How to Look For A Good Contractor For Your Home Project?

Children are in school now.  Yes, they do bring homework and projects and other chores we sometimes help them to do, but we do have a bit more time to do those chores the summer months were too short to let us do.

The autumn is a season where there are many chores we must do to prepare for the winter months. from putting away our gardening tools to preparing our home for the winter, the fall months can be very active.  And , if you are thinking about tackling a more serious project, where do you need to start?

You need to first find what project you really want to do and a budget you are allowing yourself to have. If you need to do a project that is indispensable to the well-being of your family – A new roof, or a basement waterproofing project- then you need to first start choosing the best contractor you can find.

If you are doing a home remodeling project for purely aesthetic reasons, then, you still need to follow the steps of how to choose a contractor for your project.

How to choose a good contractor

If you have no family’s references and no friends recommendations of a good contractor, then you will probably google it to get a list.  Here are some of the things you should be looking out for:

  • Contact contractors that are locally owned and operated-make sure they have been in the business for a long time
  • Check their Business Bureau Status
  • Ask for references that are not from friends or family members
  • You Must call those references and talk to the homeowners and ask them about the craftsmanship and other related issues concerning the job they did.
  • Make sure that they are fully bonded and insured
  • Ask for an estimate in writing
  • Ask them about the form of payment they require

For more about home remodeling projects and other news, follow the links below.


Contractors swamped with home remodeling projects in central Ohio

Central Ohio homeowners are spending a record amount of money building additions, updating kitchens and renovating bathrooms.

Fueled by a robust economy and rising home values, which allow homeowners to pull cash out of their homes to fund improvements, Americans are expected to spend more than $300 billion on remodeling this year.

“I’ve been doing this since 1981 and have never seen it this busy,” said Todd Schmidt, owner of the Grove City remodeling firm Renovations Unlimited.

While the remodeling boom is good for contractors, it means longer waits for homeowners eager to polish up their properties.

Bill and Marcia Miller tried for two years to get a contractor to update the laundry room of their Dublin-area home.


 

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.


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.


Basement Waterproofing and Sump Pumps

Sump pumps are a necessity every household should have.  Flooding occurs in the basement of our homes when rain, snow or faulty pipes break, and we have a water problem we need to fix right away.

Many homes have sump pups already installed in the basement of our homes, the problem is that we don’t really know whether they are in working order or not.  The buying of a sump pump can be as inexpensive as you want it, or you can pay a nice price for a battery-powered sump pump that can cost you close to $500. There are many sump pumps that offer nice warranties when you buy them, and considering the time and expense you need to spend if you have a flooded basement, the price is really not something to frown upon.

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


 

How to prevent basement flooding

That’s doable with a reliable sump pump and backup system, or after a relatively inexpensive fix for cracked foundations, says Roy Spencer, founder and president of Downers Grove-based Perma-Seal.

“My feeling is that all basements should be dry all the time, no matter how much it rains. But in order to do that, you have to do certain things,” Spencer said. “The sump pump is critical, so it needs to be reliable and it needs to be powerful enough. A reliable sump pump is critical. It’s the heart and soul of any waterproofing system.”

If you’re getting seepage, small puddles caused by water running in through cracks in the foundation, Spencer says that is also an “easy fix” that could cost between $400 and $800, depending on the size of the crack to be sealed and how much work has to be done to find it.

For instance, unfinished basements, he said, are typically easier to repair than finished basements with walls and carpeted floors.

Ultimately, Spencer said it’s important to know what caused your flooding.


What You Need to Know Before Buying a Sump Pump

Have a serious flooding problem at home? A sump pump could help. Find out whether one is right for you—and what to consider when buying one.

If you’ve ever wondered, “What is a sump pump?” then you’re lucky, because you probably don’t need one. But for the unlucky owners of wet basements, here’s the scoop: A sump pump sits in the basement, either beneath (in the case of a submersible pump) or above the floor. It pumps out water that collects in the sump basin, discharging it to the outdoors.

You’ll never have to buy one if you purchase a house that never floods. And even if you do buy a house with a water problem, there may be several ways to correct it before resorting to a sump pump and pit. Should you decide to invest in one, put your money toward a model that is high-quality and well-reviewed—in fact, it may make sense to buy two or three!


7 Causes of Sump Pump Failure and What to Do

With all of this rain the past few days, the last thing you need is your sump pump to fail on you. It’s already happened to several homeowners in the area, and fortunately my company has been able to help those people out.

But prevention is always better than reaction.  This article will hopefully shed some insight on how to prevent your sump pump failing on you when you need it most.

If you have a basement in Indiana, then you know all about sump pumps. The problem is that these things fail all the time. While it’s not to say that we have a fool-proof method for preventing 100% of failures, there are certainly some tips you can follow to better your chances of a properly working sump pump


 

Home Inspection: What to Expect and What to Look for Before You Sign

Everyone I know is a bit skeptical when it comes down  to signing documents for home contractors, inspectors, insurance agents , etc. One of the reasons is that everyone is a bit afraid to sign.  Unless you know the contractor or home inspector, chances are you are dealing with a stranger you know nothing about.  You don’t know if they are trustworthy or competent, or whether they belong to an association where they have to follow a code of ethics. 

Asking some basic questions before you sign a contract can truly save you a lot of headaches later on.  You are the paying customer, ask them questions to make sure everyone is satisfied before the work begins.

For more about home inspectors, follow the links below.


Top home inspection deal breakers

A home inspection can be stressful for both parties. Almost every inspection comes back with at least some sort of repair and, most often, those problems are minor and easy enough to negotiate. However, there are some deal breakers that can cause buyers to run for the hills.

Mold

Erin Craft, home inspector with Destination Bay Home Inspections, says this is one of the biggest problems that can potentially kill a deal.

“We see this issue in attics, basements, or crawl spaces,” he said. “There is a lot of fear when it comes to mold, and we’ve had buyers stop us right in the middle of the inspection and say they are walking away. They see it as a huge risk, both to their health and their wallet.”

However, Craft says before ditching the deal, consider doing a bit more investigating, especially if it’s a home you really love.


Make sure you understand terms of service before paying a home inspector

I was buying a house and hired a home inspector. We went through the whole inspection, and I even paid him his fee. Then he gave me a form that indicated that he would not give me the written report unless I signed a document.

The document stated that I agreed that I could only get back the $400 I paid him in case there was a problem with the inspection or his report, or I could pay him an extra $1,500 and the cap would be eliminated. Don’t you think that he should have told me this before I hired him? He’s a member of ASHI.

We think it is highly questionable that a home inspector would spring those terms on you so late in the game. ASHI stands for the American Society of Home Inspectors, and they have a code of ethics. Among their code is a requirement for the home inspector to “act in good faith toward each client” and that ASHI inspectors should “avoid activities that harm the public, discredit themselves or reduce public confidence in the profession.”


Dear Monty: Agent tells home seller not to attend home

Q: We accepted an offer on our home. The contract is subject to a satisfactory home inspection. Our agent called to set up a time for the inspection and asked us to vacate the house. My thinking is that if there is some discovery made during the investigation that both parties observing will aid in understanding the issue. Do you agree with her suggestion?

A: Most of the states that regulate inspectors are seeking inspections that reveal “significant” material defects that negatively affect the value of the property or create a concern for safety that is not apparent at the times the buyer viewed the home. The customer can overlook the fact this is a pre-owned home. They sometimes compare a pre-owned home inspection with the “certified” used car. Most every home has a wart somewhere, which is the buyer’s responsibility unless the seller agreed to remove the wart as part of the contract. Education of all participants, which requires investing time, is a key to ensuring a home inspection goes smoothly.


 

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.


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.