Home Foundation Repair Problems

Finding problems with  the structure of your home is distressing to say the least.

Structural home problems can range from small issues that are easy to fix, to structural damages that can take a week or more. The cost associated with these problems can also vary, from a $500 repair issue to more serious amounts.

Finding a crack on the basement walls, water sitting on the basement floor, humidity, mold or mildew are serious problems that you have to addressed quickly. Waiting can only lead to more serious issues that can end up costing you a lot more.

Hiring a professional to look over the foundation problems in your home is the only option you have.  Structural problems are serious issues, and you want the expertise and warranties associated with hiring a professional company to do the job.

How do you know which company to hire?  There are many companies out there with a reputation that bears not mentioning.  But, there are many other companies that pride themselves with the work they do, and the history they have in the community. Looking at the credentials of the company you are thinking of hiring can save you a lot of headaches and a lot of money.

Where can you start?  Looking at a company at the Better Business Bureau is the first step you can take.  Look at the complains, and whether they were resolved satisfactorily, and in a timely matter. But, most importantly look at the kind of complains people had and the issues involved with such company.

Google the company. There are many people out there that will leave a nasty comment about a company because they are not quite happy with the results.  But, if the company has many more good comments than bad ones, or only that bad comment, call them and see for yourself.  Talking to them on the phone, or personally is the only way to go.

Recommendations from friends and family members are possibly the best way to go about hiring a company to do any job around the home.  You can look at the workmanship, talk to them about pricing, cleanliness, and punctuality and make the decision then.

If you need the services of a company with a long history in the community and an A+ rating from the BBB, contact us.  We will be happy to offer you a solution to your basement and foundation problems without hard selling you.


Is Your Company Talking To The Right Person?

A 1992 book called Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus explores and explains the relationship between men and women and the way women and men communicate and view things differently.  The author explains thatnot only do men and women communicate differently, but they think, feel, perceive, react, respond, love, need, and appreciate differently.”

Business across industries have to addressed the fact that women and men respond differently to the sales pitch, the way they are addressed, and the information they received by the sales people.  We all know sales people are doing their job, and that they have to “pitch” their products and services.  We – as employees ourselves-know they have to do a job.  But, the way they do it can be pivotal to the sale.

According to the US  Census Bureau there were an approximate 12 million single parent families last year.  And of those 12 million single parent families households, more than 80% were headed by single mothers.

When female customers call a company for a free consultation for a home project, and the company asks whether they are married or not, or that the male of the house needs to be present for them to come over, it sends a message that perhaps women cannot make a decision or worse yet, they cannot possibly understand their “lingo.”

For any big or small company doing business in the United States, it pays to consider this: A 2008 Pew Research Center Survey found that in 43% of all couples, the majority of decision making is done by women. That is to say, if a woman calls your business and asks for a quote, chances are that she will be making the decision to hire you or not.

The times have change, but the decision making in a household has not.  From which company to invest, how much money to save, or where to go on a vacation, women are the decision makers in a family.

Studies in the United Kingdom have shown the prominent role women play in financial decision making.  More and more, women research what they need and they communicate their decision to their partners.  Up until the last stage of the decision making process will the “spouse” play any role in making a financial decision.

In the United States, the similarities are the same.  Financial decision making is mostly a woman’s role.


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. 


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.


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.


Taking Care of Your Home

Remodeling the basement is not a top priority for many families.  Their budgets do not allow the expense of remodeling a whole basement, or the upper stories offer all the space they need.  But regardless of what your situation is, having a waterproofed basement is a necessity many families need to have.

If your basement is wet, has too much humidity, has mold, or has crack on the walls, you need to have your basement check by a knowledgeable person to determine the damage and to find a solution. 

The many illnesses associated to mold found in basements across the country are many; From eye, nose and skin irritation for those allergic to mold to respiratory system problems that are very dangerous to people’s health.  Wet basements are not a very nice place to be in they are in disarray, but offer the much needed space for a growing family.

Taking care of your home does not begin or end with the basement.  But, the basement and foundation of your home are very important parts of your home that you need to take care if they have problems before looking to fix something else.  These are some other things you can do to protect your home.

  1. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are properly connected, and free of debris.  Make a conscious effort to clean the gutters after the fall to ensure they are free of leaves and make sure the downspouts are taking the water away from the foundation of your home. From 5ft. to 10ft. ensures the water won’t find a way to the basement of your home.
  1. The mulch on the flower beds around the home should not reach above the sealant of the foundation. Flatten the mulch on the flower beds making sure there is no stagnant water anywhere near the foundation.
  1. Have you checked the grading around your home? The cement driveway can over time become unleveled and allow water to sit around the foundation, and inadvertently find a way to the basement of your home.
  1. The roof of your home is an expensive home repair you have to keep in mind.  Many homeowners overlook this simple maintenance home inspection check that can save you thousands if you find the problem quickly. Checking the roof of your home every year allows you to catch a problem before it gets too big.  Loose shingles or curling shingles are some of the first signs you need to check to see if you have a problem with the roof of your home.
  1. The moulding around your exterior windows should be checked periodically to make sure it’s in good condition.
  1. Have you checked your shed? How is the roof? A good quality shed at one of your Home Depot or Lowe’s stores can set you back close to a thousand dollars.  Why not check the roof, walls and doors to make sure they are in good condition, and if not, make the small necessary fixes to prolong its life?

For many of us, our home is the biggest asset we have.  By taking care of our homes, we increase its value while allowing us to live in a place that we can truly call home, and live comfortably ever after.


Buyer Beware – Don’t Fall for the “Tricks” of Home Selling

housesMagazines, TV shows, blogs and your neighborhood realtors’ newsletters are all full of good ideas on how to influence people to buy your house.  What you don’t see as much are the magazines, TV shows, blogs and your neighborhood realtors’ newsletters full of good ideas on how to avoid that influence if you’re the buyer.

Buying a house is a difficult, confusing, time consuming task, and none of us want to make a bad choice.  Here are some suggestions to combat realtors and sellers attempts to sway you.

Smell

Sellers are encouraged to bake cookies, burn candles and use deodorizers to cover up unpleasant smells (mold, animal, dirty/musty, teenage boy, etc).  They’re also used to distract from nearby outside smells (farms, factories, neighbors’ kennels, sewage, etc).

Don’t be affected.  The chocolate chip smell doesn’t mean you’re in your cozy childhood home, and that wonderful cinnamon/vanilla candle combination might be masking the cat odor in the carpet.  If you’re serious about a house ask for “no smelly stuff” when you schedule your 2nd visit and go sniffing through it.

Fresh paint

Sometimes fresh paint is covering old or unattractive paint and sometimes it’s covering mold and water damage.  From the attic to the basement water damage is a fairly common problem in Northeastern Ohio houses; it would be wise to look for it.

Was the entire bedroom ceiling painted or just certain spots (roof leak)?  Has the whole dining room been freshened up or just the wall under the upstairs shower?  Are the freshly painted outside basement walls covering up big problems? 

Look for discolorations in suspicious areas.  Water stains and mold can bleed through paint.  You may be able to see faint outlines if you’re looking for them.  In addition to looking, feel for texture differences. 

Water damage can weaken the drywall, changing the texture and making it soft to the touch.  Does it give or feel mushy if you press it?  Does it look different from the surrounding areas?  Does the odd colored area on the outside basement wall feel moister or cooler (possible water) than another?  Ask the realtor about the spots and bring them to the attention of your inspector.

Creating the Dream

“Imagine your family eating together in this large, airy kitchen.”  “The basement is perfect for that man cave your husband wants.”  “Oh no, the house isn’t too big.  You can turn that extra room into your own private office.” 

Good realtors understand how to get you emotionally invested in a house.  Some will greet you at the door of a house saying, “Welcome home.”  Hopefully, your realtor will help you keep your feet firmly on the ground — just remember they’re trying to sell you something.

But, ultimately it’s up to you to look out for your best interests.  Falling in love with a house may sound romantic and seem necessary, but it can cause poor judgment.  Dreams are nice, except when they lead to buying a lemon.

Watch the TV shows and read the articles through an unemotional buyer’s eyes.  They come close to saying, “Assume the buyer is clueless and can be tricked with candles, staging, neutral paint, natural light and emotional manipulation.”  Buyers beware indeed.


Nicole Abbott is a professional writer who’s had over 200 articles published.  She’s a business consultant and former psycho-therapist with over 20 years of experience in mental health, business and addiction.  She’s a coach, lecturer, trainer and facilitator.  She has conducted over 200 workshops, trainings, presentations, seminars and college classes.