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Modernizing A Fireplace

A fireplace has always been the center of a room, and the focus of many homes. However, as technology has progressed it has gone from a source of heat, to a focal point, to an entertainment center. Homes that were built 10 years ago didn't have power outlets on...

LVT-Luxury Vinyl Tile

Flooring trends come and go, and what was old becomes new and improved. Vinyl flooring has been around for a long time, but it was supplanted by ceramic, then porcelain, then wood flooring. Vinyl flooring is back, but it is very much improved from the stick-on tiles...

Removing A Mantel From A Brick Fireplace

A customer wanted to remove the mantel from his fireplace. The problem was that there were support bricks that were placed when the first masons originally bricked the fireplace. One option would be to remove all of the bricks and to replace them. This would be both...

A Sink Install That Was Not DIY Friendly

There are many projects that the home DIYer can accomplish with a little reading, or by watching some YouTube videos. However, there are other projects that are best left to professionals. A customer wanted me to install a bathroom sink. This was a free standing sink...
Modernizing A Fireplace

Modernizing A Fireplace

A fireplace has always been the center of a room, and the focus of many homes. However, as technology has progressed it has gone from a source of heat, to a focal point, to an entertainment center. Homes that were built 10 years ago didn't have power outlets on...

LVT-Luxury Vinyl Tile

LVT-Luxury Vinyl Tile

Flooring trends come and go, and what was old becomes new and improved. Vinyl flooring has been around for a long time, but it was supplanted by ceramic, then porcelain, then wood flooring. Vinyl flooring is back, but it is very much improved from the stick-on tiles...

Removing A Mantel From A Brick Fireplace

Removing A Mantel From A Brick Fireplace

A customer wanted to remove the mantel from his fireplace. The problem was that there were support bricks that were placed when the first masons originally bricked the fireplace. One option would be to remove all of the bricks and to replace them. This would be both...

A Sink Install That Was Not DIY Friendly

A Sink Install That Was Not DIY Friendly

There are many projects that the home DIYer can accomplish with a little reading, or by watching some YouTube videos. However, there are other projects that are best left to professionals. A customer wanted me to install a bathroom sink. This was a free standing sink...

Tiling Basics For Walls

Tiling Basics For Walls

Tiling a wall can be challenging, but it is possible if you follow a few steps. Make sure that you have a flat, straight, and clean surface.Make sure you know your tile layout before you start to install your tiles.Measure the tile and the wall section to figure out...

From Tree To Planks

From Tree To Planks

An oak's life is normally from 150-300 years. Trees don't live forever and they eventually die; most of them become mulch or firewood unless they are specifically harvested to be used for lumber. This seems to be a waste, as many local trees are beautiful hardwoods. I...

In Construction Their May Be Surprises

In Construction Their May Be Surprises

I do my best to accurately estimate a job. However, I don't have X-Ray vision. Sometimes you discover things when you demolish an old kitchen, which is what happened on a current job. After we removed a wall we discovered water pipes right where a new door was going....

A DYI Guitar Display Wall

A DYI Guitar Display Wall

My 13 year old son is an avid guitar player, and I wanted him to have a place to display some of his classic guitars. I decided to create a shiplap wall for that purpose. You can buy shiplap, but I made my own because I wanted one out of oak. My friend, Mike and I...

Sentinel-Cement Foam Board, Great!

Sentinel-Cement Foam Board, Great!

You have to use the right type of wall board when installing it in a shower area. I have always used Durock in these situations. Durock works well, but it is heavy, hard to work with, and very dusty when cut. Recently, I switched to Sentinel board. This is a...

The Counter Top-Final

The Counter Top-Final

This is the third of three posts on the natural countertop that I am installing in my townhome. See the photos below for the sink install. I cut out a sink hole using a hole saw for the corners and my Festool circular saw. Measure twice, cut once! The sink fits...

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase II

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase II

This is the second post on the countertop that I'm creating for my townhome. See the photos below for its progress. Gaps and cracks were filled with an epoxy resin. I used some masking tape to contain the resin. After the resin hardened I used a orbital sander to...

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase I

Making A Custom Countertop, Phase I

As you may recall I harvested logs that I turned into planking that was used for the floors in my townhouse. In addition, I had a large Tamarack log that was flat sawn into 2 1/4 inch slabs. I intended to use this wood for a kitchen countertop. See the photos below...

The Schluter Shower Base

The Schluter Shower Base

When you think of a shower base you probably visualize those fiberglass ones that you can buy at big box stores. They work, but they also look pretty generic. If you want to have a custom and classy look in your bathroom you are going to have to pay an expert to pour...

Dry Wall Quick Tip

Dry Wall Quick Tip

There are times when you need to remove drywall to fix the infrastructure beneath it. I had to do some plumbing work that was behind drywall. Normally, I would use a saw and cut an opening. However, the opening would be uneven and rough. A drywall circular cutter...

A New Custom Railing

A New Custom Railing

I needed to install a railing on the loft that I created in the townhouse that I'm remodeling. It is possible to buy commercially fabricated railings, but they tend to be of a generic styles that are popular at that moment in time. I'm styling this townhome to have a...

A Fancy Range Hood

A Fancy Range Hood

You may recall that I created a custom anchor to secure a box/cement board for a vent hood so it would hold some granite pieces that had a total weight of around 400 pounds. I thought you may like to see the finished product. The box that I made which will serve as a...

Creating A Barn Door-DIY Project

Creating A Barn Door-DIY Project

If you have been following my posts you know that my friend and I harvested a number of hardwood trees last year. These were fallen trees that were slated to be ground into pulp. Many of them were white oaks, and so I decided to give them a new life by processing them...

Adding A Focal Point To A Room

Adding A Focal Point To A Room

Focal points add interest and texture to a room. Common focal points include fireplaces and built-in bookcases. However, both of these structures take up room space. That is OK when a room has the volume to accommodate them. However, when you are trying to maximize a...

The Humble Level

The Humble Level

An essential tool for any home is the level, which is a device that allows you to confirm that something is level to the ground. If you hang pictures on the wall your job will be more efficient and your outcome will be better if you use a level. However, a level is...

How To Turn Off Your Home’s Natural Gas

How To Turn Off Your Home’s Natural Gas

By municipal code, all gas lines have shut-offs located by the appliance that they are connected to. Of course, this makes sense. When I'm doing a kitchen remodel one of the first things that I do is to turn off these lines and then cap them. However, there are times...

A Room Transformation

A Room Transformation

Most people remodel a room to update it. Commonly, this is done to modernize an aging kitchen or bathroom. At other times an owner may want to open up a room, or to turn an unused space, like a basement, into a living space. However, on occasion, a customer will want...

An Economical Kitchen Refresh

An Economical Kitchen Refresh

I'm working on a project in a nice suburb of Chicago. The previous owners remodeled their small kitchen in the 1990s. The new owners moved into the house a few years ago, but they felt that the kitchen's appointments were too overwhelming and busy for such a small...

Install A TV Antenna For Free TV

Install A TV Antenna For Free TV

Over the last few decades Americans abandoned over-the-air (OTA) television in favor of cable and satellite TV. Initially, this seemed like a wonderful idea as consumers could watch dozens of crystal clear offerings. However, over time the novelty of subscription...

Modern Condo Reveals Construction Issues

Modern Condo Reveals Construction Issues

I'm doing some remodeling/renovating work on a condo in Chicago's River West district. This location is just outside downtown Chicago and it is considered to be a very desirable. This condo is in a 4 flat that was constructed in 2003, and further the entire interior...

How To Install A Toilet

How To Install A Toilet

Most DIYers will never have to install a new toilet. However, it is possible that they will have to remove one and then reinstall it at a later date. For instance, when replacing a floor. It is simple to reinstall a toilet, as long as you follow some rules. See the...

A Range Hood Disaster

A Range Hood Disaster

A customer moved into a luxury condo 3 months ago. It was a new build with all of the nicest amenities. She elected to have an enclosed range hood with a facade of heavy granite. A beautiful idea. When the granite installers came in to install the granite they...

A Kitchen Remodel

A Kitchen Remodel

A customer wanted to refresh their kitchen. They decided to keep its basic layout, but they wanted to change out the cabinets to higher quality ones and arranged them in a way that was more compatible with their needs. They didn't want to change the stain color or...

The Schluter Shower System

The Schluter Shower System

The usual way to tile a custom shower base is to install a liner and adjustable drain, and then pour a concrete shower base. After the concrete drys you tile the floor. This process is slow and time consuming, but yields a good result when you use an experienced tile...

A New Twist On Clamps

A New Twist On Clamps

There are many varieties of the humble clamp, but they all do the same thing-they firmly hold an object or objects. A very common use for a clamp is to hold two or more pieces of wood so they can be precisely bound together. Naturally, there are many ways to bind wood...

Color Temperature Adjustable LED lights

Practical electric lights are a fairly new invention. In the early 1800s, researchers developed lights that were powered by electricity, but they were impractical for home use. In the late 1800s, Thomas Edison developed the first practical home electric lightbulb that...

Your Main Water Shutoff

Your Main Water Shutoff

Admittedly, this is not an exciting post. However, it is an important one if you own a home, townhome, or condo. By code, many municipalities require that plumbing fixtures, such as sinks and toilets, have water supply valves. It is important to locate these valves so...

Using A Laser System To Measure A Counter Top

Using A Laser System To Measure A Counter Top

I have been a sub-contractor and a contractor for over 30 years, and because of this I have gained a lot of construction skills. I often use sub-contractors as they are not only expert, but they are also very efficient in doing their particular job. With that said I...

An Industrial Look For A Basement

An Industrial Look For A Basement

I'm remodeling a basement and turning it into a guitar-centric music room. My original plan was to spray paint the basement ceiling a satin black to give the room an industrial look. Unfortunately, some of the music room was directly below the master bedroom and it...

A Can Of Spray Paint For A Totally New Look

A Can Of Spray Paint For A Totally New Look

It is easy to repurpose hardware and building materials if you combine a little skill, time, and creativity. I had three commercial gooseneck lamp fixtures that I had used to light an old outdoor business sign. They were in surprisingly good shape for being in a harsh...

The Amazing Festool Domino Joiner

The Amazing Festool Domino Joiner

There are multiple ways to join two pieces of wood that range from butt joints to rabbet joints. Most of these connections connect two perpendicular boards, for instance the sides of a drawer. However, many applications require boards to be parallel to each other,...

A Fun Window Frame

A Fun Window Frame

As many of you know I harvested much of the wood that I used in my townhouse renovation project. Such a process yields beautiful planks, but there are also many scrap pieces that most would discard. However, I see the beauty in these unique pieces, and so I decided to...

What A Difference Some Trim Makes.

What A Difference Some Trim Makes.

Most people don't give a lot of thought to the trim around their interior doors and windows. However, with a little work you can trim out those structures and give them their own unique look. Arranging simple trim pieces like 1 x 4s, 1 x 6s, and door stops can give...

A Honest Concrete Contractor/Replacing a Rim Joist and Sill Plate

A Honest Concrete Contractor/Replacing a Rim Joist and Sill Plate

A homeowner was adding a new patio and new stoop to his home. The concrete contractor came out and inspected the job and reported to the owner that the rim joist under the door was rotted. He said that it needed to be repaired before he could correctly pour his job....

A Finish For A New Floor

A Finish For A New Floor

There are many stain options that you can use to personalize your wood flooring. However, in the case of the townhouse that I'm remodeling I wanted to go with a natural finish. I had harvested the oak logs myself, and I wanted to show off the imperfect beauty of the...

Cutting Vent Holes

Cutting Vent Holes

I'm installing a new wood floor in the townhouse that I'm renovating. Initially, I used a hole saw to make some rough openings for the heating system. However, they were crude and temporary. Using a template and several routers gave me a professional cut. See photos...

Installing A Tricky Floor

Installing A Tricky Floor

As some of you may recall I harvested white oak trees and turned them into the floor planks for the townhouse that I'm renovating. This process involved cutting rough planks from logs and then drying them using a vacuum kiln. The dried wood was further processed using...

Building A Custom Shower Base

Building A Custom Shower Base

It is easy to go to a big box store and purchase a preformed fiberglass shower base. While functional, these bases come only in predetermined sizes. In addition, they lack the style of a tiled base, which yields a custom home look. If you decide to build your own base...

A Random Floor

A Random Floor

As you may recall I sourced my own wood from logs for the floors of the townhouse that I'm renovating. Some of the wood planks were pristine in quality, while others had knots, insect holes, and other imperfections. I had quite a bit of flooring planks that were...

The Mighty Oscillating Tool

The Mighty Oscillating Tool

An oscillating tool can be a useful gadget for making precision cuts. I needed to place a flooring plank next to an existing door jam. The normal practice would be to measure and cut the plank to fit around the jam. However, it is possible to take the opposite...

Working With Insurance Companies

Working With Insurance Companies

We have insurance to cover unforeseen events. Most of us expect that our insurance company will be there for us when we need it, but that isn't always the case. In general, I have found that the initial estimate that insurance companies give their clients are too low...

The Mighty Speed Square

The Mighty Speed Square

If you are a DIYer you should buy this inexpensive gadget. The speed square consists of a triangle that has a lip (also called a fence) on one of its edges. It is a tool that allows you to create a straight line on a board that you can use as a guide. In addition, you...

Creating a tongue and grove in flooring.

Creating a tongue and grove in flooring.

You may recall that I harvested oak trees to make my own white oak flooring for the townhouse that I'm renovating. This has been a long process that involved many steps, the final one being the fabrication of wood flooring from rough wood planks. Part of that process...

Using A Cardboard Template

Using A Cardboard Template

There are times when you need to cut or fill an area that doesn't consist of nice squares or rectangles. I faced such a situation when I was installing radiant floor heating in the townhome that I'm renovating. In that situation I had to create a subfloor out of...

Choosing Cordless Power Tools

Choosing Cordless Power Tools

If you are a homeowner, or a DIYer, you will need some basic tools. If you do more than the most simple repairs you will benefit from power tools, and cordless power tools are generally the most convenient to use. However, there are so many different brands, models,...

The Golden Age Of Tools

The Golden Age Of Tools

The mass manufacturing of household items started well over 100 years ago when products started to be made in factories. Mass production heralded the birth of a new profession, the industrial designer. An industrial designer’s job is to conceptualize and design a...

New Siding!

New Siding!

The townhouse that I'm renovating was built in the 1970s, and its siding was old and tired. I had to remove it to accommodate the new doors and windows that I installed on the house last fall. The unit was clad only in Tyvek vapor barrier last winter, which kept the...

Details Count!

Details Count!

Projects can be done quickly, or they can be done correctly. I think that the details of any project matter. I replaced the siding on the townhouse that I'm renovating. The front porch will have a coach light that resides in a frame. AZEK is a PVC material that can be...

Using AZEK For An Outdoor Post

Using AZEK For An Outdoor Post

Door building materials have to be durable and weather resistant. AZEK is a synthetic building material that is both. In addition to being weather resistant, it is mold, rot, and stain-resistant. AZEK is the product name for carpentry materials made from PVC...

Radiant Floor Heating

Radiant Floor Heating

Most modern homes use forced air heating. This type of heating works well, and the same duct work can be used for cooling making it a cost effective solution. However, there are other ways to heat a home, as many who lives in an older house or apartment can attest to....

Grinding Cement

Grinding Cement

Part of the renovation of my townhome involves replacing the old ceramic floors with wood ones. The old floors were cemented to the concrete slab and when they were removed they left quite a bit of residue mortar. The most reasonable way to get that mortar off was to...

Spray Painting Primer.

Spray Painting Primer.

The townhouse that I'm renovating has a two story ceiling with many angles. Now that the wallboard is in place it is time to prime them. Naturally, this could be done with a traditional brush or roller, but that would be very time consuming. I'm fortunate to have a...

Sound Proofing With Insulation

Sound Proofing With Insulation

When you live in a small space you have to adapt that space to meet the needs of the individual residents. The townhouse that I'm renovating has a music room in the basement area. Unfortunately, the master bedroom is directly above that space. It is impossible to make...

Drywall!

Drywall!

If you are unfamiliar with construction you may assume that you put up drywall as soon as you have framed-out your rooms. However, nothing could be further from the truth. The spaces between your studs house the infrastructure that makes your home habitable. Electric,...

Adding Value To A Flip House

Adding Value To A Flip House

A long-time customer is flipping homes, and he is using my company for some of the renovation work. He is currently remodeling a home in a very nice part of Naperville. The home was build in the 1980s, and its architecture is consistent with that era. The master...

More Foam Insulation

More Foam Insulation

In a recent post I chronicled adding foam insulation to a garage. In this post I'll share some photos of adding foam insulation to the townhouse that I'm renovating. Several weeks ago my foam installers used closed cell foam to insulate the outside walls and rafters...

From Raw Planks To Flooring, And More.

From Raw Planks To Flooring, And More.

You may recall that I harvested white oak trees with the intention of turning them into flooring, stairs, and other trim. This has been a very long process. Recently, I picked up wood that I had vacuum dried and transported it to an Amish woodworker. His job was to...

Insulating A Garage

Insulating A Garage

You may recall that I installed a heater in my garage. There is nothing like getting into a warm car on a cold day! However, the garage was uninsulated, and I was losing a lot of heat to the outside. Naturally, I needed to insulate the space. There are many types of...

Demo Days

Demo Days

There is a an old adage that says, "You have to break some eggs to make an omelette." The same rule applies to a remodel. You have to destroy an area so you can rebuild it. Naturally, destroy is too strong of a word because it is important to preserve items that are...

A Standin Furnace

A Standin Furnace

I'm replacing the entire heating system in the townhome that I'm renovating. Early on in the demolition I removed and disposed of the home's very old furnace. Unfortunately, this meant that the interior of the house is freezing cold this winter. Such an environment...

A New Gutter Color

A New Gutter Color

The vast majority of customers want white gutters. In fact, if you drive around any neighborhood you would be surprised if you saw gutters the were any other color. However, gutters are available in a variety of colors. I replaced the gutters for a customer in Villa...

Using A Drywall Template

Using A Drywall Template

Drywall sheets are heavy and awkward to move. Their unwieldily nature can be especially difficult when they need to be mounted in confined areas. I had a garage heater installed in the townhouse that I'm renovating. The heater was suspended using rods that were...

A Roof With Problems

A Roof With Problems

I'm doing a roof job for a customer in Naperville who just bought a home. The current roof has two layers of shingles on the roof deck. In cases like this the old shingles have to be removed as a third layers would add too much weight to the existing structure. A...

Adding A Garage Heater

Adding A Garage Heater

I added a garage heater at my townhouse project and I thought I would share some ideas with you about the pros and cons of various heater types. Gas heaters use either natural gas (which is mostly methane) or propane. These gases can burn very cleanly and in a perfect...

Adding A Limestone Chimney Cap

Adding A Limestone Chimney Cap

I am working on a home that suffered storm damage. This damage involved the the home's roof, siding, and chimney. The chimney had its cement cap and upper portion knocked off. We replaced the cap with one made of limestone. Limestone not only looks better, but it is...

Installing A Shower Base

Installing A Shower Base

A primary part of any free-standing shower is the shower base. In many homes this structure consists of a prefabricated fiberglass pan. This is an inexpensive option, but it limits the owner to several prefabricated sizes. In addition, a fiberglass base isn't very...

From Window To Door

From Window To Door

The townhouse that I'm renovating had a living space that consisted of three blocked off rooms, the kitchen, the dining room, and the living room. I wanted to open all of these rooms into one great room. The old dining room had a bay window, and I felt that that space...

Turning Trees Into Boards

Turning Trees Into Boards

You may recall from previous posts that I decided to use fallen oak trees for the wood in the townhome that I'm renovating. Most of these trees would have been ground to pulp if I had not used them. This is the first time that I had used actual trees as a building...

Radiant Heat For A Basement

Radiant Heat For A Basement

You may recall that I'm doing a total remodel on a townhome in Naperville. Part of that process included lowering the basement by one foot. This has been a very arduous task. However, I feel that the end results will justify the means. Since I had to remove the...

Adding A New Support Post

Adding A New Support Post

I'm renovating a 100 year old house in Downers Grove. The owner wanted to open up the first floor, which involved removing a first floor wall.. This wall added to the structural integrity of the home. Typically, it is necessary to add a new support beam in the ceiling...

Patching A Large Hole In A Concrete Block Foundation.

Patching A Large Hole In A Concrete Block Foundation.

I'm working on a home that is over 100 years old. Part of that process involves replacing the house's worn out plumbing. The old sewer line had to be removed and replaced with new PVC pipes. Unfortunately, this left a gaping hole in the home's concrete block...

Adding Basement Drains

Adding Basement Drains

As you may recall I'm completely renovating a townhouse in Chicago's western suburbs. Several months ago I removed the basement's floor and dug down an additional 12 inches. I'm now in the process of adding the drains for a basement bathroom and laundry room. See the...

Art Hidden In Your Walls

Art Hidden In Your Walls

ART: the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power. -Google dictionary As a general contractor I get to...

Be Prepared!-Flat Fix

Be Prepared!-Flat Fix

As you may know from my previous posts, I'm transporting oak logs to a sawmill from my home in the Chicago area to Michigan. I'm using my dumpster trailer along with my Dodge 3500 dually. Total trailer weight is around 14,000 pounds. My dually can easily pull this...

One of the best things I ever bought is now better!

One of the best things I ever bought is now better!

It is exciting to show off a new shiny gadget. However, one of the best things that I ever bought was neither new nor shiny. Over twenty years ago I bought a used dumpster trailer from a friend who was moving out of the area. The trailer is not flashy, but it one of...

Creating a new window

Creating a new window

I'm replacing the siding and windows on a property, and this has given me an opportunity. The garage is attached, and it is a fairly simple process to add a window to it. See the photos below from the step-by-step process. Removing some oriented strand board to reveal...

Ultimate Recycling-DIY Trees To Boards

Ultimate Recycling-DIY Trees To Boards

We live in a disposable world, and with each Solo cup or plastic wrapper we contribute to global warming. Living in a modern society has many advantages, but some of these short-term perks can have long term consequences. Like many, I try to turn off my lights, and I...

My Mobile Office

My Mobile Office

In 1993 I bought a cell phone, and I thought I had arrived. I could take and answer phone calls from anywhere. In those days texting was not an option. Over the years my reliance on using technology has increased, and I now have a complete mobile office. I still need...

More On The Window Wells

More On The Window Wells

You may recall that I enlarged both the basement windows and the window wells on the townhouse that I'm renovating. The window wells are a lower priority job on this project, and I'm continuing to work on them as time permits. Below are some of my more recent efforts....

A New Roof

A New Roof

The most recent phase of my townhouse remodel has been the replacement of the old roof. It was around 20 years old, and was showing its age by its faded and stained appearance. Beyond style issues the roof had areas of leakage and other spots of wear and tear. A bad...

Just Enough Skylights!

Just Enough Skylights!

How do you make a smaller space appear more spacious?  The answer is to open it up, add volume, and increase light.  I’ll talk about this last factor today. If possible, it is best to increase both artificial and natural light.  Generally, natural light...

A Pandemic Vacation

A Pandemic Vacation

This has been a busy summer, but it has also had the imposed constraints of a global pandemic. I was planning another backpacking adventure with my son, and we had hoped to return to Glacier National Park. However, many of the trails were closed. Since I was busy it...

Going Squirrelly

Going Squirrelly

I was replacing a roof and came upon a surprising find. Buried under the ridge shingles I found a snack catch of nut and seeds. The snacks were both carefully placed and hidden from prying eyes. A perfect spot for a quick meal. Like most properties, this one had some...

What Happens When A Pipe Is Not Properly Pitched.

What Happens When A Pipe Is Not Properly Pitched.

Sometimes a simple sounding repair can be very complicated. A customer wanted me to repair a damaged drain pipe that was leaking into his basement. Unfortunately, the pipe was located under the portion of his house that was on a concrete slab. My plumber tried to...

Dirty Work

Dirty Work

I have lived in the states for almost 30 years, and as long as I have lived here I've watched do-it-yourself (DIY) shows. The host of these programs are usually dressed in their casual best as they tackled both large and small remodeling projects. Most jobs will have...

Bigger Basement Windows

Bigger Basement Windows

When working with a smaller space it is imperative to utilize your square footage as efficiently as possible. The townhouse that I'm remodeling has a useable basement, but I wanted to turn it into a pleasant living zone. I have already written several posts on...

Extending A Basement’s Foundation.

Extending A Basement’s Foundation.

If you have read some of my previous posts you know that I am in the process of increasing the depth of the basement of a townhome that I purchased. The original height of the basement was around 7 feet, and my goal is to increase that to around 8 feet. To do this I...

Cutting A Concrete Foundation.

Cutting A Concrete Foundation.

As you may recall from my recent posts I'm lowering the floor in a basement. This process has presented problems and challenges. A home's foundation has a footing on the bottom that helps distribute the weight of the foundation. When I excavated below the foundation...

A Temporary Basement Water Discharge System.

My attention has been focused on lowering the basement of a townhome that I purchased.  This has been a complicated process that has involved many steps. The concrete floor was removed and both the sump system and the waste water ejector system had to be...

Another Unpleasant Surprise-Disconnected Drain Tiles

Another Unpleasant Surprise-Disconnected Drain Tiles

The 1970s townhome that I'm remodeling has been full of surprises. Many of them are the result of shoddy workmanship, and this is especially evident when that work is hidden. The townhome has a partial basement that is about seven feet deep. Although adequate, I felt...

Using A Demolition Hammer To Remove Old Ceramic Tiles

Using A Demolition Hammer To Remove Old Ceramic Tiles

The townhome that I'm renovating has a basement that is below one-half of the main level. The rest of the main level, including the kitchen, is on a concrete slab. I'm converting the living spaces into a large great room, and I have to remove the kitchen and hall...

A Burst Water Pipe

A Burst Water Pipe

There always seems to be surprises when I work on a project. When I had the water turned on to the townhouse that I purchased I checked around and everything seemed nice a dry. However, when I opened an outside spigot I discovered that the line to that faucet had...

Hidden Black Mold!

Hidden Black Mold!

When I purchased my current project my thought was to completely remodel the townhome. This meant removing the entire interior down to the studs. During this process I discovered several things that made me glad that I made this decision. Doors, Windows, and other...

How To Install A Sump Pump

How To Install A Sump Pump

Many homes with basements have at least one sump pump. These devices pump water from the home's drain tiles to the outside. If you have lived in a home with a sump pump for any length of time you probably have had a pump failure. The most common type of failure is...

The Townhouse Project, Demolition Phase One.

The Townhouse Project, Demolition Phase One.

I'm always amused by home DIY shows that suggest that the process of demolition is fun and easy. It is neither. It is a systematic process that is both messy and potentially dangerous. I have spent the last week demolishing the interior of the townhouse that I...

The Townhouse Project

The Townhouse Project

I recently purchased a townhome in Naperville. The duplex was built in the 1970s and it is part of a small community of townhouses very close to downtown Naperville. The home was owned by an elderly woman, and it had never been updated. Some would look at it and see a...

Writing Quotes

Writing Quotes

The first step in any job is an on-site visit to see what the customer wants. At that point, I can explore their situation and ask questions about what they wish. Afterward, I will try to offer some opinions based on my 25 years of experience. However, this is only...

Contact Tom

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