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The Ins and Outs of the Masonry Process: An Interview with Eugene Novak of Novak Masonry Inc.

By Eugene Novak

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

I, Gene Novak, have owned Novak Masonry, Inc. for 14 years. I have been in the masonry trade for 37 years. Novak Masonry offers a wide variety of services: masonry block foundations, concrete slabs, concrete driveways, concrete or exposed aggregate sidewalks, brick work, and a wide variety of patios from stone, slate, colored concrete, pavers, and stained concrete. We also install interior and exterior stone from real thin veneer to cultured stone.

What are some of the most popular masonry products for homeowners?

Split face masonry block, real thin veneer stone and exposed aggregate sidewalks/patios are popular for homeowners. Brick is on its way back also.

Can you briefly explain the basic steps in a new masonry project?

A block foundation starts with a concrete footing. Than we install the concrete block foundation which we reinforce the block walls with rerod and grout. After the block foundation is installed we place a 6 mil vapor barrier or Styrofoam in the interior block foundation before we pour the concrete floor. We pour a 4" concrete floor. Then the exterior block foundation is damp proofed. When the framing of the house is complete we pour the garage floor, install exterior slabs, and install any exterior or interior stone.

What are some of the main decisions that a homeowner will need to make?

Budget their money. I will bid a foundation for a homeowner and the proposed amount does not fit their budget. So they modify the size of the house to fit their budget. Sometimes I will bid a project four to five times before the amount fits in to their budget. Homeowners need to pick out the material. The type and color of stone which can be a difficult decision because there is a wide variety available. They need to figure out the layout for exterior sidewalks and patios along with the material for them.

What's one of the biggest challenges when it comes to construction?

The weather! Rain or snow can really effect timelines.

How do you help homeowners solve that problem?

Weather is the biggest problem for a masonry contractor and something we can not control. We just try to stay on schedule and meet the homeowner's needs.

Do you have any tips for homeowners about masonry design?

Because of the large variety of masonry products available the homeowner needs to do research on what they like. From surfing the web, seeing a product on another house or visiting a masonry supplier. When the product is picked out we will guide them with our craftsmanship and experience to create a design that fits their needs.

What's the best way for people to you and your company?

They can call 231-228-5251 or email novakmasonry@gmail.com.

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