missing jointing sand around the whole perimeter and I was expecting a full concrete border but only got half. When I asked what I should do about the sand, they said fill it in after you put in your grass (sod) and it should be fine. It's not. It washes away now. I'm told that it needs to be all in place and at least 1-2 inches in depth (the depth of the paver) to seal properly.
Despite this imperfection I asked them if they could do a pathway in the front and again with complete border so that the jointing sand would stay within the joint lines and not run off. They said it wasn't necessary because the asphalt pavers would tie into it properly and we could sprinkle joint sand and water it to activate it's sealant nature afterwards. This has not been the case. It's another example of cutting corners, for sure.
When the pavers came, on the only day they could do the driveway, they said it needed a concrete border, but could pour the asphalt up and to it, however any imperfections wouldn't be their responsibility. We had no choice at that point because DDW was done and onto other work, and that day was the only day the pavers could get it done before a big expected rainfall for 1 week was on the forecast.
Because the sand is missing at the end of the pavers, asphalt got into it. It didn't look good, so for about 65 feet of pavers, and one whole day, I picked asphalt out of the joint spaces and tried to pouring and activating the polymeric sand to no avail.. It won't stick...looks bad...and washes out in a few hours of rain. I later learn that it needs to have a certain depth, and need to be "tapped" by one of the machines that hardscapers use to get deep enough and it needs a certain depth for water to activate it's sealant compound, apparently. This is from the product manufacturer. Daniel and Darryl would be well aware of this, yet dismissed it as nothing, and something we could easily do. Isn't a complete job something I paid for?
This wasn't even the big issue. In doing my back steps, that is a retaining wall and steps to my back yard up and into the existing slate that was laid a few years back, there was a drainage issue. That is, it pooled...and at least 4-5 inches of water, after Daniel and Darryl tied into it. I sent them an email and text about this and asked for them to put in a drain as it's an absolute tripping, freezing hazard. In text message Daniel agreed to put in a drain, but they magically showed up when I was at work and instead of fixing it properly they tried to raise a few of the stones. This is causing the pooling to happen a little further up. Before and after this "fix" or "solution" they gave the sort of dismissive excuses you'd expect from low quality contractors "Unfortunately these things happen!" and "It's not easy tying in old to new!'. Excuse me? You're taking a job, you see what is existing, and if you agree to do a job you need to mitigate and find solutions to issues.
Here's a partial list of the documented excuses I received from Daniel:
Sept 9th “unfortunately there’s not much we can do when tying in new to old” “these things just are that way, there’s not much that can be done"
Sept 10th email to the effect that he will come by after work tomorrow (11th) and look
Sept 11th at 1pm said he came by early to fix it. We discussed only them coming by to look and agree (with me) on a solution. Rather, they came when I was not home, just tore up the slate again and relaid a few pieces…It's still pooling.
Sunday Sept 16th, after 3 text and vm’s, answers his phone and say to the effect “unfortunately tying in new to old, there’s not much that can be done”So after this "patch"
Daniel tried to sell the "fix" to a problem they created, to me as a "favour". Yes, he used these words and "on the house". I can only imagine to make me feel like they did something over and above their call of duty.
No. It's pooling, flooding in an area that it did not do this before because of the improper install. It is therefore your responsibility to find a solution. No one told them to tie it in in the way they did it. There were other options like setting the steps forward so there were only 3 instead of four and butting in underneath the existing as a step. There were so many other ways that even a non professional person like me could see.
I have about 12 minutes of Video that I will post as soon as I get it up to youtube to show the issue at large.
Then, if that weren't enough, two of the steps drain TOWARDS the house, no away from it. Furthermore, they drain towards the carport that both Daniel and Darryl were well aware is going to be closed into a garage. They put the steps right up and over the foundation, without and space for the plywood, water proofing and siding to go up to. When I brought this to Daniel's attention he said:
"Knowing that you were putting up a wall there, you should have built it first and then we would have put the staircase in afterwards. At this point you will just have to be creative and put that section of the wall over the that section of stairs and then seal it."
What an interesting and creative way to place the blame on me? Both of them knew the plan, multiple times, but not only that...why is water draining TOWARDS the house and not away from it like IS Industry Standard and proper practice? So I am to blame for their error and an error that will cause leakage into the home/sealed garage eventually.
If that's not pathetic excuse making, then I don't know what is. I could survive the sand issue and find a "creative solution" for that, even though almost every installer and paver supply company has told me that having missing "grout lines" which is essentially what the polymeric joint sanding is supposed to act as, is NOT proper install and sloppy. But to expect me to also now have to swallow two drainage issues because "that's just the way it is" is inexcusable. I and my wife got these as excuses on multiple calls.
Finally, on the day that Daniel and Darryl were initially supposed to come and just discuss a solution to my drainage issue above their stair install, which DID NOT previously exist, they came before (11am) we were supposed to meet (3pm, after my word day) and rather than put in a drain as we discussed on the phone and in text, they did a bad patch job and after this my driveway was fully stained in concrete. They had wet it down after their did their "patch' and so it wasn't visible till that evening when it dried out. I thought maybe it was just dirt, but in the ensuing rain it did not wash out, only the dirt did.
I left a few texts with Daniel over the coming days, but only heard back from him 3 days later, after my cheques had cleared. On the phone I simply asked if they cut the stone with their concrete cutter (there are lines all over the driveway, straight ones, that a water concrete cutter would be likely to leave). Daniel got very defensive and in a follow up conversation with my wife claimed that they hadn't even stepped on the driveway, a gross exaggeration because the only way to even get to those steps requires a path along the driveway. It's so ridiculous that I can't even believe I'm writing this.
Daniel blamed the pavers. The paving company was here the previous Thursday. It was black when they left. It rained Friday to Sunday in patches...still dark...that was when I discovered the 4-5" pool of water where Daniel and Darryl of DDW Hardscapes installed my stairs. On Monday and Tuesday it was fairly clear...the driveway is still nice and black. I leave for work Tuesday morning and still clean and black. I come home to meet Daniel and Daryl and they quickly show me the patch, say "it's free" ask for a cheque and tell me not to water it for a while because it needs to cure. It was already wet as was my driveway. I can only imagine that it was that way because they washed away the excess concrete, or whatever was on the pathway, and that only makes sense because there was no evidence of it being on the grass anywhere else, and there was concrete poured, so it would have/should have shown somewhere. That night, as above, the driveway is stained.
How could that possibly be the pavers fault who were done 5 days before and no evidence of anything having gone wrong in that time?
I had not driven on the driveway in that time even though I was told I could by Monday (from the previous Thursday) and in fact, as of this writing nearly two weeks since it was paved, still have not driven on it.
This morning, Sept 19th, Daniel and Darryl come to the house, again while I'm working and took one picture of the driveway, and say that the stains are all over. They are not. What they took a picture of was a driveway that is dirty because we are now putting in soil, sod, grass etc, but the dirt actually washes away while the concrete stains remain.
Anyway, this has been highly disappointing. If that wasn't enough, the two landing pads in our front entrance, also done with pavers are waving. That is, there's a major wave like deviation in them already. Sand also coming out of some areas, and huge gaps in the caps on the stairs, made of valley stone, in some areas and none in others, along with height differences. All pictures and video's will be up soon confirming all that I say is true.
Caveat Emptor here fella's. Hire at your own risk. Daniel told me, when he started, that their prices are less than most others because "we don't try to make our money all in one place", experience has now taught me to stay away from anyone who speaks this as it seems to be industry standard for "we don't do top quality work, but we get a lot of work". I've heard it before, and the last person who used it also did low quality work.
These guys are cheaper than most, but it's reflected in the poor quality of their work. I have a feeling I'm going to need to replace the pavers in a few years, and in the meantime I have a new asphalt driveway that is stained, back stairs that drain INTO the house, front pathway that is waving and not level, and missing jointing sand all over the paver install that I'm trying to patch myself and finding that it's not holding. I'm going to need to now call someone else to fix their mess because according to Daniel, three text messages in a week and two phone calls, one that was not answered and the other where we talked briefly for about 5 minutes is:
"huge amount of calls and texts we receive from you
on a constant basis"
Which I will publish, text messages and phone log (literally 2 calls and 3 one to two line text messages in a week)...
Is that what $8000.00 (for labour only as I paid for all the material) in 7 days should get you? A quick in/out, cash your cheque and then tell you
"there is no warranty "
Thanks Daniel and Darryl of DDW hardscaping!
Photo's and video's will be published very soon, inclusive of the ones Daniel has sent me.
EDIT, 2 weeks after original install of my front door landing pad and steps down to driveway, they have completely failed. It collapsed. I mailed pictures to Daniel and this was his response:
" after reviewing the pictures, it seems clear that you have a problem with the drainage pipe installed in that area. Also the sub base was already in place so we do not give warranties for anything under our sand or that we did not install...we all did not supply any sub base material so there is no warranty!"
This is absolutely not true, intentionally not true. Daniel and Daryl gave me a list of supplies they needed and I provided it. The front walk way was excavated to put in new drain tiles. I've checked them, they're worked perfectly fine. Daniel and Daryl were contracted to put dirt, road base (sub base provided for them by ME) and sand (also provided by ME) to the area. I also provided the pavers, all to their request. Therefore they took the job knowing the scope and having all materials to make the walkway actually last. Imagine that? Paying someone for something that is not supposed to last, and is not their fault that it failed? Does that sound right?
Hire DDW at your own risk, clearly.