Leo & Dee Halter of Hawkeye Improvements have completed major projects both inside and outside of our 1920s craftsman bungalow. In 2004, they repaired the stucco on all four sides of the second story after the original crumbled and pulled away from the lath. 7 years later, the color of the permanently pigmented product has not faded. And despite repeated freezing and thawing, there are no cracks, no deterioration in the condition of the surface since the day they completed the project. They’ve tuck-pointed the brick chimney, repaired plaster walls and are returning soon to make improvements to the foundation. These folks do not cut corners. Their work is conducted with the expertise and materials to ensure restoration and durability; true to the integrity of the original architecture and craftsmanship of the home. How fortunate we are to have such a resource in our community.
Cynthia Pauley & Dennett Hutchcroft (3/2011)
Hawkeye Improvements offers earth-based plaster
Iowa City Press-Citizen January 18, 2011
Leo Halter said one reason he likes using a clay-based plaster is he does not have to wear gloves to apply it because it does not have chemicals.
"It consists mainly of clay and reclaimed marble dust and natural minerals," he said.
Halter and his wife, Denise, are the owners of Hawkeye Improvements LLC in Iowa City, a home improvement company that focuses primarily on plastering and chimney work. In business for the last 38 years, including the last 30 in Illinois and Iowa, they consider themselves one of the few husband-and-wife teams in the country who do plastering, Leo Halter said.
"I liked working with my hands and my own thought processes," said Denise Halter, a 1971 Regina High graduate. "I just kept learning. I stayed and loved it."
About five years ago, the couple was introduced by a plaster dealer to American Clay, an Albuquerque-N.M.-based company that had introduced its earth-based plaster the year before. According to the company's website, Hawkeye Improvements is the only authorized dealer of the product in Iowa.
The Halters said they first tried it out on a farmhouse in Solon and were impressed right away.
"What they said was right on the money," Leo Halter said. "It's very easy to work with. It's the way you apply it. It goes on like frosting. The process of (applying this) is so easy most homeowners do it themselves."
Leo Halter said it can be applied using a paint roller or trowel, and relatively inexpensively, too. Depending on the color used, most of the clay plaster costs an average about $1 per square foot, he said.
The couple already has applied the American Clay to the homes of two of their children, and one told him it had a cooling effect on the room where it had been put on. Leo Halter said it is designed to bring down humidity in a room much like an adobe.
"By using it, you can reduce your cooling costs," he said.
Reach Rob Daniel at 339-7360 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Czech and Slovak Museum
Hawkeye Improvements was the contractor of choice for the restoration of portions of the National Czech and Slovak Museum in Cedar Rapids.