The saying is so cliche but it is so true: you DO get what you pay for most of the time, but I gotta tell ya…when you’re on a tight budget with big dreams, you sometimes take a risk.
When we moved into our home about three years ago, we knew there a few things we’d like to update to make the place our own and create an updated look. One of those things was the flooring, which at the time was a muddled mix of yellow wood, dingy tan tiles and carpet past its prime. My husband has pretty bad allergies, so we knew, like in our previous home, all old carpet had to go! We decided to create a very cohesive, all-over look by doing the same flooring throughout the entire home. I prefer flooring to do as little stop/start as possible, so I knew we needed something that could work in a living room and a kitchen, a bedroom and a bathroom. While budget didn’t include enough money for hardwoods at the time, I also wasn’t so sure I wanted gorgeous (and PRICEY!) hardwoods all over our home because of our four little ones being very much entrenched in the “little years”….and the messes that come with it. 😉
In the end, we chose a wood look porcelain tile to create that lived-in, hardwood appearance but at a fraction of the cost and with much more durability, especially in “wet” spaces like the kitchen and baths. To read more about our specific flooring and how we were able to get for sooooo much cheaper than what was being sold at the big box stores, check out this Farmhouse Hacks series [HERE]!
I was entering my third trimester with our fourth baby, but we decided it would be easier to replace the floors while baby was INside rather than out 😉, so we went for it. Keeping in mind our very small budget at the time, we decided to try and hunt up a deal on installation since we’d scored such inexpensive materials. We thought we were on a budget ROLL, guys!! After checking out a few companies, we went with the cheapest…and, I don’t know if we were just distracted with the swirliness of life, the coming baby or what, but we CERTAINLY did not do our homework on this crew. Embarrassed to say that even I, an interior decorator by profession, just wanted a good deal…do your homework, ERIN!! Sigh.
The construction team gave us a week and a half time frame based on size of job and crew, and for some reason, this did not set off any alarm bells at all. Our home is around 2800 square feet, and every inch of old floor had to come out. Then and only then could the new flooring be installed, and for some reason, we just nodded and smiled like shmucks when they quoted us that itty bitty week and a half time frame…. To prepare for the demo and install, we literally packed up our entire house into storage: OUR ENTIRE HOUSE. It was like moving….again!! We had moved into the home while I was big pregnant with Baby #3, and here we were “moving” again while big pregnant with Baby #4. Again, we thought it would be good to get this over with while Baby was inside, but man….it was rough.
Our family of five stayed in a local hotel suite, and we hunkered down to have the best time we could on our pseudo-vacation. It was actually kinda fun at first! The hotel was very nice, they provided breakfast in the mornings, and the kids had access to a huge indoor pool in the middle of the chilly months of the year: score!! Plus, we could handle anything for a week and a half, right….?
(Trying to find pics with our flooring in them is harder than I thought, ha! Here’s a tiny glimpse at the same floor just in different lighting in the bedroom.)
At first things went smoothly, but then the bumps in the road began. Crew members came down with the flu (understandable); tools came up missing and were presumed stolen from the site by crew members who never came back, and new tools that were essential to completing the job had to be ordered; tool delivery was “delayed” only to find out later the construction manager forgot to order them; more of the crew decided to quit mid-project, leaving two guys to do the work of six; not to mention, we’d stop by the house each day to take a peek at the progress, and usually we’d find the guys sitting outside smoking or jamming out to Nickelback while chilling on the floor….instead of INSTALLING the floor. SIGH. I’ll tell you something…you really don’t want to mess with a woman who is big pregnant and held hostage of sorts in a tiny hotel with her three stir-crazy and bubbly small children…..NO SIR! I was not my most gracious at all times, let’s just say. 😬
Once all was said and done, we were stuck living in a hotel for a solid MONTH, you guys. A month!! There are worse things. I know. Trust me. But….when you’ve got a baby-sized time bomb ticking away in your belly and three other children under 5 years old who have no real routine or place to be loud kids, things get….tense. Things get angsty. Things get emotional. (And by “things” I mean PREGNANT ERIN!!!) Nothing like having zero things set up in your home for the coming of a baby. Nothing like being in your late third trimester and walking through your home to see it filled with nothing but construction dust and piles of shattered baseboards. ‘Twas a special time, my friends. 😳
In the end, my husband was able to get the construction team to finish up in the nick of time (he even came over to help them many nights….another frustrating situation we hadn’t planned would happen), and they agreed to make things right as far as money was concerned. This also meant they left us high and dry once things were about 90% finished, and so, with a wife about to pop, three little kiddos bouncing off the (thin) hotel walls, my tired and tireless hubby along with our sweet family rushed in to do a serious deep clean and reset the house with our belongings before baby came. Bless them, because my body was WEARY after growing my fourth baby in five years, and I was to the point of only being able to point and call out directions from the couch (helpful, I’m sure…😏)
Can I tell you something weird? The baseboards and door trim were all ripped out during install with plans for the crew to replace them. Instead, they just piled all trim into the middle of the biggest room in what looked like an almost-bonfire of white baseboards, and, once finished installing, they just began grabbing and nailing up random shattered and splintered mis-matched trim pieces all over the house….?!? What in the world? We didn’t know this was happening at first, but once we realized what they were doing, they were LONG gone….and we were D.O.N.E. Financially, things came out pretty even (meaning we got all new floors installed for almost nothing), but the headache from some of their choices left us with a bitter taste in our mouths. And guess what?! The weird thing is that three years later, we’ve only just begun to replace the baseboards and trim. Ha!! It’s like we JUST COULD NOT deal with it at the time, then we suddenly had four daughters five years old and younger, a budding business for me, crazy hospital/military hours for him, and…..those dang baseboards just fell by the wayside (along with our bathtub. They broke the surround during install and never ordered the replacement as promised, so a piece of lovely “designer” 😏 plywood cut to fit still acts as our very fancy tub surround. SIGH.)
Anyway, all that to say even people who design for a living make mistakes, and, lesson learned….we got what we paid for! Anyone else ever have an experience like this? Honest, budget-saving intentions that end up with sour results? Surely we are not the only ones! Let me know in the comments your worst experience with home reno!