Maria T. (Gurnee, IL)

Roman arrived on time for the initial evaluation of the fireplace/chimney, which had several cracks and was also pulling away from the interior wall.  He inspected the fireplace/chimney, both interior and exterior, and also checked the basement (crawl space) to see how the chimney was supported.  No one else did such a thorough evaluation.  We then discussed some options after which I selected to rebuild the interior with river rock to replace the existing boring brick.  We also agreed to repairs to the exterior chimney, which was cracked and probably allowing moisture into the attic.  I received an estimate via email later that day.  We agreed that the project start date would be after Thanksgiving. 
Due to the mild weather over Thanksgiving week, Roman called and asked if they could start early on the exterior work.  I said yes, even though I would be out of town.  When I arrived back home, the new chimney top (lip/overhang – whatever you call it) had been poured and the forms were in place, the tuckpointing and caulking had been done. 
On the day the interior work was scheduled to be done, the mason arrived on time, followed shortly by the rest of the team and what I can gather was a supervisor or manager.  The initial job took 3 days to complete (hands on time), over about a week (total duration).   
Day 1- Removed glass door assembly, mantle and all interior brick work.  Began re-building using river rock, framed out area for glass firedoor insert.  Completed ~1/3 of fireplace.   
Day 2 – Continued build, re-set mantle.  After the day only ~20% area remained.  The frame was also removed from the exterior chimney overhang and the chimney was washed (or waterproofing applied?). 
Day 3 – Team returned ~ 1 week later to finish the re-build, tuckpoint the firebox, place the limestone hearth and re-install the glass fire door assembly. 
The team was professional and the mason took his time in selecting and placing the rocks in the mortar in a random, interesting design.  There were a few issues/challenges they faced during execution of the project and they worked together to solve them without impacting time or cost.  In addition, they did a great job in cleaning up each day.  After the job was completed, they even vacuumed the area.   
The only area I see that could use improvement is communication.  It was a bit of a challenge to get information or clarification on what was happening during the process, as the team predominantly spoke Polish or struggled with English as a second language.  Luckily the youngest member of the team was a native speaker, so between him and the group leader, I was able to communicate with the team when necessary.       
After the project was completed I noticed a few minor things that were not quite right (one edge of limestone hearth was not quite straight, mortar around glass insert wasn’t the same color as the rest of the fireplace).  I was busy at the time and didn’t call Roman till after the new year.  He and a few of the original crew came back the day after I called and they made the minor corrections, and, in addition, did a few more things that just made the fireplace look even better! (And at no extra charge!!) 
Overall my experience with this company was excellent.


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