Category Archives: basement waterproofing

What to Inspect Before Purchasing a New Home

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Some new homeowners have had to learn the hard way that there are some very important things to check before signing papers on a new home. Avoiding costly repairs upon first moving in is essential. Don’t assume that you are buying a newer home and there will not be any problems.  You could spend several hundred to thousands of dollars if you are negligent, but if you educate yourself as to what to look for you, could put that money back in your pockets. We are going to discuss crucial things to check to determine your potential home’s quality before you commit to signing the papers.

The Structure

The structure of your potential home will tell you a lot about the quality in which it was built. Check the floors by walking around in your stocking feet to feel for sags and slopes. You don’t want to feel excessive sag or notice that the floor slopes towards a wall. Check the ceiling for any cracks. This can indicate movement from the floor above or wall where the ceiling intersects. Even a small crack can grow causing structural problems. Door frames should be square and should not have cracks running diagonally to the ceiling. When inspecting the exterior walls be sure that none of the walls are out of plumb and any cracks on the interior are not showing up on the outside of the wall.

Water Control

When looking at a new home, pay special attention to the grade of the lot. The home should be at the highest point on the lot with the ground sloping away from it. Do the gutters, downspouts and drainage pipes carry excess water away from the home? Check for water stains along the wall and the floors. If you smell a musty or damp smell, there is most likely and issue with water drainage. If there is flaking or peeling on any concrete, brick or stone in the home that indicates water getting into the surface and you should be alarmed. If the yard has sprinklers, are they working properly or are there broken heads or a possible leak?

The Roof

Having to repair your entire roof after buying a new home can be very costly. Your roof protects your home from so many weather elements that you want to make sure it is performing to the best of its ability. Leaking in the attic after rain or an ice dam forming could mean it has inadequate shingle underlayment and deteriorating flashing. If any shingles are missing, curled or cracked your roof could be near the end of its life cycle. If the shingles are inconsistent in color and have dark or dirty looking areas it is caused by the loss of granules due to the roofs age.

Plumbing

The plumbing of your potential home should never be overlooked. Find out if there are any lead pipes in the home. If the home was built before 1986, it may have lead or galvanized plumbing. If you have children, you may not want to live in a home that has lead pipes. Your water pressure is determined by the size of the water pipes. If you prefer adequate water pressure, like most of us, you want the lines to be ¾ of an inch to one inch from the main water source and the diameter should be at least a ½ an inch. Make sure that the water heater is big enough to accommodate your needs depending on your family size. If you have a family of 4 you should have at least a 40 gallon tank. If the water heater has signs of corrosion or the buildup of mineral deposits it could mean the tank has a short life to live. Check all of the kitchen and bathroom faucets for leaks and drips. Don’t forget to check underneath the sinks as well for leaking pipes. Flush every toilet in the home to ensure they refill correctly. Lastly, turn on the shower in the room farthest from the home’s water source and evaluate the temperature and water pressure. Ask questions about the sewer system and whether it is connected to a municipal sewer system or a septic tank. Look for signs of seepage and odors if there is a septic tank. Septic tanks can be very expensive to repair so having this fixed prior to closing will say your potentially thousands of dollars.

Electrical Systems

The wiring of your home should be grounded and in good working order before purchasing a home.  Outlets should be inspected to make sure that they have a ground and don’t have any cracks or other defects. They should have proper tension to hold cords that are plugged in and that they are the proper type for that area of the home. Any areas that could get wet or damp such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages or outdoor outlets are required to have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) installed.

HVAC

Did you know that the cost of a new furnace, including ductwork, can run $5,000 to $7,000? I bet you would pay special attention to it when considering purchasing a new home. Whether it is blistering hot out our extremely cold, it is imperative to test each heating and cooling system on your potential new home. The ducts of your HVAC system are like the veins running throughout your body. They carry heated and cooled air to different rooms of the home. If you ductwork is shoddy at best, your energy costs will rise and the system will also not operate efficiently. Inadequate ventilation in your home can lead to allergies, moisture and other problems.

Fireplace

If you home has a fire place or wood burning stove, be sure to inspect it. You want to examine the masonry on the chimney and check the mortar between the bricks and stone to make sure it is intact. Shine a flashlight down the chimney to look for mortar crumbling. Look for dented or rusted metal or missing screw at any joints. If you notice an accumulation of creosote it can cause dangerous chimney fires and must be removed immediately.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate.

 

 

Protect Yourself from Storm Chasers

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When major storms leave damage to your home, it can be tempting to work with the first contractor that comes knocking on your door, the company that promises you a new roof by the
end of the week, or the lowest bidder.  However, not educating yourself about who you are working with can have serious consequences.  In the construction industry, the term “storm chasers” are those that travel to areas affected by storms and approach those in need of assistance with repairs.  Oftentimes, they require cash up-front in exchange for quick repairs.

Unlike reliable contractors, storm chasers will offer to act as the sole contact with a homeowner’s insurance company.  If a homeowner signs documents authorizing a storm chaser to act as sole contact with an insurance company, their insurance settlement check may be made out to the storm chaser, not the home owner.  If this happens, the homeowner relinquishes the right to withhold payment if work is not completed in the manner that was agreed to.  The storm chaser is then free to use subpar materials & or even leave the job incomplete because they have already received full payment.

Oftentimes, storm chasers do not carry insurance policies, leaving the homeowner at risk.  If a roofer is injured while working on your home and the contractor they are working for does not have insurance, their medical bills may become the responsibility of the home owner.
Another area where storm chasers fall short is warranties.  Most roofing materials have warranties to protect the homeowner.  However, warranties are void if the roofing was installed incorrectly.  If you’re dealing with a storm chaser that has no permanent address, it’s difficult to receive support if the product they installed malfunctions before the end of its intended lifespan.  A local contractor has a reputation to uphold and will likely do everything to rectify the situation if something goes wrong with a product down the road.  Their contracts often offer very specific terms that they are likely to honor.

10 Signs You May Be Dealing With a Storm Chaser

1)      The company solicits business door to door and shows up right after storm damage has occurred.

2)      They offer you a way to not have to pay your insurance deductible.  (This is insurance fraud.)

3)      Contracts are vague and do not state exact dollar amounts & are encouraged to be signed prior to meeting with your insurance adjuster

4)      They do not provide evidence of having insurance or a construction license number.

5)      You are responsible for obtaining the building permit.

6)      Unmarked vehicles or a vehicle with only a magnet that states the company name.

7)      No local references are available.

8)      Offers a price that seems too good to be true.

9)      Uses a PO box as their address.

10)  Out of area license plates and/or driver’s licenses.

In addition to the harm they can cause a local homeowner, storm chasers can be detrimental to the local economy.  Why?  Storm chasers often cut corners on things like insurance and materials, likely making them the cheapest contractor to work with.  If this happens repeatedly, it can make it difficult for legitimate contractors to have market share, causing them to go out of business.  This, in turn, provides the consumer with fewer places locally when a home repair is needed.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate for your home improvement needs today!

Add Square Footage by Finishing Your Basement!

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Filed under Andy Lindus, basement waterproofing, Construction, Energy Efficient Homes, Home Construction, Home Maintenance, Home Safety, Lindus Construction, Midwest LeafGuard, Remodeling, WCCO, WCCO Home Improvement Show
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Deciding whether or not to finish your basement is an important consideration. Some people view a finished basement as a total necessity and others view it as a major nuisance. Basement remodeling is one of the best kept secrets of space expansion. It is prime remodeling territory from a financial investment as well as improving your quality of living. According to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report, a basement project typically costs about $64,500 and returns about 70 percent of the original cost. If you own a 2000 square foot home and finish your basement, you may get 1000 square feet of extra space. That’s a 50 percent increase in space. As a result, that extra space increases the market value of your home substantially. Below is why finishing your basement should be top priority on your next to-do list.

Income
Do you need to add more income to your household to add more flexibility in your current lifestyle? Finishing your basement can add to your income. Basement apartments are very popular these days because people are downsizing from their current living spaces. Many basements rent at 75% of the cost of your monthly mortgage, quickly offsetting the upfront cost of finishing the space. Also, finishing your basement offers the best price per square foot of any home remodeling project.

Comfort
Finishing your basement can offer your whole family a more comfortable living space by staying nice and cool in the summer and toasty in the winter. Having a finished basement will offer you a room in your home that is very energy efficient compared to any other room in your home saving on added energy bills that an addition would cost. Unlike your main level living space, your open basement offers you a blank slate in choosing a floor plan that you wish you had on your main levels such an extra bathroom or possibly an added bedroom or two. Many people would agree that they would prefer to spend time in their finished basement than any other room in their home.

Family & Entertaining
If you have your extended family in town a lot or you are the entertainers of your group of friends, finishing your basement will allow your family to have separate living quarters whether they are there for the weekend or the month. Having a space where you and your friends can congregate to watch football on Sundays on your big screen or adding a pool table and a bar to entertain on the weekends is also an added bonus.

Storage
Do you wish you had more storage in your home? If so, finishing your basement to be the creative and organized haven you desire is right at your fingertips. Finishing your basement will provide you more storage and shelving space.

Resale Value
Many consumers in the home buying market will tell you that having a finished basement in a prospective home will make or break their will to purchase it. A lot of people don’t want to finish a basement themselves and want that added living space to already exist in their future home. The benefits from a resale point of view far outweigh the cost associated with completing the job. According to annual surveys by Remodeling Online, homeowners who spend $50,000 on major basement remodeling can expect to add just under $40,000 to their home’s resale value, or recoup 79.3 percent of their investment.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate for your home improvement needs today!

Basement Waterproofing 101

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Filed under Andy Lindus, basement waterproofing, Construction, cracked foundation, Home Construction, Home Maintenance, Home Safety, Inc., Jesse Trebil, Lindus Construction, Remodeling, Safe Basements, Wall anchoring, WCCO, WCCO Home Improvement Show, Wet basements
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Basement Waterproofing

Have you had a water problem for a long time in your basement or has one just started? There are many reasons as to why and how water gets in your basement. Below are some of the most common culprits.

  • Cracks in your masonry
  • Leaking pipes
  • Inadequate sump pump
  • Improper positioning of downspouts that allows water to congregate near your foundation instead of away from it
  • Poor grading around your foundation
  • Seepage from window wells

Waterproofing your basement is one of the best ways you can increase your property value of your home. It will also improve your living
experience and prevent damaging moisture from entering your home. By waterproofing your home, you are taking the steps to be proactive instead of reactive and reduce your chances of a serious repair in your future. By waterproofing your home you are protecting it from access moisture which can destroy your foundation, basements walls and let’s not forget your belongings. There are a few different ways that you can waterproof your basement which are below.

  • Interior Waterproofing – A cutting-edge device being used for interior waterproofing today is an interior drain tile system. It lowers the water table far below the basement floor. It is designed to collect and redirect water away from your home.
  • Exterior Waterproofing – Captures the water before it enters your home. The drain tile is now on the outside of your foundation which acts as a piping system to collect and redirect subsurface water that moves down through the soil. This would not be the ideal option for you if you have an existing home because it can be very costly and an interior waterproofing system would fit your needs a lot better.
  • New Construction Waterproofing – Consider using both interior and exterior drain tile systems when building your new home. This can sometimes be an area that is overlooked and you could end up having a water issue in your brand new home.
  • Crack Injection – Cracks appear in your foundation when there is sufficient hydrostatic pressure surrounding the foundation of your home. Crack injection is a permanent affordable solution for many homeowners when your poured concrete walls crack and develop a slow leak. Common products used to seal the cracks are injection epoxies, polyurethane foams and grouts.
  • Yard and Downspout Drains – The whole idea of this approach is to keep the water away from your home to avoid a water problem in the first place. A down spout drain is one of the single most important rainwater drainage systems.

Wall Anchoring

There are many reasons that can cause your foundation to start failing. Excessive hydrostatic pressure, soil shifting and even seasonal changes can cause it to deteriorate. Here are some of the signs that you can look for to see if you might be experiencing foundational problems.

  • Tilting and leaning chimneys
  • Floors that are not level and uneven
  • Cracks in drywall and plaster walls
  • Cracks in exterior brick or concrete
  • Windows and doors not closing properly
  • Bowing and leaning basement walls
  • Stair step cracks in basement and crawlspace walls
  • Nail heads popping through drywall and plaster

No need to worry because you can fix these problems with wall anchors. Wall anchors are plates and steel rods used to stabilize your walls and counteract hydrostatic pressure that is being exerted against your foundation wall.  Wall anchors can be used in various places and rod extenders can help to preserve your deck, concrete, flower beds and landscaping. When hydrostatic pressure builds up around your basement walls, or the soil expands with water saturation, it can push against your wall and cause bowing. The anchors will hold the wall in its current condition and have the ability to be tightened down further when the soil outside the wall shrinks.

Jesse Trebil Foundation Systems, Inc. of MN specializes in all types of basement and foundation repair, waterproofing and basement drain systems for Central Minnesota and the Twin Cities area. They offer guaranteed solutions for faulty basements and bad foundations. They are equipped to solve all of these problems, no matter how big or small.
They are a licensed and insured general contractor, radon mitigating and official dealer of the Safe Basements® product line. All of their crews have gone through extensive training and have been certified as foundation repair specialists by Jesse Trebil himself.

Whether it’s basement waterproofing, cracked or bowing walls, settling foundation or new construction, they offer guaranteed permanent solutions to fill your needs. Visit them online to learn more about how they can make your basement a safe area to enjoy at www.safebasements.com.

Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home estimate.

Is That Mold in My Home?

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What is Mold?
Molds are forms of fungi that are found naturally in the environment. There are 100,000 different kinds. Mold can be a variety of different colors ranging from green, black, white, brown and orange and also have a fuzzy or slimy texture. In order to grow, mold needs moisture and a food source. Food sources for mold are wood, insulation, cloth, vinyl wallpaper and drywall to name a few, but mold can grow on almost anything if there is a damp spot. Mold makes spores which travel through the air in your home. Unfortunately mold prefers temperatures that humans prefer, so our homes can be an ideal spot for it to grow.

Do You Have a Water Problem in Your Home?

If you have experienced any short or long term water problems in your home, mold growth is likely to occur. Things to look for to see if you have a water problem are water stains or discoloration of your walls, floors or ceilings in your home. If you notice this, chances are there is mold growing behind these materials. If your walls are bowed, warped or bulging and/or your paint or wallpaper is bubbling, peeling or cracking mold could exist. If you are aware that you have leaking pipes or ceiling you know you have a water problem, but just because you do not see mold at first sight does not mean it is not trying to grow or already exists. When mold grows from leaks in your home, it can often be hidden and out of view. If your home has ever flooded, due to weather or a pipe that burst, and you didn’t consider that mold could have grown you need to recheck the area of saturation.

How Do You Know If You Have A Mold Problem?

Mold has a pungent smell. People tend to use the words “musty” or “earthy” when describing the smell of mold similar to what you would smell if you were walking in the woods. If the mold is in one area of your home you may notice an unpleasant smell coming from that area.  Sometimes the mold might not be visible because it could be within your walls, but if you smell an unusual persistent smell the culprit could be mold. If you start having an issue with allergies and your symptoms seem to be worse when you are at home than anywhere else you could have mold in your home. Visible mold growth might seem like an obvious sign, but sometimes people don’t notice small amounts of mold and think it is dirt. Most people, when they think of mold, assume that it would be green or black in color and that is where the misconception of having a mold problem can become dangerous. Mold is similar to a chameleon and it can take on many different colors and textures.

Control Mold Growth in Your Home

  • Clean and repair you roof and gutters regularly
  • Prevent water from entering or collecting in your foundation by making sure the ground slopes away from your home
  • If possible keep your humidity level in your home below 60%. The ideal range would be between 30% – 50%
  • Increase the ventilation and air movement in your home by using fans or opening windows and doors
  • Use exhaust fans, that vent out of your home,  when using the shower or cooking in your kitchen
  • Ventilate and dehumidify attics, crawl spaces and basements
  • A wet surface in your home that is not taken care of can start growing mold within 24-48 hours

 

How Can Mold in Your Home Affect Your Health?

Molds naturally exist outdoors and indoors, living in a totally mold-free environment is practically impossible. Mold produces spores that are invisible to the human eye and travel through the air. Molds produce allergens, irritants and sometimes toxins that may cause adverse reactions in humans. A reaction to mold depends on how much a person is exposed to, the age of the person and a person’s sensitivities or allergies. The same amount of mold may cause health effects in one person, but not in another. If you are predisposed to allergies and asthma, the effect of living around mold can increase the severity drastically. Some of the common symptoms of being around mold and reacting to it can be,
•    Skin rashes
•    Eye irritation
•    Cough & Congestion
•    Fever & Flu-like symptoms
•    Fatigue
•    Frequent nose bleeds
•    Headaches & Dizziness
•    Increased risk for infection

How to Properly Remove Mold from Your Home

People can react to mold whether it is living or dead, so making sure mold is cleaned out of your home properly is very important. If you decide to try and clean up mold by yourself there are some very important precautions to be aware of to ensure there is no danger to your health and that you are getting rid of the mold and not just what you can see on the surface. You are going to want to wear a respirator so that you are not breathing in mold spores since they are invisible to the naked eye. Also wear protective glasses, rubber gloves and be sure to wash your clothing immediately after you are done. To minimize the number of spores becoming air bound dampen the molding area first. If your mold problem is on a hard surface such as plastic, glass, metal or counter tops you can scrub it away with a pad using non-ammonia soap or detergent. No matter what you might read on the internet do not mix ammonia and bleach because combined they produce toxic fumes. If your mold problem exists on paper, drywall or carpet you must discard these items from your home because it is impossible to clean all of the mold out of materials such as these. For cleaner areas you can use a concoction of ½ cup of bleach to 1 gallon of water, but for more soiled surfaces you will want to increase your concentration to 1 ½ cups of bleach per gallon of water. Be sure to rinse any area you are using bleach on with clean water after you are done and be sure to rapidly dry the area completely and the use of a fan or dehumidifier will inhibit mold from growing there again.

If the mold in your home covers more than 10 square feet, you should consider hiring a professional to come in and clean it. If hiring a professional you should go to the Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov and read their articles and research they have already completed for your reference. They provide many websites and organization to contact regarding hiring a professional. You can also refer to the EPA’s guidance document on “Mold Remediation in Schools and Commercial Buildings” even if the mold problem is in your home. Many fire and flood restoration companies also provide mold remediation services so make sure to check those out too. There are so many certifications out there dealing with mold remediation that you need to make sure you do your homework and research which organization they are affiliated with. When mold is present, it is a time sensitive issue because of how fast it reproduces so make sure to put it on your top priority list.

After you have your mold problem remediated we would be happy to come in and help you restore your home to its natural beauty. Call us now at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at www.lindusconstruction.com to schedule a free in-home. Tune into AM 830 WCCO on Saturdays from 9:00-10:00am hosted by Denny Long and Andy Lindus to ask questions regarding your home improvement projects.