As a homeowner the upkeep of your home is never quite done, and every spring and fall there are a million things for the homeowner to do. But, if you try to avoid doing the basic maintenance in your home, things can really take a turn for the worst really quickly. Cleaning the gutters, changing the oil in your gardening equipment, checking your basement and foundation of your home for signs of damage, are some of the basic maintenance tasks you should do every single year.
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What do you look at as far as foundation problems?
I check the exterior foundation for cracks, evidence of patching, irregularities in the mortar joints. On the interior, again I look for cracks and the evidence of patching. Any crack should be evaluated on the basis of both extent and cause. Most hard construction surfaces will crack. Often, this can be because of thermal or moisture changes and not because the foundation is moving. I discussed cracks with a foundation specialist, and he recommends that if the cracks are over ¼ inch and especially if it is a newer construction, it should be evaluated by a foundation specialist.
What are the most common foundations in our area?
The most common foundations are: stone, poured concrete and concrete block. Every once in a while, I will run across a wood foundation. When I inspect houses with the stone foundations, some buyers have some concern, but really the old stone foundations are a great foundation. You need to keep the stone foundations maintained by sealing the loose rock, repair loose sand and mortar. If you have questions about the stone foundation repairs, call a foundation specialist. With the wood foundation, it is especially important to have the inside checked for moisture penetration, which could indicate moisture penetration in the wood and could cause rot.
This spring has been different from most I remember. There has been heavy spring snowfall in the East, rain in the Midwest and drought relief and flooding in the West. If the weather is uncooperative, it’s hard to plan for spring cleanup and repairs.
When it comes to preparing your tools and home for spring, regardless of the weather, it’s time to change the oil and filter in your gas-powered lawn mower, tiller, power washer, etc. Remove the leftover gasoline in your hand-held, gas-powered lawn trimmer, blower, vacuum, etc. and add a fresh supply of gasoline to all your equipment. Change air filters for your riding mower’s engine and replace older or worn belts.
Check stored garden hoses for cracks or leaks and repair or replace as needed. The hose can rot when improperly stored or can suffer freeze damage if the hose was not fully drained and then stored in an unheated area.
If you don’t review spending habits regularly, your finances can get messy.
It’s around this time of year when we realize that winter has caused us to collect some clutter around the house, and that the windows and carpets could use a good cleaning. These things jump out at us, since it’s easy to see a stain on the rug or magazines piled up in a basket.
What we sometimes don’t see though is other clutter that we’ve built up – specifically, how we manage our money. These messes can start out small enough, but over time and without much oversight can become much more unruly and costly.
That’s why, just like periodic cleaning, it’s important to check in with your budget and investments from time to time, and if necessary get help from a financial professional. To get started on cleaning up your finances this spring, here are a few areas where you can begin the tidying process.