Protecting Your Home

Flood Insurance is not included in your policy in most cases.  You need to verbally ask and be offered flood insurance by the Insurance company and go from there.  Insuring your home is not only advisable but extremely important.  It can be a financial catastrophe if a natural disaster occurs and you are unprepared to face the consequences.  If you are in an area where flooding is likable, make sure you have flood insurance to make sure your home is protected.

Structural home problems start with a leaky basement that is not taken care of and is left unattended.  Cracks on the wall and bowed walls are serious problems that can play havoc with the structure of your home.

Mold and mildew are dangerous pollutants in your home. Clean air becomes a luxury if you have a wet basement.  Water seeping into the basement of your home jeopardizes the stability of the foundation, making your home less valuable in the long run.

Basements have served many families as storage facilities for many years, but leaky basements can damage and ruin your belongings.  With flood insurance you can protect your personal belongings and replace them in case of a flooding.  Make sure you talk to your insurance agent and understand the type of insurance you need and for the quantity you need to insure your home and your belongings.

There is a minimum amount you need to insure your home, but it does not include your personal property.  Ask questions before you agree to sign anything.  Make sure you have enough insurance to be properly covered.

Nobody can protect themselves from natural disasters, but it does pay to be protected in case the need arises.  Don’t procrastinate and leave something as important as your home for another day.  If you have a basement or foundation problem, call today to make sure your home and your family are safe.


What To Do If You Have Basement And Foundation Problems

One of the most widely given advice for any homeowner is to take care of a problem right away before it escalates in time and money spend.  For a basement or foundation problem, this advice holds more truth than for any other home problem.  Leaving a leaky basement problem till you have saved enough money to pay for repairs is not something that is advisable.  Considering cracks on the basement walls as something unimportant can jeopardize the home you live in.  Taking care of these problems right away can save you time and money in the long run.

Call us, we will be happy to work with you.


Stone and rubble foundations: What to do if there’s a leak

The experts at H&N Basement Worx in Hamilton want to share some information about stone and rubble foundation damage to help you hire a contractor that has the knowledge and expertise to provide the proper repairs.

Stone and rubble foundations create the worst type of leakage once a leak has begun, and the reason for this is simply that stone or rubble foundations are generally old and were built before it was code to have a proper drainage system.

Not all stone foundations are without a proper drainage system, and not all leakage with stone foundations is the same. The type of repairs, and the extent of the job to execute these repairs, will depend on several factors, including if a drainage system needs to be installed or an existing one repaired, and how much damage has already occurred.

The H&N Basement Worx team will gladly come to your home to do a complete inspection, explain their findings thoroughly, and communicate their recommendations for repairs.


Don’t Dally On Foundations

There’s one bill that many Republicans and Democrats do agree on in this year of particularly nasty partisan sniping. It would help homeowners in eastern Connecticut replace their crumbling foundations. And yet the bill could be caught up in cruel political wrangling as basement walls crack and bow.

The bill would set up an assistance fund with bonded money from the state, and the hope is that insurers, banks, mortgage companies and the construction trade would contribute to it. It also would also establish a low-interest loan program to help homeowners with their deteriorating foundations.

The size of the fund and the state’s contribution haven’t been determined yet because the bill is still being worked on. It’s apparently a substitute for a fund that would have been created by charging homeowners $12 yearly on their insurance policies. That bill never made it out of committee.


Soil expansion may cause basement wall to bulge

Dear Jerry: While preparing the basement of our 1950 home for two bedroom additions, each with an egress window to be installed at the locations of existing basement windows, I removed the finish plywood and discovered on the east wall a large horizontal crack about 32 inches (four blocks) below the top of the foundation. Some of the mortar is loose, and the wall bulges in a little over one-half inch at the center of the crack.

Outside the house, there are two large trees about 10 feet from the house, with large roots headed straight for the center between the two cellar windows. The theory is that the roots have pushed in the blocks. Our arborist looked at the root structure, and said that he hasn’t seen proof of roots pushing against the foundation.


 

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.


 

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.


Flood Sensors and Other Solutions For Your Basement

When we offer articles in this magazine about cost effective solutions to waterproof your basement, and you think you can do the job by yourself, we want you to think carefully first about the problems that you are facing.  If your basement’s problem is only humidity, a humidifier will do wonders to the place.  If on the other hand you have water sitting on the basement floor or there is seeping as well, the problem is no longer as easy to fix.  A basement waterproofing company with a long history in your community can be the only solution you have.  Contact us, we will offer you a  hassle free consultation for your basement needs.


Flood sensors for your basement

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: D-Link’s Water Sensor is smartly designed and features all the important perks to make it an effective flood detector.

The bad: D-Link’s only real weakness is that it relies on being plugged in, which means power outages are its Achilles’ heel.

The cost: $57 to $90

The bottom line: The D-Link Water Sensor is one of the best flood sensors on the market. If you’re considering buying such a device, this should be the first option on your list — especially if you don’t already use a smart-home hub.

Fibaro Flood Sensor

Cnet rating: 4 stars out of 5

The good: The Fibaro Flood Sensor combines clever design with an open interface, allowing users to creatively pair it with sirens, complementary sensors and more.

The bad: The tilt sensor can be hit-or-miss, and the price is definitely steep, especially if you want to monitor multiple areas at risk of water damage.

The cost: $60

The bottom line: The Fibaro won’t be for everyone, but its versatility and reliable design make it one of the best water sensors for homes at risk of flooding.


Wet basement? Try these cost-effective solutions before calling a contractor.

Wet basement? Thinking about calling a basement waterproofing contractor? Stop.

Many contractors will propose the installation of expensive interior drainage systems — even if you don’t need one — when most moisture problems can be solved through less expensive means. You’re more likely to get good results and save a lot of money by exploring other solutions and hiring a basement waterproofing contractor only if absolutely needed. If your home was built within the past few years, check the builder’s warranty for clauses on seepage.

Most basements get wet when rainwater runs toward the walls of houses from roofs, yards and driveways. So your first step is to force it to run away from your home.

Start by cleaning your gutters, repairing holes, and making sure they slope toward downspouts and have not come loose from the house, allowing water to fall directly from the roof to the ground. Test downspouts to make sure they spill water at least four feet away from the house.


What To Do If You Have Water In Your Basement

There is an approximate rain precipitation in the Akron area of about 36.06 inch every year. That’s nothing compared to the precipitation that Aberdeen Reservoir, Washington gets of 130.6 inches of rain every year.  But, the 36 inches of rain a year that we get can still play havoc with your home if your basement has issues.  There are many homes in the Northeast Ohio area that are older homes, and their basements need work.  But, if you have a flooded basement after a heavy rain, do you know what to do first? Below there are three articles about basement flooding and what to do right away.  If you need help finding a solution to your basement problems, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you.


Niles homeowners say flooded basements a recurring problem

NILES, Ohio –

Flooding on Thursday caused some problems for Niles homeowners, and they say this isn’t the first time.

21 News arrived at a home on Brown Street after the rain had passed but, water was still gushing out from the home’s basement pump.

The owner Joan Grusha said the pump became necessary after she spent $14,000 waterproofing the basement but, still experienced flooding.

“Every time is rains real hard we get it,” said Grusha who has lived at the home for 48 years. “I have had water in my basement, I don’t know how many times I’ve had to go down there and clean it up even after I had it waterproofed.”

Just around the corner on East First Street, Pamela Wolfe said her flooding problems are also on repeat.

“My furnace is out, my hot water tank is under water, my washer, my dryer, they’re all brand new because I had to replace them from the last time,” said Wolfe.

And although she said she followed advice to have her drain cleaned out, she fears that only paved the way for more overflow. Her main concern is that the flooding comes with more than just water.

“It’s sewage and water. Somehow they’re connected together, they said ‘Oh when these houses were built they probably hooked your sewer and your storm sewers together.’ There’s been things floating in my basement that weren’t from me,” said Wolfe.


Draining the water too fast could cause the collapse of the cellar walls, floors, and foundation of the house. The water must be drained slowly to equalize pressure on both sides of the wall.

Although the flood has receded, water still in the ground outside your house may be pushing hard against the outside of your basement walls. The water in your basement is pushing back. If you drain your basement faster than the water in the ground is draining, the outside pressure may be greater than the inside pressure and may cause the foundation or the floor to crack or collapse.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Iowa Emergency Management Division (IEMD) recommend the following procedures be followed when pumping a basement to avoid serious damage, collapse, or injury:

  • Begin pumping when floodwaters are no longer covering the ground outside.
  • Pump the water out one foot at a time. Mark the water level and wait overnight.

Water & wind could lead to leaky basement

The tiniest bit of ice can create the biggest problems. For the second morning in a row, the commute was slow because of slick roads. Now, incoming rain could lead to problems inside your house.

Columbus resident, Robert Giehl gave a tour of his basement while it was being waterproofed. A crew had to do repairs on the inside and outside after he discovered water had seeped into his walls and floor. He smelled mildew and knew there was a problem.

Scott Seneff of EverDry Waterproofing says water in the basement is more common in the winter than you might think. The ground is expanding and we are also seeing a triple threat this week of melting snow, power outages and rain.

Scott says you need to attack the water from the outside and inside.

“You should have a sump pump with a back up battery system attached to it, that you can get a few hours up to a day or two in case you lose power.”


 

Buying A Home in 2017? Read this First

Are you thinking about buying a new home this coming year? Chances are, before you are done looking at many houses, you will find one with a wet basement. There are many houses in northeast Ohio that because of their age have problems with the basement, or even the foundation of the house.

If you are buying or selling a home, the basement and foundation of your home are two of the places that can make or break the deal.  A basement with water on the floor can leave the buyer unwilling to make an offer, even if the upstairs is lovely.  If the foundation has problems, it is very unlikely you will get a good offer for the house.

Read more about what to look for when buying or even selling a home by following the links below.


Homebuyers: 7 Red Flags to Search for When Touring a Basement

When you compile your list of must-haves in a home and compare it with what’s on the market, a finished basement is almost always a big plus. You get additional square footage for living, entertaining and storage without having to put up the effort and money to finish the space yourself.

But before you fall in love with that finished-basement abode, approach the space with a critical eye. The basement, after all, houses most of your home’s key functioning systems, from plumbing to electrical and gas. A poorly constructed or maintained space might lead not only to costly repairs, but also cause damage elsewhere in your home.

Consider the consequences of taking on a troubled basement. If the finished below-grade space lacks permits or proper waterproofing or contains amateur craftsmanship, you could face municipal fines or risk sickness-causing mold and future fire hazards.

When it comes time to negotiate with a seller on purchase conditions, consider these basement red flags a bargaining chip to ensure you’re getting a well-maintained home. “I would make sure it got resolved before they actually purchase the home,” says David Schrock owner and founder of Basement Spaces Inc. in Aurora, Illinois.


Tips for a finished basement that’s mold-free

Q. I want to get your input on the correct way to finish, in this case refinish, a basement. I believe the previous owners missed one or two critical steps, causing mold to grow on the backside of the drywall.

The house is about 60 years old with a poured-concrete basement foundation whose walls are in good shape. The concrete walls were not painted/waterproofed on the inside. There are no signs of water leaks or holes in the walls.

The previous finishing was done by putting in untreated 2-by-3s as studs ¼ of an inch from the concrete walls, stapling R13-value pink insulation to the studs, then putting up regular drywall on top of that. Twenty-five years or so later, mold appeared on the bottom portion of the drywall (on the back ), and some of the untreated-wood sill rotted. These items are now gone. There is an appropriate-sized dehumidifier in the basement.

To insulate, seal, and finish the basement properly, what are the best steps for the money that meet the necessary building code standards? It seems there are a number of ways to go about this.


The rise of the basement: Tips for a better space

OMAHA – With fewer homes for sale and good returns on the remodeling investment, more homeowners are reclaiming their lower levels and remodeling their basements.Basements are coming out of hiding these days. And they’re doing it in style, with before-and-after transformations featured everywhere from HGTV to Pinterest and YouTube.

What’s driving this trend? A tight housing market, for one thing. With houses at a premium – and a proliferation of DIY how-to’s – more homeowners are inspired to reclaim their unused space and expand their living area.

A smart, affordable upgrade

Updating your lower level is a sound investment in your home. Remodeling magazine’s 2016 Cost vs. Value Report put the average basement remodel at $61,303, with a 70.3 percent payback – a far better investment return than adding a bathroom or garage.

Props for your property value

Depending on local regulations, the additional space can often be added to your home’s total square footage, making your market listing more appealing to buyers and potentially increasing your property value.

To recoup the most from your remodeling efforts, make sure your design and decorating choices are attractive and functional – not too quirky or customized.


Buying A New Home in 2017?

 

How to Keep Your Basement Dry

Basement waterproofing and foundation repairs can be very extensive and serious problems if you let small issues become bigger.  There are basement and foundation problems that are very different from home to home that you need to be aware of.   A draught can cause the soil near the foundation of your home to become dry unevenly, making some parts of the structure of your home to sit lower than other parts, causing cracks and possible structural damage to the foundation.

Water sitting around the foundation of your home is a good indicator that you need to make the area around the home slop away from the foundation to avoid water seeping into the basement.

If you have one or more issues with the foundation or basement of your home, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you and offer you a  hassle free consultation.


How to prevent water in your basement

Many Michigan homeowners spend time in the fall prepping their home for the coming winter months. You may have added more insulation in your attic or caulked around your windows and doors, but what about your basement? That winter snow will eventually melt and there is nothing worse than coming home to find your basement full of water.

Ed Krieger of Ayers Basement Systems said the first thing any homeowner can do is to check the exterior of the home.

“Check that your downspouts are connected to the gutter system properly and that they run at least 10 feet away from your basement walls,” he said. “If that all looks good, then you need to check the grading or slope of your yard and concrete.”

Grading refers to the level of the ground around a home. Over time, the ground shifts and if a yard has poor grading, water from rain or melted snow can run back toward the home. If you think this is an issue for you, you may need to contact a professional landscape company to take a closer look.


How to Winterize a House: Tips to Prevent Ice Dams, Drafts, and More

When the weather turns chilly, your house needs to button up, too. And the way to do that is to learn how to winterize your house. No, not once the snow starts falling, but now. Trust us, you’ll want to nip any issues in the bud before the temperature drops too much.

Here’s a handy list of things to check on your house to keep it cozy, save on energy bills, and prevent a nightmare’s worth of damage you’ll have to tackle come spring (or even worse, in the dead of winter).

Conduct a pre-winter inspection

First, size up how prepared your house is for winter by taking a walk around its perimeter and eyeballing these features, says Bob Hanbury, a Newington, CT, builder for 40 years and a board member of the National Association of Home Builders: