First and foremost, I have to say that David is a true professional and gentleman. When you call David, you are speaking to the owner, operator, and actual hands on person so there is no middle man to deal with.
I am a big home stars fan, as I am a new home owner myself. I learned a very painful lesson that I would call a "home star rookie mistake". When my shower started to have issues (leak), I quickly looked for the companies that had the most positive reviews (on the first page of home stars). Believe it or not, this was a HUGE mistake. Most of the companies on the first page are "bigger" companies, and as such the bigger the company the more people that you are paying as well. Not only this, but when something happens, you have to go through not just one person, but a COMPANY of people. And often times you will get a company that is a "jack of all trades, master of none". I had actually spoken to over 10 contractors for an intial estimate, and finally settled on a company that was highly rated, had lots of good reviews and seemed to be the easiest to deal with. Again, HUGE mistake on my part. By the time I finally had someone come in to work on my shower reno, I had already spoken to over 4 people at this one company. I had to repeat what I wanted to each of these 4 people, and they STILL managed to screw up. When I say screw up, I dont mean that maybe they didnt nail down something enough, I mean this so called "large" company was making fundamental mistakes!
The renovation that I had wanted done was to rip down my current shower down to the studs, keeping its current shape and retiling the full enclosure, new shower valve, new shower door and drain. Sounds easy enough, but you would not believe the number of mistakes that A LOT of contractors that I had spoken to were doing! As this is my first house, and first renovation, I did my due dilegence and I learned how to put together a shower (theoretically). While I lack the hands on experience, I did countless hours of research to make sure I knew exactly what I wanted. Regarding the first contractor that I had hired, he had initially wanted to build my shower with NO PRE SLOPE. If you are doing a shower renovation I urge you to please read up on this fundamental thing. Simply put, a shower is meant to be water proof AND also of course drain away any water with no standing water (standing water means mold and other issues). The first contractor tried to fluff me off by saying that a pre slope was not necessary. He also got very apprehensive when I simply stated the obvious that unless he can build a shower that defies gravity, there MUST be a pre slope towards the drain so water can drain away. If you ever go into a washroom, and you smell something musky and moldy in the shower, the grout lines are cracking in the shower base, and maybe some tiles are cracked that is a VERY bad sign that potentially there is no pre slope and it will eventually leak. With no pre slope, the first contractor was basically trying to build me a pool, something to hold the water in but NOT drain away! Also, I attached a picture of some of the handy work of the first contractor. When he was installing my shower valve, he did not measure it properly and it would have stuck out from the wall way too far.
After a very bad experience, and lots of stress I finally had to fire the first contractor mid way. I lost my deposit and was left with a hole in my wall now where my shower should be. So I start to make some more phone calls, through the first few pages of home stars and all the other companies was giving me the same nonsense. While a pre slope is not against code, its logically necessary, ask around!
Finally I found David after dealing with countless others. when I met David, I must tell you it was an absolute breath of fresh air. Every single contractor I had called in, they all came in nice cars, nicely dressed with fancy clothes. Right off the bat, you can tell that these guys are NOT the ones doing the actual work. These "sales" guys will promise you the moon but when the real guy that does the work comes in its a whole other story, and will try to upsell you more, but its too late now as your on the hook once they step foot into your door. Trust me, I saw this game first hand with the first contractor, and quite a few other ones I had called for a quote. David is 110% honest, where he will tell you if its not a problem, its not a problem. Who knows better then the one doing the work? And David is the one doing the work! Also, if it doesnt make sense or could lead to a problem, he will also tell you straight up what potential issues there may be.
David was not the most polished looking of the contractors I met, but let me tell you from the first time I spoke to him on the phone to the last time I shook his hand this guy was an absolute gentleman. He came in and was able to quickly assess all the issues from the previous contractor. He spoke to me for over 2 hours in the first meeting going over every single detail with me making sure that we were on the same page with everything from the schedule, the materials, start dates, everything! David is an open book, if you ask him a question he will more then willingly tell you the answer, or his reasoning. The shower materials that I had wanted to use was Schluter. David is a "certified schluter installer" which is a huge bonus as his training really shows. Every single thing he did was absolutely 110% textbook straight out of the manufacturer instructions. If you go on Youtube to look at how to install a Schluter shower, David will do it for you in real life and more! There are some situations that you NEED to have experience to know how to handle. For example, I have a neo angle shower, so there are some corners that are not perfect 90 degree angles. How would you go about sealing them? Well, David knew how!
The last contractor I had hired was making LOTS of assumptions. I saw he was just throwing the instructions to the side and just jamming things together. There were countless things I caught him on. David on the other hand, welcomed me to see what he was doing. He actually let me do a few things here and there (these are lessons worth the money!). I saw him do a lot of dry fitting, measuring and making sure everything fit together. Measure twice cut once! He would at times review the manual, to make sure that everything is correct and then install everything. I really can not emphasize this enough, Davids installation of every single thing in my shower was absolutely 110% textbook as per manufacturer instructions. Not one single step was skipped, and he went above and beyond even! David installs things from the home owners perspective, he makes sure that its all correct and to your satisfaction. The last contractor I hired, had I let him continue the shower would not leak or have issues right away but it will very soon. Why take the risk? The shower David built me, Im sure will last longer then the house itself now!
David is a true man of his word. He shows up when he says he will, he will text/call any updates or delays. He will allow you to take lots of pictures, as well as take lots of pictures himself. This in itself really shows he has NOTHING to hide. David worked nearly every single day for over 2.5 weeks. I think he could have finished the shower faster, but I was coming in and out to see how things were going, so I do take some of the blame. Some weeks he worked a full 7 days. Of course some days he would come in for a half day, to set up equipment or install something and then need to let it dry. From the front of the house, right up to the work area, David put drop clothes down. He was as neat as humanly possible, but do keep in mind this is a renovation and dust will be flying around. I would also highly recommend that you have an area set aside for David to set up all his toys/equipment. Sometimes I felt like he was a walking Home Depot, with all his equipment he was definitely prepared for any scenario. Another thing, his daughter was due to have a child, and I only found out about this AFTER he came to work and mentioned it around lunch time that "oh hey, my daughter also went to the hospital and is having a child". THAT right there is true dedication to his work, to work through even such a big occassion!
During the entire installation there were a few extremely small minor issues that David was quick to rectify. For example there was a tile that somehow got a small chip on a corner, I assume from the cutting process it may have just flaked off. I casually mentioned this to David and he right away went to work removing that tile and replacing it! Any other contractor would have fluffed it off and said "oh the grout will cover it" or something. But not with David, he said "if your not happy, Im not happy so lets fix this". Another big thing to look out for with contractors when working in a shower/bathtub install is to ask them for a flood test. I do not mean simply taking a bucket of water and throwing it down the drain watching the water go down. As per any manufacturer (especially Schluter), they recommend filling the shower area with water and letting it sit there for a full 24 hours to ensure there is no leaks. David had no issues with me doing this, while other contractors were extremely hesitant. Once the tiles are on, theres no way of figuring out where the leak is happening. I do not understand why more contractors dont do this test! This is the time to test it! I attached some pictures, but what David and I did was fill the shower base up with water, and make sure that no water leaked out from the sides. And let me tell you, 24 hrs later, the water did not drop one single bit!
If a shower can hold water for 24 hours, Im pretty sure it will not leak! Of course the second test is also to drain the water and make sure there is no puddling, which with the shower David built me the water went straight down the drain no problems at all.
Im more of the functional person, whereas my siginificant other is all about the "final look and touches". David passed me with flying colors, as everything was installed perfectly. And he also passed my significant others judgement, and the final product is really something that makes me smile every time I use it. I know 110% sure that not only will this shower last me until my house crumbles, but it also looks pretty darn good if I do say so myself. I truely believe 100% that David installed everything correctly, but on top of that I believe David gave me 110% effort! Thats a lot more then other contractors out there!
David is meticulous in his methods, he made sure that any dirty water was thrown OUT the house. Not down a drain IN the house. This is extremely important, as why would you want dirty water filled with grout thrown down your drain? Some contractors have no problem doing that! David made sure that only clean water went down the drains. No dirty grout water, or else this will plug your drains!
A last few notes about David, is to make sure that you have lots of tea stock piled as he really likes his tea. And I heard he also has a weakness for Ice cream. Also, one last thing about David is to beware his extremely friendly and addictive conversations! At the end of all of this, I feel like not only was the job done superbly but I would have zero hesitation to call David back for anything, including maybe a BBQ. Seriously, hes really just that great of a guy that I have no problem just hanging out with him.
Thanks David, and I really look forward to our next project together!