Reviews

10/10

We had employed Sonoma a couple of years ago to finish our basement and were so happy with the whole experience that we decided to use Sonoma again to build a fence along our property line and repave part of our driveway. We needed to use someone we could trust because it was not a straightforward job: part of the fence was along the concrete pad where our (now demolished) garage used to stand, so the fence posts could not be buried in the ground, but needed to be attached to the pad. Sonoma’s owner, Mike Flammia, came out and measured and he and I talked about what we wanted the fence to look like. He also measured the area of asphalt that needed to be excavated and replaced. A few days later, we got a quote that was about what we expected to pay, and booked in the work. Everything went smoothly: Chris carried out the driveway repaving quickly and without any problems and then the wood was delivered, the fence post holes dug, and Aldo and Tony built the fence over the course of a couple of days. As with the basement, we are very happy with the whole interaction and the finished product is even better than we had hoped and Sonoma had no problems with our little idiosyncrasy - leaving the fence posts much higher than is usual.

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10/10

We recently had our whole basement finished by Sonoma Contracting.  The basement in our 1920's era house was totally unfinished and we'd started the process by having the floor lowered and the foundations underpinned by an exceptional company called True North Underpinning.  True North and Sonoma often work on the same basements, one finishing (pun intended) what the other started. True North had been a pleasure to work with and recommended Sonoma to us, so we were hoping that the basement work would come close to the standards set by TN.   And there was a lot of work to do - electrical, new plumbing, in-floor hot-water heating, replacement and relocating of existing plumbing and heating pipes, framing, drywalling, painting, staining, tiling, finishing carpentry, custom built doors, new stairs, glass and mirrors, windows, spray foam insulation, low voltage wiring, building permits, etc.) Well, we were not disappointed. In fact, most evenings when my husband and I went downstairs to see what a day of Sonoma work had brought, we were absolutely delighted. The bulk of the work progressed extremely quickly and when there were delays, while we waited for over-height doors to be built, for example, we were always informed where things stood. The original quoted price was very detailed and charges were fair for additional items that we asked for and which were not included in the original quote. There were no "surprises." All of the people working for Mike Flammia (the easy-going, dry-humoured, and utterly reliable owner of Sonoma) were, to a man, serious no-nonsense skilled professionals who even came in on weekends and put in extra time if needed. From their next-door vantage point, our neighbours were also impressed with how hard-working and courteous these workers were.  As with any large project, there were a couple of times when there were misunderstandings about what exactly we wanted but these were quickly cleared up and fixed.   Whenever we had contact with any of the Sonoma crew (Aldo, Marco, Paul, and Alex in particular), we got the sense that they were doing whatever they could to make sure that we were happy with their work. Mr. Flammia has been in this business for a while now and so seems to have separated the wheat from the chaff in terms of who he hires. Finally, we have to mention Tony, Sonoma’s carpenter.  The one tradesman who is most involved in building is the carpenter.  Tony is an older Italian gentleman who appears to never be happier than when plying his trade.  His skills are extraordinary and we felt especially privileged to have him working away in our basement. Tony's strengths were apparent in every part of our basement, from framing right through to the little finishing touches around the stairs which made them fit seamlessly into the stairwell.  We really cannot say enough about this hard-working and humble craftsman, and I'll give the last words about him to a friend who said that Tony was "an artist" when she came over to see his work.   As you can tell from this review, we were very, very pleased with the whole Sonoma experience and would heartily recommend this company to anyone with a basement.  

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10/10

To make use of the basement in our 1920s era home, we needed to have the floor lowered. Among the three contractors who came in to give us estimates, only Daniel from True North took the time to walk me through the options (underpinning, benching, doing half the basement), explain the process (getting engineering drawings, getting the building permit, what they do with the existing sewer pipes, where the excavation waste would go, underpinning insurance), identify possible problems and follow up within days with a detailed estimate. We also got the chance to visit a job in progress before signing a contract. Apart from a couple of small extra costs that came up as the work progressed, mostly related to extra depth to accommodate in-floor heating pipes in the new concrete and and insulation blanket, the estimate was spot-on and the work was finished a few days ahead of schedule. The crew from True North (headed up by Leo) were at the house early every day from the first to the last day of the job and always worked a full day. Daniel from True North was available to answer questions and co-ordinate his company’ s work with the HVAC work done by someone else. He referred us to an excellent stonemason who enlarged our basement windows and installed new stone sills. He was also willing to speak to another contractor who later came in to polish the new concrete floor after it was laid. This final comment is not a criticism of True North but is only a piece of advice to anyone who is planning on polishing a newly laid concrete floor: take more care than we did to ensure that the concrete is the best type for polishing. Daniel from True North made it clear that he had no experience with his floors being polished but after his conversations with the floor polisher, it seemed that everything was in order. As it turns out, even though the floor was fine for use with the usual floor coverings, the concrete was not optimal for polishing and this limited our options for the finish we could achieve with polishing. It will all turn out well - that will be another review of another company - but we should have been more involved to ensure that the concrete mix used was better suited for polishing. But this does not detract from the excellent work that True North did and I give them the strongest possible recommendation.

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