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Masonry reviews in Santa Barbara

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  • We're very happy with how the work turned out.  Mike's extensive knowledge of fireplace code and construction made him a great choice to help us rebuild and repair our old fireplaces.  He was easy to reach, aimed to please, and made sure the job was finished in a timely manner.
    - Ethan R.
  • Francisco Baron and his team were hired to complete a small-sized landscaping project.  They completed 90% of the work and then demanded immediate payment to be provided.  I was handed an invoice at 8am on a Monday morning and told they needed payment- several thousand dollars - that day....and if I didn't pay, then they would "make sure everyone knows."  I've never, ever had a contractor threaten to damage my reputation. Very strange.  I told them they had not finished the work and I would prefer payment once all work was completed. Francisco responded and said he would finish the job in the next few days.  He was paid and never returned to finish the work.  No phone calls have been returned and I've been force to hire a more reputable company to complete the project.  I cannot recommend On The Rock Masonry.  

    - Shawn G.
  • We had several problems with our fireplace. It had started not drawing well despite the chimney having been cleaned a year before.  A lot of fire smell was entering the entire house even with an apparently clean burning fire.  Also the back wall of the fire box had a number of cracked bricks and an earlier patching job done by a former owner was crumbling.  There was similar deterioration on the firebox floor.

    Rich came on time for his estimate and immediately said the lower end of the flue might need to be recontoured because there was a flat spot that could cause the fire gasses to rebound downward.  He said the cracking in the back wall was probably due to moisture seeping down through an old chimney cap.  He told us at least some of the bad bricks should be replaced and any remaining cracks patched with the right kind of heat resistant cement.  He also recommended a new concrete chimney cap to keep moisture from penetrating into the porous chimney bricks.  He further suggested a vent to the outside at the back of the firebox to allow air to be drawn in to the base of the fire to assist in the drawing up of the gasses.

    But we were all puzzled by why the fireplace was suddenly not working as well as it had over the years. Rich asked if there had been changes in the house, like new windows or vents.  Yes!  We had moved our furnace into the attic and changed the cold air return from near the floor to the hall ceiling.  Apparently that caused an air flow in front of the fireplace that picked up the fire smell and drew it into the furnace, which propelled it throughout the house.  Problem identified!  Rich thought the air vent would solve this.

    Before Rich came to do the job, I tried the gas fire starter with no logs on the grate.  Surprise!  Flames rushed out of the cracks in the fireplace floor!  When Rich removed the brick around the line, he discovered a rotten pipe and no real connection between the gas line and the starter.  Another problem caused by the shoddy work done by (or for) the previous owner.

    Long story short, Rich arrived for the job exactly on time and spent the whole day with a helper doing all the work he had recommended.  It was noisy and dusty, but he put a tarp covering the fire box and also placed tarps on the floor.  We added coverings for the furniture.  In the afternoon we asked him to replace some more bricks so there would be less visible patching.  He managed to do this and was done before we had guests in the early evening.  We have since tried the fireplace and it works fine!

    We did have a little issue about the final bill, as the extent of his work had changed during the job and the effect was not clearly communicated.  We finally worked it out, but it pointed out to both of us the need to be clear about work changes.  We recommend Rich not only for his timeliness and good work, but his thorough diagnosis of, and solutions for, our fireplace problems.

    - Donald V.
  • We chose this installer based on the recommendation of the tile supplier in Santa Barbara.  Unfortunately, communications seem to be a problem in our opinion.  From getting the tile ordered, open disclosure of tile pricing (we paid for the tile and paid for the labor as seperate components of the contract), to giving directions to the seemingly inexperienced laborers, there seemed to be communication problems.  First day of job, the job drawing was left behind at their office...the tile cutter/layer  didn't hear or understand how part of the tile pattern was to be laid out.  When it came time to seal the tile and grout, the laborer sent to perform the sealing, did not clean off the grout haze or the tile cutter's pencil marks prior to applying the seal!   A return trip had to be made and acid used to clean and correct.  The evfort to make corrections was appreciated but the need to do so impacts the overall review of Century Stone.  The overall result of the tile laying was o.k. but rather "rustic" effect because the grout line widths were greater than we had hoped for.  The price for the labor was overall reasonable.Customer was a bit surprised to be asked to make full payment PRIOR to job completion...we declined, however we did go out of our way to get the check to them personally before they had to make payroll on Friday of that week.  At the time full and final payment was delivered to their office, and then two more times (once by phone and once in writing via email) we requested the leftover tiles (job estimated and we paid for 15% more than sq. footage).  No response other than "I'll check into that".  We expressed that we would be satisfied with two or three tiles of each size in case we need to replace a damaged tile in the future.
    We have learned a lot from this experience and would advise as follows for any stone/tilework:In the future we will ask that the tile purchased actually be delivered and accounted for because tile can be quite expensive, especially decorative finish pieces and accent tile.  We will make sure that the retail price of the tile and any applicable discounts are applied so that there are no questions about material amounts or costs.We would be sure the drawing/plan is available and reviewed by the actual labor doing the installing.We would request that the principal come and check on the execution of the job at each of the steps (this would save their time and money anyway!)We would ask to see examples of their work before contracting.
    - Adria A.
  • I had powerwashed the bricks on the front porch of an old Craftsman Bungalow to remove the white paint that had been put on some years ago by a former owner and in the process blew out a lot of old mortar and even a couple of bricks.  Stewart's bid of $750 seemed a little pricey, but I liked his demeanor, which was both professionally knowledgeable and very personable.
    We set a date for the job and he arrived on time with a helper and got right to work.  I didn't have time to keep a close eye on his work as I had other contractors there, but when I did check, he seemed to be moving right along.
    He first got together a bunch of bricks lying around the property and cleaned them up to use in his repairs.  Then he cleaned out old mortar back to more solid material.  He re-pointed (re-mortared) spots where the mortar was missing and rebuilt a few places where bricks had fallen out, including over two floor-level drain openings where bricks had dropped away years ago.
    The job took two days and the brickwork looked terrific when he finished.  I highly recommend Stewart's Masonry and its principal, Stewart Cook.  I feel I definitely got my money's worth.
    - Donald V.
    - MARK K.
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    - JEROME B.
  • All went well and on time.  Can't wait to use our new and safer fireplace.  Would recommend Right Way to friends .
    - Cheryl W.
    - MARK K.
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Masonry Contractors in Santa Barbara

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