Landscaping Your Home The Right Way

When selling or improving your home, the interior of the house is the place which we spend most of the time worrying about.  Is the kitchen up to date with the appliances? Are the countertops in good condition?  Is the bathroom on the first floor well maintained?

If selling the home your priority this year, make sure the outside of the home is being taken care of, and the landscaping makes a good impression to the potential buyer.  Shrubs, gravel, unleveled driveways, branches hanging from trees, are some of the easy to spot maintenance jobs you need to do before putting your home for sale.

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


7 Landscaping Trends to Avoid When Selling Your Home

Aside from location, location, location, your home’s landscaping is one of the first things to make an impression on a potential buyer. And it’s not just curb appeal, although that is important.

Amenities like an outdoor fire pit or brick barbecue pit are not all created equal. The same goes for trees, shrubs, and outdoor lighting. If you don’t want to spend some real money on dressing up the outdoor space around the house, then don’t spend anything at all.

Jennifer Geddes at Realtor.com has created a list of seven landscaping trends to avoid as you get your home ready to sell. Her list follows.

Landscaping laid out with a ruler
Nice, neat lines used to be the trend for planting flower beds and bushes, but today’s outdoor look is much more natural.

The same cheap trees everyone has
Choose trees wisely, including eastern red cedar, sugar maple, Colorado blue spruce, and myrtle. Steer clear of the ones that rain leaves and needles (pecan, oak, sweet gum, eastern white pine), and your look will be neater and easier to maintain. And when it comes to placement in your yard, think strategically.


Certain landscaping materials prone to fast-spreading fire, officials say

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – What materials do you use in landscaping your yard? Myrtle Beach Fire Rescue released a new public service announcement warning homeowners and property management companies against using pine straw and similar products.

“When landscaping, use noncombustible material like rock instead of pine straw or mulch,” urges Lt. Jonathan Evans with MBFR. “If it can catch on fire, don’t let it touch your house.”

Fire officials warn that it’s not just landscaping material that can fuel fires near your home.

“Dry grass can be fuel for wildfires, so keep your grass and lawns hydrated and maintained,” suggests Lt. Evans.


Consider investing some green in your landscaping to increase your home’s worth

SIOUX CITY | If you want to turn your backyard into an oasis as seen on HGTV, be prepared to spend some money.

Mike Lutt, owner of Country Nursery Inc. in Wayne, Nebraska, said that makeover could cost anywhere from $1,000 to more than $200,000 depending on your wants, needs and square footage. The average cost of an outdoor patio is $12,000 to 15,000.

“People are going from wooden decks and synthetic Terex decking to a raised paver patio for the same cost,” said Lutt, who said multi-level raised paver patios allow homeowners to incorporate more elements and designs into their outdoor spaces. “It used to be just slapped up against the house. Now, they bring it out further.”

Lutt said there are benefits to using VERSA-LOK retaining walls, made of high-strength, low-absorption concrete, and Willow Creek Paving Stones, composed of high-strength aggregates. He said these materials don’t have to be stained or sealed as wood does, and they don’t fade.

Protecting Your Basement From Spring Rains

Spring weather is here and along with it comes the rain.  It is inevitable that as homeowners we want to ensure the basement of our home is dry and free of humidity, mold or mildew, and that is a safe place to spend time with our kids.  Knowing if you have a problem with your basement, is the first step in solving a problem that may go undetected for years.  The humidity in your basement may be an early indicator to problems with water leaking into the basement of your home.  Taking care of humidity issues right away, ensure your foundation won’t sustain damages that are more troublesome and can jeopardize the structure of your home.

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


Many people associate a wet basement with seeing water, but that’s not the only symptom of a potential problem, according to Wes Pfleiger, marketing manager at Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing.

In addition to water seepage, loose or crumbling mortar between stones and plaster, mold and mildew, musty odors and cracks or dark spots in basement walls and floors can all be signs of a basement with a water problem.

Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing is primed to educate consumers as a vendor at the Northeastern PA Home and Better Living Show April 8 and 9 at the Lodge at Montage, 1000 Montage Mountain Road in Scranton.

The event is presented by the Home Builders Association of Northeastern Pennsylvania and sponsored by Scranton Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, Window World and Bath Fitter/Kitchen Saver.

Pfleiger said trained professionals from the 52-year-old company will be on hand at the event to answer “any and all questions” about basement waterproofing. Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing will also offer free, no-obligation basement inspections for home show visitors.


Basement flooding season begins

(WTNH) — I have been lucky to never see basement flooding in my house, but whether you’ve lived in your house for 20, 30, or even 40 years, it does not mean it can’t happen to you. So how do you prevent it from happening in the future, and if it does, what can you do to make sure it doesn’t happen again? Well let’s find out.

Weeks of above average rainfall and lots of snow melt have helped us hugely to lower our drought numbers, but with a saturated ground and more rain on the way, your basement may flood over the coming weeks, so what can you do?

“It’s real imperative for residents throughout the state to be looking for signs of water seepage. Is it damp around cracks, and the floor wall seam. Is it damp to the touch? These are all indications that the soil around the outside of the house is over saturated and it could be poised to flood any time,” said Mike Lane, Sales, Connecticut Basement Systems.

There are some things you can do to help prevent this. Buy gutter extenders to keep water from dripping close to your foundation, and try to make sure that if you live on a hill, rain water gets routed away from your home. If all else fails, call a professional.


Preparing Your Home For Spring

Springtime can be a very enjoyable season if you have no issues with the basement.  Spring showers can play havoc with the humidity level and water seepage in your basement, and around the foundation of your home.  Water into the basement of your home can damage the structural integrity of your foundation, your belongings, and your living space.

Leaving humidity problems and foundation problems till later, can end up costing you more than expected.  If you do not know what type of basement problem you have, call Pioneer Basement Solutions for a hassle free consultation.


External versus interior waterproofing: Hire the right contractor

When you are looking to waterproof your basement, the experts at H&N Basement Worx in Hamilton want you to know there are different options to consider so that you don’t hire the wrong contractor for the job.

When a basement has leakage, there are two waterproofing solutions available to fix the problem: internal and external. If there is a drain tile or weeping tile system malfunction, you will likely need an internal waterproofing system. This involves the installation of a de-watering system to better manage water that passes under or through your foundation.

Exterior waterproofing will stop water from coming into contact with your foundation walls altogether. This is achieved by rerouting the water towards the weeping tile, which then moves the water away from the base of your foundation, keeping your basement dry.


Neglecting Your Home’s Crawl Space Could Cost You Big

When was the last time you checked out the crawl space under your house? It’s an area most homeowners avoid because no one relishes the ideas of crawling through cobwebs or encountering some creepy creatures in dark corners.

But leave the crawl space unchecked and you could find yourself facing a serious foundation issue. The crawl space is part of your home’s overall structural system and if it begins to experience problems, those issues will seep into other parts of your home. The result can be unpleasant and expensive.

How do you know if have a problem in your crawl space? Look for these signs:

  • Drywall cracks in the interior
  • Uneven, sagging or bouncing floors
  • Foul odors in the home
  • Heightened allergies or asthma symptoms

By their very nature, crawl spaces are prone to dampness. Add springtime rains and possible flooding, and it’s a recipe for a damp disaster. Many Charleston area homes also experienced some flooding or, at a minimum, heavy rainfall after both the historic flooding in October 2015 and Hurricane Matthew a year later in October 2016.


Preventing the problems of wet basement season

While most people welcome the arrival of spring, the experts at H&N Basement Worx in Hamilton know that along with springtime also comes wet basement season, which is a huge hassle for unsuspecting homeowners.

A wet basement occurs when water comes in through the foundation of your home, through cracks or foundational damage, or when something has gone wrong with your existing waterproofing system.

In the spring, weather becomes warmer and higher volumes of water can accumulate quickly due to melting snow, ground thaw and spring rainfall. If your home has cracks in the foundation or a basement that has not been properly waterproofed, the result is a wet basement.

Whatever the cause, the experts at H&N Basement Worx offers complete foundation repair services and will quickly diagnose and repair your problem with the latest, most efficient waterproofing and repair solutions.


 

The Dangers of A Flooded Basement

California has for many years been dealing with droughts that year after year seem to be expected.  This year’s flooding across the Northwest has come with many unexpected surprises.  Flooding across the Northwest has affected many families, businesses, and public places. Floods are natural disasters that affect many people and cost the lives of many others.  The financial repercussion of flooding in the United States cost about $3.5 billion a year, and causes 128 deaths, reaching a maximum of 554 lives lost in 1972.

Flooding across many homes is expected.  The dangers lurking in your basement are real and you should take all precautions before you start.  Death by electrocution is a very serious matter when you are dealing with a flooded basement. If you are not sure what steps to take before  entering a flooded basement, call an expert electrician to help you.

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

Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Hudson, Barberton, Norton, Green, Springfield, Lakemore, Tallmadge, Mogadore, Munroe Falls, Richfield, Peninsula, Fairlawn, Bath, Copley, Coventry, Silver Lake, Sagamore Hills, Boston Heights, Macedonia.


When Nature Attacks: Tree Roots, Earth, and Ground Water Damage

Ah, trees, Earth, and water. Our Pacific Northwest home wouldn’t be what it is without them. Green, fragrant, and oh so scenic, we all love our luscious tree friends. Of course, the earth is what we’re all here for. Mountains and hills, all rolling into scenic shores. Take one look at an aerial shot of Seattle, and you’ll see, the city’s geography is completely shaped by bodies of water. From Elliot Bay to Lake Washington to the Duwamish River, Seattle is a city defined, and complimented by its waterways. Not to mention all the rain. All of this foliage, land, and moisture, as lovely as it is, can wreak havoc on your home! Tree roots, Earth and ground water can cause serious and costly damage to your home and property. Get prepared, so you’re not caught off guard when nature attacks!

Tree Root Damage

As beautiful as they are, trees can cause some serious damage to pipes. Powerful and versatile, tree roots seek water and they will stop at next to nothing, pipes included, to get it.


Man electrocuted in flood-prone basement

A tradesman who was electrocuted on Brisbane’s southside on Monday morning is understood to have been working in a basement prone to flooding when he was killed.The man was working underneath a rented commercial kitchen at Annerley but had not been contracted by the catering company, Zen Catering.

The basement is accessed through a neighbouring property.

“It is understood a tradesman engaged by the property’s landlord was working in the basement, which is prone to flooding, when the incident occurred,” Zen Catering’s director Steve Morris said in a statement.

Police and Energex workers were at the Palmerston Street site earlier on Monday and Workplace Health and Safety officers will investigate.


Water run-off causes flooding in Spokane homes

SPOKANE, Wash. – If you live near a stream or river, flooding is probably something you’ve had to deal with before. But now, this winter is bringing unwelcome water to places you might not expect.

On the upper South Hill, something hidden beneath the soil is triggering urban flooding as well.

The homes and businesses around 57th and Regal sit on depressions in the ground called “Basalt Saucers.” When we have this much rain and snowmelt, the saucers fill up like this swale and end up in people’s basements because it can’t drain through the solid rock up here.

Out in the Spokane Valley, a different problem occurs where water can’t percolate through a bullet proof layer of ice. Up until now, only sunlight poured through Pam and Jeff Miller’s window wells in their basement. But on Thursday, it was something else.

“I came downstairs and as soon as I stepped on the carpet, water went up and over my shoe,” said Jeff Miller.
That’s when the Miller’s tasked their seven children with finding and stopping the leak.

“It was clear it was coming from the yard,” said Pam Miller, “because there was just a sheet of ice and the rain was coming down, hitting the ice, and then running off under the deck and into the window well downstairs.”


Cuyahoga Falls, Stow, Hudson, Barberton, Norton, Green, Springfield, Lakemore, Tallmadge, Mogadore, Munroe Falls, Richfield, Peninsula, Fairlawn, Bath, Copley, Coventry, Silver Lake, Sagamore Hills, Boston Heights, Macedonia.

Humidity In The Basement? Read This

Where is the humidity in your basement coming from:  There are a few reason as to the why, but the three main reasons are:

1. Ground water or rain water seeping into the basement

2. External air that enters the basement and condenses on cool surfaces

3. Leaks from pipes in your basement, bathrooms or leaky faucets that are constantly on.

How do you know you have too much humidity in your basement?

Having a humidifier in the basement of your home is a great solution to your humidity problems, but if you are collecting a gallon of water in the container of the humidifier every single day, then you may have other issues that are far more serious.  Sitting water around the foundation of you home and seeping to the basement of your home may be a reason why you have so much humidity in your basement.  Making sure water does not sit around the foundation of your home, could be the only solution you need. 

Providing a clear and an unobstructed path for the rain water to find a way far enough from the foundation of your home, is a solution that does not cost a lot of money and can solve a problem for your in the future.

What to do in case you need a waterproofing Company?

A Google search for a basement waterproofing company will give you about 896,000 results in about .82 seconds.  How do you  choose one?  I researched landscaping companies by doing a Google search once.  Their rating ( 5 stars, 4stars, etc…) were very good. When I tried to find them at the BBB online, some of them didn’t even exist even though they were rated as a 4 start company using other home improvement sites. They were either long gone, or their rating at the BBB was very bad.Be careful when choosing.  Not all home improvement sites have the same level of ratings for the companies that advertise there. Waterproofing companies, or landscaping companies that are listed on those sites should be checked thoroughly using the BBB, or asking those companies for testimonials that are not from family members or friends. And you should truly check those testimonials before committing to anything with a company. Don’t sign anything and do not advance huge quantities of money before the work begins.

Do you need to check a company using the BBB?

Then, here is a link for you to do so, but remember that is only the first step.  You need to talk to the people that will be doing the work at your home, and if you don’t feel “right” about them, choose another one with a good rating and begin the process again.

BBB – The Better Business Bureau Locator

BBB of Akron, Ohio  – It serves the counties of  Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties.


Buying A New Construction Home? Read This First

The U.S. Census Bureau along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development released the numbers for home construction for the year 2016.  According to the figures, there were 1,123,000 houses built in 2016 with a 2% rise over the previous year.

The slight mortgage rate decrease has given borrowers new hope.  Total mortgage rate applications have slightly increase-2.3%-over the last few months, but is a 23% decrease since last year overall. 

Regardless of what the interest rate is, many first time home buyers look to buy a new construction, or a fairly new home. The pitfalls start right away if as a first time home buyer you do not due your due diligence. From interest rates that the bank gives you that do not benefit you, to shoddy construction that will jeopardize your financial situation before you can move into your new home, the hazardous road to owning a home are many.

There are many construction companies that are honest, and try to do great work.  But, there are hundred others that because they are trying to make a profit at your expense, do not care about the construction of their homes.  Contractors pass the buck when something goes wrong with the home. The dry wall contractor blames the main contractor, and so on until owning a new home starts to feel like a nightmare.

When buyers of new construction homes are ready to move in, they find that the home was not what was promised. Drywall cracks, damp basements, roof problems, and squeaky floors are some of the most complained aspects of new home construction. 

Damp basements in a new construction really spells trouble for you.  The roof and basement are big ticket items to fix, so if your new home have issues with them, you have to talk to the builder right away, and have the matter settled.  Look to the warranties, and to the contract you signed.  If the builder is not responsive, seek legal advice.

If you are buying a new home and need to do some due diligence, this  is a nice article for you to start learning what to look for when buying a new construction.


Basement Waterproofing And Foundation Repair

The United States is a nation where homeowners spend a lot of money improving their homes.  According to Statista, in 2015 the average expenditure per household in home improvement was $2889.  Back in 2007, we spent approximately $3280 in home improvements per home,  and despite the worries about the economy, Americans will continue to do home improvement, and DIY projects in and around their homes.

While many projects done around the home are mainly aesthetic, there are others that are done to protect the structure of the home. 

Foundation repairs and stabilization, are projects that regardless whether you want to do them or not,  you have to hire someone that knows how to do it properly.  Basement waterproofing is also something to be left to the professionals.  There are many places on the internet that give advise on how to waterproof your basement without having the knowledge to do so.  Painting the walls of your basement is NOT waterproofing. If there are leaks in your basement, the painting job you do will not stop water from damaging the foundation, walls, floors, and even the ceiling of your basement.

An internet search for a waterproofing company will give you a result of 439,000 options. That includes basement waterproofing companies advertising, or other companies selling you lists of the best waterproofing companies according to them.

There are hundreds of basement waterproofing companies out there.  Some of them will give you an estimate that is so high, you will want to postpone doing anything with your basement, harming the structure in the process. Those companies will you a very complex explanation to what is a very simple solution.

According to Pioneer Basement Solutions  “ There are dozens of basement waterproofing companies that sell and install basement waterproofing systems.  They call their systems all different names which can be very confusing. The last thing many of these basement waterproofing companies want you to think is that what they do is simple or common, so they come up with patented names and fancy presentations.”

The reasons and solutions to fix your basement problems are very easy to understand and explain.  Pioneer Basement Solutions offers a no nonsense, no sales gimmick, FREE consultation to solve your basement issues. They have a long history in the Northeast Ohio region and the best recognition for any company out there.

They are the Better Business Bureau  Gold Star Award Winner 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2012, 2013, 2014, and Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014.

Contact us. We will be happy to offer a solution that makes sense to you and your wallet.


Is Your Sump Pump Working?

This winter in Northeast Ohio hasn’t been bad.  Temperatures are nothing compared to what they used to be a few years back, and snow accumulation has been minimal — my daughter is still waiting for enough snow to build our annual igloo — and unless February brings too much snow to make up for January’s, the climate in Northeast Ohio is not too shabby.

Spring will come sooner than you think.  The rains will undoubtedly come too, and with the rains come flooded basements in many homes around here.  We are humans, and busy humans to boot.  We don’t check many things around the home, unless we have an emergency or pay someone to do it for us.  For example: When was the last time you checked the sump pump to make sure it works? Do you know if you have one?  A sump pump can be an incredible help if you have a flooded basement, and making sure is in working condition can be very beneficial for your whole family.

If you have a sump pump and are wondering what to do, these are some of the basic things you need to check to make sure it’s working properly.

  1. The electrical system of the sump pump can suffer from damages over time.  Power surges during storms can damage it and leave you with a sump pump that no longer works.
  2. If you are testing the sump pump, make sure you go outside to make sure that is discharging the water.
  3. Replace the battery every couple years.
  4. Make sure the motor of your sump pump is not making strange noises when running it.  If it is, follow the manufactures’s instruction to fix the problem, or call a knowledgeable company to fix it for you.
  5. Make sure the drain lines are clean, and will not block the water exits.
  6. Maintenance is key for your sump pump.  The manufacture’s instruction booklet can give you clear instructions on how to properly maintaining your sump pump, and keep it working for years.

If you have already one installed, checking it before the rains arrive can be a very helpful aid when you most need it. Look into the manufacture’s booklet to know what steps to take before you test it, or call a knowledgeable person or company to do it for you.

Looking at any Home Depot, or Lowes store, you will find that there are hundreds of sump pumps to choose from.  Make sure that if you are going to replace the one you have, you need to make sure it is the right one for your home.  A too little or too big sump pump for your home cannot be good and even shorten its life. Talk to a professional if you are unsure what to buy.


Are You Ready For Anyhting?

Vey few people believe a catastrophe will happen to them.Very few of us protect ourselves for such catastrophes. But when something bad happens, we realize how badly prepare we were.  Before you go out and buy something nice you did not need, or click the mouse and ordered something to clutter your home, ask yourself if you are ready for an eventuality. And if the answer is no, then prepare yourself by reading the articles below.


Cramer’s 3 things you must have in place before you invest

Owning stocks can provide serious earning potential, but Jim Cramer considers it just one piece of the investment puzzle.

“There are some people, call them the 1 percent if you will, who can make enough money from their ordinary day-to-day income to become truly rich. But for the vast majority of Americans, that paycheck is simply not enough,” the “Mad Money” host said.

The key to capital preservation is knowing the importance of saving money and preventing loss. Without this, don’t even think about investing in stocks, he said.

“You can make a fortune in the market, but if you’re hemorrhaging money everywhere else, than a healthy portfolio isn’t going to do you much good,” Cramer said.

The three keys to success in capital preservation are paying off credit-card debt, having health insurance and getting disability insurance. Without these things crossed off the list, investing just doesn’t make sense.


How much homeowners insurance do I need?

You need enough insurance to cover the following:

  1. The structure of your home.
  2. Your personal possessions.
  3. The cost of additional living expenses if your home is damaged and you have to live elsewhere during repairs.
  4. Your liability to others.

The structure

You need enough insurance to cover the cost of rebuilding your home at current construction costs. Don’t include the cost of the land. And don’t base your rebuilding costs on the price you paid for your home. The cost of rebuilding could be more or less than the price you paid or could sell it for today.

Some banks require you to buy homeowners insurance to cover the amount of your mortgage. If the limit of your insurance policy is based on your mortgage, make sure it’s enough to cover the cost of rebuilding. (If your mortgage is paid off, don’t cancel your homeowners policy. Homeowners insurance protects your investment in your home.)


7 ways to protect your financial health with an annual insurance checkup

Natural disasters and other catastrophic events are not fun to talk about. But ignoring the need to insure against catastrophe doesn’t decrease the chance of them happening to you. When (let’s say if) they actually happen to you, it is much more devastating if you don’t have the right insurance coverage.

Homeowners insurance is essential. It is designed to protect your home and possessions. It also shields you from liability for accidents and such. You may think you have already had the discussion with your agent and have no need to examine the risks and coverage each year. If you think this way, carefully consider the many reasons why you need to think again.
1. Your Risks Have Changed: You may be paying for insurance you no longer need. On the other hand, you may need more coverage based on your current life. For example, do you have coverage for the current value of your home. Most homes in our area have gone up in value in recent years. If something happens, insurance based on what you paid will fall short of what you need.


 

Living Responsibly This Year

As of the first quarter of 2016, and according to an article published by Time magazine about retirement, 1 in 3 Americans have saved $0 dollars for retirement.  The difficulties of saving for retirement has plagued the nation by increasing health and car insurance premiums, mortgage payments, college increases and everything else in between. Back in 2013, more than 3 quarters of Americans were living paycheck to paycheck. In 2016, more than half of Americans have less than $1,000 dollars to their names according to a Forbes magazine article, and many people will have difficulty paying for a $400 dollar emergency.

There are many polls and articles about the reason Trump got elected the next president of the United States, and the reason may seem reasonable for those who voted for him; They believe he will make their lives better.

But many economists, analyst,and people that Do know economics believe the top 1% will be the only people that benefit from a Trump presidency.  If you are in the 1%, congratulations! But if you checked the links above and checked the Times’ article, and you are one of those Americans that are living from paycheck to paycheck, then you will have to wait and see if a Trump presidency is beneficial to you.

We, as individuals have to take care of our finances first, before we can take care of many other issues concerning our lives.  Regardless who is the president at the moment, our personal finances are our responsibility and have to take care of them responsibly.

There are many safety precautions we take with our children to live a safe and prosperous life, and here are the 3  insurances we must have to live a responsible life, and to protect our children in case of an accident.

  1. Homeowners Insurance —For many people, their home is their greatest asset.  If they have equity, if their home has gone up in value, or they have done a good job remodeling, chances are the home is their greatest asset.
  2. Disability and Life Insurance— Health insurance is and has been mandatory since 2014.  You must carry a minimum level of health insurance coverage or risk paying a tax penalty fee otherwise. Life insurance isa protection for your family in case something should happen to the main provider.
  3. Car Insurance —In many states in no longer possible to register your car without proof of insurance.  Having enough insurance to protect yourself and any passengers traveling with you at any time is the prudent thing to do.

Living responsibly means taking care of those frustrating issues that we would rather not.  Insurance to protect our assets and the health and well being of our family falls into that category of frustrating issues. Live well and responsibly. Take care of your family issues.