Basement and Foundation Problems and What to Do About Them

This spring in Northeast Ohio and in some parts of the country has been a very rainy one. The flooding that accompanies these spring showers is something that as homeowners we do not want to think about too much. If the basement of your home have issues, the rain that may seep into the basement of your home is probably something that you are expecting, and a problem you might want to tackle right away.  Leaving issues like water in the basement are serious enough for you to act right away, instead of postponing them and having larger issues and bills later on.

For more about this and other topics, follow the links below.


Can You Identify These Common House Foundation Issues?

How many times have you heard someone dismiss foundation cracks as simply an old house that’s “settling”? Ignoring foundation problems such as cracks and uneven floors can lead to serious – and expensive – problems down the road.

Homes are built on dirt and, over time, that dirt will shift and settle. Clay, for example, will contract and expand depending on the moisture. Sand will erode after significant rainfall or flooding. Plus, the average home weighs 160 tons so that’s a lot of pressure on the dirt underneath your home, explains Michael Connolly, marketing manager for Lowcountry Basement Systems, which recently moved into the Charleston market.

“Problems don’t get better, they only get worse, and the worse they get the more expensive they will be to fix,” Connolly says.

Foundation issues can keep doors and windows from opening properly. Moisture can get into the house and create mold problems. Not properly repairing these issues can also make it difficult to sell your home down the road, he adds.


Keeping mold away as flooding continues

Greece, N.Y. – As water continues to flood homes along Lake Ontario, homeowners are trying to keep their homes as dry as possible.

Mold remediation is a real possibility, but it has to wait until the water stops coming in.

Christopher Kehoe lives along Edgemere Drive in Greece.

His backyard is surrounded by sandbags, and he has extended his sump pumps since water started moving in.

“This is the outlet of the sump pump. We extended out to the lake to get it as far away from the house as possible,” said Kehoe.


Town coffers crumble along with a region’s home foundations

As the foundation beneath their home crumbles, Christina Mailhos and her husband are trying to figure out how to come up with $200,000 or more for the massive fix while college tuition bills loom for two teenagers.

But that is hardly the extent of her worries. As the top official in this small town, where hundreds of homes may have the same problem, she fears for her constituents’ financial futures and the local economy.

“If a tornado had hit, everyone would come and try to help, and they would bring you a casserole,” she said. “In this case, nobody realizes, and a lot of people are fearful to come forward and talk about it.”

A growing number of home foundations in central and northeastern Connecticut are failing because of the presence of pyrrhotite, a mineral that naturally reacts with oxygen and water. Over decades, that reaction can cause the concrete to crack and crumble, making some homes unsellable and unlivable.

The problem, which first came to light in the mid-1990s, has been traced to a Willington quarry that provided material to a concrete maker whose product was used in thousands of houses. The Connecticut attorney general has not pursued legal action against the company, saying it can’t prove violations of consumer protection laws.


 

Home Renovation Projects and Insurance Coverage

Home renovation projects are a sure way to improve your living space, spruce up the home and increase the value of your home.  Adding a room or a whole section to your home, requires capital and great companies to make the process less difficult. Obtaining permits, contractors, and financing takes a lot of the joy out of a home renovation project, but most often than not the whole process can give you a sense of accomplishment, and the extra room you were needing.

If you already have most of the contractors ready to go, the financing approved, and the permits are in your possession, now is the time to call your insurance agent, and talk about the new home insurance policy you are going to need. As the renovation goes, you need to keep the insurance agent informed of the progress.  Accidents do happen and you need to be able to be financially covered if anything disastrous should occur.

Did you make sure the contractor or companies you hired have their own insurance coverage?

Accidents within your property may be catastrophic if you do not protect yourself.  Before you allowed a contractor to start the work, make sure he has insurance coverage/liability insurance and workers compensation up to date before he starts.  If they do not have the proper paperwork and an employee gets hurt, you can be sued for damages.

Receipts, contracts and any other pertinent information regarding the renovation should be kept within easy reach till the project is done, the insurance agent notified of all the changes, appraisals done and checked, and the construction is done to your specifications.  Any receipt related to the construction should be kept filed and safe should any problem emerge.

Almost anyone that starts a renovation project have an idea of what they want. They want the extra space,  a better kitchen, a bigger bathroom, or a new looking master bedroom. Regardless of what you want to do to your home, having an idea of what renovation projects will give you the most ROI can be financially advantageous for you.  If you are selling your home, and want to get the most for your investment, there are many home renovation companies that clearly state the best home renovations projects for you if you are selling or only improving your home.

As always, inform yourself before starting hiring and signing documents for a project done in your home. If you need more information about Insurance coverage or any other insurance issues, go to the Insurance Information Institute to learn more. 


Is Your Basement Prepared for Spring?

Spring weather has arrived sooner than we were expecting.  Temperatures in northeast Ohio are some of the warmest in more than a hundred years according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration NOAA, it also predicts cooler and wetter temperatures for the northeastern part of the United States.  If we are taking South Carolina’s weather as an example as what’s to come in northeast Ohio, we are going to need a lot of umbrellas for this spring season.

Keeping the water away from the foundation of your home and basement can be a very inexpensive fix. Checking the perimeter of your home is a good idea. It can give you a clear view of where water is sitting, and not draining away from the foundation.  If you have an old sump pump, check to see if it’s in working condition. You may need it when you least expect it, only to find out that is not longer serviceable.

For more about this and other stories, follow the links below.


Solving basement problems

 Basements and crawl spaces are often a home’s “dirty little secret,” problems put off until homeowners grow weary of leaks, flooding, cracks, buckles, undesirable smells and vapors emanating from below, or want to get the best price when they sell. Often I’ve conjured making my basement a “Halloween horror maze,” but usually more sobrietous moments prevail.
Years ago, after sweeping too much water after downpours toward my basement drain, I conferred with colleague Larry Gilliland, a tree-stump removal contractor, whose son Brad had launched Brad Gilliland Excavating & Basement Waterproofing. I invited father and son to my dungeon and never will forget Brad’s innocent remark that I apparently used my basement “for storage.” “Junk pile” might have been more apropos.
“When a home is put up for sale, I strongly recommend any basement problems be fixed before it’s listed,” notes Bloomington Realtor Henry Nethery. “Otherwise, the sale might be jeopardized, or the homeowner wind up paying more for repairs.

Governor Henry McMaster has declared March 5-11 “South Carolina Severe Weather and Flood Safety Week.”It is all to remind residents to be prepared for potential sever weather across the state, specifically focusing on tornadoes and flooding.
There will be a state-wide tornado drill March 9, to include all public schools and a few other entities.South Carolina Emergency Management is also teaming up with the National Weather Service to release a number of reminders for before, during, and after these severe weather events, listed below.
Prepare for any Emergency·

Develop an Emergency Action Plan for your home, place of business or other that includes what you would do in case of major emergency or disaster.· Develop a communication plan that enables you to reach out to family members when normal lines of communication are not functioning.· Have an emergency kit for your home, place of work and vehicle. Remember, “The First 72 are on You.


With spring right around the corner, the timing seemed to be perfect when I heard from the folks at U.S. Waterproofing, a basement waterproofing service company.“We get the most calls in the spring, when people sell their home or from people who just bought one,” said Matt Stock, president of U.S. Waterproofing.
“It’s those calls from buyers — who have a surprise, undisclosed and expensive basement leak — that break our hearts. We know they weren’t prepared for that kind of expense upon moving into their new home.”

A third-generation family member in the basement waterproofing business, Stock said he began assisting his family in all-things-basements when he was 12.In 2012, Stock launched the U.S. Waterproofing Learning Center, to educate homeowners, real estate agents, home inspectors and others concerned with home improvement, waterproofing, and repair. Below, he dishes out some good, sound advice.


 

Declutter Your Home by Starting Small

We, at some point or another have a messy home.  It is inevitable.  With the busy lives we lead, cleaning our homes are relegated to the weekend, and only if we have no children that have sports meets during those two days. We are busy, there’s no doubt about it.  But, a messy home is very different from being a hoarder.  Clutter is somewhat expected, but hoarding to the point of having no space in your home to live in, is something different.

We tend to do many home improvements in our home that are purely aesthetic, and that’s good.  But, decluttering a home can be, for sure, the beginning of having a beautiful home without spending money.  Getting rid of stuff is good.  Start small.  A closet, or even a closet shelf is all you need to do  to begin the process of decluttering your home.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


How to Declutter Your Home: Clutter Busting Tips & Tricks!

When your home is cluttered, it doesn’t just feel like your living space is unorganized and messy. It also feels like your life is unorganized and messy. In this “How to Declutter Your Home” guide, we take a look at several decluttering methods to help you find one that’s manageable for you!

Why Is Your Home Cluttered?

This is an important place to start when thinking about decluttering your home. Whether your struggle is that you don’t have an effective organization system, your number of possessions has grown but your living space hasn’t, or a combination of reasons, identifying why you have clutter will help you determine the tips, tricks, and methods that will most effectively help you get started toward a cleaner, more organized home.

You Don’t Have Enough Space

Maybe your home doesn’t have the amount of space necessary to hold all of your things. Or maybe you don’t know how to effectively utilize the space you have. Either way, you need a space-saving solution and/or storage solution.


As Jenny Lee decides 2017 is the year to tackle the clutter in her home, she seeks advice from County Down declutterer Gwen Montgomery.

I AM a hoarder. I’ve always tried to deny it, but now that I’ve admitted it I am determined 2017 is the year I’m going to tackle it and declutter my home.

My home really doesn’t look too cluttered – every now and again I do clear out – the problem is I take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude, and rather than bring stuff to a charity shop or skip, it all just goes into storage upstairs in the attic.

Our house has the potential to be expanded upwards but my dream of our attic being converted into a much-needed office space and playroom is being hampered by it being crammed with clutter – my clutter.


Thinking about decluttering? Start small to build your confidence

Professional organizer Cris Sgrott-Wheedleton joined Post staff writer Jura Koncius last week on our home front online chat. Here is an edited excerpt.

What is the best room of the house to start with when trying to declutter?

I always recommend starting with a smaller area (coat closet, pantry or linen closet). It will make you feel like you’ve accomplished something and will also help you build confidence! Most people get discouraged because they start with larger projects and tend to lose steam after having to make decisions when encountering all of the stuff. By starting small, you avoid the decision fatigue, and it sets you up to feel good about your project and organizing in general.