Gizmo Home Craft

Complete Remodeling, Restoration and Repurposing Services

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Church Work

An exploratory hole.

Exposed beam looks fine.

Water trapped on the church roof.

Hidden beam showing rot.

















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 lost.  Their beautiful 52-year-old structure was constructed with large wooden beams that supported a columnless style nave.  

The building had been settling for unknown reasons, and it was also taking in water.  An architectural firm was called in, and they required exploratory openings to evaluate the superstructure of the building.

As you can see, the exposed wooden beams look good.  However, once these beams entered a solid brick structure they appear rotted.  The roof water was able to seep in and become trapped around the beams.

We were happy to provide this service to the church, and we always enjoy new and challenging projects.

New Wood Floor? Concrete Slab? No Problem!

Removing the old floor

A new beautiful floor

Another view of my customer’s new floor.















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 to put an oak floor on concrete because of the residual moisture content of the concrete.  This moisture can eventually cause buckling of the new floor.

However, there is a product that can be used in this situation, which is unfinished engineered oak planks.  Because it is a specifically manufactured product it is more stable, and can be used in situations where a typical plank would deform.  This product has a thick top veneer oak and looks exactly like a wood floor.

Knowing the right materials can save you thousands of dollars in future repairs.  
My customers and I were very happy with the final results.

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.

Using a strong plastic carpet protector will keep the floor safe.

In this remodel the kitchen was part of the construction path. Using heavy duty cardboard protects the delicate floor surface.

A plastic barrier separates the work area from the rest of the room.

Using a strong plastic carpet protector will keep the floor safe.


Five Steps For A Perfect Tile Floor

1. Arrange your tiles on the floor to visualize the final outcome.











2. Start at the farthest point and work towards the exit.









3. Make sure that your tile is flush with the outside flooring.









4. Apply grout.









5. Wash the grout away to reveal a beautiful new porcelain floor.


Help With An Insurance Claim

New two-tone siding adds a fresh look.








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 half of the house to be sided. I contacted Gizmo home confused and not sure what I was going to do. Mr. Debski contacted the insurance company for me and they rewrote my estimate because the original siding was no longer available. He guided me through the process of choosing siding and having the job completed. He was always so friendly and professional at the same time. The job was completed in two days. I would definitely hire him again and recommend his company to others.

Description of work:
We had the siding replaced on our two story house.


My Reply

Dear Mrs. [ Name Removed],

Thank you for taking the time to review the work that I did for you.

It is not uncommon for an initial insurance claim to be inadequate to cover the cost of repair. In your particular case a little product research showed that your original siding was no longer available. Obviously, using two different styles of sidings on your home would not be esthetically pleasing, and it would also reduce the overall value of your home.

When I work with a client I try to achieve the best outcome possible, and I am always happy to contact the insurance company with additional information. I am so happy that your company was willing to re-adjust your claim.

It was a pleasure working with you.

Tom Debski

Hail damage = new siding

The original siding is old and tired looking.

Off with the old, in preparation of the new.

New siding refreshes the exterior look.















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 natural disasters.  They often promise free repairs to the consumer, as they will bill the owner’s home insurance.

In this example the insurance adjuster would only approve two exterior walls.  The storm chaser company was happy with this, but the homeowner was not.  They contacted me and I did some additional investigative work.  It turns out that their current siding was no longer being manufactured, and with a few phone calls I was able to get the insurance company to pay for the entire house.

I also felt that the house would gain greater curbside appeal with a two-tone approach.  The resulting finished job added a lot of curb appeal to their home.  Sometimes a little extra work can result in a  better finished product.

The right waterproofing for the right purpose

Use the right waterproofing product.








Mapelastic should be the consistency of peanut butter.









Mapelastic applied tothe concrete surfaces to prevent moisture from entering.












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 this from happening.  I like using Mapelastic HPG flexible waterproofing membrane for concrete walls.  When applying Mapelastic HPG it should be the consistency of peanut butter.  You can apply the membrane with a trowel or a roller, but I prefer a roller because the application will be both faster and evener.  Usually, two coats are recommended.

How To Pour A Shower Base Correctly On A Concrete Floor

Roughed in shower stall.









Reinforced fiberglass corners cemented.









Temporary placement of wood slats.









Final float after angled wood slat removal.









The freshly finished shower base.









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 prefab fiberglass base that can detract from the beauty of the shower.

Poured shower bases don’t leak when they are properly installed.  This is a stepwise process that takes time, and because of this some contractors skip necessary steps that can result in a leaking shower base, and an unhappy customer.

Here are the necessary steps to properly install a poured shower base on a concrete floor:

  1. Install a wood shower curb to the existing concrete floor, using concrete screws.
  2. Install cement board where the shower walls and curb meet the floor.
  3. Re-enforce all corners with heavy duty fiberglass mesh.
  4. Pour the concrete base, making sure that it slopes towards the drain. We use wooden slats as guides to assure the proper sloping angle.

Stay tuned for a post on waterproofing the base as well as a post on installing a shower base over a wood floor.

Expert Floor Weaving Makes A Tired Floor Brand New

Two rooms made into one, showing the gap in the oak floor.











Expert weaving of oak planks make all the difference in the final results.









The completed larger room with the restored oak floor.









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 a gap between the two floors where the dividing wall was removed.

The first photo shows the two rooms opened into one larger one.  You can see the flooring gap in the center of the photo.

The second photo shows how we expertly removed damaged flooring in preparation to replace those boards with new ones.

The final photo is the completed room with a restored oak floor, joined walls, paint, and new closet space.

The owners were very happy with the results, as were we.

An Enhanced Stone Sealer Can Make A Difference

The slate back splash with regular stone sealer.

The back splash after using an enhanced sealer.








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 results.  With the customer’s permission I applied an enhancing sealer, which added a some shine and better definition to the back splash.  This very simple step made a significant improvement in the overall look of the kitchen.  

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