Winterize Your Vacation Cabin

No doubt your vacation home has brought you hours of enjoyment over the last year. But because you don’t live in it year-round, sometimes it’s hard to remember that even vacation homes need routine maintenance. To get your cabin in the woods (or by the lake) ready for winter, check these important systems and structures.

Insulate the Pipes

Cabins and log homes Tustin MI are no strangers to burst pipes. The problem is you may be weeks away from knowing it happened. Make sure all your outside pipes are properly insulated even if you expect to be back by the next freeze because plans, and Mother Nature, change.

Close Cracks and Holes

Mice love to sneak into the tiniest holes while you’re away, so complete a thorough check for cracks and holes. Plug small apertures with masonry repair material. Check the seals on your garage and attic doors as well. Remember that mice won’t have anything better to do besides chew themselves a door.

Service the Heater

Right before it gets cold is a great time to service the HVAC system and water heater in your vacation home. There is nothing worse than arriving for the holidays and finding either one broken with snow blowing outside. Set the thermostat at 65 to keep the indoor pipes from freezing and so the system won’t have to work too hard to heat the cabin when you arrive.

Replace Batteries

Before you head home, replace the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Clean the Gutters

Gutters filled with leaves and water have the potential for freezing and causing damage to the gutters themselves or the roof if they build up. Leaves may fall while you’re away from your vacation home, but it’s better to start the season clean.

The best feeling is arriving at your cabin with nothing to do but unpack and enjoy a cup of hot cocoa while you watch the snow falling. Don’t ruin the start of your vacation with chores you could have done at the end of last season.

House Flipping Need To Knows

The real estate industry is becoming a popular place for people to get into. Many construction workers and laborers have found ways to buy and flip homes for a living. There are things you should know and be prepared for though if find this to be something you want to try and do. Here are some important components of a house that can cost a lot of money and time when needing repair.

Roof

The roof is something that many prospective buyers will want to know information about. If a roof is getting old, it could cause serious issues and leaks in the house. This may lead to bigger repair bills down the road. Not all people can do this type of work, so make sure before that the roof has been checked before you buy a potential flip home.

Septic

The septic is inspected before someone purchases home because it’s expensive to fix and can cause health issues if it’s broken. There is a lot of labor involved with digging parts of it up to be replaced. Whether it’s a drain field or holding tank may cause the price to vary as well. Most people will not buy a home without a good septic inspection because it has the potential for issues, and they don’t want to think about having to deal with them now or in the future.

Foundation

The foundation is important because it’s the base of the home. A leaking or cracked foundation can be a hazard for the occupants and cause other issues like water damage. Knowing a good basement repairs company that can fix those problems before you try and flip a house is a smart relationship to establish. They can make the process easier and cheaper than you thought it would be.

There is a lot of money in the housing market. You need to be aware of all the repairs you may face before you try to sell a home though.

3 Great Ways to Add Unique Curb Appeal to Your Home

Wondering how you can spruce up your yard and make it more eye-catching? Here are three unique ways to add some major curb appeal to your home.

1. Install Window Boxes

If you want a quick way to add some color to your yard, consider installing some simple window boxes beneath the windows of your home’s façade. For homes with a more traditional style, boxes made from iron or copper provide a classic look. If your home features a more rustic or cottage-like look, boxes made of wood are the perfect complement. Treat the wood with a paint or stain and fill the boxes with blooming annuals or perennials that work with the lighting conditions of the area.

2. Create Living Borders

What should you do with unsightly property lines? Instead of leaving these areas bare, give them some visual interest and color by planting floral borders. When creating a floral border, choose plants that will give the area some year-round color. In addition to blooming bulbs which add color in the warmer seasons, include some herbaceous plants and berry bushes like winterberry holly to add pops of color even when the weather is cool.

3. Light the Landscape

Since you’ve put in plenty of hard work to update the landscaping of your yard, you need to showcase that work with quality landscape lighting. The experts in landscape lighting Elyria OH will develop a strategy to highlight the unique features of your plantings, as well as the architectural features of your home’s exterior. This finishing touch makes your home look much more attractive and charming, especially after the sun goes down.

Distinguish your home from the rest of the neighborhood by taking on these great curb appeal projects. If you follow these tips and make these improvements, you’ll create lasting curb appeal that reflects the pride you take in your home.

Tips to Find a Quality Stucco Contractor

Installing stucco on your home’s façade is a great way to protect and to increase your home’s curb appeal. While this is true, stucco installation is not a DIY job.

If you are interested in this finish, hiring a professional stucco contractor Hilliard OH is a must. However, since they are not all created equal, it is up to you to find the right person for the job. Keep reading for some tips to help you make this important decision.  

Get Recommendations

When searching for a contractor, the first step is to ask others who they have used in the past. Take time to speak to anyone who has stucco on their home to find out about the local provider they used. It is smart to create a list of options.

Learn More About the Recommended Options

The next step in this process is to learn more about each of the local contractors on your list. Find out how long they have offered services in the local area, look at past projects, and find out if they are licensed and insured. Remember, it is up to you to weed out the subpar contractors, so be sure to take your time with this step.

Get Estimates

Before hiring anyone, be sure to get two to three estimates for the work that needs to be done. Ask for the estimates in writing so you can compare them line by line. The key is to find the contractor who offers the most value, which means you may not hire the contractor offering the lowest price.

If you want to ensure that the stucco job exceeds your expectations, use the tips and information here. This will help you feel confident with the decision you ultimately make and ensure that the curb appeal you want is achieved.

Fire Pit Safety Tips

A backyard fire pit is a great addition to any home. It offers countless hours of outdoor entertaining, relaxation and even outdoor cooking. It’s a spot where family and friends can gather and memories can be made. Ignoring fire safety measures, however, can send the good times up in smoke. Backyard fire pits and outdoor heaters accounted for approximately 5,300 injuries in the U.S. in 2017. To keep loved ones and property safe, follow these fire safety tips.

Heed No-Burn Notices

Sometimes environmental factors may warrant a temporary ban on outdoor burning, and in those instances local governments may issue no-burn alerts. Whether it’s due to wildfire concerns during excessively dry periods or unhealthy air quality levels, it’s important to know the conditions, and any corresponding alerts, before starting a fire.

Limit Sparks

While the crackling and popping sounds of burning wood adds to the ambiance, it also releases embers into the air which could start fires when landing on trees, plants, buildings and individuals. Reducing these sparks is made much easier when using a screen. These mesh coverings are ideal for keeping embers from escaping and also preventing people and pets from falling into an open flame. Coverings are available for any type of fire pit, so simply search online for a custom fire pit screen to keep your family safe.

Use the Right Wood

Many individuals make the mistake of assuming that all wood burns the same, and that line of thinking can increase the risk of both wildfires and health concerns. Seasoned, dry hardwoods such as oak and walnut are ideal, as they burn hotter and cleaner. Cedar, pine and other softwoods do not burn as efficiently, resulting in more sparks and smoke, which can worsen breathing conditions for individuals with asthma, COPD and other respiratory issues. Most importantly, however, is to avoid burning pressure-treated lumber, plywood and other construction waste. These products contain harmful chemicals that result in toxic smoke.

Backyard fire pits are a great source of fun. Just follow these tips to stay safe.

3 Smart Curb Appeal Projects for Your Investment

Wondering how you can improve the appearance of your home without breaking the bank? In order to make your improvements a worthwhile endeavor, you need to be sure that they make financial sense. Here are three curb appeal-boosting renovation projects that will provide you with an excellent return on your investment.

1. Upgrade Your Exterior Walls

Instantly set your home apart from the rest by giving your exterior walls an updated look. One of the best aesthetic upgrades you can make to your home is the installation of rock veneer. This upgrade is especially effective when installed around your entry doors. It really sets them off from the rest of the house, turning these areas into great focal points. Get the most up-to-date look with the help of professional installation of rock veneer Phoenix AZ.

2. Refresh Your Front Door

Give your guests a warm welcome by updating your front door. You can give your current door a fresh coat of paint or stain or replace it entirely for the most dramatic transformation. If you choose to replace the door entirely, don’t worry – this upgrade can really enhance the value of your home.

3. Install a New Garage Door

Swapping out your current garage door with a more modern option is a renovation project that’s known for its high return on investment. To make the most of this improvement, choose a quality door and don’t skimp on the hardware – steel handles and hinges will give your door a modern look, while something like beaten iron lends a more rustic air to the door. Be sure to choose a look that goes with the overall style of your home’s exterior.

Investing in your home’s curb appeal shows your friends and neighbors that you take pride in your home. Follow these tips and you’ll make smart fixes that will enhance your home’s value.

Home Buyers in the Florida Keys: You May Need a Wood-Destroying Organisms Report

If you are buying or selling a residence, you may need a wood destroying organisms report Florida Keys.  Because of the wet and humid climate of the Florida Keys, this report is often required by a mortgage lender. In Florida, these inspections can only be conducted by a specially-trained, state-certified Wood-destroying organism (WDO) inspector, who must carry a card identifying that they are WDO certified. A WDO report is often termed a “Termite Letter” or a “Clearance Letter”.

What’s Covered in the WDO Inspection

The following WDOs are mandated to be listed on the report if evidence for them is found:

  • Live termites or other WDOs
  • Wood-destroying fungi
  • Any evidence of termites, wood-destroying fungi, or other WDOs
  • Any damage caused by WDOs
  • Ant previous treatment of the wooden parts of the structure for WDOs

Interestingly, pests such as carpenter ants and carpenter bees do not have to be reported in Florida.

What Does the WDO Report Tell the Home Buyer

It’s important that the buyer knows what is covered in the report and what is not. If any of the five conditions mentioned above are not found, then a “Clear” report will be issued. This means that no evidence of WDO infestation or damage was observed at the time of the inspection. It does not mean that the parties involved can be absolutely sure that no problem exists, just that it was not detected. 

Key Take Away Points

As you engage in the assessment of wood damage in a prospective property, keep the following in mind:

  • Make sure that you have a card-carrying WDO inspector
  • Don’t rely on the report alone
  • Be present when the inspection is carried out
  • Obtain the documentation regarding the inspection
  • Carry an active WDO protection contract after purchasing the building

Property damage is no fun to deal with, In the case of wooden structures in the Florida Keys, a clear termite report can give you peace of mind.

What You Need To Know About Sewage Backups

Imagine a lovely quiet evening at home by the fire with dinner in the oven and children playing quietly in their rooms.  Suddenly, a blood-curdling scream is heard coming from the bathroom. What is the cause of this commotion?  A sewage backup! Now, what will the homeowners do?

Blockages

First, the homeowners are going to run into the bathroom to get a good look at the backup.  Then they will check for blockages and, if possible, clear them, so the backup stops.  If they are unable to find the blockage or are unable to clear it, a plumber may be needed. After clearing the blockage, the plumber may make some recommendations on further action like pipe cleaning or a drain scope Beverly Hills MI

Pictures

The damage caused by a sewage backup is not a pretty sight.  It may seem like an odd thing to document in pictures, but it could be important. A call to the insurance agent may reveal that homeowner’s insurance covers repairs. Since most people are not interested in waiting for an insurance adjuster to arrive before they clean-up, make sure to take some pictures.  Maybe a selfie or two?

Maintenance

Routine maintenance of sewer pipes can help avoid messy and potentially costly clean-up and repairs.  Several things can impact sewer pipes and the ability for waste to flow freely out of the home.  Shifting and settling soils, severe weather events, and tree roots can all cause breaks or breaches in the pipe.  Grease and debris can also build up in the pipe.  Consider speaking with a plumber to help develop a maintenance plan to keep the pipe in good shape and to identify potential problems early.

Dealing with a sewer backup is something people would like to avoid.  Regular maintenance of sewer pipes can help avoid backups.  If one occurs, remember to take pictures and check the insurance.

3 Ways To Protect Yourself from Expensive Hurricane Damage Repair Bills

Is your home ready for the next big storm? One of the most important things you can do before a storm is to prepare your home. Here are three things you can do to protect your home and prevent costly hurricane damage repair bills.

1. Rethink Your Roof

What kind of roof does your home have? Each roof type has its own level of hurricane resistance. Shingles put up the weakest fight in strong wind. Tile and flat roofs offer a little more resistance but are still susceptible to damage. The most resilient roofing option is metal. If your home’s current roof does not offer much protection from high winds, consider contacting roofing contractors in Daytona Beach FL to get an estimate for a stronger roof or to have your current one inspected.

2. Bulk Up Doors & Garage Doors

While it’s often the last thing people think of when hurricane-proofing their home, installing a heavy, impact-resistant door can protect you and your home’s interior from damage. These tough doors can stop projectiles in their path and save you from having to clean up a costly mess once the storm passes. The same is true for your garage door. The sturdier the door, the better protected your home is.

3. Secure Your Windows

In high winds, flying debris is common and standard glass windows are vulnerable to damage. To protect your home, there are a few things you can do. The least costly option is to cover your windows with plywood before every storm, which can be time-consuming and frustrating. To save yourself hassle before every storm, you may opt to install hurricane shutters, which are more expensive, but easier to use. If you prefer effortless storm protection, impact glass windows may be the best option for you. Impact glass windows can withstand strong winds and debris with minimal effort, but they might take a bigger chunk out of your budget.

A little proactive legwork now can save you from costly repair bills when storms blow through. Take these three things into consideration when planning for the next hurricane season.

Complete these Projects Before Summer Ends

It may seem like summer will never end, but the truth is that cooler weather will be here before you know it. This means you should make time to complete some of those high priority projects around the home before fall sets in, such as these ones below. 

Gutters

Your gutters play an important role in protecting your home and its structural integrity. By keeping them in good condition, your gutters will be able to direct water, dirt, and other debris away from your home so that your foundation stays intact. If your gutters are in disrepair, consider a gutter replacement St Louis to ensure you keep your home properly protected. 

Landscaping

You likely completed some landscaping work at the beginning of the season to prep your home for summer. However, as the weather changes and you prepare for colder weather, you’ll have to weatherize your plants and other landscaping to ensure they last the winter months. Start prepping to get your landscaping ready now so you don’t find yourself short on time at the end of the season. 

Sealant Repairs

If you haven’t had a chance to get around to sealing those cracks, gaps, and other areas around your home where your home is exposed to energy loss and unwanted pests, now is the time to get that project checked off your list. As the weather cools down, bugs and other unwanted critters will begin to look for shelter from the elements, and your home is a perfect space. Sealing off those areas of your home can deter them from an infestation. As an added bonus, you’ll also protect your home from energy loss, which can save you hundreds of dollars throughout the years on your heating and cooling bills. 

If you can get these projects done while the weather is still cooperative, you’ll be in good shape for those cold, harsh months ahead.