Recent Review: We recently completed a complete remodel of the top floor of our story-and-a-half in Minneapolis with Plumbline Builders. It included expanding a half bath into a three-quarters master bathroom, adding a small walk-in closet, adding a small study nook, creating a small seating area, and upgrading all the insulation, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing. A few quick high points: - Roger with Plumbline is a straight shooter and very good at staying in touch. He was good at the sales table and communicating with us during the entire process, which was complicated by starting at the same time as COVID shutdowns in March 2020. - COVID - Plumbline did a great job making it work by separating the project area from the living space with a corridor of plastic and having contractors wear masks. Was it perfect, nope, but it was really done well for a very uncertain situation. - Results - the project turned out exactly as we hoped. The work is quality and worth the price. We’d definitely call Plumbline for future remodeling work (which is saying something because we’re big into DIY). - Roger was flexible with letting us do some of the work, and very helpful in working with us through those parts, e.g. demolition Into the weeds: The project bidding and scoping process was really good with Plumbline. Roger and his designer Jim had good ideas and were also clearly used to dealing with contingencies that come up in Minneapolis homes. We did three or four revisions to the initial plan before we landed on one we liked. They did a great job staying in touch and sticking to timelines. Scheduling was also fine. We were about two months out when we signed the contract, which seemed reasonable. The estimated work time was about eight weeks, which we blew past by about a month. However, COVID threw a major wrench into everything, so all things considered I feel like we did well on time. We did our own demolition, and Plumbline arranged for the dumpster delivery and provided some tips on how to get everything out. We also received a building deconstruction grant through Hennepin County, and recovered a lot of building material that will be re-used, including knotty pine wallboard, doors, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, carpet, etc. Once Plumbline got in, the clean up and framing proceeded very quickly. The contractors did a great job sticking with wearing masks in our living space and clearly knew their stuff. Insulation was the only major complication. We’d let Roger know that there were rebates available for insulation projects early on, but didn’t realize that his insulation contractor wasn’t certified with the gas utility’s rebate program. To his credit, Roger covered the rebate cost out of pocket. The insulation install almost derailed the project. There were issues with the quality of the work, which everyone acknowledged, but we weren’t able to inspect the insulation before it was covered with drywall, only able to see the problems in the unfinished areas behind knee walls or in the shower. Without getting too much into the weeds, we rented a thermal imaging camera to verify that there were few, if any, trouble areas behind the drywall and Roger worked with us and his subcontractor to fix the visible problems and add additional insulation behind the knee walls. It was the only time the project really went awry and it was resolved reasonably. As we moved toward finishes, the only thing I’d add is that Roger says “I run my allowances high” for things like tile and railings, but our experience was that they were modest. We only came under the allowances once or twice, and ran over a few more, and we lean toward simple and traditional styles. So if you really like marble and quartz and glass, or a fancy railing, be prepared to blow past the quoted allowance. The finished project is excellent, just what we’d hoped for. The bathroom looks great and is very functional, despite having to cram a shower under a sloped roof. The tile work is superb, the woodwork is very good. The plumbing, HVAC, and electrical subcontractors were very polite, communicative, and helpful. We particularly liked Jeff, who handled a lot of the general work and the ending punch list, including some of those crazy, unexpected things. Overall, no home improvement project is perfect, and that’s why we appreciated Roger and Plumbline for being able to be honest and straightforward about dealing with the unexpected. They planned well, kept it together during #stayhome and delivered a great remodel at a reasonable price.