It has taken me several months to write this review because it was, and is, still so hard to think about. As I remember all that went wrong, it makes me physically sick.
I emptying a large house as both my parents had died in 2021. We wanted to put it up for sale in May. In February, it seemed like a good time to take on a renovation of my downtown condo, since I wouldn't be living there again until late May.
Met Valco from Covexco at the condo in Early February. First impressions were mixed. He has an accent which makes him somewhat hard to understand. (And in the end I wonder too if he understood me!) I learned later has strong opinions and doesn't like to be challenged. Perhaps especially by women.
He said he was swamped and couldn't start until late April. That made me a bit nervous but he assured me not he would work straight though until the job was done. (This did not happen) Post pandemic, lots of basic items were out of stock. Back ordered.
I started right away sending Valco photographs of finished kitchens. I was quite sure he knew what I wanted. Valco does not do drawings. My first mistake. ALWAYS GET DRAWINGS.
Valco didn't end of starting the project until late May. I had to go out of town for 10 days for my nieces graduation in the US.
MISTAKE #2. ALWAYS BE AROUND WHEN WORK IS DONE.
Valco said that my Quartz countertop would have to be split with a drop between the sink area and the bar counter. To me that look is somewhat dated, but Valco insisted it was necessary.
*Later the Quartz suppliers came to take measurements and said it could easily have been one slab. By then it was too late. All lower cupboards had been built around the drop. Valco became very defensive when asked about this. He refused to change anything even though I was willing to pay.
I wanted the guest bedroom to have the broadloom replaced with hardwood to match the espresso floors in the rest of the condo. Valco said nothing was available. (I think he only looks at Home Depot) he went ahead and installed something he said was very close. IT IS NOT. Its a plasticky looking chestnut hardwood. Too late.
*Also the condo requested .70 soundproofing under-flooring and Valco had gotten .68. He insisted nothing else was available and that the whole project would have to be postponed until June. Basically he had a temper tantrum. I looked online and quickly found a suitable cork replacement available at his local Home Depot. I called and had them hold it for him. WHY DID I HAVE TO DO THIS??
My 5 Column bookcases needed to have lower cupboards repaired or replaced. They had
Wobbly doors. (I use the centre bookcase column to display large platters and figurines)
Valco insisted that the entire bookcase needed to be re-built. (Ok. If he says so. I did like them as they were but maybe a new set would be fresher and better built).
I couldn't believe what he had done when I saw them finished. 5 columns were now 4! The lower 2/3 of bookcases were covered in tall thin doors. The top two cupboards (left and right) with glass doors and wooden shelves had a PUCK LIGHTS on top. It needed LED light strip around the doors with wooden shelves. I had sent a photo and discussed this with him to no avail. He said I could use GLASS shelves. Too late to remove the pot lights.
I had ordered a standard 30" wall oven very early in the process and it was waiting in the living room for installation. Valco did not measure the stove or ask for detailed measurements before he constructed the box for it to sit in under the counter. I had sent him photos many times which showed the oven sitting on a platform so it is raised to right below the counter top. He asked me how I was going to cook anything in it with it sitting at floor level?!? I again drew him a picture of a platform. He got very angry with me when the stove didn't fit in the spot. This is a standard 30" Frigidaire. It sat in my condo and he could have measured it at any time. WHY IS THIS MY FAULT????
I told Valco early on that I did not like Subway Tiles for a backsplash. He said it was too late and he has already ordered them. Nothing else available he said, because of back orders.
At the same time he is building me cupboards to be on the wall at the end of the peninsula. Somehow they ended up being these huge monoliths sitting directly on the quartz. I will admit to being intimidated. I wanted this job done and didn't ask enough questions. When he first showed me a pic on a Friday, I was shocked and said "They look great!" Beyond words. I texted him on Monday and said, the cupboards are a bit too big, so maybe we can leave finishing those until later. He responded and said that "I confuse him" by saying I like them on Friday and change on Monday, so HE QUIT! He left keys and FOB with the concierge and left.
I tried to talk him into staying. Apologizing for my own 'miscommunication'. He would not budge. He would not tell me who built the cupboards for him so I could replace some parts. Stony silence. Finally he sent me a bill saying I still owed him a balance. I said once I find people to finish everything he left undone we can talk. He said to forget it because others would "charge alot more than he would."
This is where the real horror started.
Valco's kitchen plumbing burst and caused a flood which resulted in me having to replace everything to a cost of $920. He used some inexpensive Shark Clips which are not allowed in condos.
An electrician had to come and install a new outlet behind the cooktop which Valco had not considered. Another $900.
A condo handy-man came to install my two way sliding shower door which Valco had ordered but left laying in the bathroom. Turns out it was NOT a two way sliding door, but exactly the same as the one I had before. Too late to return.
The same handy-man (Jay) said he would finish the grouting in the kitchen, left undone and discovered that Valco had used stereo wire to do the under cupboard lighting. He replaced all this with clean and modern IKEA strips.
Jay discovered that the oven just did not fit in its spot under the counter. We had to joist it up and tilt it slightly forward on strips of wood. This is necessary so that when the oven door opens it does not hit the drawer handles next to it. There is a large gap on the left side of the stove because the box was also not made deep enough to contain the oven. The vertical cupboard next to the oven on that side has a flimsy 1/8" piece of unpainted board separating sections on the interior.
Apparently the oven box and cupboard interiors are usually cut by computer based on detailed measurements. Valco did all of this piecemeal. Patching bits together.
There is so much more that has had to be done to get to the end of this. It was close to Christmas 2022, before most is complete. Those giant cupboards were torn out at a cost of $300 to me and the walls behind them repaired and painted. They remain empty at this point.
There are many more details I could add but this review is long enough. Its been an exhausting endeavour even writing it.
I believe that Valco saw all the errors in his work and quit before they could be discovered, and would have to be repaired or replaced on his own dime.
DO NOT USE COVEXCO FOR RENOVATIONS
Save yourself no end of pain.