Topsider Homes Reviews
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It's been a very long time since we had our Topsider Home built, and it had not occurred to me to review it until I stumbled on this site. I'm surprised to see the negativity and realized that it was mostly about early sales interaction, not about what you actually bought and lived in. My home is on a difficult sloped site in upstate New York where the weather can be extreme. The home was innovative at the time with infloor radiant heat and lots of floor to ceiling glass that featured early on with Topsiders, is common now, but wasn't then. The house has stood the test of time. 0 structural issues. I'm guessing as technology improved things like glass efficiency and sliding doors are superior to what I bought, but really I have very, very few problems and I believe I made a good decision.
Frankly after the construction phase is over, you forget about it and enjoy your life in a beautiful home. I think that's the real point. Octagonal homes aren't for everyone and do create some challenges, furniture for example is designed for square rooms, and these homes have lots of angles. That is part of found something different, part of the fun. Don't be overly concerned about the design and building, it will be stressful but it's a big purchase with lots of decisions, but I barely remember it. In the end, after 30 years, people still are blown away by the design and the light and airy feeling from the high ceilings. 30 years later I'm very happy. Thanks Sheldon and Topsider. I am very happy.
Before I bought my Topsider Home, I read all of the online reviews. They were many and they were disturbing. I should have paid attention. The salesman was so sincere in explaining how each bad review was wrong, that I put aside my doubts and paid my money. I then entered a dystopian universe where lies are the truth and the truth does not exist.
My troubles began early. The first shipment was a week late. That means I had to pay the contractor and his crew for a week of work that did not happen. When the first load did arrive, several forms were the wrong size and it took the crew several days to correct them. A week before the flooring was to be delivered, Topsider sent word that their supplier no longer carried the line I had chosen. Topsider gave me a $6,000 credit and asked me to pick a local supplier and once the house was finished we would have a "reconciliation."
At the end of construction, Topsider owed me $2,000 in extra expenses and $6,000 credit for the floor. Al ** is operations manager. At our first meeting he was quiet and soft-spoken and he watched me like a hawk watching a rabbit. As long as I owned Topsider money, Al was my buddy. Once I made the final payment (which they insisted I pay several months early) Al pulled a Harry Houdini. I had great difficulty reaching him via phone or email.
When I sent an email asking if they were going to pay me the $8,000, Al did not answer. In this instance, no answer was an answer. Bottom line: I like my new home. I do not like the company and the people who work there. At the end of the day, everything comes down to character, integrity, honor and doing the right thing. These qualities do not exist at Topsider.
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We lost our home in hurricane Irma in September 2017 and looked for options to replace it as expeditiously as possible. The look and quality of Topsider products and the fact that we knew the local contractor that assembled them won us over. Our design payment was made in March of 2018, the sales agreement was signed and sent with the next payment of 50% in September 2018.
We were told to expect that we would be in our new home by March of 2019 and yet we are still nomads waiting for Topsider to get a building permit. My husband and I have done the heavy lifting with our county building department, but we are not able to force the final leg. Topsider has known since January that changes to their flood calculations were required and yet here we are nearly 6 months later waiting for their engineer to send the forms so we can take them to the county. This company lacks customer service and follow through and we are beginning to worry that we may never see our home.
I started speaking with TopSider Homes in mid 2017, signed a Design Agreement Aug/2017, signed a Sales Agreement in Feb/2018 and have made my promised payments to TopSider on time and in good faith. My final payment was on 3/1/2018. I have yet to have my house built. Firstly, the house they designed could not be built on my lot and the town of KDH would not approve until it was re-Engineered. It took until the last half of September 2018 before the permit was issued for a house that I was told would be completed April or May of 2018.
I have, starting in 1/2018, repeatedly pleaded for correspondence from TopSider via phone messages and emails. I heard nothing from them from 3/2018 through 8/2018. Once the permit was secured it took until December to receive the Piling, flooring and framing. One delivery was to the wrong address and they just left it under someone's house. They took it to West instead of East - my builder was the one who found and moved it. Now my builder was waiting on delivery of windows, doors, the remaining siding, etc.
January, February and March came and went without any delivery despite repeated and numerous phone calls and email from me to Topsider and the occasional return call from TopSider with dates for delivery which never happened. By the end of March I offered to procure transport of the windows, (I was told they received them on 3/19), and pay for it myself at which point on April 2 I was told by TopSider that the windows, doors and siding would be delivered either 4/4 or 4/3/19.
TopSider delivered 3 of my 13 windows, no door, and no outstanding siding on 4/4/19. I inquired via telephone and email as to the delivery of the outstanding supplies. Finally on the 18th I was told they had the rest of the windows and they would arrive in KDH on 4/23 or 4/24. No delivery occured and there was no correspondence with either myself or my builder from TopSider. I called and emailed again and was told they would check and get back to me.
On April 25 I received a letter from my builder outlining all of the problems with the house due to the repeated delays in shipping - such as molding, separation of materials, etc. I forwared to TopSider and asked how they proposed to remedy this situation. To date 5/9/19, I have received no correspondence whatsoever from TopSider about my windows, their delivery, the deteriorating condition of the house, or anything else.
It is extremely few and far between to receive a return phone call or email from anyone at TopSider. I am so past all the repeated promises of delivery and then I hear nothing and I start with the phone calls and emails all over again. I have expressed my extreme displeasure with their lack of correspondence and misinformation to TopSider several times and eventually receive a phone call with apologies and promises to keep me informed and return calls but to no avail.
I still do not have a finished house or any answers on when delivery of materials will finally be fulfilled. Their literature states that constuction of the "weather-tight" shell for TopSider designs is always faster that the "site built" construction and for some single unit designs, as fast as a week. Their literature also states that house shipments are staged to accomodate builders' requirements for materials.
WARNING: Do NOT make your final payment before you have your final shipment!! Re-negotiate your contract to hold 10% at final delivery. Once I made my final payment, communication became very scarce. Still waiting for my final shipments. Here is the timeline for my experience with Topsider after my home was destroyed in Huriccane Irma (Sept 2017): Signed contract with Topsider and 50% down payment 11/28/2017. Contract to ship house between 2/28/2018-3/30/2018.
Final payment made: 5/30/2018. This was a big mistake! I should have held last 10% of project until final shipment received. No consistent communication and updates after this point. Errors: Did not upgrade plans from shingle to metal roof (Nov 2017) so incorrect NOAs. Did not upgrade kitchen layout (plumbing & electrical) (2/7/2018). Did not correct exterior door based on selections so incorrect NOAs. Did not update exterior siding on prints (however correct siding was delivered). Incomplete Builders prints issued: 2/13/2018. Concerns noted by local building official: No energy calculations. No electrical drawings. Incorrect exterior door - no NOAs. NOAs did not match. Held up permitting 3 months.
Foundation only permit issued 5/18/2018, below issues still not addressed. No energy calculations. No electrical drawings. Corrected exterior door - no NOAs. NOAs did not match. Full Building Permit issued 8/31/2018. First shipment 8/24/2018 (expected 8/18/2018 Second shipment 10/22/2018 no exterior door! Anticipated ready to ship dates for final load as per Al Fielders 10/27/2018: 11/19/2018 exterior door – has not yet arrived 12/7/2018. 12/11/2018 floor tiles, cabinets, interior doors.
Since I liked the first Topsider Home I bought and erected so much, I bought two. The first one in the Virgin Islands which I built on a beach on the steep slope of an extinct Volcano and the other on a steep slope in the Redwood Forest in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. I selected Topsider for both houses for three primary reasons: 1. Ease of construction on a steeply sloping lot; 2. Ability to maximize the beachfront and mountain views with 270 degrees of floor to ceiling glass; and 3. The comfort of knowing that the homes could withstand the hurricane force winds and seismic forces of earthquakes in both the Virgin Islands and the very active San Andreas Fault area in California.
My Virgin Island home just survived, 100% structurally intact, from the double whammy dead on hits from the eyewall of Hurricane Irma with recorded sustained winds of 275 MPH and 2 weeks later from the opposite side, Hurricane Maria at 185 MPH. All I lost was a few feet of plastic gutter and some decking. Both homes have been tested with multiple earthquakes and although the homes moved on their foundations up to 6" from side to side, the design strength inherent in the post and beam design of the homes allowed the home to flex with no damage.
Topsider's flexible design options allowed me to pick a 165 MPH wind force coastal design package and with the factor of safety of 2.0, I got the 330 MPH I needed for Hurricane Irma. 20 of 25 homes in my neighborhood, some of them heavily reinforced concrete homes, did not survive. Having built two Topsider homes and after a visit to their factory, and I can attest to the quality control and customer service exercised by Topsider. They even gave me their home phone numbers and personal cell phone numbers to maximize the great customer service they offer.
My two sons and five of their closest friends erected my first home in three weeks. With me supervising and my wife serving as chief cook and site manager, we had a family bonding experience that will give us positive rewarding memories for generations to come. I highly recommend Topsider for your next home. And if you're wondering, I do not work for, receive any compensation or other rewards by giving this honest review. They are a great company.
Topsider Homes earned our confidence in all aspects of its offerings: innovative design; soundness and efficacy of engineering; strength of the structure; quality of components; and, accessibility of service during construction. The construction blueprints, manuals and videos are clear and precise in every detail, which assures that builders, building inspectors and owners are provided all the information for project installation and inspections of the Topsider-provided prefabricated components and to assure effective tie-in of any necessary builder-provided components (such as decks, patios, entranceways and site preparation).
Construction of any kind is always full of challenges as a consequence of the variability in the qualities of the builder and his subs. We spent months working with Topsider to locate a builder experienced in installing a Topsider or similar prefabricated home… but found that this was not necessary as the construction information provided by Topsider makes it possible for any competent builder and subs to properly erect the structure. Topsider people were always available and responsive to provide answers and solutions to construction questions and issues.
Our contract was entered into in April 2016. The County Building Inspector issued his Certificate of Occupancy in March 2017. Since that time there have been no quality issues with Topsider materials or design. As regards design and engineering we are particularly pleased with the strength of the structure in dealing with frequent high winds and gusts at our mountain site… a consequence of all load bearing components being focused on the center steel beam which allows interior room design flexibility and utilization of ductless HVAC systems.
We are particularly pleased that we included the optional Cupola. The R-39 hard insulation components make the home energy efficient and add strength and integrity of the overall structure. The space inside the pedestal accommodates and secures electric and water utilities. In our relatively cold climate it has been necessary to install electric heating “tapes” to water lines and drains extending from the pedestal, which is the responsibility of the builder, but which really should be noted in the blueprints and builder instructions. We are pleased with our Topsider home and recommend the company to others.
I have been looking at options for a hurricane proof cottage on Cape Cod, and I came across Topsider Homes. I have had experience with different styles of post homes across many parts of the world, and Topsider seems to have the best design. It is always a challenge to have a nice looking dwelling that also deals well with the elements, especially on or near the coast. While many designs simply take the dominant architectural design of the locale, and put it on stilts, Topsider has taken a central post concept, and fleshed it out. This is such a great idea.
I read some other reviews which focused a lot on problems people had, and I feel for people who have problems in life, but it is a shame to make this the focus of a review of a business with such a groundbreaking idea. These home designs overcome some serious engineering challenges, and I think there should be a lot more commendation for that than over somebody who had a major life issue and it has affected their home building situation. That being said, I greatly admire their knowledge of methods and materials, and look forward to utilizing their design expertise and hopefully their products in my future build. Great work!
I have been interested in finding a builder who offers building construction that is resistant to hurricanes and tornadoes, and a couple of people recommended that I look at Topsider Homes. I wanted to learn more, and since I have family about 40 minutes from their factory, I went and saw the fam and went up to visit Topsider as well. The owner, Sheldon Storer, personally met me and took me on the grand tour! Mr. Storer was a very nice guy, and took me on a long and educational tour throughout their facilities and even showed me of one of their model homes on the property. Very open floor plan, lots of windows, and surprisingly a lot of storage in the "base" of the home! All in all, an amazing experience and I plan to continue discussions with Topsider in the near future!
Sue ** seemed to be unavailable after striking a deal with our customer countertops. No contract was ever drawn up. Needed countertops and one cabinet ordered all through this company. From the very beginning miscommunication seemed to happen continually throughout this entire job. Cabinet should have been ordered way before install. Finally the day before had to continually call for delivery of the cabinet about 4 times finally arriving around 3:30!! Time was set for the following day for install. No one showed. Called Stone Dynamics and they said someone cancelled the install saying cabinet was not in (Have no idea who). Lost whole day from work and a lot of phone calls!!!
Then on Monday they arrive and I am told they do not take out the old ones only clean install. Never knew this. When my husband and I talked with Sue she said for an additional charge they would take the old countertops out and install new ones. They said they did not do that!! Husband had to take off from work to tear out old ones and then they installed!! There were so many other problems in this job - came twice to measure not letting anyone know and no one was home and then upped the price 400.00 more!! Then they did not put a back splash on one countertop!! This was the worst experience I have ever had with a company. My family, friends will be told to never deal with your company again!!
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