When To Hire A Professional For Your Home Projects

According to a Consumer Report’s article, “Americans will spend about $200 billion dollars this year fixing up their homes—nearly a fifth in the form of DIY projects.”  Many homeowners are handy, but a great deal of them only believe they are handy.  There are many home projects that it’s better to have a professional do them.  There is a huge difference between wanting to do the project and actually making it look good or professionally made.  Not everything in your home needs to be done by you, the homeowner, especially if you are thinking about selling the home.

Top 3 home projects that pay to have a professional do them:

  1. Roof – This is a big project that needs many hands and experience to accomplish. And depending on the shape of your home, it can be dangerous for you to do without help, or without the necessary protection.
  2. Basement Waterproofing and Foundation repair – These are projects where a professional it’s not only recommended but need it.
  3. Kitchen and Bathroom remodeling –  The experience and quality of hiring a contractor or company to do these projects for you cannot be emphasized enough.

When deciding to hire a contractor for your basement waterproofing and foundation repair problems, roofing or kitchen remodeling, what are some of the qualifications you have to consider before making a decision?

  1. Experience – An experienced basement waterproofing contractor or foundation repair company has seen many of the problems affecting wet basements and faulty or damaged foundations.  If they have not seen the problem affecting your basement, the experience and knowledge they possess will help them find and fix your problem.
  2. Reputation – A new company has not had the longevity to have an old list of satisfied customers, but if they have been in business for any number of years, they have a history and it is your responsibility to find out whether it’s a good or a bad one.
  3. Insured Contractor – Having workers on your property without insurance is asking for trouble.  If a contractor is not insured, have no permits, or is just “winging it”, he or they should not even be on your radar as prospective companies to hire.
  4. Price – Having at least three different quotes from contractors is a good place to start if you want to compare prices.  Do not sign a contract with the first prospect.  Wait for at least two more prices to compare and then make an informed decision.

There are many home projects you can do without the help of professionals, but the major home projects you might want to do may require the help of experienced professionals in your area.

Tips For Homeowners and Potential Home Buyers

For many families in the United States, paying the mortgage on their home is already a tremendous effort. Research has shown that more than half of Americans bought too much house, to begin with, but also the interest rates, taxes, and the house upkeep was not taken into consideration by many of these first-time buyers when applying for a mortgage loan.  Now, when the payments and property taxes are becoming too much, many homeowners realized they bought a house they cannot afford.

If you are buying your first home this year, these are 3 the things to consider:

  1. Don’t buy too much house – The purchase price is not the only thing to consider when you are buying a home.  Consider the bank rate, closing costs, property taxes, homeowner association fees, and the upkeep of the home.
  2. Consider your other debts – If you have student loans or credit card debt, these debts can put a considerable dent in the income you bring home.  Don’t forget to take into consideration the payment you will be made to pay these loans.
  3. Do you have children? – If you have no children but are considering having them, taking into account the expense children bring into the home can be very helpful in deciding whether you can afford the home you are considering buying or not.

If you are a homeowner now and want to make sure things are in order, these are some of the things many homeowners fail to do.

  1. Draft a will – According to research, 60% of Americans do not have a will.  A will is not only for the people that are sick or old, a will is a document that protects your children and their well being.  In case of a tragedy happening in your home, you want to make sure your children and your assets are protected.
  2. Health Care Power of Attorney – This important document is a document protecting your well being while you are alive.
  3. Homeowners Insurance – After buying a home why not protect it? Homeowner’s insurance is a necessity that you should never be without.  A home is one of the most expensive assets a family will ever own, why not protect your investment?

Now that you have owned your home for several years, have you kept up with the home maintenance? Are you thinking about selling?  According to many experts, to add value to your home or even if you  are ready to sell the home, you need to consider this:

  1. Declutter and clean your home – A home loses its beauty if it’s overflowing with junk.  Painting the walls if the rooms need it, or throwing away items that are no longer used nor wanted can clear a home pretty quickly.
  2. Staging your home- There are businesses that their entire income comes from the clever notion of staging the home to have it ready to sell for you.  You do not need to do this if it will cut into your profit, but having a home staged it’s a clever notion that you can do by yourself.
  3. Curb Appeal- If the front of your home is not clean, the bushes are overgrown, the flower beds are full of dead flowers, chances are your home won’t be appealing to many home buyers and the price they may offer won’t be what you are expecting.

These are some of the advice you need to consider if you have children, are a homeowner, or thinking about buying a home.  Due diligence pays and it can save you lots of headaches later on. Enjoy your home!


New Year’s Resolution: Home Improvements!

One the many New Year’s resolutions many Americans make every year is the decision to do a home project or two around their homes.  It is a good incentive and it seems more practical than other resolutions we make. 

If you have decided to do a home project and need the help of a professional, hiring a contractor may the next step for you to follow through.  If that is the case and you are ready to move forward remember this:

The state of Ohio requires licenses and permits for many sellers and other contractors in the state.

If you are ready to hire a contractor to do some work in your home, a license and permit are required if you want the work, and your home protected.

These are several businesses that require a license  and permit to do business in the state of Ohio:

  1.    Electric Contractors/Installers
  2.    Plumbers
  3.    HVAC Contractors
  4.    Real Estate Agents & Appraisers
  5.    Boiler Operators

These permits and licenses are required to perform the work and they ensure that the consumer is protected from predatory and shady contractors.  These contractors have to undergo a series of testing, criminal background checks, fingerprinting and even some financial bonding requirements.  Hiring a contractor should not be a deterrent to postpone a serious problem you have in your home. There are many contractors in the state of Ohio that have excellent customer satisfaction records and a long history in their communities.

Some of the serious problems that you may encounter when doing home projects can include:

  1. Foundation problems
  2. Basement waterproofing issues
  3. Roof issues
  4. Electrical problems
  5. Sewer problems

These issues can become a major financial problem if you ignore them, and for the majority of us, they require the help of a professional.  From a small issue that can be easily repaired, these home issues can become big problems pretty quickly.

Other home issues that people don’t tend to take seriously are the gutters and the drainage system in their home.  If you want the rain and snowmelt to drain away from the foundation of your home, you need to have gutters and the drainage pipes to take the water at least ten feet from the foundation, otherwise you will have water sitting around the foundation of your home that will eventually find its way to the walls and basement of your home.

If you are ready, and before hiring a contractor, check your local BBB website to find the rating of some of these businesses.  Check customer satisfaction reviews and complaints about the business, and call at least three different contractors before you make a decision.

Have a spectacular and a great home improvement year!

Safety Advice For This Holiday Season

During this holiday season, it is expected that family members will visit and some of them will stay overnight or perhaps spend some days with the family.  Rooms are needed and the habitable space available becomes a bit too crowded. Many family home projects are done during this season to freshen up your home or to provide room needed for those out of town families.  If you are thinking along those lines, and you need extra space to shelter the relatives, waterproofing your basement before starting a basement remodeling project is one of the projects that will increase the value of your home while providing a cleaner, better living place for you.

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

Don’t Let Clogged Drains Ruin Your Winter

In the especially brutal winters that Toronto is sometimes host to, it is especially crucial that homeowners keep the drains clean, clear, and well maintained by a professional drain cleaning service. When pipes are clogged in freezing weather, not only does the water freeze within the pipes, so does whatever is causing the clog, which can be an especially annoying and costly mess during the winter months. Contrary to what many people may believe, even minor clogged drains can cause serious problems to the plumbing system, which is why it is very important that homeowners enlist the help of a professional plumber before the problem worsens, so the problem be fixed as quickly as possible.

Along with the obvious mechanical problems that can arise when plumbing issues are not taken care of promptly, there is the problem of gray water, a nuisance not often though about. Gray water is filled with harmful bacteria, which pose a great health hazard if the water backs up and drains out onto the floor or into the sinks. If you’re like most households and plan to host a few people for dinner of a gathering over the winter, it’s imperative you keep the number of emergency drain cleaning services handy, just in case something goes horribly awry.

Guidelines for a warm, safe home during the holidays


As the holiday season fast approaches, cooler weather can create potential hazards in your home.

While warm days are still a possibility, as the end of the year comes up, the weather will soon shift to cooler temperatures

The Amarillo Fire Department has released a list of actions one can do to keep your home warm and safe.

Following these actions can prevent accidents in your home or on your property:

  • Always keep a safety zone around heating equipment
  • Keep children and pets supervised
  • Never leave any form of cooking unattended
  • Secure all vacant or outbuildings on property
  • Be sure to check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Space heaters and other warming devices are an effective way to heat your home while saving money. However, those devices can also create an extreme fire hazard.

What To Ask A Contractor

Are you planning a home project that requires you to hire a contractor?  Do you know what to ask before you begin?

Five questions you must ask a contractor:

  1. How long have you been doing this kind of work?
  2. Are you Insured?
  3. Will you provide a written estimate and warranty?
  4. Are you a licensed and registered contractor with the state?
  5.  Can you provide references I can contact?

Many honest, long time contractors won’t hesitate when you ask them these questions.  They probably expect them and would be more than happy to answer them.  A long history in the community doing the job you are hiring them to do speaks volumes and build trust between the parties.  If the company you are trying to hire has a long history in your community doing great work, the references request you are supposed to ask won’t be a problem for them.

Now, if you call the references they provided, what are some of the questions you may ask?

  1. Are you satisfied with the work they did?
  2. How long ago was the job completed? Is the job holding up?
  3. Was the price agreed upon the final price, or were there other expenses not specified in the contract?
  4.  Were they clean and orderly? Did they arrive on time?
  5. Would you work again with this contractor or company?

The secret to finding a great home contractor

Right now, renovating a home is much, much easier than it was during the real estate bubble. So how do you pick a contractor?

I recall back during the bubble how often I’d get calls from homeowners complaining they couldn’t get a call back from contractors. The frenzy around housing values going up and up and up drummed up plenty of business for contractors at that time.

During the bubble, I even heard of contractors who were so successful that they wouldn’t even give price quotes. The price would just be whatever it would be and you’d have to be in a position to pay it when the bill came due.






Home Improvements For The Fall

There are many home issues to keep mind when buying or remodeling  a home.  The biggest home tickets are the roof, a foundation stabilization problem, basement waterproofing and the installation of an Air condition and heating system.

A roof in need of repairs can be visible from the outside.  Loose shingles or other issues like water getting into some parts of your home are visible to you and do not need a home inspector to tell you that.  A new roof is an expensive project for the homeowner, but one that cannot be postponed.

For the foundation of your home, there are two types of foundation problems: cracks that are visible to you and can become a bigger issue if ignored.  And the  displacement from unstable soil, faulty construction, old concrete , tree roots that are too close to the foundation, or the foundation has been exposed to too much water through out the years and has deteriorated over time.  Some of the early signs that you have a problem with the stability of your home are: Uneven flooring, cracked tiles or windows, and windows and doors not closing properly.

Like the roof, a foundation repair can be costly.  And if you had problems with the foundation and ignored the issues, the problems likely got worse, and so will the price.  The roof and the foundation are issues that if ignored can be costly later on.  The damage will be more and the work and material needed to solve those issues are going to cost you more.

The air conditioning and heating system is an expensive addition  to any home, but the financing is almost always available through the same companies that offer you the system.  Nowadays, the refinancing for a heating and cooling systems is about three years.  After that, you only need to maintain the upkeep of the system. With a new system, it is only a yearly checkup for the AC and the furnace in the home .

You can follow the link below to read more about home repairs.

Home Improvement May Be More Affordable Than You Expect: 3 True Stories

Would you love to upgrade or repair your home? Is there a home improvement project you’ve had simmering on the back burner for ages … but never got around to because you assumed you couldn’t afford it? Well, think again. Home repair and upgrade may be more affordable than you thought. You just need to be a little flexible, do your homework, and find a contractor who’s right for you. Read 3 true stories of homeowners who discovered that high-quality home improvement didn’t have to bust their budget.


When we bought our home a year ago, we really wanted to rip out the ugly old deck (which was splintered, with loose boards and peeling paint) and do brick pavers instead. However, we couldn’t afford everything on our “to-do” home repair list all at once.


Home Care Tips and Solutions

The home improvement industry is expected to surpass the $300 billion mark by 2017 according to research done by Harvard University.  The many projects done by homeowners and the expenditures they are willing to spend   doing those projects increases every year.  A leaky roof is a necessity for some of these homeowners, but the projects more likely to be done are kitchen and bathroom renovations that they have wanted to do for many years. Are you thinking about doing a home project on your own?  Read the advice some experts give us by following the links below.

13 Ridiculous Home Improvement Fails That Will Make You Cringe

Everyone loves saving money, but not all DIY projects are a savings in the end, as these homeowners found out the hard way.

Renovations are stressful, especially when you have to re-do DIY projects because of mistakes. In the rooftop vent photo, the owner had expanded and remodeled their kitchen, removing an old wood stove Their mistake, according to explains Brian Fish, owner of WIN Home Inspection Mount Vernon, who had to fix the mess: “They opted to run the new exhaust for the range up through the existing vent cap from the wood stove and then attach it to the box vent and screw it to the old stove vent cap. Needless to say the new range vent was not secure or properly installed and so it was prone to leaks.” These are the secrets contractors wish all first-time homeowners knew.

Rightway Waterproofing Helps Homeowners Prepare for Change in Seasons

Philadelphia, PA — (SBWIRE) — 08/15/2017 — Rightway Waterproofing Co., the leading mold removal company in New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, wants everyone to make sure their house, specifically the basement and cellar, are ready for the change in seasons that is quickly approaching.

“Although it is still August, heavy rain during August and September and snow right around the corner can still cause water damage to the lower areas of the house that you may not think is possible until winter hits,” said Al Grabov of Rightway Waterproofing Co. “Flood damage can happen anytime with no warning whatsoever. The common thought that winter is the only time for flooding can be very problematic to homeowners.”

For over 25 years, Grabov and his crew of professional technicians have been the leading mold contractors in the area. They specialize in eliminating unwanted moisture, black mold, mildew and fungus. Rightway Waterproofing Co. goes above and beyond to eliminate any water damage, as well as prevent any further water damage from occurring.

Top tips to protect your home against termites

MOST people are unaware that termites cause more damage to structures compared to all calamities combined. The Philippines is a country where termite infestation is common everywhere. Termites are those nasty critters that feed on cellulose materials such as paper and wood.

“I-Solignum mo”

For many of us, wood preservative means Solignum. Solignum is recognized as a superbrand and has been in the Philippine market for over 50 years. It has been proven in protecting against termites, wood borers and fungi. Solignum has become a household name; thus we hear people say, “I-Solignum mo” when faced with a termite problem.

To complement Solignum, it is likewise important to apply a soil termiticide such as Soilguard. Termites come from the soil, and so it is a must to create a “barrier” to prevent termites from entering your home. Termites that come in contact with soil treated with Soilguard are killed through contact, ingestion or inhalation of the active ingredient; thereby providing protection from the entry of termites.


Do You Want A Dry Basement? Tips and Information To Keep Your Basement Dry

During the raining season, it is very clear whether you have a leaky basement or not.  Water seeping to the basement of your home become a reality when you see puddles of water on the basement floor.  The question then is, where is the water coming from? If the spring season brings water into the basement, chances are the water is coming from the outside.  If you have problems with leaky pipes, water would be a problem all year long, not only during the spring season.  The humidity in your basement can play havoc with furniture, the stability of the foundation, appliances you may have there, etc. Taking care of those problems right away can save you many headaches down the road.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.

Mission Impossible? Setting Out to Save a Damp, Dingy Furnace Room

Basement moisture introduces mold and mildew, wood rot and worse. Gradually, the effect of such issues combine to compromise the home both structurally and aesthetically. Fortunately for us all, affordable and DIY-friendly masonry waterproofer can both of those problems at the same time. Read on to find out how!

As homeowners, we all have our dirty little secrets, whether it be a carpet stain concealed by strategically placed furniture or in my case, a basement furnace room that resembles a horror-movie set. Despite being dimly lit, with exposed pipes spreading like tentacles all around, I know the room would have problems much worse than aesthetics, if it weren’t for the sump pump and drains I opted to add several years ago. The combination worked wonders to stem the tide of basement leaks we’d been struggling to control until then. But recently, I began to recognize that although pools of liquid water no longer suddenly appear on the floor, another, subtler warning sign—unsightly, unhealthy mildew—proves that basement moisture remains an issue.

So I decided to launch on a new campaign aimed not only at protecting against future mildew growth, but also at improving the look of the furnace room once and for all. Of course, I’m not the first homeowner to take on a project like this.

Keep your basement dry when rain rolls through the area

WASHINGTON — Next week could bring heavy rain into the region. And if rain makes your basement soggy, a consumer’s group advises trying easy do-it-yourself solutions before hiring a contractor.

“Check to make sure your gutters have been cleaned out. Check to make sure that downspouts from your gutters are spilling far away from your home,” said Kevin Brasler, executive editor at Checkbook.org.
Also, hiring a drainage consultant might reveal additional quick fixes, or determine that grading performed when the home was new has diminished. Grading of soil near a home prevents water from flowing toward walls.
“It’s a pretty inexpensive thing to do, especially compared to what these companies will propose,” Brasler said.
You should examine all options, Brasler added, before hiring a basement waterproofing contractor.

“If you are going to hire a company to solve your problem inside your basement, make sure you talk to several companies,” Brasler advised. “I would talk to five or six companies that do this type of work.”

Southern Trust Home Services shares tips to prepare your home for spring

Just as spring allergens can pose a problem for people, spring weather and changes can pose a problem for homes. Ted Puzio, owner of Southern Trust Home Services, shares tips about how homeowners can prep their homes for spring.

Homeowners can reduce seasonal allergens inside the home by inspecting or replacing HVAC air filters and inspecting ductwork and vents for signs of mold growth.

Homeowners can prevent basement waterproofing problems due to spring showers by checking the house for any leaks and seepage and unclogging gutters and checking that all downspouts extend away from the home’s foundation.

Homeowners can prepare for early heat by checking the AC. – strange noises, condensation leaks and indoor temperatures that do not match thermostat readings are signs that it needs repair – and by requesting a seasonal HVAC tune-up and cleaning.

Home Repairs That Can Save You Money

Maintenance is the key to keep your cars running smoothly, your appliances working, and your house looking beautiful.  There are a few maintenance tips for your home that can help you avoid costly repairs later.  Cleaning the gutters of your home and making  sure they are not loose or clogged can save you repairs  due to leaking water to the basement, or damage done to the roof. Making sure the water downspouts adapters are firmly attached, and are taking the water away from the foundation of your home, can save you from having water sitting around the foundation and eventually finding a way to the basement. Prevention is the key to saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs.

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

5 Home Repairs to Make Now to Avoid Problems Later

If you put off fixing a wobbly fence post or squeaky door hinge, it’s probably not going to end in a homeowners insurance claim. Other home repairs, if left unchecked, can quickly domino into major disasters. Water is a factor—if not the primary cause—in the majority of high-risk situations. Here’s how to identify priority home repairs and handle them at their source:

Runaway Rainwater

Telltale signs: Rain pouring over gutters and puddling along foundation walls.
Why you need to act: Water can deteriorate siding and foundation walls, eventually finding its way to interior spaces and damaging them.
What to do: Inspect the entire gutter system for clogs and corrosion; you can clear clogs yourself, but if your gutters are corroded, you’ll want to talk to a pro about having them replaced. Check that the soil around your home’s foundation slopes away from the house at least 1 inch per foot for 6 feet or more. Regrade the soil if the slope is insufficient.

Tips from the happy homeowner playbook: Don’t let your cash go down the drain or out the window.

Whether your live in a 19th-century farmhouse or 1990s colonial, chances are you’re leaving real money on the table each year in the form of excessive energy consumption. Simple behavioral changes, such as turning off power-hungry video game consoles, can add up to serious savings. The following energy-efficiency advice also includes high-hanging fruit, like upgrading your water heater and making the investment in rooftop solar.

Eliminate Drafts

Here’s an easy way to pinpoint air leaks in your home that make for drafty rooms in the winter and can drive up annual heating costs by $100 or more. First, turn on every exhaust fan in the house, including a whole-house fan and kitchen range hood, and hold an incense stick up to suspected leaks around windows, doors, and even electrical outlets. If the smoke blows sideways, you have a leak large enough to undermine your home’s comfort and efficiency. For around $30 worth of caulk, weatherstripping, and expandable foam sealant, you can plug the leaks for good.

How to Afford All Your 2017 Home Improvements

A leaky roof or a sagging gutter can be hard to ignore. The same goes for some old-school wood paneling in your den or that hideous palm tree wallpaper you put up in a (misguided) attempt to recreate your honeymoon. Unfortunately, most home improvements don’t exactly come cheap.

In fact, it may even feel like you’re basically saving up another down payment on your home to fix it up. There are some ways, however, to sock some dollars away and have your new sink and bathtub in the new year, too.

Here’s how to work some much-needed home improvements into your 2017 budget.

1. Save

Sure, you may feel inclined to rush into renovations — and when it comes to certain home repairs, things must be readily done. But it still behooves you to save where you can before crossing things off the to-do list. One trick?

“[Set] an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings account to take place every two weeks on your payday so that the money leaves your account before you ever have a chance to spend it,” Brian Davis, director of education for real estate blog SparkRental, said.


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.