Category: Home Improvement

Signs of Foundation Damage – When Do You Need Repairs?

Signs of Foundation Damage

Your house is your biggest investment, and just like a car or computer, it must be periodically checked to see if it needs maintenance. The foundation of your house – the base literally holding your house together – is the most important part of your house to examine and maintain. And just like a car, it is better to be preemptive than be stuck paying tens of thousands of dollars for not keeping up with the warning signs in the foundation of your home.

How do you know what the warning signs are? What is the difference between a 20 grand check and a quick inspection? In this article, we spoke with Anchor Foundation Repair of College Station, Texas, and we got the inside scoop on protecting the inside and outside of your house. We will go over the warning signs of a potentially faulty foundation, and when it’s time to call a foundation repair expert.

Foundation and Wall Cracks or Crumbling

Small, hairline cracks in the foundation of a new home, usually 1/16th of an inch, are very common and completely normal, and can usually be painted over with waterproof concrete paint. Vertical cracks in the foundation are also not necessarily an issue. However, horizontal cracks in the exterior of your home, especially ones with a zig-zag or “stair step” pattern or cracks that are bigger than ¼ inch, may be a warning sign of a foundation in need of repair. Protruding bricks are another indicator of a potentially serious foundation problem. Usually this is caused by weather and moisture, either inside the foundation, or in the outside soil. Cracks this big can and will get even bigger when water seeps in or pests find shelter in the cracks of your foundation. At this point, it’s time to call a foundation repair company.

Sinking or Settling Foundation

A little bit of even settling, especially in the first years after building a home, are normal. Houses also settle over time, and even a little bit of sloping aren’t necessarily serious. However, if you start to notice floors sinking, the center of your home sinking, jamming doors, uneven floors, warped ceilings, exposed gaps where walls meet, buckling walls, improperly fitting windows, and other signs of settling or sinking, your foundation needs to be inspected as soon as possible. You may also notice squeaky floors, especially in a house with a pier and beam foundation.

Rotten Wood or Damp Crawl Space in Pier & Beam Foundation

Water, moisture or dampness in the basement or crawl space may be another sign that your foundation is in trouble. If the moisture doesn’t a primary issue in the foundation, it may become a secondary one – moisture invites bigger cracks, which in turn invite more water, which is a vicious circle. Moisture in the basement, crawl space, or wood in a pier and beam foundation can invite termites which will wreak havoc on a pier and beam foundation.

If you live in an area with frequent rain or snow, you’re going to want a good drainage system. A sump pump, French drain, and/or surface drain may need to be installed to divert the water far away from your foundation and the soil near your house.

Sticking and Improperly Fitting Doors & Windows

All the windows and doors in your home should fit well. Doors and windows that need to be slammed or forced shut may be signs of foundation problems, and windows and doors that are too loose are poor insulators, meaning that either your heat or electricity bills will go up. Uneven or unlevel doors are another sign of possible foundation settling or sinking. This is another reason that having a foundation inspection is a good idea. The sticking of doors and windows may just be due to humidity, or it could be a foundation failure waiting to happen.

Walls Separating or Rotating from Rest of the House

If the exterior wall is separating or pulling away from your house, or you notice that a window or door is pulling away from the wall. You may also notice that even your kitchen cabinets or counters seem to be tilting or pulling away from the walls. If you notice any of these signs, you need to call a foundation repair company immediately, as this is a serious sign of foundation failure or impending foundation failure.

Tree Service Expert Weighs in On Symptoms of Tree Sickness

Signs of a Dead, Dying, or Dangerous Tree

Trees provide so much to our homes and businesses. Cooling shade, beautiful view, and our own piece of nature in the comfort of our back yard. But they can be a danger as well. When trees age, they suffer disease, dry rot, or a number of other conditions that put individual branches or even the whole tree at risk of falling. Of course, sometimes a tree fall is completely harmless, and this happens a lot according to the website. But other times, they can cause expensive property damage, serious injury, or even death.

Whether you tree is dead, dying, or otherwise dangerous, use these inspection tips to decide if it might be time to call in a professional arborist for pruning or removal.

Inspect the Whole Tree

Stand far away from the tree so that you can see the entire thing in one view, trunk to top. The first thing to look for is leaning. If the trunk has a very heavy lean, especially if you can see the roots pushing up earth on one side, then it is likely at risk of falling. Next, look for dead branches. If a branch is devoid of leaves when others are lush, or if it’s not dropping leaves in the fall, then chances are it’s dead. Assess the potential damage of each dead branch you spot. It doesn’t take more than a windy storm to send a branch hurtling, so anything the size of a baseball bat or larger needs to be pruned back for safety. You can learn more over at the Western New York Tree Services page.

Inspect the Bottom of the Tree

First, look at the earth directly surrounding the trunk. If the soil is cracked or pushed upwards, it could be a sign that the tree is uprooting itself. At the same time, keep your eye out for mushrooms or other fungus in this area. These are an early sign of root rot, which could destroy the structural integrity of the tree as a whole. Once a tree becomes weakened at the base, it is more prone to topple and can pose a serious risk to people and surrounding property.

Inspect the Trunk

Examine the trunk all around from top to bottom. You are looking for any signs that might indicate rot, disease, or other weaknesses. Large cracks or fissures in the tree could be indicative of a greater problem, and may require professional inspection in order to diagnose. Patches of missing bark often indicate dying wood beneath. Materials that look like sawdust, wood shavings, or tiny balls of sap are a sign of infestation—ants and beetles! 

Start with the big picture, move on to the base, and then look at the trunk top to bottom. Any signs of wear and tear should be examined by a professional arborist or tree company before a fallen tree leaves you with a world of regret.

3 Tips for Effective Snow Removal

3 Tips for Effective Snow Removal

Snow – it’s beautiful stuff, covering everything in a lovely, picture-postcard white blanket that makes it all cosy and wintery. But it’s also horrible stuff that, once you get outside in it and try to get to work, to the shops or wherever you want to go, makes life very difficult, and results in frayed tempers everywhere. Snowfalls can happen very quickly; you go to sleep one night and, in the morning, your driveway is blocked and your paths too, and the roads are chaos. Of course, we have great weather forecasts now, so we can prepare, but what can we do to remove snow quickly and efficiently?

Let’s have a look at three great tips that will help you clear that snow away in the best possible way:

Get a Good Shovel – or, to be more precise, invest in a couple of good shovels. The thing is, shovels for snow come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and each has its merits. There’s also the problem of the type of ground you need to clear, which can also influence your shovel. The recommended way to shovel snow away is to use a two-stage method: buy what is known as a ‘pusher’ – this is a wide, flat type of shovel – and clear the snow into piles using this.

Next, use a conventional shovel, or if you have rough ground one of the plastic variety you see around, to lift the snow away and deposit it where it is not in the way. Two people working together can make this cold, wet and uncomfortable job a lot quicker and easier!

Buy a Snow Thrower – it’s always your neighbour who gets one of these first, while you struggle on with your inadequate spade in the freezing cold! Snow Throwers are not expensive, they are very effective, and they can cut the time you need to spend toiling outside on cold winter mornings by a massive amount.

A snow blower works by moving the snow through propulsion; there are many different models offering various levels of performance, and some can move the snow a great distance. This is by far the most efficient way of clearing a drive or path – or even a garden or road – and is one that you will find does make your life a lot easier. If you are in the market for one, you can check out some of the best snow blowers here.

Remember the Roof – snow settles on rooves and is often forgotten about; this can lead to damage as a thick layer of snow can be very heavy and, when it begins to thaw, can lead to further damage, too. You need a good roof rake – one that can reach a long way – to keep all your roof areas cleared of snow on a regular basis.

There’s nothing we can do but accept that snow is going to be a problem, but what we can do is have the tools to be prepared for it, and we hope we have helped with our useful tips.