Concrete Foundation Problems: Tips

Major cracks in a foundation are an obvious sign that foundation problems exist. However, there are subtle signs that people miss or that they ignore hoping they won’t worsen. Foundation problems should not be ignored because over time they will become worse. Search your home for both interior and exterior signs. Subtle signs include small cracks in walls and basement cracks inside that go from the floor to the ceiling.

Other interior signs are sagging floors, doors that stick, and puddles of water near basement slabs. An extremely wet crawl space, strange smells in a basement, high indoor humidity, and a very musty smelling basement are all subtle signs of a foundation problem. With a brick home, if there are stair-step cracks leading from the foundation, this is a sign of a foundation problem. Over time, this type of crack spreads eventually compromising the structure of the brick. Interior signs are drywall and plaster cracks that run diagonally along the wall and windows. Paneling that has separated from the wall can indicate an issue. Long-running cracks in hard surface flooring can be an indication of foundation issues. Gaps that occur between the floor and baseboard trim are usually interior signs that there are underlying foundation problems. Additional interior signs include fireplace cracks and uneven or sloping floors. Cabinets that separate from the ceiling and floor are interior signs of underlying foundation problems plaguing a home.

During severe drought conditions, the soil underneath and around a home can shift and cause problems with the foundation. This condition causes cracks in the cement foundation resulting in severe vertical and horizontal cracks in the walls of a home. Deep cracks can run up the walls and across the ceiling. The process of swelling and shrinking soil can bow brick veneer and cause the brick ties to pull away from the framing. Separating and cracking brick mortar is an exterior sign. This, in turn, causes the exterior brick veneer to pull away from the home. The brick veneer will separate around windows and door frames creating visible cracks.

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Another exterior sign is when a patio or porch separates from the home. If the chimney leans and the roofline is uneven, these are exterior signs. Eventually, expensive framing, plumbing, and roof problems will occur which begin with serious foundation issues. Poor soil compaction causes foundation cracks. Plumbing leaks and water under the foundation slab will lead to additional problems. Foundation problems occur with older homes and they can happen with poorly constructed newer homes. With new houses, foundation problems can occur within a five-year period. Hiring licensed reputable contractors to lay a solid foundation can help with avoiding future foundation and structural issues.

Some foundation problems are superficial and repairable. Other problems run deeper and are more severe. They require an in-depth foundation review and the help of foundation repair experts. Before hiring a foundation repair company, obtain several written estimates and check all references. Check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

Pest Control: Protect Your Family

Seasonal change impacts humans as well as pests. When the weather turns cold, pests seek a warm home. They will invade your home and pose a health risk to your family. Avoid sharing your cozy home with rodents and insects. Several methods of eliminating pests include using chemicals and organic or natural methods to eradicate them from your home. If you choose a DIY pest control method, take proper precautions to avoid exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. Try using organic or natural methods to safely remove pests from your home. The best method involves using a certified pest control service company to remove pesky pests.

Common pests that seek a warm place in the cold months include mice, rats, cockroaches, and spiders. Take steps to prevent pests from sharing your home during the fall and winter months. Choose a safe pest control method that will not harm humans and pets. Remember children and pets are inquisitive so remove harmful chemicals from their reach. Don’t leave chemical bait traps where children and family pets have access to them.

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Helpful steps to use to prevent pests from invading your home.

Remove standing and stagnant water from inside and outside of your home because it draws bugs. Keep the basement and garage dry. If necessary, use a dehumidifier. Pests, i.e., bugs, are attracted to moisture.

Repair leaky pipes and poor drainage systems. Fix gutters and downspouts and move water away from your home’s foundation. Clean out drains that are in the basement and outside the home.

Keep the home well ventilated and dry. In the winter, maintain a relative humidity level of 40 percent.

Remove paper, old rags, and unwanted items, i.e., clothing, materials, and clutter. Rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents like to chew on paper, material, wires, and even plastic. So remove clutter from attics and basements. This also removes fire hazards from your home.

Remove weeds, shrubbery, flowers, and trees. Keep them away from the foundation of your home.

Move firewood away from your foundation and keep it 25 feet away from your home. Move items away from the foundation and your home’s entrances.

Seal cracks inside and outside to keep bugs from entering your home. Seal around utility pipes where mice and bugs can enter your home through very small spaces. If you have brick on your home, seal damaged mortar to prevent bugs and mice from entering the home. It will keep out cold air as well.

Replace worn door seals and weather-stripping with new seals. Repair damaged window screens and replace screens on vents and chimney caps.

Regularly remove garbage from inside and outside the home. Keep garbage in tightly closed containers.

Store food in sealed containers. Bugs and rodents like to invade the pantry and cupboards.

Keep the counter top and appliances clean and remove traces of sugar and oil which attracts pests.

Watch your pet’s food dishes. Rodents and bugs will invade those, too.

Feeling Secure with Your Home Services

Between professional and social obligations, it is a lot more difficult to keep the house in the right order. It requires a lot of time, effort and can even consume a bit of monetary resources. Household chores are difficult to tackle if you are not good at it.

Fortunately, there are several professional home services that can be beneficial for homeowners today. It can get all the work done and keep your house in top-notch order. Nevertheless, here are some compelling reasons to hire those services if you are still not convinced:

1. Professional expertise

House cleaning is not as simple as we think. It requires a lot of expertise and experience to get the work done in a perfect manner. Lay men tend to have no professional expertise. On the other hand, professional services are capable of doing stuff in a manner we are not. Such services can help maintain standards. They can even keep the work efficient in terms of time.

2. Customized cleaning plans

This is not something that every person is capable of. Catering according to the varying needs to the customer is something the customers must be worried about. There are multiple cleaning packages within professional services that can help adjust with the different demands of the customers. Cleaning plans are customized according to personal preferences. You can just ask the professionals to create the right plan for you that will work according to the structure of your house.

3. The right equipment

This is another major benefit of choosing a professional cleaning service. Not everyone has the right equipment to clean their toilets in a hygienic and germ-free manner. However, this is not the case with professional services. They have all the relevant cleaners and supplies to get the work done in an unparalleled manner. They are trained to not leave traces of germs and other organisms. Your home will be shiny and clean as if it was new.

4. Peace of mind

Nothing can be more relaxing than entering in a house which is clean and tidy. We tend to keep out houses dirty and in a bad condition due to the hectic schedules. It is very difficult to accommodate time for cleaning within the everyday schedules. With professional cleaning services, the work done is performed in a high quality way. The standards are up to the mark which ensures peach of mind. You don’t need to worry about the cleanliness and tidiness of the house at all.

5. Save money and time

This is perhaps one of the most compelling benefits that have convinced many home owners to hire professional services. Such services can help to save considerable amount of time and money. The work you may have done by yourself may not be up to the mark and may be an additional input of your resources. This might have been wasted. It is rather recommended to hire professionals in the first place in order to save time and money in the long run.

Selecting a Fence: The Ultimate Security Barrier

A nice looking fence can improve your curb appeal rating. Depending upon the type of fence installed, the budget can run from low to medium to high priced. Choose a fence material that fits your budget as well as your property. Remember to think about the weather pattern that affects your area. Certain types of fence materials hold up better to harsh inclement weather better than others.

The most popular fence types are aluminum, wood, PVC, wrought iron, vinyl, chain link, electric, bamboo, and farm.  Aluminum is a basic, yet attractive, fence material. There is some maintenance involved to keep it sturdy and attractive. After a few years, it will need to be repainted and periodically checked for loose posts or hardware.  Across the USA, wood fences are the most popular type of fence installed. Compared to other types of fence material, wood is relatively budget friendly and durable material. It doesn’t break your pocketbook like other types of fences. However, the height and length of the fence will affect the overall price of the fence system.

PVC, Wrought Iron, Vinyl, Chain Link, and Electric are other types of widely sold fence materials. Bamboo fence material is gaining in popularity because it is environmentally-friendly, attractive, and known as a “green” choice fence material. Bamboo fence material, though somewhat expensive, includes three styles, i.e., live bamboo, bamboo cane, and rolled bamboo. Bamboo cane and rolled bamboo both use poles linked together and they are considered to be slightly sturdier than live bamboo. Live bamboo grows up to a foot per year; however, it is not recommended to use live bamboo style fence material in areas that receive cold weather. Farm fencing can be comprised of several types of fence material such as wood, electric, barbed wire, woven or high tensile. The budget amount for farm fences tends to run high due to the fact that there is a lot of property to cover which requires a large amount of sturdy fence material. Installing farm fences also requires a lot of experienced labor to install the fence system.

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With all of the fence material options available on the market, there is no need to forgo a nice fence design for security which is the main reason that people install fences. Everyone wants privacy, and that is the other primary reason that homeowners and business owners install fences on their property. Whatever your reason for installing a fence, if you are not a skilled DIY (do-it-yourself) enthusiast, go with a professional and hire a reputable fence contractor to properly install your new fence system.

Fences should last a long time and they can be a big financial investment and you want the best ROI, or Return on Investment, for your home or business property. Protect your investment by doing research about the best fence material to use and also for finding a reputable fence installation company. Avoid extra costs or fees that deplete your project budget. Your research should include investigating Homeowner Association (HOA) rules and check with the local building and zoning codes to ensure your fence meets the correct height specifications.