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Garbage Everywhere

With construction, there is often deconstruction.  There are a lot of materials that have to be removed with any remodeling job. Naturally, I try to recycle as much as I can.  Aluminum can be scrapped. Clean concrete can be repurposed to make asphalt. Even cardboard...

Using An Odor Encapsulant To Block Smoke Odors

I am doing an extensive rebuild of a fire damaged home in Naperville.  One of the biggest problems has been to eliminate the smell of smoke.  The house was gutted and all charred parts were removed.  I also used a professional odor elimination fog (Odor X/Thermo...

Hidden Damage (Part II)

Last week I showed you the damage that can happen to a joist when it is not properly flashed. To repair the area below the patio door we had to jackhammer the stoop to remove it.  The old joist was taken out, and it was replaced with a new board of treated lumber. ...

Hidden Damage

I am doing an extensive post-fire remodel on a home in Naperville.  It is always interesting to see how other builders do construction improperly. As we were doing fire deconstruction I came upon the ring joist behind the concrete step under the patio door.  The door...
Garbage Everywhere

Garbage Everywhere

With construction, there is often deconstruction.  There are a lot of materials that have to be removed with any remodeling job. Naturally, I try to recycle as much as I can.  Aluminum can be scrapped. Clean concrete can be repurposed to make asphalt. Even cardboard...

Using An Odor Encapsulant To Block Smoke Odors

Using An Odor Encapsulant To Block Smoke Odors

I am doing an extensive rebuild of a fire damaged home in Naperville.  One of the biggest problems has been to eliminate the smell of smoke.  The house was gutted and all charred parts were removed.  I also used a professional odor elimination fog (Odor X/Thermo...

Hidden Damage (Part II)

Hidden Damage (Part II)

Last week I showed you the damage that can happen to a joist when it is not properly flashed. To repair the area below the patio door we had to jackhammer the stoop to remove it.  The old joist was taken out, and it was replaced with a new board of treated lumber. ...

Hidden Damage

Hidden Damage

I am doing an extensive post-fire remodel on a home in Naperville.  It is always interesting to see how other builders do construction improperly. As we were doing fire deconstruction I came upon the ring joist behind the concrete step under the patio door.  The door...

Drink Water!

Drink Water!

Tools and manpower are needed to successfully complete a complicated project, but other factors are needed too.  Common sense is another critical component.  A hot day and hard work means sweat.  The loss of water can make you overly fatigued and mentally cloudy.  I...

Creating A Closet

Creating A Closet

A customer wanted to add a closet to a first-floor den. This would effectively give him another bedroom.  Adding a closet is easy if you know what you are doing.  The following pictures tell the story. If you have any remodeling or building needs, please feel free to...

Upgrading Electric from 100 Amps to 200 Amps

Upgrading Electric from 100 Amps to 200 Amps

I am in the final stages of finishing a kitchen remodel in Glen Ellyn.  This remodel involved adding new lights and electrical circuits to the room.  The building code required that the new electrical circuits in the kitchen have arc fault breakers, and the existing...

Deodorizing A House After A Fire

I am involved in the renovation and reconstruction of a Naperville home that caught on fire.  I have already removed all of the interior walls, but there is still a strong smell of smoke through the entire house. Naturally, I want to go to any reasonable lengths to...

More work than it looks

More work than it looks

There are many small tasks that have to be done when a room is remodeled. This is especially the case when remodeling a kitchen. The photos below show just one of the tasks, installing cabinet hardware. In this example, we had 44 cabinet handles, each individually...

Wall Removal Kitchen Remodel

Wall Removal Kitchen Remodel

Many homes built in the 1940s through the 1970s had small kitchens and small dining rooms.  This was the fashion of the day.  However, times and tastes change.  Our lifestyles are more casual now, and it is more important to have useable spaces than formal rooms. I...

Joining Cast Iron Fittings with Oakum and Lead

Joining Cast Iron Fittings with Oakum and Lead

It is interesting to see how the various trades do their jobs.  My plumber, John, had to join some cast iron fittings at one of my worksites.  The following video shows how he did it. https://youtu.be/RnCwChSBqFA

Fixing A Cast Iron Sewer Pipe

Fixing A Cast Iron Sewer Pipe

I continue to work on a kitchen remodel in unincorporated Glen Ellyn.  This home is on well and septic which can present its own problems. When the county plumbing inspector came out he told us that he needed to upgrade the current cast iron sanitary tee, as the...

Cabinets Make A Difference

Cabinets Make A Difference

I'm remodeling a kitchen in Glen Ellyn.  It is a total remodel that includes combining the former dining room with the old kitchen.  It always amazes me how some elements can make a dramatic difference in the way a room looks. The first photo is the empty new...

Joining A New Wood Floor With An Existing Wood Floor

Joining A New Wood Floor With An Existing Wood Floor

In my last post, I made the case for replacing a wood floor.  In this post, I'll show you how to weave a new floor into an existing floor seamlessly. This is the same project that I posted about last week.  However, it is on the opposite side of the room.  On that...

When Should You Replace A Wood Floor

When Should You Replace A Wood Floor

I am doing a kitchen remodel in Glen Ellyn.  The customer is joining his dining room and kitchen together.  This will turn two small rooms into a large and wonderful kitchen space. The dining room already has an oak floor, and the owner wanted me to weave the new...

Are Your Air Ducts Making You Sick?

I'm am working on a remodel that involves the removal of the kitchen floor including the subfloor.  The house was built in the 1970s, and the building code of those days allowed for the cold air returns to use wall and floor cavities.  The current code requires using...

Choosing A New Kitchen Sink

There was a time when choosing a sink was simple, the customer would select stainless or cast iron. Now there are many choices. The most popular materials are stainless steel or composite.  Composite sinks are made from materials like quartz resin which is bonded with...

Wall Tiles Can Make A Difference!

When a customer contracts with me to do a bathroom or kitchen they also have some jobs to do.  They need to select their tile/cabinet package.  Often, they will ask me for my advice, as I have been in the business for over 25 years. The choice of tiles can make a...

A Wonderful Kitchen Remodel

A customer contracted with me to remodel his kitchen.  The old kitchen was serviceable, but it was dark and dated.  In addition, there was a barrier wall between the kitchen and dining room.  This was a common practice in homes build in that era. Unfortunately, this...

Harvesting More Garage Storage By Building A DIY Shelving Unit

Our garages often become storage areas.  A snowblower here,  some tools there, bicycles, spare tires, etc.  It doesn't take long before it is so cluttered that you can't even park your car. One good way to create more storage and to organize your stuff is to add...

A Better Way To Hang A Mirror or Picture.

  One of the last things that I do when I complete a bathroom is to hang the mirror.  Hanging a mirror is a simple DIY project, but it isn't uncommon to have to readjust a crooked or misplaced mirror.  There also can be some mess. You can eliminate these problems by...

Partial Replacement Of An Oak Floor

I have been doing an extensive remodel of a home.  Part of that job included modifying a master bath to make it handicap accessible.  This required replacing a traditional door with a sliding pocket door.  Although this replacement sounds like a simple project it...

Using The Amazing 3M Painter’s Hand Masker

Using The Amazing 3M Painter’s Hand Masker

Using The Amazing 3M Painter’s Hand Masker FEBRUARY 9, 2018 /  Everyone knows that the most important part of a painting project is protecting those things that you don’t want painted.  This task is also the most tedious. 3M has a great gadget to speed things along....

Installing A Roof In Winter

Installing A Roof In Winter

Installing A Roof In Winter FEBRUARY 3, 2018 A customer called me to evaluate his roof.  He had an insurance check to replace it and the check was about to expire.  Unfortunately, it was January! We often think of replacing roofs in the spring or summer, and of...

Installing A Dual Cooktop and Microwave Venting System

Installing A Dual Cooktop and Microwave Venting System

It is common practice to vent a cooktop.  By having a venting system you can reduce cooking aromas.  However, most microwaves recirculate directly into the kitchen.  This may be OK when you want the delicious smell of popcorn, but it can be less desirable when you are...

Using Adhesive To Secure An Engineered Wood Floor

Using Adhesive To Secure An Engineered Wood Floor

One of the latest wood flooring materials is engineered wood.  This is very different from laminated “Pergo” flooring, which looks cheap and wears poorly. Engineered wood has plywood as a base with a 1/8″ veneer of the wood floor of your choice (white oak, red oak,...

It’s All About The Prep

It’s All About The Prep

When doing a home remodel one of the biggest potential hassles that a customer faces is the construction mess. Some of this mess is unavoidable, but much of it can be eliminated with a little planning. Customers appreciate that we clean up after ourselves.  We...

An Intricate Tile Backsplash

An Intricate Tile Backsplash

For a while, the use of a tile backsplash was not in fashion.  This was mostly due to cost.  New homes are built on a tight budget and tile work can be expensive. However, there are many benefits for having a tile backsplash, and they are coming back strong into...

Using The Amazing 3M Painter’s Hand Masker

Everyone knows that the most important part of a painting project is protecting those things that you don't want painted.  This task is also the most tedious. 3M has a great gadget to speed things along.  It is the 3M Painter's Hand Masking Kit.  The main part of the...

Installing A Roof In Winter

A customer called me to evaluate his roof.  He had an insurance check to replace it and the check was about to expire.  Unfortunately, it was January! We often think of replacing roofs in the spring or summer, and of course, this makes sense.  However, there are times...

Installing A Dual Cooktop and Microwave Venting System

It is common practice to vent a cooktop.  By having a venting system you can reduce cooking aromas.  However, most microwaves recirculate directly into the kitchen.  This may be OK when you want the delicious smell of popcorn, but it can be less desirable when you are...

Using Adhesive To Secure An Engineered Wood Floor

One of the latest wood flooring materials is engineered wood.  This is very different from laminated "Pergo" flooring, which looks cheap and wears poorly. Engineered wood has plywood as a base with a 1/8" veneer of the wood floor of your choice (white oak, red oak,...

It’s All About The Prep

When doing a home remodel one of the biggest potential hassles that a customer faces is the construction mess. Some of this mess is unavoidable, but much of it can be eliminated with a little planning. Customers appreciate that we clean up after ourselves.  We...

An Intricate Tile Backsplash

For a while, the use of a tile backsplash was not in fashion.  This was mostly due to cost.  New homes are built on a tight budget and tile work can be expensive. However, there are many benefits for having a tile backsplash, and they are coming back strong into...

The Beauty Behind The Scene

There are many different steps to be accomplished when remodeling a kitchen.  Something as simple as a sink install can require the expertise of a plumber, electrician, and a countertop fabricator. I am currently finishing up a total kitchen remodel in Woodridge.  The...

Not All Remodelers Are Equal

I am doing a kitchen remodel in Woodridge.  The owner already had his bathroom done by another company about 6 months earlier. The spout on the tub was very wobbly and he asked me to look at it. I was shocked to see how amateurish the work was.  The other construction...

Keeping It Clean

As a home remodeler, it is common for me to work in occupied homes.  No matter how you slice it, remodeling is dirty work.  Walls come down, floors come up, and dust is everywhere. Although dirt can't be eliminated completely I do my best to minimize it.  When working...

A Customized Threshold

I recently did a bathroom remodel in Naperville.  The customer chose a stone tile for the floor.  Unfortunately, the bathroom subfloor was out of level. This resulted in a considerable difference in the height between the tile bathroom floor and the oak floor outside...

A House Face-Lift

My customer needed to change out the windows from his 1984 Georgian.  The old windows were contractor grade.  He elected to use Pella Architect Series windows.  These windows are not only high quality, but they also have high curb appeal.  Unlike a lower grade of...

Details Count

There is a difference between doing a job and doing a job well.   It is easy to do sloppy work, or to complete a job without thinking about aesthetics.  Spending a little more time on a project in the beginning, will yield a more pleasing outcome. The following photos...

Painting Crown Molding The Professional Way

I'm finishing up a project in Naperville.  Part of that project was to install and paint crown molding.  My trim carpenter put up the molding, but I painted it. The best way to get a professional finish is to use a paint sprayer.  The best paint sprayer to use is one...

How The Pros Tile

Customers often wonder how we are able to do such perfect tiling.  Of course, much of the results come from years of practice and dedication.  However, there are also some tricks that we use to make sure that each tile is perfectly separated from the next.  Naturally,...

Creating A Curbless Shower

As the population ages, our needs change.  A customer wanted me to remove the tub from her master bath. In its place she wanted a curbless shower.  This is a shower where there is no lip between the bathroom floor and the shower pan.  To prevent leakage the pan has to...

Why does it cost so much?

A customer wanted me to replace his current closet door with a pocket door.  This was a great idea because it would allow for more wall space in his bedroom, and it also made the adjacent bathroom ADA compliant.  However, sometimes a remodel has hidden costs. ...

Medicine Cabinet Hurdle

I am remodeling a bathroom for a customer in Naperville.  The early 1990s style bathroom was in need of a complete refresh. Beyond the usual replacement of the floor and bathtub surround, my customer wanted a new medicine cabinet.  Her previous cabinet was tiny and...

Electrical Problem Solving

I'm remodeling a bathroom for a nice couple in Naperville.  They had chosen a higher backsplash for their sink area.  Unfortunately, the original outlet box was exactly in-line with the top the backsplash.  To tile around it would give the backsplash an amateurish...

Replace Or Reface Your Kitchen Cabinets?

It is a common practice to reface old cabinets when remodeling a kitchen.  This can be a very cost-effective solution which yields an updated look. However, there are reasons to replace your cabinets.  Spec cabinets are often put in homes for cost reasons, and may not...

When Things Go Wrong

I have been a contractor for over 25 years.  The majority of my business has been acquired from former customers, either in the form of repeat business or referrals.  It is important for me personally and professionally to deliver on my promises. Sometimes things just...

Using A Sprayer Equals A Clean Line

Most people know that it is often the little details that take the longest, but yield the best looking finished project.  No one likes to tape before painting, it is tedious and time consuming.  However, it gives you a clean line that that will make your project look...

How To Finish A Garage Floor

Garage floors get dirty.  Dust, leaves, and oil combine to make them look dingy and unappealing.  A simple solution is to clean and paint the floor.  Epoxy paints are extremely durable and are perfect for this application. The following photos will take you through...

It is the little things that count.

I completed a room remodel, and was ready to reinstall some multi-media speakers.  Their wires were unattractive, as they were covered with paint.  I used some shrink sleeves to encase the wires.  Shrink sleeves are tubes that will shrink when a little heat is applied...

Recharging Out West

Over the last two weeks I have been traveling out west with my son Charlie.  We toured Glacier National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and watched the total solar eclipse in Casper Wyoming.  It was a fantastic trip. Along the way we ate sandwiches in the car, camped...

Homework

As much as I love my work, I love my family more.  My son Charlie is trying to stay ahead of the game by keeping up with his math during summer vacation.  At the end of last term his teacher told us about a great website called http://Iknowit.com.  This is a great...

When Blue Painter’s Tape Fails

I believe that careful prep work pays off.  I make sure that I mask my areas carefully before I start any paint job. Despite my best efforts, I will sometimes get a little bleed-over.  This problem can be difficult when the paint is on a newly finished staircase.  One...

Turning old doors and trim into new looking ones.

Old painted wood often discolors due to indoor pollution.  You can refresh and renew these surfaces with a little care and effort. Sand the surface with fine grade sandpaper and then clean it with a damp rag.  In this example I'm using an air assisted, airless paint...

Power washing a fireplace

A longtime customer was moving.  Both he and his wife were smokers, and their cigarette smoke permeated their entire house.  They had a nice white brick fireplace that was stained from years of cigarette smoke. The fireplace was the focal point of their family room...

How to patch a big hole in drywall

A customer had an old non-functional in-house intercom system that he wanted to be removed.  This left large holes in his walls.  It is simple to repair these if you know what to do.  Follow the pictures before for step-by-step instructions.

Hidden Surprise!

A long-time customer was moving and wanted me to do some update work on his house to get it ready for sale.  Among the jobs was some carpet removal. The customer's plan was to have me remove the old carpeting so new carpeting could be laid.  What a surprise it was to...

A New Roof In Bowlingbrook

I just finished this roof in Bolingbrook.  Summer is roofing season and  I am a certified roofer. In addition, I am a certified GAF contractor.  Being a GAF contractor allows me to offer an enhanced GAF weather stopper warranty for my customers. This warranty is a...

Bland To Beautiful Bathroom

My customer moved into a 55 Plus community.  Her single family dwelling was build over 20 years ago, and the baths were designed to be neutral.  Sometimes neutral can be a bit boring, and my customer wanted to add her own style and personality to her new house. She...

Hidden water damage

A customer was in the process of replacing the patio on his 35-year-old home.  When he removed the step he discovered that the rim joist was completely rotted.  This was  due to lack of flashing, which is a moisture barrier between the house proper and the concrete....

From Bland Powder Room To 3/4 Man Cave Bath

Finished basements often have powder rooms.  They are great, but powder rooms don't include a shower. The first picture shows the original powder room.  Bland, contractor grade fixtures and boring tiles are the dominant features. You can also see the door to a utility...

How To Caulk Neatly

If you have ever tried to caulk, you have probably discovered that what appears to be easy, isn't.  Even when you carefully apply a bead of caulk it always seems like there is either too much or not enough. With a little effort you can have a perfect caulk line: Use...

An Exterior Finish Used On An Interior Wall

It is fun to think outside the box.  When most people think of an interior room they think of interior finishes.  I'm currently completing a bathroom in Aurora.  I thought it would be interesting to use exterior stucco on the bathroom walls.  Naturally, this product...

How To Replace A Skylight

A customer had an old skylight above their kitchen island.  It was discolored and non-functional.  They saw me demonstrate a VELUX skylight at a recent home show.  This particular model can open and close at the touch of a remote control button.  It also has a power...

Correcting A Flooring Mistake

I am in the process of installing an engineered wood floor on concrete.  It is not advised to install traditional flooring over concrete, as the moisture in the concrete tends to warp the floor.  Engineered floors are more resilient to this situation. I made the...

Old Carpeted Stairs Become New Hardwood Ones

If your home was built with carpeted stairs it is likely that the staircase below the carpeting is cheap, construction grade pine.  Many homeowners prefer the look of hardwood staircases.  With a little retrofitting it is possible to add real hardwood stairs on top of...

Let The Light Shine In

I recently participated in the Darien Home Show.  It was a lot of fun to talk to customers about the products and services that I provide. A potential new customer named Sandy stopped by my booth and asked me about a VELUX skylight display that I had.  She told me...

I’m Always Learning

I recently was asked to quote the replacement of some skylights.  The customer has 3 Velux skylights over his sunroom that are more than 25 years old.  Older skylights are not designed as well as newer models, and over time they tend to leak. His skylights were...

Homework

Customers often think that estimates and plans can be done on the spot.  I could do that if I chose to do a poor job.  However, offering someone a quality plan and an accurate estimate takes additional time and work. I often start with photos of the site, and a rough...

The Home Show

For the last two weekends I have been manning a both at two different home shows. My friend Mike (in the picture) has been keeping me company during lulls in the foot traffic. Home shows are a great way to meet new customers, and to chat with people who are interested...

The Devil Is In the Details

Homeowners will typically update their bathrooms every 20-25 years.  It is a major home investment, and so the project can create some anxiety. It is important to remember that a little extra investment can yield a much more sophisticated and elegant look. Consider...

Church Work

                                At Gizmo Home Craft we do more than remodeling projects.  A church in Glen Ellyn contacted us to make exploratory openings in their main building.  The church building had been constructed in the 1960’s, and the original blueprints were...

New Wood Floor? Concrete Slab? No Problem!

                            A repeat customer in Glen Ellyn wanted to replace flooring on two levels of their home.  They were interested in replacing their existing floors with an oak one.  The problem was that both floors were on a concrete slab. It is not advisable...

Keeping The Work Site Clean and Tidy

It is very important to spend some time prepping the worksite.  Many homeowners continue to reside in their home during a construction project. The use of devices and barriers can minimize the overall mess and keep the homeowners happy.  

Help With An Insurance Claim

              A Satisfied Customer's Testimonial Mr. Debski is the owner of Gizmo and handled the job himself. I called him after receiving an estimate from my insurance company on a hail storm. They only wrote half of the house and I was unable to pay for the other...

Hail damage = new siding

                            A Naperville home suffered hail damage during a storm. A few days later our customer received a knock on their door by a  Storm Chaser.  Storm Chasers are companies that base their business model on repairing exterior damage caused by...

The right waterproofing for the right purpose

                                                    Installing a basement bathroom presents its own challenges.  One of them being the natural moisture that can enter through the concrete foundation from the outside. You should always use a moisture barrier to prevent...

How To Pour A Shower Base Correctly On A Concrete Floor

                                                                                How To Pour A Shower Base Correctly On A Concrete Floor Homeowners are sometimes afraid to use a poured shower base because they are notorious for leaking.  Instead they will choose a...

Expert Floor Weaving Makes A Tired Floor Brand New

                                                    We were asked by a Naperville customer to convert two small bedrooms into one larger one.  Both rooms had oak floors that were beautiful, but they also showed age and some significant damage.  In addition, there was...

An Enhanced Stone Sealer Can Make A Difference

              Choosing an enhanced stone sealer can make a difference. My customer had me install a stone back splash in his kitchen.  Stone should be sealed to protect it from staining and damage. I originally used an standard sealer, but I wasn’t happy with the...

Small Touches Yields Big Results

Small Touches Yields Big Results A long-time customer asked me to offer my advice on updating his kitchen with a minimal investment.  He already had newer cabinets and countertops installed, and he wanted to keep them. It was clear that his kitchen window needed to be...

Pride of workmanship

I was asked to replace a door at a home in Naperville.  The seal on the glass had failed and condensation was forming between the pains.  In addition, the door itself was failing and had become difficult to open. When I removed the original door I discovered that the...

A little spigot, a lot of damage

  I was recently doing some for for a customer who had an additional problem with an existing outdoor water spigot.  The spigot wasn’t installed level, and the inside portion was lower than the outside portion.  In addition, the plumber who installed the spigot didn’t...

A Simple Transformation

                                          I had worked for Mr. Graham in the past, doing a variety of different jobs.  He felt that his current door was impractical, and did not add to the value of his house. He asked me for my opinion on a possible door solution....

From a blank and boring wall to warm and charming one

                                Our customer bought a sixteen year old home, and she wanted to add a warm focal point to it.  The perfect solution was to use a  direct vent gas burning fireplace. To make the design more unique we used large porcelain floor tiles that...

Be careful who you hire.

A customer in Oak Brook asked for a quote on a new door.  Her old one had been destroyed by a painter who claimed to know how to refinish it.  Attached is a photo that she allowed me to take of her damaged door.  Always get references when hiring someone to work on...

Helping a customer

Here I am in beautiful Lombard helping a former customer.  I had replaced their roof, siding and windows 2 years ago. They called me because they were installing a new patio and they needed help replacing their basement window wells. They couldn't find anyone to do...

Sugar Grove gets a new roof

Our Sugar Grove customers are not only happy with their new roof, but also with their   50 year GAF Weather Stopper Warranty.

How to install a door the right way.

  I installed this beautiful ProVia door while doing a whole house remodel in Oswego.  There is a right way and a wrong way to install a front entry unit.  To show you the right way I made a video.  Click on this link to watch...

Getting things straight

Sorry, I'm trying to get blog posts to link to social media and the only way I can test this is by posting and testing!...

Rainy morning roofing

This is second day on a re-roofing job in Shugar Grove. It rained heavily this morning. Even though I've been doing roofs for many years now, I am always on edge while it rains and the roof is halfway...

Saturday!

Even general contractors need some recharge...

Paperwork!

An afternoon of paperwork. Working with people is a lot more fun!

Fall is on its way

With summer coming to an end it is a good time to make sure that your windows are ready to keep out the cold winds of winter. Simple maintenance can sometimes yield big dividends. New windows can add beauty as well as higher energy efficiency. 

Welcome to my new blog page!

  I'm excited to introduce you to  the new Gizmo Home Craft blog page.  I'll be adding new content on a regular basis so make sure you visit again...

Contact Tom

630-585-8369
http://gizmohomecraft.com
Gizmo Home I Craft 190 E 5th Avenue, Suite 23 Naperville, Illinois 60563