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

AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) –

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.


Can You Spot Foundation Problems in Your Home?

According to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, 40 million Americans live in a house they cannot afford.  The cost of a mortgage, insurance, and taxes are more than they can afford.  The decline in homeownership in the United States has declined for the 12th.consecutive year, while rent prices keep outpacing inflation in this country. The upkeep of a house is a direct correlation between what you pay for your house and the amount you need to save for the upkeep of your home. If you pay $300,000 for a home, $3,000 dollars should be used to keep up with the upkeep of your home.

The upkeep of a house is a direct correlation between what you pay for your house and the amount you need to save for the upkeep of your home. If you pay $300,000 for a home, $3,000 dollars should be used to keep up with the maintenance of your home yearly.

The foundation of your home may not be your priority when thinking about the upkeep of your home, but remember the structural integrity of the foundation is one of the most important parts of your home.

Do you need answers? Contact us, we will be happy to offer a solution to you.


Can You Identify These Common House Foundation Issues?

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

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

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


Foundation Danger: 5 Things Buyers And Sellers Need To Know

The foundation might not be the most exciting part of the house, but it is arguably the most important.

When you’re buying a home, there are plenty of fun things to focus on, like putting in an outdoor fire pit, chilling a bottle in that fancy new wine fridge, or relaxing in a soaker tub, to name a few. But before you start envisioning organizing your clothes in that fabulous walk-in closet, drop your eyes down a bit to focus on the home’s foundation. It holds up the house, after all. If what lies beneath isn’t good, it can cause lots of headaches (and cost you big).

Whether you’re a buyer with concerns about your potential new home’s foundation or a seller who has noticed some cracks, you’ll likely need to take some kind of action to resolve the issue (or at least know what you’re dealing with). Here’s what to do.


Signs of Foundation Problems

Homeowners often wonder how to identify the different signs of foundation problems. It’s definitely a good question to ask. Here’s why – the longer you wait to treat visible signs of damage, the more severe the damage can become. Left untreated, minor cracks and leaks can turn into serious structural issues that compromise the value and overall health of your home.

Your home’s structural integrity depends on the strength of your foundation. It supports everything else – walls, windows, floors, doorways, roof – so when your foundation is damaged, it can cause serious problems throughout your home.

Like most things in life, your foundation is subject to environmental stress. Expanding and contracting soil, excessive moisture and inadequate drainage are some of the most common threats to your home’s foundation. Over time, environmental stress can cause the foundation to shift, crack or settle unevenly. And homeowners can often miss the early warning signs of foundation damage.


 

Mold in The Basement

Mold and mildews are both common problems indoors and outside your home.  Humidity in your home can be an indicator that you have water seeping into the walls and floor of your basement.  Humidity is a key component to the mold growing in your basement and causing eye irritation, stuffiness, and more serious respiratory problems.  If you have a family member suffering from asthma or other respiratory problems, the mold growing in the basement could be making their symptoms much worse.

What are some of the reasons you have water sitting on the floor of the basement of your home?

Clogged gutters

If the gutters of your home are full of debris, the water may not be finding the correct pathway and overflowing.  Ensuring the gutters are unobstructed to allow the water to flow to the right spout is just common sense, and can save you some headaches along the way.

Cleaning the gutters of your home does not take long if you do them every year.  Try to have someone to help you with the ladder and make sure you follow safety precautions before you start climbing.

Drainage

If water is just gathering around the foundation of your home with no place to go, it may be a major reason why you have water on the basement floor, and seeping through the walls.   The drainage should be taking the water about ten feet from the foundation of your home.

Flower Beds

The flower beds should have the soil sloping away from the foundation to ensure the water doesn’t find a way to your basement.  Bushes and other types of greenery should be kept trim and away from touching the walls of your home as well.

Mulch

Mulch should also be laid flat close to the foundation to avoid gathering water pools and eventually seeping into the walls of the foundation.

Driveways

Even if this is not as common, unleveled driveways can allow the water to run towards the foundation instead of away creating pools of water to seep into the walls and basement of your home.

Leaking Pipes

Indoor water leaking is also a problem if you have leaking pipes without knowing where they are. Before this problem gets any bigger, replacing those leaking pipes can be the solution to the humidity and water problem in the basement.

If you need to find a solution to the water in the basement of your home, contact us, we will be happy to talk to you and offer a solution to your problem that makes sense.


Flood Insurance Coverage; Do You Have It?

 

If hurricanes Irma and Harvey have taught us anything is the fact that natural disasters can occur quickly, and with disastrous consequences.  Hurricanes in the United States are commonplace, specially in Florida and the coastal regions of the country. 

With the hurricanes or heavy rains, flooding is a natural disaster that can occur to any of us.  Flooding can affect people in  every state, and is one of the most common natural disasters in the country.

As homeowners, we cannot control the occurrence of hurricanes, nor  predict the severity or the financial implications that come along with those disasters, but we can help our homes and our financial stability  by ensuring that we do have flood insurance for our homes.

If you have homeowners insurance, it does not mean you have flood insurance.  Make sure you buy it separately through your home insurance agent, so you know you are protected.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) one inch of water in your home can cost you more than $20,000 in damages, why risk not having flood insurance coverage?

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


What Flood Insurance Does and Does Not Cover

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey puts renewed attention on the policies. Here’s what you need to know.

The devastation from Hurricane Irma is far from over, but property owners in Florida—as well as those who faced Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Louisiana—are already facing the daunting task of rebuilding.

Beyond the human tragedy, the widespread flood damage caused by the storm serves as an important reminder to homeowners in the region—and around the country—about what is covered by insurance and what you need to know about protecting yourself.

As most property owners know, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. But even in Florida, Texas and Louisiana—where many people live in coastal areas—only about 20 percent have flood insurance, according to a study by the Washington Post.


About 80% of Hurricane Harvey victims do not have flood insurance, face big bills

NEW YORK – Homeowners suffering flood damage from Harvey are more likely to be on the hook for losses than victims of prior storms — a potentially crushing blow to personal finances and neighborhoods along the Gulf Coast.

Insurance experts say only a small fraction of homeowners in Harvey’s path of destruction have flood insurance. That means families with flooded basements, soaked furniture and water-damaged walls will have to dig deep into their pockets or take on more debt to fix up their homes. Some may be forced to sell, if they can, and leave their communities.

All these people taken out in boats, they have a second problem: They have no insurance,” said Robert Hunter, director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America.


What You Need To Know Before Buying A Home

Buying or selling a home? There are different reasons why people buy or sell homes.  If this is your first home, buying one seems like establishing ownership and perhaps equity in a home.  If this is not your first home, maybe upgrading to a bigger one seems like the thing to do.  Regardless of the reasons why you are thinking of buying a home, there are many pitfalls you have to be aware of before you commit the though to the actuality. 

Even if a home inspection is done, it does not mean you won’t encounter issues with the home you are buying.  Home issues that are undisclosed by the seller can be fought over in a court of law, but it is better to be prepared before you get to that point.

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


How to determine if you have a case against a home seller over an inaccurate disclosure form

I have a question about disclosure. My sellers gave me a disclosure statement that said there were no defects in the home. After we moved in and took down some drywall we found big cracks in the basement foundation. We also found major dry rot.

We called our buyer’s agent and she went to the seller’s agent. Apparently, they gave us the wrong disclosure statement. The old disclosure statement in the file mentioned the cracks. We didn’t get any of that. Should the listing agent pay for repairs?

When we usually get these questions, there is lots of smoke but no smoking gun. In this case, it seems you just found one. A seller is supposed to be truthful when answering the disclosure statement for the buyer. The buyer is entitled to rely on that disclosure statement in buying a home. And, if a seller lies, the buyer is entitled to go after the seller for damages sustained because of an omission in the disclosure statement given to the buyer.


First-Time Homeowner Mistakes

When you own a home, repairs and improvements are inevitable, but keep in mind not every job is DIY. Before you head to the home improvement store, check out these common first-time homeowner mistakes.

Using Bleach for Everything

Bleach is a heavily corrosive material that can eat through sealant on stone surfaces like granite. It can discolor laminate and colored grout, fade enamel and acrylic tubs, and corrode seals within your disposal. It is the often the “go-to” for removing mold, and while it may be successful in some areas, it can actually feed mold growth on absorbent and porous materials, such as grout.

Good ole’ water and vinegar are really all you need for most household cleaning jobs. However, heftier mold or mildew issues, may require a commercial anti-fungal product.

Improper Caulking

Caulking seems like an easy enough job, but there are a million different products out there and choosing the right caulk is critical. The final choice depends on the project. Is it interior or exterior? Does it involve concrete, gutters, roof, moulding, windows, plumbing, etc.?


Yes, You Can Sell a Fixer-Upper As Is, but Should You?

So your home has foundation problems and you just got an estimate for fixing it. Ouch! Or maybe a leak in your roof has led to the discovery that the entire thing needs to be replaced. Or termites have been eating their way through the wood frame of your home, and you’re just now catching on. Whatever the calamity, you always have the option of selling your home even if it needs major repairs. But does it make more sense to sell your house  as is, or put big bucks toward a renovation?

Selling a fixer-upper—even without fixing the major issues

The good news is you can, in fact, sell a fixer-upper. (Let’s not forget where Chip and Joanna Gaines get those dumps to renovate on HGTV’s “Fixer Upper”!) Deciding to sell a home with foundation problems, for example, depends on your financial situation, your equity in the property, and the potential sale price for it, says David Long, a real estate agent with Ebby Halliday Realtors in Plano, TX.


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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.

WE GOT THE “NEW DECK” LOOK WE WANTED AT A PRICE WE COULD AFFORD

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.


 

Basement Waterproofing and Foundation Repair

According to the Ohio Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, peak tornado season for the state of Ohio is officially between the months of  April and July. It does not mean however that tornados won’t happen at any other time. In 2016, there were 24 tornados in Ohio and the severity of each was different. According to the Ohio weather safety page, the basement of your home is the safest place to be in case of a tornado warning. 

Extreme downpours or a few inches of rain can easily tell you whether you have a dry basement or not.  If there is a problem with the drainage of your home, the few inches of rain can find a way to the basement  and make the basement unlivable.

Finding a safe, comfortable place in case of a tornado warning becomes a bit unlikely if the basement has issues.  But, that is not the right reason to find a waterproofing company. If you have water in the basement of your home, the structural integrity of the home becomes an issue, and a huge liability if you ignore the problem.

There are many problems associated with a wet basement:

  • Structural damage to the home
  • Damage to the walls, floors and belongings stored in the basement
  • Respiratory Issues
  • unlivable wasted space
  • Mold and mildew
  • humidity that can affect the air quality of your home

Finding the right waterproofing company to take care of your basement issues is not difficult.  At Pioneer Basement Solutions, we have a long history in the community with great customer satisfaction.  We let our work and customers speak for our workmanship and professionalism. If you want to tackle the basement problem, contact us, we will be happy to work with you.


Inspecting Your Home For Damages

After a nice holiday break, how about making a through inspection of your home?  Many of the issues we have at home can be remedied right away with a through inspection of its surroundings. Water sitting around the foundation of your home because the drainage system in your home is faulty, can be remedied by cleaning the gutters, replacing them or fixing them if damaged, and making sure the water drains away from the foundation of your home.

Tree branches that are too long are okay if there is not wind during a storm, but you do not want them damaging windows, roof or siding during a storm.  Trimming all bushes that are growing too big around the foundation should be taken care of as well.

For more about this topic, follow the links below.


Waterproofing Basements

Learn how to spot a water problem in your basement, and get tips on how to resolve the issue before it causes serious damage to your home.
“Wet basement” is a phrase that strikes fear into the hearts of most homeowners. More than half of U.S. homes have this problem, according to the American Society of Home Inspectors. The most typical causes are condensation, runoff and groundwater swelling. Solutions depend on the cause of the problem and can range from using a dehumidifier to installing a perimeter drain system. If you notice dampness and a musty odor when you enter your basement, you may be experiencing the first signs and should make it a priority to combat the water before more serious damage occurs to your home.

Considerations

  • Never ignore a persistent musty smell.
  • Find out the cause of a wet basement before beginning any modifications to your home.
  • Seek professional advice before attempting to combat a groundwater swelling problem.

5 tips to keep your home safe from nature’s tricks

All it takes is one storm to cause damage to your home. You need to make certain your house is prepared to withstand rain, wind and other possible damage.

The following are five suggestions to keep your home safe from natural damages. These are simple tips to get your house on the path to safety.

  1. Keep surrounding trees healthy

Unfortunately, the same trees that give you shade during a sunny day can give you damage on a stormy one. Make sure your trees are healthy and appropriately pruned. You may want to consider removing the tree if it is dead or too close to the house without a good root system.

A little maintenance and upkeep now may save you from a tree or branch falling on your home later.

Remember to always be careful when trimming your trees. Better Homes and Gardens points out, “Trimming branches that threaten power lines avoids serious problems, but leave this task to the pros. Large dead or dangling branches should be removed, as well as branches that could interfere with vehicles or lawn mowers. Branches that contact the house on windy days should be cut before they cause damage.”


House Works: Drying basements with dimpled membrane and wet wood with fans

Dimpled Drainage Membrane Really Works

Q: Is dimpled drainage membrane worth putting around a basement wall? We’re installing weeping tiles this year to make a wet basement dry, but the contractor doesn’t want to use dimpled membrane. He says they only use it in southern areas because they put sand around basements. He wants to use gravel only. Does this make sense?

A: The short answer is “no”, this advice doesn’t make sense. It always amazes me how some contractors can latch onto ideas that have no merit in reality. They’ll usually say something like “I’ve been doing it this way for 25 years and never had a problem,” even though it’s difficult or impossible to thoroughly check previous jobs. The fact is, dimpled drainage membrane offers a huge advantage for keeping basements dry no matter where a person builds. I’ve seen it cure wet basements everywhere.


 

Home Issues You Should Not Ignore

According to research done by the MacArthur Foundation between 2012 and 2014, more than half-52%-of Americans have had to make sacrifices in order to pay their mortgage.

Recent research also shows that almost 12 million Americans spend more than half of their income on housing ,which according to many analysts, that is way too much. They believed you should spend 30% of your income on housing, and considering you need to put aside 1% of the buying price of your home for yearly maintenance, that is a big stretch for many families.

The 1% you need to  put aside for maintenance does not include home insurance, that is only for the upkeep of the house.  Some of the upkeep includes, but is not limited to these:

  1. Basement waterproofing
  2. Loose shingles on your roof or other major roofing problems
  3. Fixing and restoring the rain gutters in your home
  4. Basic yard and gardening upkeep
  5. Air conditioning and the Ventilation system in your home
  6. Siding that comes loose or needs replacing
  7. Critter Infestation? Do you need to replace vents, or siding due to squirrels or other critters in your home?
  8. Painting a room or two require many supplies. Budget for them. Basic painting keeps the house looking pretty and healthy.
  9. Installing a humidifier in your basement can save you money and some headaches down the road.  Buying a good quality one is the only way to go.
  10. Leaking faucets can damage the wood under the sinks, the floor and even the walls in your home.  Don’t ignore them even if they don’t seem to be leaking too much.  You would be surprised the amount of water it can waste in just a few days.

Every home is different and so are the people living in them.  The issues listed here may not seem a problem to you, while they can be huge catastrophes for others. This list is obviously a short version of the problems one may faced at home, the point is to try to take care of the problems as they occur.  Postponing them may be worse down the road, and more expensive.


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.