Potential Household Disasters that are Easy—and Too Expensive—to Ignore

For most of us, it seems as if there either isn’t enough time or enough money to tend to every little item that needs repairing around our home.  Moreover, it’s easy when you notice the small things—like the slow-running drain or toilet, the water trickling out around the base of faucets, cracks in stucco, chipped caulk around windows, small water stains—to say to yourself, “I’ll get around to those pretty soon.”  But it’s remarkable how quickly “pretty soon” turns into weeks or months, and suddenly you find yourself facing a much bigger problem than you’d ever anticipated.

So, painful as it may be to spend the money now, it’s likely to be a much bigger savings over what you might find yourself shelling out later when that small issue becomes a larger one.  Let’s take a look at the warning signs that precede potential disasters, focusing on those areas where problems commonly show up.

Clogged Gutter_small

GUTTERS – Is rain water or melting snow spilling over the sides of your gutters and pooling around the base of your home?  This is a double-edged problem.  The gutters are probably clogged with dead leaves and other debris.  Left uncleared, the material begins to mold and rot, causing damage to the gutters.  And the water pooling on the ground, can cause your home’s siding to rot, mildew, or, in a worse-case scenario, there might be extensive damage to the foundation.  Not only is a gutter-cleaning in order, you might also want to consider extending the downspout further away from your house.

LAUNDRY ROOM/FACILITIES – Are you finding it takes your dryer two cycles before heavier fabrics such as towels are thoroughly dried?  This may be the result of a clogged dryer vent.  It’s important to clean the lint tray after each use, and it’s worth considering replacing plastic or foil vents with aluminum ones.  The smaller expense now is well worth it if it cuts down on your energy bill or prevents a fire later.

BATHROOMS AND DRAINS – Some bathroom issues are easy to spot.  Water pooling around a faucet or around toilets is clearly an indication of a leak.  Some of these are easy and inexpensive to fix, if they require little more than re-caulking or tightening connections.  Others are trickier.  A slow draining sink is obviously a problem (and pouring heavy-duty drain declogger down them rarely fixes the problem; at best, it simply postpones it), but other drainage issues often come without warning and can be disastrous.  Depending on the age of your home’s pipes, it’s possible you face the challenge of tree roots growing in through them, causing clogs you don’t even know about until the day that water backs up and floods the bathroom and points beyond.  It’s well worth the expense to have a plumbing company annually snake out your drains; it’s much cheaper than replacing carpeting or wooden flooring later!

ROOF – Naturally we don’t find ourselves up on top of our houses that often.  The first indications that there may be a problem up there is when we discover ceiling stains or dripping water during rainstorms or snow melts.  If you look closely, you might detect bowing in the roof, dampness or staining on attic ceilings or cracks in the masonry around the fireplace.  Regular roof inspection is critical, paying particular attention to broken or missing shingles and checking the flashing around chimneys.  Roofs take a beating, no matter where in the country you live, and when your roof is in peril, so is everything beneath it.

FIREPLACES – Have you noticed that the glass doors on your fireplace get especially sooty after every use?  Is there a smoky odor even when you haven’t had a fire in a while?  Is the air around the hearth cooler than elsewhere in your home?  A faulty damper permits drafts and allows heat to escape.  Smoky smells indicate a build-up of creosote, which prevents proper venting.  Crumbling masonry may be a sign that moisture is permeating your chimney flashing.  Untreated, these situations can cause anything from carbon monoxide poisoning to water damage to a devastating fire in your home.

These are just a few of those things that start out as minor problems but can quickly escalate into full-blown disaster.  And while it can be painful to the bank account to spend the money, the dividends it pays off down the road are well worth the short-term costs.

Remember, too, it’s easy to schedule a visit from a qualified craftsman at your local Handyman Matters location to give your home a thorough inspection, looking for indications of small problems waiting to become big ones.  An ounce of prevention today is worth the proverbial cure somewhere down the road.

Roof Repairs and your Home Winterization Checklist

Roof Repairs and your Winterization Checklist
A key part of the winterization process is to make sure that your home is prepared for a storm.  Perhaps it’s a monsoon, a blizzard, cooler temperatures, or just strong winds; preparing your home for the winter means to batten down the hatches.  Roofing can take the heaviest hit during the winter months, and if you ignore your home maintenance and roof repairs, you run the risk structural and interior home damage.

So how do you know what repairs to make?

  • Replace/Add Shingles Not all roof repairs need to be full overhauls.  Sometimes, a mere roofing inspection followed by the replacement of a few shingles will suffice.
  • Layer Cutoff However, the cut off point for just adding new layers of shingles to forego a roof replacement is 2 layers.  Once you hit 2 layers you are required by the International Residential Code to replace your roof.
  • Type of Shingle A roof replacement can also allow you the opportunity to opt for a heavier shingle.  Many store bought options are not optimal for roofs in high-wind areas.  If you notice your shingles blowing off, replace your roof with a sturdier shingle and cut out the regular repair costs.
  • Safety There’s a lot that can go wrong with an old roof.  Sagging and leaks can be symptomatic of larger structural issues.  Especially in higher snowfall areas, repairing compromised roofs before the weight of accumulated snow is important.  Ultimately, having a roof fall in on your house is way more problematic than the cost of roof maintenance.

While new roofs may be an expensive renovation, it’s one that can save you a lot of time, money, and stress repairing an outdated roof.  It’s these kinds of home maintenance investments that will ultimately improve the longevity of your home.  Call Handyman Matters today to get started on your roof repairs and winterization checklist, 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Wintertime Roof Repairs: Warning Signs and Solutions


Wintertime in much of the US is synonymous with snow. And where there’s snow – well a lot of things happen when there’s too much snow. While it may turn your home into a picturesque getaway, it can also cause costly damage. Our least favorite occurrence during blizzards, and the most dangerous, is collapsing roofs. Avoid wintertime disasters by knowing the signs to look for when it comes to roof damage.

Signs to look for…

  • Leaks – Internal leaks come from external cracks. If your roof is leaking, that means its structure has been compromised.
  • Sounds – While indoors, do you hear irregular creaks? Is the area of your doorways changing and causing doors to open on their own? These symptoms while small can indicate a very large problem, and may be reason to vacate your home immediately to avoid a collapse.
  • Sagging – This is probably the easiest way to tell that your roof is about to go. If it is sagging from the inside or outside, or if it’s bending any of the ceiling structure or pipes, that roof is on it’s way out.
  • Snow – More than a couple of inches of snow on any roof is not good. If you get caught in a snowstorm, be proactive and clear some snow from your roof when the weather clears up. Gradual buildup of snow and ice during the winter is the quickest way to ensure you are going to need a new roof.

Solutions for snow removal…

It’s all about being proactive. The best way to avoid costly roof repairs is to make sure your home is ready when there is severe weather on the horizon. Attic insulation can help roofs from becoming to cold, and causing ice to build up. Another solution is to keep your gutters clear. Ice buildup in gutters can cause a lot of extra weight as well as compromised draining as the snow begins to melt. Finally, after a snowstorm, raking your roof is the best way to relieve your home from extra roof tension. Roof rakes are even designed to be used from the safety of the ground, so don’t worry about walking on the roof when it’s icy out.

 

Severe weather is often a difficult event to prepare for. If your busy schedule isn’t allowing you enough time to prepare for winter storms – give Handyman Matters a call. Our craftsmen can take a look at your roof and help decide what your best solution would be – whether it’s replacing the roof altogether, adding insulation, or simply raking off old snow and ice, we have you covered. Give us a call today 866-FIX-MY-HOME, or head fill out our free estimate box at the top of this page.

 

 

Boosting Your Home’s Resale Value

Here are a handful of straightforward things you can do to increase your home’s appeal to potential buyers:

A green lawn is an enormous plus.  A weedy, crabgrass-filled lawn can be a quick turnoff.  It will take a few weeks, but it’s not hard to green your lawn.  It shows you care and cared for your house.  Well-placed shrubs, trees and flowers make a property much more inviting and hide things like meters, hoses, pipes and other outdoor detriments.

Paint or pressure-wash the exterior.  You can brighten up your walls with just a quick pressure washing that removes dirt, cobwebs, stain and mildew.  Painting is more involved and expensive, but will definitely add curb appeal.

Look closely at your driveway.  Does it have oil stains, spots, or simply look aged?  Again a pressure washing can work wonders.

Spruce up your entryway with a decorative glass door, nicely trimmed potted plants or shrubs and other attractive touches.  Remember:  95% of all home buyer purchases are heavily influence by a woman, and women will look more closely at these things.

Touch up interior paint and trim work.  Little dings, marks, scuffs and such will detract from your home’s value.  Homeowners tend to overlook the minor smudges they see every day.  A potential buyer walking into your house will spot them immediately.

Make sure that all appliances staying with the house are in top working order.

Have your carpets professionally cleaned.  Potential buyers will be looking at your place with the mindset of how much money and time they will have to put in to make it livable and homelike.  The more you can help them with that vision, they better off you will be.

Look closely for pest infestation of any kind.  Bring in an exterminator if you have even the slightest concern.

Have your home inspected.  Be sure to have the foundation, roof and plumbing checked out.  Being able to present the results of a positive inspection to potential buyers shows that you know you have a good, well-cared-for house.

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Choosing Which Roofing Material to Use for Your Home

Roofing-Materials Shingles are currently the most popular choice of roofing material in the U.S. And composite shingles are a good bet for durability and for protecting your home.

Composite Shingles

Composite shingle are made of asphalt. With their adhesive backing, they are easy to install. They stand up well in extreme weather (think rainstorms and hurricanes!) and can last from 30 to 50 years with occasional reinforcement. Composite shingles are also resistant to mold and algae growth. Additionally, they can be paired with almost any type of gutter, from galvanized to wood.

Metal Roofing

No roofing material has as much variety in price and type as metal roofing. It is available in galvanized iron or lead, as well as in elegant copper. It can be installed as sheets or shingles, both of which are suitable for steep roofs. Mechanically seamed metal, on the other hand, is ideal for gentle slopes. Contrary to popular thought, metal roofing does not absorb too much heat, making it ideal for tropical areas of the country.
Those who live in places which attract a lot of thunderstorms can feel safe with metal sheet roofing, because of its ability to disperse lightning. It is non-flammable, too. Metal roofing also appeals to home owners because of its low cost maintenance, though the more attractive materials are also more expensive. Roofing companies will generally guarantee 50 years of a secure roof for your home if you choose this material.

Tile and Slate Roofing

Roof tiles are usually made of slate, glazed ceramic and baked clay, and they top all the other roofing materials in terms of age and weight. Two factors discourage people from using tiles and slates—weight and price. Due to the heaviness of these materials, roofers must first ensure that your house has the necessary support structure to bear this weight. They are also considerably more expensive than most other materials. However, if your aim is for the classic look, then this is your choice. Tile and slate are fire resistant and sturdy and will typically last for generations.

Seamless metal gutters should pair off with slates very well, though keep in mind: You will need highly skilled roofers or roofing contractors to properly install this material.

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