I have worked with many contractors over the years. I have never encountered a company like Great Lakes Builders. They are simply extraordinary on every level. Great Lakes Builders are consummate professionals from their business approach to keeping a safe and clean work site. Choosing a good contractor for a structural repair is daunting. In our project, Great Lakes Builders literally held up the building and lifted it in places to solve some tricky structural defects. They replaced failing wood beams and columns with new steel ones. In work like this, you need a contractor to be experienced and exact. Martin Lewandowski is a master at his craft. I would use him again in a heartbeat. All in all, Great Lakes Builders are true experts in their field. They are patient, friendly, and empathic to the homeowner’s concerns. They exceeded my expectations by helping me sort out many of the renovation problems I encountered that were outside their original scope of work. I would highly recommend Great Lakes Builders to anyone with a challenging renovation project.
Elizabeth Chandler, Evanston, IL
Dennis Everson, Chicago, IL
We were referred to Great Lakes Builders for an important structural project with a very strict timetable. We had to have a contractor that we could rely on to complete the work correctly, in a professional manner, with a concern for safety, on time and within budget. We found this in Great Lakes Builders. After using them for structural repairs on two of the buildings we manage, we feel confident in recommending Great Lakes Builders.
Kelly D. Hales, Post Oak Property Management, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders replaced structurally unsound brick foundation walls in our early 1900's home. They completed the work on schedule and on budget. After the structural work was complete, Great Lakes Builders finished our basement. They were wonderful about helping us design the space and also about completing the project in such as manner that the basement truly feels like a part of the main house. The basement work included a full bathroom. We would highly recommend Great Lakes Builders for any structural or remodeling work or any other work that they set out to do. They are very professional and provide high quality work at a fair price.
Jennifer and Douglas Seelicke, Winnetka, IL
I want to thank everyone at Great Lakes Builders and tell you how happy my mother and I are with all your work and everything you have done to help us in our time of need. The collapse of our basement foundation was a real crisis for us. Prior to being referred to you, and being highly recommended by our Structural Engineer, we had encountered some truly unscrupulous contractors. You literally rescued us and are true real-life heroes and we can not thank you enough. Many thanks to both of you and the whole crew at Great Lakes Builders!
Bonnie Bumiller, Oak Park, IL
The City of Des Plaines cited my strip mall as being uninhabitable due to dangerous structural conditions. The silver lining to my mall’s structural problem was finding and using Great Lakes Builders to implement the structural repairs. Martin’s actions convinced me that Great Lakes Builders is a company with integrity that will go the extra mile to get the job done right, on time and within budget. Great Lakes Builders planning, workmanship and ingenuity enabled my tenants to keep their retail outlets open for business throughout the entire repair process. Great Lakes Builders treated my project like they were working on their own property. They treated me with respect and didn’t “talk-down” to me. My mall is now structurally sound and it looks great! I would recommend Great Lakes Builders to anyone and would not hesitate to use them again in the future. Great Lakes Builders are true professionals and experienced craftsmen.
Mike Galante, Mall Owner, Des Plaines, IL
I love Great Lakes Builders. They were on the ball, extremely responsive, amicable, and accommodating. The price was right on. The work time was right on. And they were a pleasure to work with. I have never been so happy to part with almost $5,000. This truly was a job well done. As an added bonus, they also assisted us in our design plans for the kitchens and bathrooms. Finally, and most importantly - the contract originally called for the installation of 2 columns and 1 beam, as well as the sistering of several joists. When it came time for the work, though it cost them more to do it, they called to tell us that they needed to put in 2 more columns and 1 more beam. I groaned because I had been expecting something like this. And to my surprise their response was -we are just calling to make sure you are o.k with this. We are going to swallow any added cost. We told you what you needed and now think otherwise, that is not your responsibility... What a breath of fresh air these guys are!
Andrew Roberts, Evanston, IL
Great Lakes Builders did a fantastic job! They replaced the main beam in my basement, fixed the faulty joists, added some additional structural support, tuck pointed my brick foundation and removed an old chimney. Both Mike and Marty are great to work with, and very professional. They did their work on time, on budget, and even threw in some tuck-pointing for free. I highly recommend them.
Doug Breaker, Wilmette, IL
Great Lakes Builders installed new steal beams, columns and footings as well as reinforced existing wood beams with new steal columns and footings in 2 basements (2-flat condos, 1904 construction). They jacked up the house, dug new footings, installed the new structural supports, poured the concrete and cleaned up. They also fixed wood floor joints under a bathroom and reinforced a plaster/wood slat basement wall. Mike and Marty are polite, knowledgeable and extremely professional. They walked us through every step of the project and even worked with us on price. Great Lakes Builders wasn''t the cheapest bid, but it was worth the extra $3000 for the peace of mind of knowledgeable contractors - I had zero confidence in the capabilities of the other companies that bid the job compared to Mike and Marty. Once the project began, it went extremely fast, wrapping up in under a week and a half. Marty''s construction crew was just as professional. Overall, a great experience!
Carrie Jost, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders were hired to remove and replace two sagging structural wooden beams and one wooden post in the basement of my house. The two brothers came out to look at the job. They explained what the problem with my house was and how it probably got that way. They also discussed multiple ways to solve my problem. A few days later I received a call with prices for each different solution. The job took two days. On the first day they jacked up the joists and installed supports to hold the weight of the house. On the second day they removed the old beams and post. After inspecting a second post, one not included in the original agreement, they found it structurally unstable. They replaced it at NO EXTRA COST. The workers were very professional, arrived on time and left the workspace clean. Michael returned calls promptly and was a great help scheduling the project. The other brother Martin, was there to explain answers to any questions I had.
Andrew Currie, Chicago, IL
In the midst of a kitchen remodel, one of our temporary basement support columns was failing in our 3 story balloon frame house built in 1888. We called Great Lakes in a panic and Mike and Martin came out within a day, gave us a rough estimate of planned work, and suggested we postpone further work on the kitchen until the structural work was completed. They said the work could be done in only one week. They contacted a structural engineer (who also came in record speed), and they began work the next day (a Wednesday) and finished the following Monday. True to their word - it was amazing! Throughout each phase (inspection, shoring, jacking, installation of beams, pouring footing and finally removal and clean-up) they kept us well-informed of progress and checked frequently to make sure they were proceeding per our wishes. Wall cracking (inevitable due to correction needed) was extremely minimal. All aspects of work really top-notch! I highly recommend them.
Tambra Black, Chicago, IL
The existing support beam in the basement was wood supported by 4 temporary adjustable columns. Great Lakes installed a temporary support structure, removed the wooden beam and temporary columns, and installed steel beams which needed only two permanent columns. Great Lakes Builders did a superb job. Right from the beginning, Mike at the office and Martin on site were very thorough and accommodating. We had a tight schedule, so they did everything they could to make sure that the work got done on time. They even worked hand-in-hand with the engineer to get the specs completed as quickly as possible. The workers were polite and cleaned up at the end of each day. Martin made sure to check with us throughout the process to ensure that everything was done the way we wanted it. We would definitely recommend Great Lakes Builders in the future.
Cynthia Gaspar, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders removed and replaced our home’s old rotted sill plate located on top of our foundation and reinforced the studs that were attached to it. The project went very well. They finished just when they promised, were thorough, always patient with questions and responsive.
Christina Hoffmann, Chicago, IL
We needed two repairs on our house. First, after years of water damage and carpenter ants, we needed to have the sill plate replaced underneath our front door. When inspecting the area, Mike and Martin also suggested that they replace the masonry underneath our front door to strengthen the area as well as seal it from water and insects. This was a deal I couldn''t refuse as they have been the only company willing to do this (I had 7 different masonry and waterproofing companies take a look). Also, they reinforced the joists, just to be sure the house was structurally sound. Second, the floor between our basement and kitchen was starting to sag, so I had them repair this as well. They removed water damaged wood as well as discovering a very poor structural design. They replaced the header with much stronger & treated wood. In both cases, they had to jack up the house in order to get the work done. They were able to do so in both cases with very minor/no damage. I originally contacted them via email, which they returned the next day and a visit was quickly set up for the next week. They were very professional and nice guys. I ended up choosing these guys ultimately because when I was bidding this job, almost every structural engineering firm told me that they subcontracted the actual work to Great Lakes Builders. It seemed like very good recommendations. In addition, Mike and Martin came out and gave me a free estimate, whereas all other companies were going to charge me around $500 just to take a look at what needed to be done. It took them only 1.5 days to complete the job. Each of their workers were professional, respectful and courteous. If you need structural work done in the Chicago area, definitely give these guys a call.
Andy Dykstra, Naperville, IL
Great Lakes Builders were very helpful, professional and communicative throughout the entire process. They always responded quickly when we had questions and were thorough and patient in explaining things to all members of the condo association and offering helpful recommendations and solutions. Both Martin and Mike were very nice and easy to work with. They really listened and responded to all concerns, which you don''t often find. I would definitely recommend this company.
Holly Haddad, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders came to our property to examine some damage to the foundation and the front of the house. They completed some masonry work to "stitch" the front of the house to the main body of the house to ensure it was stabilized going forward. They were very responsive and very good at what they did. They recommended what they thought needed to be done and not anything more (we received bids for 10x their quote, which may have included unnecessary work). They finished their work in a day and cleaned the work site very well. Overall we were very satisfied and would recommend them to anyone. They knew what needed to be done and told us the portion of the job that they were qualified to completed.
Michael Huzinec, Chicago, IL
Our stone foundation was seriously compromised and the mortar between the bricks of the foundation was crumbling. Soil, mold and water were able to get into the house thanks to a seller who covered the problem with drywall. We received several estimates from Angie suppliers and happily chose Great Lakes. Martin, the president, was prompt in responding to our call, coming to check the damage and providing us with an estimate. The job was scheduled and completed in an extremely timely manner. The work crew were complete professionals. They arrived exactly on time, offered to take off their shoes, worked a messy job with their vacuum running the whole time, and adapted to all the little surprises than usually pop up on a job like this. They removed the dry wall in sections as we weren''t sure how far the damage extended. They cleaned out mortar joints, installed bonding agent to the stone foundation and tuck pointed the joints with a non shrink mortar. There was not a drop of dust anywhere in the house when they left. They hand mopped the floor, the washer and dryer. We've had a lot of wonderful Angie suppliers. Great Lakes Builders is absolutely the best. Thank you Angie's List!
Carol Senderowitz, Chicago, IL
I want to thank Great Lakes Builders for their effort and expertise in finding a solution for and repairing a structural problem in the house I recently purchased, and for completing the structural repairs by my scheduled move-in date. I was impressed by Great Lakes Builders' ability and willingness to explore a number of different options for the structural repairs and pricing out each option for me to review so that I could make an informed decision. I''m very satisfied with the results of the work and thankful that the job was completed on time and within my budget.
David Kurt, Winnetka, IL
Bill and Mary Talbot, Glencoe, IL
Mark and Heidi Russell, Park Ridge, IL
Andrew and Sherry White, Evanston, IL
Nancy Bossert, Mt. Prospect, IL
Donna & Douglas Lindgren, Deerfield, IL
Fran Maloney, Chicago, IL
I did some research prior to a major structural repair project at my home and spoke with a few structural engineers. It was clear to me from the beginning that Great Lakes (Martin and Mike) both had a great deal of experience in the type of older house I recently purchased. They knew very quickly upon inspecting the house what needed to be done and what their work would and would not accomplish. Martin and Mike were very straightforward and easy to work with. They were very prompt with their communication, patient in explaining things to a layman and performed the quoted work on-time and on-budget. Most importantly, I felt their work was high quality. Overall I am very satisfied with their work and would highly recommend them to others.
Ryan McFarland, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders replaced a rotting beam. Martin and Mike were great to work with. They were responsive, honest and practical. The project actually came in a little under budget.
Victoria Van Alphen, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders worked with a structural engineer to solve the problem of our sagging back room additions at our 8-unit condo. They jacked up the room additions, added concrete footings and columns to support the room additions. When the jacking equipment was removed, they checked to make sure that the room additions were level. Both Mike (from the main office) and Martin (the on-site project director) were thorough and polite. Martin explained exactly what work would be performed and the expected results. The crew worked efficiently, removed all debris, and restored the site to its original condition. We were very pleased with the quality of their work.
Diane Myers, Chicago, IL
Beams between piers supporting a sun-porch had sagged over the years. Great Lakes Builders diagnosed the problem and proposed a solution which involved jacking up the beams and re-leveling the porch to the extent this could be done without damaging other parts of the structure. This was followed by the installation of new beams to increase the strength of the structure. Despite a scheduling problem, due to my misunderstanding, they rescheduled in a timely fashion and completed the work quickly. Mike and Martin were very cooperative and helpful throughout the process. The crew was very polite, professional and cleaned up the work areas.
Stephen Roy, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders reinforced my basement beam line and roof knee wall. Martin and his team were precise, punctual, creative, and courteous. Homeowners know that any project involving the structure of your house is nerve-wracking. Great Lakes Builders made it painless. Our negotiated price was very fair and they completed more work than contracted for. They did not hesitate to contact our structural engineer with any questions and kept us informed. I intend to use Great Lakes Builders on our next project.
Meredith Joyce , Chicago, IL
Great Lakes Builders did structural and concrete work in our 1,500 square foot basement. They replaced the center beam, put new footings under the posts, shored up some joists and completely replaced the concrete basement floor. They were very professional and courteous. I liked that they were responsive, got back to me when needed, and the quality of their work was good. The floor is very smooth and even, they did not skimp at all and did everything extremely well.
Douglas Becker, Oak Park, IL
A front pier (1 of 3) was out of plumb and not fully supporting the house. The Great Lakes Builders crew built a temporary support, dismantled the masonry, dug out the footing, replaced the footing, and put it all back together. When Mike and Martin came to look at the house, I told them I thought we needed to remove the 3 piers and put in a full foundation. While they were willing to do that, they thought it unnecessary. The City of Berwyn agreed, and I was okay to spend less. The work was completed as expected and in a timely fashion.
Sara and Mark Stevenson-Breen, Berwyn, IL
Great Lakes Builders provided structural repairs to our first and second floors including installing footings and columns in the basement, sistering joists, and installing a new beam on the second floor. It was a difficult job dealing with extensive damage done by previous modifications to the home and in working around existing wiring, plumbing and heating ducts. However, they did a wonderful job. They not only made our sinking house solid, but were willing to work around a complicated schedule. And, they did an additional piece of work for free after finishing the rest. They put up an additional support in a spot we had not originally discussed after completing all of the rest of the work. To do this they had to drive back for an extra day of work. We absolutely would hire them again.
Robert Replogle, Chicago, IL
I just want to thank you guys for the work that your crew completed on my house. Carlos, Jake, and Toby (I hope I got all the names right) were great. Carlos was very thorough in explaining to me what he was doing. I very much appreciated his willingness to engage me throughout the whole process. I am always eager to learn from contractors, and I definitely learned a lot this time. I appreciated everyone''s professionalism and consideration for my home. I commend all of you for a great experience from start to finish. I will definitely call again if I ever need your services.
Sincerely, Nick Gatsis, Palatine, IL
Great Lakes Builders replaced an old structurally unsafe wood beam in the basement of our 100 year old home with a new steel beem. In doing so they also helped to level the first floor of the house. Finally, they added many other necessary structural supports in the basement. The work was timely and professional. The workers were courteous, friendly, and knowledgeable. They also found an unsafe area of our chimney which they fixed quickly and at no additional charge.
We researched several other companies and found Great Lakes Builders to be the best in cost, knowledge, and length of time to complete the job. We are very pleased with their service. They were on time every day and cleaned up at the end of each day. We were shown all of the work and were told why it needed to be done prior to the end of the project. They were even friendly and understanding of our two dogs, who decided to walk through the wet cement. We were even told of a safety hazard in our chimney that we had not been aware of. They fixed the problem quickly and at no additional cost.
Jeffrey Yurk, Wilmette
Mike was very honest and helpful. He talked to me over 30 minutes the first time I called. He researched my questions and called me back after 5:00 PM with answers to my questions. He was very professional. I talked with a few people from other companies - They all seem "too busy" to assist me with my questions. He was sincere and "cared" about my issues. He also did not try to "sell" me services and made every effort to explain things so I would understand him.
I was in an attorney review period and just completed a home inspection. The home inspector noticed that a door was angled towards the floor and had cracks in the corners (there was buckling in the tile of the bathroom associated with the door). He recommended a structural engineer. Mike is not an engineer but his company specializes in working with other companies' engineers to remedy structure problems. He was very knowledgeable and provided some possible causes and solutions for each cause. He gave me a "high-level" estimate based on what I described or showed him via pictures. I was impressed with his honesty and professionalism. I never ended up utilizing Mike or his company as other issues turned up and I decided against bringing in a structure engineer and decided not to buy the house. If those other issues did not come up, I would have definitely moved forward with Mike and his company.
Thong Lam, Chicago, IL
Overall, I had a great experience with Great Lakes Builders. They want to do the job right as opposed to expediently. This included replacing the original support posts and footings in my basement and installing additional joists and other work (above and beyond the estimate) to eliminate some significant crowning in my first floor living room. I was extremely impressed with the end results when compared to the unevenness of the floors before the work began. In addition, they found other potential problem areas in the basement and repaired them accordingly (even if not in the original estimate).
Bill Vadbunker, La Grange, IL
On December 30th, I noticed that my garage door was squealing horribly. Looking up, the ceiling had sagged 6-8 inches. The ceiling rafters had lost their connection with the joist beam and only the garage tracks were holding the drywall and rafters from falling. I contacted Great Lakes Builders on New Year's Eve. They came out on New Years Day to perform an estimate. They were able to get started the day after to add support and perform a thorough inspection. They were concerned with the structure of the garage and worked with my brother-in-law (a professional architect) to create a solution to add support to the overall garage structure that would be sound and aesthetically pleasing. They started working the next Monday and were done in three days. They were clean, friendly and very communicative. If every company worked like this, Angie's List would be out of business.
Ken Burk, Arlington Heights, IL
Our condo complex is a 3 story, 1924 masonry building. During a building inspection in July, our building inspector noted that we had some structural problems that needed immediate attention. We contacted Great Lakes Builders to survey the problem to determine what work might be needed. They came out and were thorough, very professional and in a few days provided us with a proposal.
Great Lakes Builders came out again to our building after we had accepted their work proposal to further assess the needed work and write up a final contract. We really appreciated their attention to getting the job done right. Their original proposal was for $10,000.00 of work. But upon starting the job and going into the wall surrounding the south side window lentil they discovered that the lentil was "good" and not in need of replacing. This discovery resulted in a greatly reduced project cost. They did all the masonry along the south and north supporting walls about 80 sq ft, filled in the z cracks, filled in other foundation cracks along the east walls, did an inspection of a support footing, and again found that it was solid, then refilled it with concrete.
We were thrilled in finding such honest contractors, who did only the work that was needed. We had already paid for 2/3 of the job, as per their contract. But after they had completed their work, they mailed us back the overpayment of $3000! We couldn''t recommend them highly enough for their professionalism, their knowledge and their honesty.
Jacqueline Beatka, Chicago, IL
I had 6 support columns in my basement replaced (two steel and four wooden). The wooden beams had almost completely rotted away around the base and the house was noticeably sinking in the dining room.
Great Lakes Builders is a wonderful company. In addition to giving us a quote for the work we wanted, they also suggested a second way of configuring the columns to maximize usable space. Overall, they were very responsive, worked within our budget, and were able to begin the project quickly. The crew arrived on time each day and were very professional and hard working. I would highly recommend to anyone.
Iden Nowlin, Chicago, IL
Great Lakes surveyed our store front building and recommended an engineer who provided specifications for things that needed to be done; then Great Lakes came back and performed the work. They charged us exactly what they quoted us and not a dime more even though they did some additional work. They did a good job and it was their reviews on Angie's List that sold us on this company.
Randolph Smith, Chicago, IL
Over the past 115 years, the central part of my home had been sagging, causing recurring cracks in the plaster of the walls on all floors. In addition, occasionally, water would seep through the brick foundation, and some rot of wood was apparent at the bottom of some walls in the basement. Martin Lewandowski diagnosed the problem as one of rotting and settling of the plates that carried the 2 original timber columns that support the central beam of the house. He proposed to replace the 2 columns by steel ones and to further support the central beam with 2 additional steel columns on each side of the chimney, thus relieving any pressure from it. The central beam was then to be jacked up a little in order to level the floor above it. This intervention was to support the bearing walls upstairs. In addition, he suggested an additional steel beam be installed in parallel with the main beam, in order to reinforce the support of another set of walls. He also proposed to remove some sections of rotten wood at the bottom of various walls in the basement and to replace them with pretreated, water resistant wood, placed on top of a concrete footing that would be poured. However, prior to contracting the work I hired a structural engineer, who confirmed the diagnosis and the remedy. Although this, in retrospect, was probably not needed, the engineer provided a report with detailed instructions on the work to be done and the technical specifications of the materials to be used. The work was executed accordingly.