Gizmo Home Craft

Complete Remodeling, Restoration and Repurposing Services

Category: home remodeling

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 an actual duct for air returns.

Since we were reconfiguring the kitchen we had to reroute the return ducts, which allowed us to peer inside.  The attached photos show what we found.  You can see an accumulation of dust, hair, lint and other materials.  All the things that can make an allergy sufferer worse.

The interesting fact is that the owner recently had his ductwork cleaned.  Unfortunately, these types of ducts can be very difficult to clean due to the way that they are constructed.  If you are doing a total remodel you may consider upgrading your ducts to the current code, if you are an allergy sufferer.

Exposing the air return ducts.

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 dramatic difference.  Some tiles are more casual, some are more formal.  The right choice can turn a nice bathroom into a showplace.

Below are some examples of simple tiles that I have installed.  The end results were spectacular.

If you have any remodeling needs please feel free to contact me for a free estimate.  I’ll be happy to offer you some suggestions based on my many years of design experience.


Gizmo Home Craft

Different sized tiles can add interest.

Contrasting tiles add dimension.

Natural tiles add a touch of class.

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 following a few simple steps.

-Place some masking tape where you plan to add your mounts.  This way you avoid any marks on the wall.
-Naturally, you want to measure (and measure again) carefully so that your mirror is properly positioned.
-Use a level to make sure that your mounting screws aren’t crooked.
-By using a vacuum when drilling you avoid dust from the drywall.  It is surprising how much dust you can generate from drilling a few simple holes.
-Hang your mirror.

By doing a little bit of prep work you can avoid additional mess, and get the job done correctly the first time.

If you are thinking about remodeling your bathroom, I would be happy to offer you a free estimate and my 20-plus years of design experience.  Give me a call!


Placing masking tape.

Using a vacuum to reduce dust.

Adding wall anchors.

Mirror hung!

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 involved many steps that ranged from moving electrical switch boxes to widening a door opening.  As a result of the latter, a small section of the homeowner’s floor had to be repaired.

With the right tools and skills, this can be accomplished with the minimum amount of cost and mess. My flooring specialist was happy to use my Festool oscillating sander.  The Festool system is a sander activated vacuum device that leaves the least amount of dust.

As you can see, the results are excellent.  No one will ever notice that the floor was repaired.

If you have any flooring or home repair needs, please feel free to contact me.  I’m happy to offer you a free quote and my over 20 years of real-world experience.


Marking off the area.

Cutting out the old planks.

Using my Festool sander.

Repair finished!

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 kit is a tool that automatically applies making tape to a plastic film as you roll the plastic out.  No more bunches of stuck together tape!

Although this masker isn’t cheap, it should be in every weekend warrior’s tool kit.  It is guaranteed to not only save time, but also aggravation.

The following photos will give you an idea on how to use it.

3M Hand-Masker Pre-assembled Masking Film Kit

Tacking the masking film.

3M Masking film deployed.

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 when you have to break this rule.  With that said, safety first.  We were unable to reshingle the roof on our scheduled day due to frost and ice on the roof.  Even with proper gear falling from a second story can be deadly.  The only solution was to wait until the surface was safe.  In this case an additional week.

Ice on the roof! Time to wait for a warmer day.

The weather cleared, so it is time to put on a new roof.

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 reheating fish.

More of my customers are choosing to use an over the range microwave in their new kitchen remodels.  These devices look like regular microwave ovens but they are designed to mount above the cooktop.  They typically have a system the vents both the cooktop and the microwave to the outside.  This requires some simple duct work.

In the photos below you can see this process. Naturally, if you decide on this product it makes the most sense to mount your new microwave and cooktop close to an outside wall.  Otherwise, you are wasting cabinet space by filling them with ducts.

Dual purpose vent (stove and microwave).

Duct installed.

Outside venting.








If you are considering a kitchen remodel, please give me a call.  Estimates and design ideas are free.


Owner Gizmo Home Craft


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, and others). By using this technique you create a very stable floor that isn’t impacted by changes in our season cycle.  You don’t get shrinkage with low humidity or swelling with high humidity.  The product is about 25-35% more expensive than a traditional wood floor but offers more advantages.  For instance, it can be successfully placed on concrete.  I wouldn’t advise placing a traditional wood floor on such a surface.

Engineered floors can be glued to the substrate floor.  A glued floor has greatly reduced deflection and thereby greatly reduced squeaking.

The floor looks fantastic, as the surface is real oak.  The planks can be purchased both finished and unfinished.  The following photos show the installation sequence.

If you have any flooring questions or would like a free estimate on a new floor, give me a call:

Tom Debski at 630.585.8369

Using glue on a hardwood floor.

Installed engineered wood floor planks.

The finished floor is beautiful!


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