Not Bad, But Not Very Skilled Or Professional
Hired to clear junk, then cement over dirt in backyard, side, and front yard. Backyard being converted to driveway, was supposed to take 1-2 weeks altogether, started work 1st week of August 2012.
There was a lot of junk in the backyard, but they cleared it pretty quickly in 1-2 days. Backyard was the biggest space but completely flat, so easy to complete, and they did a good job using adequate cementing to support cars for driveway. Also put up a retaining wall on the sides for small garden, I am overall happy with their work on backyard.
Front and side were a little more tricky as they had small patches of dirt for plants, so they had to work around these. Side was done well for the most part, but there was a small section where the angle was off, so rainwater from the sidewalk would come into that section, and would drain out very slowly. They also were supposed to put up small brick barriers around the dirt patches, but did a sloppy job initially, and had to tell them to redo it.
The front was the biggest problem. They completely messed up the angles so the water would not drain properly. Every time it rained, a small pond would form in my front yard, which would take 3-4 days to clear/dry out, in summer weather. Was a haven for mosquitoes. They fixed it once and made the problem worst. I held on to a small part of the payment until they fixed it completely. The manager complained I should trust them to come back and fix it fully later, so I should pay them the full amount since most of the cementing was done. Fortunately I did not listen, as they did come back, but at the end of October (almost 2.5 months later!!). I pretty much called them every week until they finally came back, but they kept on providing excuses about scheduling conflicts in the meantime. Not sure they would have come back at all if I paid off the full amount like they initially wanted.
After they finally fixed the front and the small side section in October, rain water does drain out much quicker in both areas (3-4 hours in winter weather now instead of 3-4 days in summer weather as before). However, for a newly cemented pavement work, 3-4 hours drainage is still not acceptable. I asked them if they could do anything else to improve the drainage, but they said anymore cementing would angle the water into my home and the plant obstructions made it impossible for them to do anything else (not sure if this is actually true). Finally I decided this is as good as it's going to get from these guys, so paid them off the final small amount to complete the contract, and now living with the front/side delayed draining issue (at least it's quick enough to not let mosquitoes form).
Although I am happy with their backyard work, I remain unsatisfied with their work in the front. They gave a good price and provided sufficient labor, but they lacked in areas that require more skillful hands, such as leveling and angling. Also, their 2.5 months delay for a 2 week project was very unprofessional, and I wasted a lot of time over the phone trying to get them to come back. Their website says they are Brownstone specialist, so maybe they are really great at that, but skilled cementing is definitely not one of their strengths.
Note I am writing this review 2 weeks after the contract was completed, so not sure about the long term duration of their work. The manager claimed I should not have any cracks or problems in the big backyard for at least 15-20 years in NYC weather, due to the amount of cement they used. They did use plenty of cement to complete the back, but no doubt he is exaggerating. But so far so good as there has not been any cracks in the back, side, or front yards. The only outstanding issue is the slow drainage in the front.
My overall experience was pretty mediocre with this company, so I would probably go with someone else if I had to do it all over again. They do give good quotes, so if you have to hire them, they are best for simple projects where labor is required more than skills. Be careful to work out a contract and payment terms where you can pay most of the fees after you check their work and are satisfied.
Thanks for reading.