Andy from Jarek Drywall Acoustics is a contractor from the St. Catharines area who was vetted by me for a home renovation project at a home I purchased for my daughters and I to live in while they attended University. The project was the gut and rebuild of the entire basement of a 1,000 sq. ft. home and turn it into am 800 sq ft two bedroom suite with kitchen and living area, minus the electrical and HVAC that I managed with my own known trades. The bathroom was existing so only new ceiling tiles were needed. The home was vacant for much of the project that took 5 months. Andy sold himself as a “general contractor” with the skills I listed as being needed for the project vs. what I discovered along the way, that he is simply a drywall guy with contacts to fill the other roles – in other words subcontracting out the entire project but his parts – gutting the existing basement and taping and mudding the final stages of the drywall. Since this was a long distance renovation for me (I lived an hour away), he was to be on site daily managing the project to completion. He was paid without hesitation for every invoice he presented me, the same day he presented them, except the final $400.00, which I held back because there was some warranty work that was already showing up and the job was not completed, all in about $2,000.00 + worth of work yet to be done. The job was never completed, is still not completed, and Andy has walked away. The work that the various trades did was decent work, and had Andy asked for a referral I would have given him a decent one but with cautions, as had I known I would have held back much more money to keep him interested in completing the project. Though the space is livable, and it looks really nice, it is the small things that are incomplete including some of the trim painting, ceiling repair and painting, but more than anything, I cannot rely on him to come back and repair/fix the things that really should be covered by his warranty of one year, like the falling ceiling vent covers. I would recommend him for hire, but only as a person for drywall. His lack of and inexperience with general contracting skills needed for a project this size caused the project to take steps backwards at times to fix/adjust other trades completed work, so we could move forward. He is so busy and fills his schedule with so many projects that he cannot be as attentive to the details as he should be, to ensure the sub-trades are doing a good job and that nothing is missed. As a single mom, I found Andy to be very pleasant to deal with up until he walked away, but discovered that much of what he committed to was beyond his scope of skills and time management abilities. Because of his inexperience, things that should have been obvious to him (in his understanding of basic construction and application) that needed reconsidering in how we were going to accomplish what I wanted were missed opportunities to do a really good job vs. an OK job. An experienced contractor will point out opportunities to make things better or ways to improve your ideas/objectives. My personal experience with professionals, and the 11 homes I have renovated in the past 25 years, would rate Andy a 3 out of 10 on a skill level of general contractors. He is a much better drywall finisher than a general contractor. Since he didn’t do the framing or hang the drywall himself, I cannot comment on those skills either. The project did come in on budget (more or less) but not on schedule and remains incomplete as of this posting date. On a final note, though requested several times over the course of this project, Andy never produced the insurance coverage/certificate he claims he had, that I mandated as part of his obtaining the contract. Because of the distance, time and size of this project, this did slip my radar from time to time BUT it should be noted that his liability insurance certificate was never produced as requested. As a General Contractor, his certificate should cover those he subs out as well, OR he should be producing to the home owner certificates from all of his sub-trades to ensure that everyone has their own liability insurance, should something go wrong. I ensured that the electrical was done by a local certified professional and inspected, that the HVAC was done by a certified contractor and both were outside of his basement reno budget/responsibilities The plumber was also certified, and he is someone local I continue to use to this day, along with the electrician.

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Company Response

I would like to thank Cheryll for taking the time to be so detailed in her critique. I would however like to adress a couple omissions in her description of the events...
I did find Cheryll to be very pleasant to deal with and she is correct in the way she described her payments... Draws were forthcoming when asked for. However..
1. her 'qualified' hvac guy never blocked up the ceiling vents. I.e. when they returned 90 degrees to penetrate the ceiling, they were loose and not framed up so when the ceilings were boarded my guys had a heck of a time. My error... Not fixing her trade's deficiencies.
2. Cheryll,atthe time was taking mood suppressing medicine. Two times during the scope of work, she shut down the job asking me to remove my trades until she felt better. This caused me to have to send home a crew of 3 painters that luckily did not charge me for theday. was $600 that was held back and 2 of my most conservative and church going trades did not want to return to complete an addendum that required a small bit of carpentry and painting . This was due to the fact that they refused to be exposed to Cherryls somewhat irradic behavior.
Very nice lady she is but i would warn trades about her as i was warned by one of her own trades.
Thank you for the opportunity to respond.


I had a leaking chimney liner that was flooding my basement late one evening during a heavey down pour. I called MacKay's 24 hour service number and they were very reassuring on the phone and told me what to do until morning. First thing the next day Peter was here to assess the situation and then Adam came to do the work that same day. Turns out it was not the liner that needed repair, only the cap that was badly installed allowing rain to fill the chimney with water between the bricks and the liner.....then flooding my basement. They re-installed the chimney cap and the bill was half of what it was quoted - they didn't do more than they had to, were honest about what they found, took pictures and showed me what they found, were extremely reassuring late at night when I was frantic, and super polite and professional when they arrived to the moment they left. Thanks for being there when I needed someone in a hurry!! Thanks for being honest and for taking the time to care enough to explain what you were doing each step of the way. Got more than my money's worth actually - found a great HVAC team in this new city of mine.

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Wow!!!!!!!!!! This is a great shout out and we are thrilled with what you had to say!!! We try very hard at Mackay Heating and Cooling to build a relationship.....we are not about the sale only. People buy, they do not want to be sold....and we believe this wholeheartedly. Our feeling at Mackay Heating and Cooling is that we want to treat you exactly how we would expect to be treated. At Mackay Heating and Cooling, we pride ourselves on our level of excellence. Thanks so much for taking the time to write this out


This company ruined the original oak floors in the home I bought and renovated. They skipped steps, the stain was uneven throughout, the clear coat was pooled in low spots and they over sanded so a re-do by another company was not possible. I went over budget by 4,000.00 replacing what they ruined and was delayed 5 weeks. I have since heard of others they have done this too....poor work ethics, took no responsibility for the poor workmanship. Do not use for refinishing or replacing.

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Let us first respond by saying that this floor was an old floor to begin with. It will never turn out perfect, old floors are uneven, depending on previous damage (water, etc) stains will sometimes not look uniform. The homeowner was unable to choose a colour initially and this caused some delay to the time frame. When we could not satisfy her in regards to the outcome of the floor, we had a certified NWFA third party floor inspector lined up (at our own expense) to come out and inspect the floor. She was not willing to wait only a few more days and just went ahead and decided to rip up the floor and have it replaced with a new one. An NWFA inspector is completely third party, and regardless of who hires him, he will report on the issue with complete fairness and honesty. Therefore we disagree with the statement that a re-do was not possible, since we did not have the opportunity to prove that either way. Imperial Hardwood Flooring has over 3,600 past customers and this has been our only negative review. We have very many happy customers and stand by our reputation. If only we had been given the opportunity to inspect the floor, this may have had a different outcome with an acceptable resolution.