So Many Problems!! (though they tried hard to resolve them) Do NOT make the mistake we did and let them talk you out of pulling a permit. The work by this contractor should definitely be inspected. MA Design quoted a low price, used cheap (Home Depot grade) materials, and relied on workers with limited English skills. Plumbing and carpentry were problematic, seemingly due to inadequate training for some workers, spotty communication and quality control from supervisors, and some sloppy attention to detail. We should add that our foreman, John L, and the workmen were willing enough to fix problems after we discovered them, though we had to pay for time and materials when we found MA Design’s quality standards to be unacceptable. The end result of the bathroom remodeling seems OK and we hope that no more nasty surprises turn up in the future. The two supervisors are generally courteous and anxious to please, but poor communication with their workers and sometimes with us seemed to be typical for this contractor. Here are specific examples of our problems: PLUMBING 1. The plumber (apparently not licensed) installed the wrong shower controller in the wall, tiled over the wall, then tried to hide this mistake by sticking on the control handle taken from the shower controller we had specified. Of course, the controller did not work properly and we discovered what had happened by poking through the unused shower parts and calling the manufacturer. To correct this error, MA Design had to cut a hole in the plaster wall of our hallway. MA Design did repair the plaster but now we have an additional painting job because of their mistake. 2. We also discovered that their “plumber” tried to attach the tub spigot to flexible PEX tubing rather than to a solid copper pipe anchored to a stud in the wall. The spigot worked loose in just a few days. No qualified plumber would have made such a rookie mistake. Repairing this error also required the hole in our hallway wall. Clearly, no qualified supervisor inspected the plumbing before the tile went up in the shower enclosure. 3. Just 2 months after MA Design wrapped up the work, we found a serious water leak coming from the ceiling below the remodeled bathroom. This ruined the ceiling and of course ruined the paint job we had just completed in the room below the leak. To their credit, the supervisor quickly came out, cut a hole in the ceiling, and replaced a flawed PEX tubing fitting with a quick-apply fitting to stop the leak. MA Design then cut away large sections of water-damaged ceiling in two rooms, let things dry out for a few weeks, and applied mold-kill spray to address the mold that had formed. It seems that a fitting on the PEX tubing was not properly crimped. This reinforced our belief that the MA Design workers doing plumbing on our job were not well qualified and that MA Design did not choose to or did not know how to inspect work adequately. Several weeks later, MA Design eventually had the joint repaired by a licensed plumber and repaired the holes in the ceiling. 4. The shower enclosure tiling was done OK for the most part but we found holes in the grout around some tiles. We suspect that the grout job was substandard for another reason: the grout sealing the tub to the floor is cracking and flaking after only 2 months. CARPENTRY 5. We replaced the bathroom window with a safety glass window but MA Design replaced the prior window trim and window sill with lesser quality trim and no window sill whatsoever. This was a complete mismatch with the rest of the house. MA Design quoted use of “standard” trim. If MA Design’s estimate assumed replacing trim with something so obviously out of place with the rest of the house, this should have been clearly stated in the quote. We ended up paying to rip out their trim and replace with trim that matched the rest of the house. In fact, the lumberyard’s “standard” trim exactly matched the trim elsewhere in the house so we felt that MA Contracting’s use of “standard” to describe their materials was deceptive. 6. They also installed a new window in an adjacent room. They made the exterior windowsill out of a very knotty piece of pine, inviting future rot. Even worse, no drip edge was cut into the underside of the sill, which could lead to water wicking under the sill and getting into the exterior siding. No well qualified carpenter would have made a mistake like that. PAINTING 7. MA Design did very little painting for us, just some primer application after drywall installation. Still, the workman on our job made a rookie mistake. He applied primer to a repaired ceiling with a rough wall roller and then applied primer to the doorway trim with that same roller rather than with a brush or smooth roller. The result: the formerly smooth doorway trim now had a rough, thick layer of paint that looked and felt awful. It took us 2 hours of sanding to restore the doorway trim to a smooth surface. This experience reinforced our general impression that many, if not most, MA Design workmen are not properly skilled or trained for the work they are doing. COORDINATION & COMMUNICATION 8. We agreed at the outset which fixtures were to be bought by MA Design and which by us, but MA Design sometimes bought the wrong items, which resulted in confusion and delays. In many cases, we ended up buying the needed fixtures ourselves just to keep the project moving. 9. On at least 10 days, workers were expected but none showed up and MA Design did not call to inform us of this in advance.