Earl Jenkins Construction


AKA Earl Jenkins Carpentry of Glenslide, PA and  Earl Jenkins Masonry of Warsaw, VA.


We were prepared for some minor problems. But, nearly 18 months later, our kitchen adventure with E J's Construction Services of Bunker Hill, WV continues.


Like many people who were fortunate enough to be able buy a home while mortgage rates were low and before the prices became other-worldly, we re-financed. The chunk of change we walked away with represented a new kitchen. The kitchen that came with this nearly hundred year old house was vintage 1985 Home Depot, with a home made tile countertop.


We did our homework, shopped around and landed at Cardinal Design Associates. Blake was a sweetheart and our cabinets are truly beautiful. The appliances are also very nice. It's the kitchen floor that has been the endless nightmare.


The one mistake Blake made was to recommend Earl Jenkins to do the installation. Earl seemed fair enough at the time. Nice guy. We signed a very simple contract with him to rip out the old kitchen and install the new cabinets, appliances, and floor  "in a timely and professional manner."


The trouble began almost Immediately. We signed the contract on July 7, 2004, Earl told us to order the appliances, which we did. The appliances arrived, the cabinets arrived. They filled our dining room and they stayed there for months.


Gradually, very gradually, we are able to occasionally detect that someone had been over to do something to the box that was our kitchen. Oh, the stove hood was installed. No stove, no floor, no sink.


Then, in October, we see Earl. Big problem. You know, these old houses, nothing's straight, this settles, that shifts. Right. Anyway, Earl insists that we have to replace and level the floor and ceiling or things just won't look right. Kind of makes sense. Why this took months to become apparent we still don't know. OK, another three and a half grand out of 20 and how many month? Do it.


We were lucky to be dealing with a plumbing disaster when we first turned the heat on for the season. We were having a part of the boiler replace and when the plumbers tested it they heard water cascading from the back of the basement. As part of the kitchen remodeling we had the useless radiator removed and were installing a radiant heat mat under the floor. Alas, when Earl's plumber removed the radiator he somehow managed to neglect sealing off the pipes. Thus large amounts of water poured onto the new plywood kitchen floor and into the basement below. Our plumbers sealed off the pipes and Earl paid for that. He did not pay for the home inspector we hired to evaluate the damage the water might have caused to the plywood floor.


It continued. As the holidays (the winter holiday, mind you) approached we got Earl to agree that it would be nice for us to have a functioning kitchen in which to cook meals and celebrate. And, the kitchen was ready before Christmas, as in 5 months after it began. Or so we thought.


It is now approaching the end of the first half of November, 2005 and Earl is in the kitchen trying one more time to patch over the obvious flaws in the tile floor. This is the third time he has been by to try to fix the cracking grout and popping tiles. The heat pad still seems to be working but we hate to walk on the floor because of the loud cracking sounds it makes.


Take a look at some pictures.


This is a section that Earl actually fixed last time he came by. It was just cracked grout at that time. Now, the grout is broken apart and flew right up the vacuum. Look on.


Mind the gap. This is also fairly typical of the entire floor, that we paid Earl specifically to replace and level. See the quarter inch gap above the tile on the left? Yep. Some tiles are level.


Here's an overview. All those pink lines are where the grout is cracking. The circles are where there is a visible flaw other than an outright crack.


This is another good one. And these are tiles Earl replace on his last visit.


It's not just that grout is cracking, which is generally not a good sign with ceramic tile floors, the grout lines are not even the same thickness. Why do they make spacer? you might ask. I, a simple Instructional Designer with marginal flooring skills could have done a better job. And, when Earl is out of here for the last time, probably will.


I hope you've enjoyed my rant as much as I have, especially if you were thinking of hiring Earl Jenkins, of Bunker Hill, WV, to work for you. Oh, did I mention that, so far as we can tell, he does not have a license to work in Washington, DC or any of the surrounding states.

Any Questions?