Exterior – CheckThisHouse https://www.checkthishouse.com Home maintenance, remodeling, repair, and improvement tips for your property Thu, 29 Oct 2020 11:19:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.16 How to Inspect Your Home to Avoid Wildlife Pest Infestations https://www.checkthishouse.com/9530/how-to-inspect-your-home-to-avoid-wildlife-pest-infestations.html Mon, 19 Oct 2020 11:53:05 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9530 If you are a homeowner, chances are you have thought about or had experiences with pest problems. If you are lucky, you have never had a pest infestation. Pest infestations, especially mice and other rodents, are terrible because it seems like they will never all be taken care of. Luckily, there is no need to ... Read more]]>

If you are a homeowner, chances are you have thought about or had experiences with pest problems. If you are lucky, you have never had a pest infestation.

Pest infestations, especially mice and other rodents, are terrible because it seems like they will never all be taken care of.

Luckily, there is no need to go through this situation if you spend time and take precautions against it.

All you need to do is inspect your home so that you can take precautions to avoid wildlife pest infestations.

The Foundation

If you are really worried about a mouse infestation, in addition to other rodents, checking your foundation will be your biggest concern.

If you find any gap or hole that is bigger than a quarter of an inch, you need to fix it. The easiest way to fix small gaps or holes is to use a sealant or steel wool.

If it is a larger hole, consider using a small piece of sheet metal.

Always check where your furnace and other appliances go outside, as there are often holes around these.

A sealed foundation is highly important to keep rodents out, so be sure to spend time inspecting it.

The Roof

Another big concern with most homes is the roof. You should regularly inspect your roof and gutters because many roofs have holes and gaps along the shingles, the soffits, and vent screens.

These can usually be fixed with sealant or sheet metal, however it is important to nail down shingles and possibly replace them if you have to.

Also be sure to check your chimney to make sure no animals can get into it, as mice, squirrels, and birds often find their way in through chimneys.

Doors and Windows

Many wildlife pests can easily find entry into a home if the door and window frames are loose or cracking. Be sure to fix or replace broken window panes, door screens, and window screens.

Also be sure to inspect weather stripping and make sure it is tightly sealed to the door or window so that there is no room for anything to squeeze through. If you see any damage due to gnawing, be sure to apply a metal kick plate or some other metal solution

Look over every part of the door frames and window frames for any small holes or gaps and seal them if you find any. 

Walls and Attic

While it may seem like a no-brainer, many people forget to even just examine the exterior walls of their home.

If you see any holes or gaps in the siding or the actual wall, it is important to get them sealed with sheet metal or sealant, as these are direct routes for mice, rats, birds and other pests to get into your home with minimal effort.

In a related sense, attics often feature holes and gaps along their external walls. Mice, rats, raccoons, and other critters especially love attics because they provide excellent warmth and nesting areas.

This can cause big problems, so it is important to keep them out. Seal any gaps and holes with sheet metal or sealant.

There’s always the option of finding a professional for help for the most effective inspection and repairs. 

Garage

If you happen to have a garage that is connected to your house, you will need to check your garage for gaps and holes very well.

Especially pay attention to where your garage connects to your house. Even small holes and gaps need to be filled, as mice can squeeze through the smallest of holes.

If you have attic access out in your garage it is important to check the ceiling of your garage as well, as it can be an often overlooked entry point for rodents.

Yard and Property

Once you have inspected your home, it is time to expand your inspection outwards.

Many homeowners often overlook the importance of keeping their yard well-kept, as it helps prevent critters from being attracted to your property in the first place.

Look for any woodpiles, debris piles, tall weeds and grass, short shrubs, and any fruit that has fallen from trees.

Clean up any and all of these things you find, as it dramatically reduces the appeal of your yard.

Also be sure to trim back any tree branches that come close to your roof, as this provides a way for raccoons, squirrels, mice, and rats to find their way onto your roof and eventually into your attic. 

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When is the Best time of Year to Replace Your Roof? https://www.checkthishouse.com/9525/when-is-the-best-time-of-year-to-replace-your-roof.html Fri, 09 Oct 2020 12:13:46 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9525 Is it time for you to replace your roof? While you may be ready to pick up the phone and call a local contractor, you may want to consider the time of year and if now is the best season in which to have your roof replaced. The truth is, you can have your roof ... Read more]]>

Is it time for you to replace your roof?

While you may be ready to pick up the phone and call a local contractor, you may want to consider the time of year and if now is the best season in which to have your roof replaced.

The truth is, you can have your roof replaced at any time of year – but some seasons provide more advantages than others.

Read on to find out what time of the year you should replace your roof:

Is It Okay to Replace My Roof in the Wintertime?

While not the best time of year to schedule a roof replacement, you can replace your roof in the winter. 

However, roof replacement in the winter can be especially challenging – especially in northern cities that experience cold and frequently long winters.

But it’s doable. Roof replacement in the winter time requires proper technique from start to finish.

For instance, asphalt shingles become brittle in the colder temperatures so it’s important to make sure the shingles are warm before installation. 

Also, when the temperature drops below 40 degrees, self-adhering shingles will have difficulty sticking to the roof. These types of shingles would have to be installed on warmer winter days.

So while not impossible, there are many considerations that have to be taken when performing a roof replacement in the wintertime.

And, because not many roofs are installed during the winter, you may be able to get a good deal on the installation.

What About Summer?

With consistent and warm weather throughout the summertime, this season may seem like the best choice when it comes to having your roof replaced.

However, this is peak season for roofers, so scheduling the job may prove to be difficult.

Ideally, you would want to have your roof replaced in the early days of summer, when the winter melt and spring rains have stopped and the extreme heat of summer hasn’t begun yet.

Trying to book for this time of year could mean having your appointment pushed into late summer anyway, which could see the work being done on very hot days.

Not only does this make the job more difficult for the roofers, but it can be detrimental to the roofing materials as well.

Extreme heat can melt asphalt shingles, making them less durable during installation and more prone to becoming damaged.

Is Spring the Best Time to Replace My Roof?

Yes, it’s definitely one of them.

Spring is an ideal time of the year to have your roof replaced, since the temperatures are beginning to increase but are not as hot as summertime.

And with the moderate temperatures, asphalt shingles have plenty of time to adhere to the roof and create the necessary seal to keep them in place.

Many homeowners consider roof replacement in the spring after experiencing leaks, drafts and cave-ins due to harsh winter weather.

However, the weather can be quite unpredictable in the spring, especially when it comes to rain, which can create delays.

Luckily, good roofers know how to accommodate bad weather and are often prepared with backups plans when the spring rains decide to fall.

If you’re considering having your roof, spring is a good time to book a roofing company.

The Best Time of Year to Replace Your Roof

Many roofing experts agree that the absolute best time of the year to replace your roof is the fall.

During the fall, the weather is still pleasant but not too hot. It is still warm enough to ensure that asphalt shingles adhere properly for good thermal sealing.

Also, by this time, busy contractors have finished their summer installations and are more likely to have time to book you in for a roof replacement.

Apart from the exterior conditions being just right to have your roof replaced, doing so in the fall means that you can address any damages that occurred during the spring and summer, such as leaks and storm damage (hail, rain, etc.).

It also means that you can prepare for the snowy onslaught of winter. If the integrity of your shingles are compromised, heavy snow and ice can overload your roof flashing and tie-ins.

Having your roof replaced means that the structure is strengthened and less prone to winter weather damage.

It also means that your home will experience less heat loss, saving you money by using energy-efficient roofing materials – they keep the heat from the sun from warming your home in the summer and prevents heat from escaping in the winter.

So, if you’re looking to have your roof replaced, consider booking the installation during the fall.

Ready to Replace Your Roof?

No matter what time of year you are looking to have your roof replaced, as long as you take the pros and cons of each season into consideration, you won’t have any surprises.

If you have any questions or concerns about having your roof replaced in whatever season you choose, you can always speak to a professional roofer and contractor to get more information.

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3 Tips on How to Winterize Your Garden Pond https://www.checkthishouse.com/9490/3-tips-on-how-to-winterize-your-garden-pond.html Wed, 30 Sep 2020 13:56:10 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9490 The winter may still be a couple of months away, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start taking some necessary steps towards preparing your garden. After all, you need to take care of many things, from securing your plants to winterizing your landscape pond. And while preparing your flowers, veggies, and shrubs for lower temperatures ... Read more]]>

The winter may still be a couple of months away, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start taking some necessary steps towards preparing your garden.

After all, you need to take care of many things, from securing your plants to winterizing your landscape pond.

And while preparing your flowers, veggies, and shrubs for lower temperatures doesn’t sound too challenging, taking proper care of your pond is not a piece of cake.

Moreover, many people think it’s not necessary. Don’t make the same mistake.

And if you’re wondering how to prepare your garden pond for a winter season correctly, don’t worry.

You simply need to follow a few simple steps:

1. Clean Your Pond

Cleaning your pond before winter is absolutely crucial. If you leave too much organic material, your fish and other water organisms may not survive the season.

That’s why you should do it thoroughly. Removing some leaves from the surface is not enough.

Use a weed razor to trim your plants, and scoop out dead leaves and debris with a net. To make it more efficient, you can drain your pond halfway down.

Don’t forget to bring any tropical plants indoors, and remove some of them so that they don’t rot in water. Also, when filling the pond back, use freshwater and de-chlorinator.

A little piece of advice. If you want the whole cleaning process to be quicker and more effective, cover your pond with netting during the fall.

Also, depending on how dirty your water is, consider removing your fish for the time of cleaning.

And if you want to make sure the pond stays clean during the winter, consider using cold water bacteria. It will maintain the water’s purity and clarity, making your spring pond cleaning much more manageable.

2. Winterize Your Pond Pump

When it comes to taking care of your pond pump, you have two options:

You can either leave it running through the winter or remove it.

No matter which choice you make, don’t forget to clean it beforehand. But let’s discuss when to, or not, remove your pump.

If you live in a colder climate where the temperature falls really low, it’s highly recommended to remove the pond pump. If the water freezes, it may cause severe damage or even destroy the pump.

But if you know your pond won’t freeze, you can leave the pump running throughout the whole season. In mild climates, running water should prevent a pond from freezing and provide better aeration.

Still, you should be careful and pay attention to the weather.

You can also consider getting a winter pump, which is designed specifically for colder temperatures.

Sometimes, the right idea is to get a pond bubbler to keep the water’s correct amount of oxygen.

3. Take Care of Your Fish

Your pond fish may not be your best friends, but it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take proper care of them during the winter.

The question remains, can your fish survive the cold? Well, it depends on what kind of fish you have.

But let’s say you have goldfish (the most popular), or koi. If that’s the case, you don’t need to worry about them too much. They’ll survive the winter as long as the water doesn’t completely freeze.

To prevent that from happening, you can splash some cash and purchase a winter water pump. But if you feel it’s too expensive, a simple de-icer will do the trick.

They’re electric-powered floating discs that will ensure your fish get enough oxygen to live through the winter.

Okay, but what about feeding? Won’t your fish get hungry during the season? No, they won’t. They should live off by the natural flora within your pond.

But if you want to make sure they won’t starve, you can throw them some cold water fish food at the end of the fall.

Keep in mind, though, that you’ll have to overwinter them indoors if you have tropical fish. The good idea is to consult a specialist who’ll be able to tell you whether you can leave them in the pond, or if you need to take them indoors.

Conclusion

As you can see, winterizing your pond is not as challenging as it may sound.

And while, of course, to do that the right way you’re going to devote your time, if you implement the steps given above, you can be sure your pond will survive the winter.

Keep in mind that once you prepare your pond for winter, it doesn’t mean that you should stop caring about it.

The best idea is to check whether everything is okay once in a while, especially if you leave your water pump working.

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Roofing Maintenance: How to Make Your Roof Last Longer https://www.checkthishouse.com/9399/roofing-maintenance-how-to-make-your-roof-last-longer.html Tue, 01 Sep 2020 13:15:09 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9399 Since roofs are essential parts of having a comfortable home, keeping it in good shape should be a priority. Roofs are designed to last long. Some types can even last for 20-30 years. However, ignoring the importance of taking good care of your roof can lead to replacing it sooner than expected. Proper Maintenance Tips ... Read more]]>

Since roofs are essential parts of having a comfortable home, keeping it in good shape should be a priority.

Roofs are designed to last long. Some types can even last for 20-30 years.

However, ignoring the importance of taking good care of your roof can lead to replacing it sooner than expected.

Proper Maintenance Tips for Your Roof

Millions of residences change their roofs every year. And it can be very costly at times.

To prolong your roof’s lifespan and avoid unexpected roof replacements, you should conduct proper roof maintenance.

Check Your Roof Regularly

It is crucial to check your roof as often as possible, especially after a storm or any harsh weather condition. This should be done to be aware of any occurring damages and prevent further damages.

Moreover, you can easily do it by using your binoculars or climbing your ladder to see the roof more visibly.

It would help if you look for potential problems, such as rust, dent, or crack, depending on the roof you are using. If you don’t have any idea what to look for, it is wise to ask for professional help.

A roofing contractor usually does inspection as well. Aside from doing repairs, they can help you spot potential problems and give you tips in maintaining your roof.

Besides that, roof inspectors can also give you an idea of how many years your roof has left before it needs replacing.

Wash Your Roof

Like any other area of your residence, the roof needs some cleaning as well.

Algae, moss, and other debris can be present in your roof and cause damage. Algae and moss build up in your roof can easily be removed by a bleach and detergent mix.

However, to prevent them from coming back permanently, you might want to invest in zinc strips.

If your roof is made of asphalt shingles, it is essential to note that you should avoid power-washing it. Power-washing may remove granules from your shingles’ top coat, resulting in damage.

Furthermore, it is recommended to ask for professional help in cleaning your roof for safety reasons.

Remove Overhanging Branches

Overhanging branches can fall on your roof, especially during harsh weather, such as a storm or heavy snow.

It is best to prevent them as early as possible rather than facing additional problems in the future.

Aside from the risk of falling branches, its leaves can damage your roof as well. A pile of leaves on your roof will eventually absorb moisture, attract algae, and rot your roof.

Hence, it is wise to trim those overhanging branches.

Keep the Gutters and Downspouts Clean

Experts recommend cleaning the gutters twice a year (during late spring and early fall) or when needed. Although it is a dirty job, cleaning the gutters is essential in keeping a healthy and long-lasting roof.

Furthermore, it is wise to have a rain gutter strainer installed. The strainer will help stop debris from falling into the downspout, which makes it easier to clean.

Clogged gutters can cause a lot of problems in your roof. The water buildup on clogged gutters can attract moisture and lead its way into your roofing structure, which can cause severe damage.

To check if your gutter is clogged, you should observe the gutter outlet while it is raining. If there is little or no water coming out, it might be clogged and need a thorough cleaning.

You can try to unclog your downspouts by using a plumbing snake or any other useful equipment. Once you hear the gushing sound of water from your downspout, you have been successful in unclogging it.

After that, you can also use your garden hose full blast to ensure that no debris is left on the downspout, keeping it clean and unclogged.

Inspect and Repair Leaks

You can check for leaks when it is raining from the inside of your house. You could also look for water stains inside the house when it is not raining.

Other signs of leakage include spots on your exterior walls, water stains on your interior walls or ceilings, inflating patches on your interior walls, or odors in rooms.

If you notice any of these signs and have found the leak, it is wise to repair it immediately. Moreover, if you can’t repair it yourself, don’t hesitate to call a professional.

Maintain your Chimney, Vent Openings, and Skylights

After cleaning and checking the critical parts of your roof, it is also essential to take good care of your chimney. It would help if you inspected your chimney for cracks or any missing mortar.

A damaged chimney may cause bricks to fall out and cause problems into your roof or even your home’s foundation.

Furthermore, it is also best to clean, inspect, and repair vent openings and skylights to prevent any debris that can damage your roof from falling.

When to Replace Your Roof

After conducting proper roof maintenance and exhausting your roof’s lifespan, it might be time to replace your old roof.

Severe damages in your roof might be a sign that it needs replacement. Asking a professional’s opinion on the matter will be a great help.

Furthermore, it is best to hire a roofing contractor to take care of roof replacements. Roof contractors will ensure excellent and proper roof installation.

Make sure to contact the best roofing contractor in your area.

Be sure to hire the best roofing contractor in the area to ensure excellent quality service. It is wise to hire the most efficient and the very best roofing contractor near you for quick action on a damaged roof.

Takeaway

Conducting proper maintenance of your roof can take a lot of work.

However, it will surely save you some money since roof replacement and major repairs can be very costly and time-consuming.

Thus, it is better to take good care of your roof as soon as possible to prevent roof replacement sooner than expected.

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7 Design Ideas To Help You Transform Your Backyard https://www.checkthishouse.com/9345/7-design-ideas-to-help-you-transform-your-backyard.html Tue, 18 Aug 2020 13:17:15 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9345 During the warmer days, all you want to do is to sit in your backyard, drink a glass of lemonade and relax However, it’s been years since you moved into the house and your backyard is crying out for help. You aren’t sure where to start and hiring a professional to transform the entire yard ... Read more]]>

During the warmer days, all you want to do is to sit in your backyard, drink a glass of lemonade and relax

However, it’s been years since you moved into the house and your backyard is crying out for help.

You aren’t sure where to start and hiring a professional to transform the entire yard may be very expensive.

You search for many ideas of how you can remodel your yard, but you can’t decide what’s the most convenient way.

So, in order to make your decisions easier, we are giving you seven design ideas that you can use to help you transform your backyard into a sanctuary:

1. Install Composite Decking

Before you start remodeling the entire backyard, you should start with the decking. Nowadays, the composite decking price is around £1600 ($2800) as it has become very popular for transforming your garden because of its many benefits.

It requires low maintenance and you won’t be spending too much money on repairs, unlike other decking materials.

Depending on the size and complexity of the area, the transformation of your garden should take no more than 3 days.

Since no one wants to spend months remodeling or spending extra money, 3 days for installing composite decking should be enough.

2. Refurnish the Patio

Next in line is the patio. It is probably where you would be spending most of the time in your garden.

Things you can do are provide extra seating so you can invite more friends over, replace the cushions with more vibrant colors, or even build an outdoor fireplace to get warm during chilly nights.

The thing about the patio is that it should be cozy and inviting.

You can also add ambiance with decorative lighting over the seating area or all over the backyard.

Some examples of decorative lighting are string lights, hanging lights and spotlights.

3. Build a Swimming Pool

If you have a big unused space in your yard, you can use it to build a pool. It can transform a dull-looking backyard into a virtual paradise.

The problem with them is that they may be very expensive to build, depending on the type and size.

However, there are many tutorials for DIY swimming pools that you can look for on the Internet, so don’t hesitate to call your friends to come and help you with this project because once you build it everyone would benefit from it.

Plus, you will all get to stay cool during the hot summer days.

4. Consider an Outdoor Kitchen

Another cool thing to have in your yard is an outdoor kitchen. This is very useful because you wouldn’t have to go into the house for everything that you need from the kitchen.

Instead, you would have the essentials right there in your backyard.

You can have an outdoor refrigerator, a built-in grill, some cabinets, or even an outdoor bar.

Having an outdoor kitchen makes cooking easier because it keeps the smell outside and believe it or not, it awakens your inner chef, saving you money on eating out.

5. Plant a Garden

What is a backyard without flowers? There are many ideas on how you can rearrange your flowers in creative ways.

For example, you can grow a fruit tree in a pot, hang up some flower-filled planters on each side of your patio or you can even create a wooden plant display with all kinds of flowers.

If you have a pallet, you can decorate it with tiny clay pots attached to it with herbs like rosemary and basil.

6. Construct a Pergola

If you have many plants in your garden, having a pergola would serve as a helping hand to the lovely landscaping features.

Pergolas have a unique beauty and provide elegance to your garden.

Remember those flower-filled planters that we mentioned earlier? Well, you could hang them on the pergolas to create a more welcoming look.

They also provide shade during warm sunny days, are very long-lasting, and require low maintenance.

You can even combine the composite decking with the pergola which would make your backyard even more beautiful.

7. Set Up a Playground for Your Children

If you have young children, one of the best ways to engage them in outdoor activities is by building a playground in the backyard.

Having one makes life easier because you don’t have to take your children to the park all the time.

Building a tiny treehouse or setting a trampoline can occupy your children while you are doing some yard work nearby.

It also increases the social interaction of children with other neighbors.

Transform Your Backyard

The main idea with the backyard is to make you feel relaxed, especially during uneasy times like these, so constructing the perfect backyard setting will come a long way.

Transforming everything from the flooring of the porch to the patio to your garden can give you a sense of tranquility and pleasure.

Also, if you want to host dinner parties and other get-togethers with your neighbors and friends, you could do that right there in your own backyard using your new outdoor kitchen, under the perfect lighting, and not worrying about your children getting bored when they would have plenty to do.

So, use these ideas and turn your backyard into that peaceful oasis you have been longing for for a long time.

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Top 5 Heavy Equipment To Use For Your Backyard Landscape Renovation https://www.checkthishouse.com/9290/top-5-heavy-equipment-to-use-for-your-backyard-landscape-renovation.html Wed, 22 Jul 2020 12:48:09 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9290 Before you enjoy the beautiful scene and comfort in your backyard, you need to put some effort into it. Renovating your backyard landscape can make your home a high-end haven of luxury for you, your family, and your visitors. You can spend time in your backyard during the summer and even during winter, as it ... Read more]]>

Before you enjoy the beautiful scene and comfort in your backyard, you need to put some effort into it.

Renovating your backyard landscape can make your home a high-end haven of luxury for you, your family, and your visitors. You can spend time in your backyard during the summer and even during winter, as it can still have an inviting and flourishing garden.

To renovate your backyard landscape, you need to have some heavy equipment.

Mini excavators are among the most convenient heavy equipment for homeowners looking for good results and a personal touch on their backyard landscape. They even have different kinds of tracks that you can get from a heavy equipment track source.

Read on and find out more about the top five heavy equipment at your service when renovating your backyard:

1. Compact Wheel Loaders

You can save your neighbors from the hassle of noisy equipment by using compact wheel loaders for your backyard landscaping as these loaders are environmentally-friendly. They operate quietly without causing noise pollution.

Landscaping your backyard may involve handling ground material and compact wheel loaders are the best agents for that kind of work.

They are versatile landscaping heavy machines for carrying and transporting materials.

Compact wheel loaders will also fit any landscaping design project because of their flexibility.

2. Mini-Loaders

The landscape in your backyard might be too small for a heavy-duty loader that you see on extensive landscaping projects.

Nevertheless, you’d still want to get a loading service during your renovation process. A mini-loader will assist you in completing the task.

Mini-loaders are heavy equipment used to remove earth for small-scale landscaping projects. Choose a mini-loader based on the condition of your land.

For instance, if you have a loamy landscape, a wheeled mini-loader is ideal. For backyard landscapes with muddy or sandy soils, a tracked mini-loader will be more suitable.

Mini-loaders are built for safety and optimized for performance as they are specifically used for landscaping.

Whether you are getting your landscape ready for gardening, a garden hut, or any other function, a mini-loader will make your work easier.

You only need simple skills to operate this machine. It will make your work highly efficient while shaping your backyard landscape as it allows you to dig and carry more objects.

3. Mini Excavators

Small and good for home renovations, mini excavators speed up your construction projects. They run on powerful hydraulic systems with high-performance engines.

A mini excavator is the main tool you need to scoop up soil as you shape your backyard landscape. The advantage you have is that no matter the type of soil in your landscape, an excavator will remove and carry it to another location as it has different kinds of mini excavator tracks.

This heavy equipment can also assist you with breaking holes, digging trenches, and lifting objects to a depository.

Transporting mini excavators to your backyard site is easy as most of them can fit on an average-sized truck.

4. Compact Tool Carriers

Initially, the compact tool carrier was known as the compact utility loader. Its latter name reflects its functionality.

Compact tool carriers serve the same functions as compact loaders only that they have provisions for additional attachments that carry any other equipment you might need for your landscaping project.

It costs slightly higher than the compact tool loader, but the service you get is worth it since it can hasten your landscaping activities and deliver visible results.

Compact tool carriers can help you in dig out, load, and carry rock matter and plant material to another location. It can also handle irregular objects and carry every other material that can get on board.

Compact tool carriers have additional hydraulic capabilities to handle heavy-weight front-end attachments and still yield optimal performance.

5. Ride-On Lawn Mowers

Ride-on lawn mowers should also be part of your successful landscaping plans. They can assist you in mowing your landscape lawn fast.

If your landscape is a bit broad, you will save a couple of hours by using ride-on lawn mowers.

Sitting on your tractor mower can help you achieve finer results by helping you keep your landscape flat.

Every mowing day can be a good day as it requires less energy to perform the job. You can trim your grass at your convenience and shape it into any form you desire with a ride-on mower.

Final Thoughts

Your choice of heavy equipment for your backyard renovation project can earn you a beautiful landscape.

Compact wheel loaders are a good choice for carrying and transporting materials, and it’s also environmentally-friendly.

Mini-loaders, on the other hand, will assist you in removing and carrying rock and soil matter off the landscape.

Mini excavators come in handy when digging trenches and lifting soil off the ground to a deposit area.

Compact tool carriers have additional attachments supporting extra heavy equipment, thus easing your landscaping job.

Lastly, a self-driven lawn mower is suitable if your landscape is a bit broad. It saves time and can help you have a completely flat surface.

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How To Protect Your Home from Flooding https://www.checkthishouse.com/9285/how-to-protect-your-home-from-flooding.html Wed, 22 Jul 2020 12:25:40 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9285 Do you think your home is safe from flooding? No matter where your house is located, there are many risks that exist that can cause flooding in your home and, consequently, expensive damage. You can prevent the headache of flooding and extensive damage by protecting your home from floods. Here are some factors you should ... Read more]]>

Do you think your home is safe from flooding?

No matter where your house is located, there are many risks that exist that can cause flooding in your home and, consequently, expensive damage.

You can prevent the headache of flooding and extensive damage by protecting your home from floods.

Here are some factors you should consider when it comes to your home’s flood-risk as well as preventative measures you can take to avoid disaster:

Evaluating the Risk of Flooding in Your Home

Before you make changes to your home in order to prevent flooding, it’s best to determine whether or not your house is at risk of flooding.

The key three risk factors include your home’s location, foundation and plumbing system:

Location

Where your house is located is a big determining factor of whether or not your home is at risk of flooding.

Check out the FEMA Flood Map Service (in the U.S.) or Floodsmart Canada to see what the general flood risk is in your area.

These maps feature zones that indicate flood risk.

If you are in an area that is at risk of flooding, investigate the structure of your home to ensure that it is built to withstand flooding. This includes looking at the grading of your property as well as whether or not your home is raised on stilts or piers.

Next, you should get the right coverage for floods under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Most basic policies exclude flood damage.

Foundation

Not all flooding to your home is caused by regional risks. Occurrences such as spring thaw or extreme weather conditions can cause flooding in your home.

Most notably, water can enter your home through a damaged foundation.

To inspect for damage to your foundation, look for cracks and fractures in the foundation as well as on walls and floors. Also check for doors that do not close or open properly – this could be a sign that your foundation has shifted.

If your foundation is causing flooding in your home, it is in your best interest to have it repaired.

Plumbing System

Flooding refers to any instance where water enters your home and causes damage. Sometimes, this is not necessarily an exterior problem.

Burst or broken pipes can cause your home to flood and result in significant damage.

Alternatively, exterior forces can cause your sewage system (whether it be municipal or a septic tank) to backup into your home.

In order to prevent your pipes from leaking water into your home, it’s best to know how old your pipes are. If your home is older, the piping is likely old too.

Also know where your pipes are located and regularly inspect them for signs of wear or cracking.

Protecting Your Home From Flooding

Apart from mitigating flood risks that may already exist, here are some preventative measures you can take to ensure unforeseen circumstances do not damage your home:

Backwater Valves

To prevent sewage backups into your home, install a backwater valve.

Also known as backflow or sewer backup valves, these simple devices are designed to allow water or sewage to flow only one way.

This means that if the municipal sewage system or your septic tank becomes overwhelmed with water, the overflow cannot enter into your home.

Installing a backwater valve into an existing home requires a plumbing permit (since a qualified plumber will have to access the main sewer line), but most municipalities will offer a rebate for doing so.

Ultimately, having this peace of mind is well worth the effort.

Respect Your Drainage System

Clogged drains are a common cause of flooding and these blockages are usually avoidable.

The best way to prevent clogs is to be careful about what you put down your drains. For instance, hair is the leading cause of blockages and should not be flushed down the toilet or sink.

Also, food scraps such as egg shells, coffee and pasta can clog your drains if disposed of down the kitchen sink. Same goes for grease, which is a major cause of blockage in kitchen plumbing.

Be mindful of what you deposit into your drains and try to toss these culprits into the trash instead of your toilet or sink.

Position Your Downspouts

Perhaps one of the simplest ways to avoid flooding in your home is to point your downspouts away from your house.

This will keep run-off water from pooling around your foundation and causing damage and flooding.

Also keep your gutter clear of debris to avoid having water pour from the edges toward your home.

Keep Your Home Flood Free

Being proactive when it comes to mitigating your home’s flood risks is well worth it in order to avoid significant damage to your house’s structure.

Take a look at your home’s current situation and consider following the above preventative measures to keep your home and your family safe from flooding.

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Types Of Roofing And Their Benefits https://www.checkthishouse.com/9277/types-of-roofing-and-their-benefits.html Mon, 20 Jul 2020 12:48:12 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9277 When constructing your dream home, you must take a look at every aspect and ensure that it complements the other areas of your property in terms of aesthetics and, more importantly, functionality. Your roof is a crucial part of your residence because it plays a significant role in enhancing your home’s curb appeal, as well ... Read more]]>

When constructing your dream home, you must take a look at every aspect and ensure that it complements the other areas of your property in terms of aesthetics and, more importantly, functionality.

Your roof is a crucial part of your residence because it plays a significant role in enhancing your home’s curb appeal, as well as in protecting the interiors.

The roofing selection process may seem straightforward. However, you still have to do your research on the different types so that you know what’ll work best with the style and function you want for your home.

It’s best to enlist the help of a roofing contractor with experience to ensure the quality of the materials, as well as the installation of your roof.

Here are the different types of roofing and their benefits:

1. Asphalt

You may have noticed the prevalence of this kind of roofing. Asphalt shingles have gained popularity because of their durability, affordability, and ease of installation. They’re also fire retardant and easy to install, which add to their appeal.

Most asphalt shingles last for about 20 years. High-quality ones may even serve you for up to 50 years with proper maintenance.

They’re typically made from a fiberglass base, which is covered in asphalt. The front coating is made up of stone materials, like mica, schist, or quartz, while the back of the shingle is coated with mica, sand, or talc to make them stick better.

The primary advantage of installing this type of roofing is that it can weather through various environmental conditions, which is a plus in places where there are four seasons.

Nonetheless, if you’re living in a hail-prone area, you’ll have to consider this factor in the longevity of your roof.

2. Wood

For a more rustic feel to your home, you can opt for wooden shingles. They last slightly longer than asphalt roofing, adding five years to their lifespan in moderate climate zones.

Moreover, this type is ideal for you if you’re concerned about the environment because wooden shingles are made from biodegradable materials.

They also weigh less compared to clay or slate, while offering the same level of strength and moisture protection.

Wood shingles are a bit on the expensive side, that’s why you need to take the proper steps to maximize your wooden roof, such as the following:

  • Trim Overhanging Branches – Cut tree branches that scrape on your roof to avoid scratches on your shingles and them getting destroyed.
  • Clean Gutter And Roof Debris – Clear out leaves and dirt on your gutters and roof regularly to minimize the risk of these things causing more damage in the future.
  • Check Attic Ventilation – Moisture is wood’s mortal enemy because it leads to the growth of moss and lichen. Make sure to have adequate ventilation on your attic or roof assembly to improve airflow and reduce humidity.
  • Install Zinc Or Copper Strips – These strips can deter the growth of moss, mold, and mildew. They create a mild solution that kills these types of organisms, which is effective for up to 15 feet downslope from the metal.
  • Watch Out For Moss Or Lichen Growth – If you see moss or lichen growth, you should clean them up with bleach, detergent, and warm water solution immediately.

3. Slate

Slate shingles have the longest lifespan, lasting up to 100 years. If you want a modern look for your home, this type of roofing will supplement the aesthetics you have in mind, while looking natural.

It also has superior fire resistance and durability.

However, it can be easily broken, so you might want to skip this option if you live in a hail-prone area.

4. Ceramic

Ceramic tiles also have a long lifespan (up to 75 years). They are ideal for places with extreme temperatures since they can withstand intense heat or cold.

Plus, rot and insects can’t destroy them.

5. Steel

Steel roofing can resist damage caused by heavy rains, winds, and even hail.

They’re an economical choice if you live in wet and windy regions, as well as places prone to wildfires.

You can also get a warranty on your stone-coated steel roofs for the lifetime of your house.

Conclusion

Choosing the best type of roofing for your home entails more than just selecting one that looks good with your property’s style.

You also have to think about durability, especially if it can weather the environmental conditions that usually occur in your area.

Research on the benefits of asphalt, wood, slate, ceramic, and tile shingles in terms of longevity and protection.

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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Home Without Doing Major Renovations https://www.checkthishouse.com/9270/5-ways-to-upgrade-your-home-without-doing-major-renovations.html Fri, 17 Jul 2020 10:12:55 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=9270 After spending more time at home than any summer before, more and more home dwellers are looking to make some upgrades to their space. If you’re among the DIY dreamers, check out these five simple ways to upgrade your home. 1. A Fresh Coat of Paint Whether you’re tired of looking at the same 50 ... Read more]]>

After spending more time at home than any summer before, more and more home dwellers are looking to make some upgrades to their space.

If you’re among the DIY dreamers, check out these five simple ways to upgrade your home.

1. A Fresh Coat of Paint

Whether you’re tired of looking at the same 50 shades of beige day in and day out of isolation or are just noticing some drab details, a fresh coat of interior paint is the ideal solution.

Not only will this easy Sunday project make your space look more polished, but incorporating new colors in your home can actually boost your mood, too.

As you start swatching different color combinations, consider these color psychology guidelines:

  • Orange — evokes energy and fun
  • Red — bold and dramatic
  • Yellow — brightness and joy
  • Green — earthy, balanced
  • Blue — calmness
  • Purple — elegance
  • Pink — feminine
  • Black — luxury and sophistication
  • White — cleanliness, minimalism
  • Brown — natural, warm

2. Amazing New Accent Pieces

If it’s just a room or two that needs a little refresh, all you need is a few accent pieces to make a big difference.

A statement chaise, decorative storage space, or a new pendant light are the perfect finishing touches to an uninspired room.

If you already have a well-curated theme going, check out these designers to continue your look:

  • Article: Modern, refined pieces that pay homage to iconic mid-century looks.
  • Hooker Furniture: Elegant furnishings that nod to a classic style.
  • FLOYD: Functional and eclectic designs for the modern home.
  • Burrow: Sustainably made custom seating.

And if you’re not in need of a furniture overhaul, these smaller additions can make a really big difference to your dining, lounging, and culinary experiences:

  • The Lam Label: If you’re looking for unique artwork to don your shelves, look no further than these curated ceramic antiques!
  • Estelle Colored Glassware: These pastel-colored wine glasses are sure to elevate any girl’s wine night or evening in.
  • Society6: This artist’s marketplace is chock full of wall art and funky decor that’s perfect for upgrading any room in your home.
  • Great Jones: Add a little color and class to your kitchen with these essentials — their cast-iron Dutch oven is most popular.

3. A Backyard Boost

After spending long hours bingeing Netflix, puzzling, and trying new crafts, many of us in lockdown have recognized the importance of having a backyard space.

If your outdoor area is leaving something to be desired, do some freshening up with these easy fixes:

  • String lights add a bit of whimsy and create the perfect backdrop for a sunset cocktail hour.
  • Potted succulents are an aesthetically pleasing and low-maintenance solution to upgrade any patio.
  • Build a shed to house yard tools and unsightly appliances.
  • An outdoor rug helps tie your look together while keeping your space clean and polished.

4. Rethink Storage Solutions

Sometimes, all an undesirable space really needs is a little deep-cleaning, reorganizing, and restructuring.

Start the process by taking an inventory of clutter in the room. Are there lots of things left out on surfaces, or is it looking pretty minimalist?

If the answer is the former, you might want to consider adding some more sophisticated storage solutions.

A floating shelf, hideaway ottoman, or some wicker baskets are functional yet fashionable ways to free up space.

5. Infuse Your Personality

Ultimately, your house should be uniquely yours. By incorporating trinkets that remind you of your travels, photographs that encapsulate memories, or your own artwork, you can create a space that reflects your personality and passions.

If you’re feeling stuck, check out these fun projects to bring some more of you into your home:

  • Use Social Print Studio to easily print and frame photos from your social media profiles.
  • Find funky vintage collectibles at your local thrift shop, swap meet, or antique store.
  • Keep your favorite fresh flowers on display at all times — they’re beautiful and boost your mood!
  • Diffuse essential oils that relax or uplift you for a well-rounded vibe around the house.

Wrapping Up

You don’t need to go full-on demo day to revamp your space — with a few tweaks to paint color, furnishings, and accents, you’ll be well on your way toward building a home you’ll love!

How do you plan to elevate your space this summer? Share your ideas with us in the comment section below.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal https://www.checkthishouse.com/8595/5-ways-to-improve-your-homes-curb-appeal.html Wed, 06 May 2020 11:33:00 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8595 People pour more money into buying a home than they do into anything else. With a purchase that huge, it’s understandable that most want their homes to look good and seem valuable. Curb appeal has a significant impact on everything from how neighbors interact with you to how much you can get should you ever ... Read more]]>

People pour more money into buying a home than they do into anything else. With a purchase that huge, it’s understandable that most want their homes to look good and seem valuable.

Curb appeal has a significant impact on everything from how neighbors interact with you to how much you can get should you ever choose to sell your home.

Here are five ways to boost your home’s curb appeal that will leave people excited to drive by it.

1. Make It Sparkle

Having a clean and presentable home is crucial when it comes to its curb appeal.

Rent a power washer for your walk and driveway; you can also use it on sturdy wood, brick, and siding. Clean your windows with microfiber cloths, use a mix of vinegar and water to ensure there aren’t any streaks.

Wipe down doors, clean your gutters, and take care of anything else that gets in the way of a clean exterior. You don’t need to bleach anything or go overboard, but getting spring’s layer of pollen off can help.

A clean house, even if the yard is in disarray, will always read better than one with a thick film of debris.

2. Give The Greens Some Love

Of course, you should mow your lawn. Cut overgrown greenery and reinvigorate your flowerbeds.

If you don’t currently have any flowerbeds, but don’t know what to do with the front of your home, you should consider them.

Not only can you customize them to be any color or flower, but they’re also a great way to add color to any house.

If you’re worried about the cost of them, look for online coupons to make your dream yard more attainable.

If you have patience, it’s also less expensive to buy seeds than full plants, but be prepared to put in the work to make them grow.

3. Paint and Refinish

Paint is a powerful tool! You can repaint your door, your patio, your mailbox (if it’s metal or wood), your fence, and anything else that needs retouching.

If using outdoor spray paint, apply several light coats instead of just piling it on.

Pick colors carefully, take your time, and your yard will shine.

4. Consider Adding Shutters and Decor

Thanks to modern windows and building materials, most people don’t need shutters on their homes.Shutters add a touch of decoration and color to any home.

If the face of your house is flat and undecorated, with vast expanses of space around the windows, shutters can help.

Make sure they match the size and shape of your windows, so that it fits your home seamlessly, but have fun with the options besides that!

5. Upgrade Your Porch

Your porch welcomes people to your home first, before they see your stunning living room or beautiful kitchen.

Make sure guests feel greeted with decor that matches your style. Change out the porch light, and consider adding or replacing furniture.

If you’re on a budget, you can repaint benches, tables, and chairs. This step will give a second life to older things, while not punishing your wallet.

It doesn’t take much to improve your home’s curb appeal and following these 5 tips will instantly upgrade your home’s aesthetic.

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How Do You Know if Your Tile is Weeping? https://www.checkthishouse.com/8424/how-do-you-know-if-your-tile-is-weeping.html Fri, 28 Jun 2019 19:17:26 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8424 Weeping tile may sound like a sad state but, the truth is, you want your weeping tile to weep. Weeping tile is an integral part of your home’s structure and is important in ensuring that your basement stays dry and your foundation maintains a crack-free form. Once you know what weeping tile is, where to ... Read more]]>

Weeping tile may sound like a sad state but, the truth is, you want your weeping tile to weep. Weeping tile is an integral part of your home’s structure and is important in ensuring that your basement stays dry and your foundation maintains a crack-free form.

Once you know what weeping tile is, where to find it and whether or not your home has it, you can easily verify if it is working and keep it well maintained.

What is Weeping Tile?

Weeping tile consists of 6 inch pipes with several small holes that discharge underground water from around the perimeter of your home or from your basement.

Does My Home Have Weeping Tile?

Most homes built prior to the 1960’s do not have a weeping tile drainage system. Before the 1980’s, these systems were made of clay-based materials.

To find out if your home has weeping tile, look in the catch basin (basement floor drain) or sump pump pit. If you have a weeping tile drainage system, you will see a series of 6 inch pipes coming from different directions under the floor.

In older homes, you may see a piping system with larger pipes. These are not weeping tile; these older style drainage systems drain water from the eaves of the house directly to the basement.

How to Tell if Your Weeping Tile is Plugged

Sometimes the weeping tile of your home can become plugged and cause issues such as foundation cracks, water leaks and mold.

Here are some signs you can look for that may indicate a plugged weeping tile system:

  • Cracks in the foundation.

Check the foundation in your basement or crawlspace for horizontal, vertical or diagonal cracks. These cracks could be as thin as a hairline crack or larger. The force of water pooling against the foundation can cause it to crack.

Do a visual check of your basement or crawlspace for small areas of dampness or pools of water. Look closely around windows and on the floor.

  • Unusual odors.

If you notice a musty of damp smell in your basement or crawlspace, there could be mold or mildew caused by moisture. Pay close attention to joists, walls and flooring. Signs of mold and mildew include stained or peeling drywall, paint or paneling as well as lifted flooring.

  • Empty sump pump pit.

There should always be some water at the bottom of your sump pump pit. If your pit is not filling with water, this is a sign that the weeping tile is plugged.

  • Pooling water around exterior.

Next time it rains, check the outside perimeter of your home. Look for pools of water on the soil around the house.

Testing Your Weeping Tile Drainage System

You can test the efficiency of your weeping tile by running a garden hose near the exterior foundation wall or window well, turning it on and letting it run. Make sure the water is not running directly against the house.

Watch your sump pump pit. If the weeping tile is working, water should be carried by the weeping tile to the sump pump pit.

Weeping Tile Maintenance

There are maintenance steps you can take to ensure that your weeping tile works properly:

  • Keep your gutters clear of leaves and debris and redirect the spouts away from your home.
  • Clean out window wells and consider covering them to keep water out completely.
  • Maintain proper operation of your sump pump.
  • Keep sinks and toilets free of clogs.

You can also clean out your weeping tile:

  • Wedge a large plunger into the sewer floor drain in your basement or crawlspace.
  • Connect a garden hose to an indoor faucet and fill the catch basin and weeping tile with water and liquid soap (any dish soap works). Be sure not to overflow.
  • Leave for 30 minutes.
  • Pull out the plunger.
  • Repeat several times.
  • Rinse out the soap residue.

Weeping Tile Repair and Replacement

A weeping tile drainage system can be repaired or replaced if damaged. If you own an older home, weeping tile can be installed if it doesn’t currently exist.

Cost depends entirely on the age of the home, the depth of the excavation and the types of soil surrounding the weeping tile.

If you are looking to have work done on your weeping tiles, or having a drainage system installed, it is recommended you contact a specialist to evaluate your weeping tile needs.

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Landscape Tips and Tricks for Better Drainage https://www.checkthishouse.com/8408/landscape-tips-and-tricks-for-better-drainage.html Fri, 24 May 2019 16:11:50 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8408 Water is a house’s sneakiest enemy. While fire will turn a home to ash in a matter of hours and heavy things like tree limbs or a wrecking ball are obvious dangers, water slowly and surreptitiously weakens a home when it seeps into spaces it isn’t supposed to be. Water damage most often occurs gradually ... Read more]]>

Water is a house’s sneakiest enemy. While fire will turn a home to ash in a matter of hours and heavy things like tree limbs or a wrecking ball are obvious dangers, water slowly and surreptitiously weakens a home when it seeps into spaces it isn’t supposed to be. Water damage most often occurs gradually over time, as drips and drops wear through the materials of your home and cause extreme structural issues — while bringing health hazards like mold and disease.

Alongside plumbing problems and roof leaks, drainage difficulties are among the most common causes of water damage in residential homes. If you notice water pooling up against your structure after a rainstorm — or even after your lawn’s sprinklers turn off for the day — your yard likely has trouble draining excess water properly, which means you are facing serious home repairs in time.

Fortunately, poor drainage isn’t necessarily a death sentence. You can repair your yard’s ability to drain water with these simple tips and tricks.

Elongate Your Downspouts and Discharge Pipes

This is the easiest of all fixes, so if you can, you should start here. Often, water pools around your home because that’s where it comes out of downspouts or discharge pipes. By relocating where that water exits the pipe, you can avoid the problem of poor drainage.

Downspout extenders are relatively inexpensive and can be attached in a matter of minutes. You can even acquire a flexible extension, so you can maneuver the end of your downspout to find the optimal location to release water. It takes slightly longer to move the downspout to a different, better-draining part of your yard, but that is also an option if you cannot reach a well-draining spot with an extender.

You should also keep an eye out for poor drainage around the discharge pipes of systems like sump-pumps and air conditioners. Though these won’t spew water the way downspouts will, the relatively slow drip of water can also cause damage when it is improperly placed. You might need to extend or relocate these discharge pipes, as well.

Alter Your Sprinkler Pattern

Sprinklers and other automated landscape watering systems make it easy to enjoy a verdant yard, but they also potentially increase the likelihood of drainage problems. Its possible that your sprinkler system develops a leak in a line below the surface of your soil, resulting in oversaturation of the land surrounding your home. You might not be aware of a leak in your sprinklers until you see an excessively high water bill or notice water damage to the exterior of your home. Then again, it’s also possible that your sprinklers are poorly aligned, resulting in water pooling in areas of your yard that don’t need any hydration.

In either case, it’s a good idea to contract a lawn care service with experience in sprinkler maintenance and repair. Professionals know the signs of a poorly functioning sprinkler system and can tweak and tinker with your sprinklers to ensure they are watering efficiently without doing damage to your property.

Create a Creek or Swale

If you can’t easily fix your drainage issue with the above tricks, you probably need to bring out your shovels to dig ditches to carry the water away from your home. There are many different kinds of trenches you can create for better drainage, but the easiest is a simple creek or swale. This is a gentle, shallow drainage ditch that hugs the base of a slope to collect runoff water and channel it in a particular direction. You should strive to landscape around your ditch, perhaps with attractive rocks and water-loving plants, to ensure the functional feature looks good both with water and without.

Supplement Your Soil

If you suffer from soil with a high clay content, you might never achieve the level of drainage you need to keep your property safe. Fortunately, it is possible to alter the composition of your soil, making it more capable of absorbing excess water and carrying it away from your home. The general advice to those contending with clay soil is to liberally mix in organic materials, such as:

 

  • Compost
  • Sawdust
  • Manure
  • Leaf litter
  • Seaweed
  • Peat moss
  • Bark

 

You might also consider creating lasagna beds in your yard, which requires creating different layers of materials to facilitate drainage, add nutrients and change the texture of your soil.

Drainage problems inevitably result in serious and expensive water damage, which means you need to address your property’s drainage ASAP. While most issues can be resolved with some simple fixes, if your drainage troubles linger, you should be willing to call a drainage expert. Water damage is always worse than the expense of preventative drainage maintenance.

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Top 10 Ideas to Transform Your House into a Craftsman-Style Home https://www.checkthishouse.com/8404/top-10-ideas-to-transform-your-house-into-a-craftsman-style-home.html Thu, 23 May 2019 20:40:33 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8404 One of the most well-known architecture types is Victorian with its grand accents from the late nineteenth century. However, there was another movement that was in stark contrast to the Victorian look. Craftsman-style homes came about at the same time as Victorian properties, but with decidedly different appearances. The Craftsman movement focused on distinct accents ... Read more]]>

One of the most well-known architecture types is Victorian with its grand accents from the late nineteenth century. However, there was another movement that was in stark contrast to the Victorian look. Craftsman-style homes came about at the same time as Victorian properties, but with decidedly different appearances. The Craftsman movement focused on distinct accents that were unique to each structure.

If you’re interested in transforming your home into a Craftsman-style house, try these top 10 ideas that range from simple to complex. 

1. Installing the Columns 

Craftsman-style homes will typically have columns. You aren’t looking for those Romanesque-type columns either. Square columns with tapered, top sections are your architectural goals. They add definition to any front porch while maintaining simplicity in the design. Stick with a pair of columns unless you have a particularly large porch. There’s no need to create too much of an ornate appearance. 

2. Decorating With Gable Accents 

The peak of your rooftop doesn’t have to be a mundane transition point. Add character by decorating with gable accents. Beautiful, cedar wood arranged in a half-moon, sunburst shape creates interest just under the roof’s gables. Craftsman-style homes are known for these natural-wood accents. Simply measure the angle of your roof’s pitch. Most accents can be installed as customized pieces, which is what the Craftsman movement is all about. 

3. Covering the Porch 

A covered porch is a telltale sign that your home is from a Craftsman-inspired mindset. In the late nineteenth century, air conditioning wasn’t available. People built their homes with functionality in mind. The covered porch created a cool reprieve for residents. 

This addition may be an investment on your home if it doesn’t have a partial covering already. The new cover should be made entirely of wood with a few rocking chairs to complete the look. 

4. Exposing Those Rafters 

Renovate your home by pulling some wood from the structure. Craftsman-style homes have exposed rafters. They might be painted or just covered with sealants to let the wood shine through. The rafters should be exposed under the eaves and within the porch. These accents give the home real character and depth. The light and shadows cast by the structural shapes will bring new life to the property. 

5. Accenting With Corbels 

The eaves on your home are basic. They’re part of the roof’s design. You can give the area more definition, however, by incorporating cedar corbels into the architecture. Corbels are accents that appear to support the eaves. Place them several feet away from each other as you dot the roof’s lower edges. The rolled ends are distinctly Craftsman in shape. 

6. Trying out Window Seats 

Inside of the home should contain some nooks that are accented with window seats. Allow the home’s shape to dictate your remodeling changes. A window seat in the living room might work, but a hallway may offer more versatility for this quaint addition. Don’t forget to add comfort with padding and pillows. They’ll entice people to sit and enjoy the reprieve. 

7. Considering Window Boxes and Shutters

The windows must have certain accents in order to reveal a Craftsman-style home. Think about adding window boxes and exterior window shutters to each view. The shutters should contrast with the exterior’s color, such as dark-green shutters against a light-green house. 

Get creative with the window boxes. They might be white in color, but the plants within can change with the seasons.

8. Choosing Forest-Friendly Colors

Updating the exterior color of the home is a great way to dive into the Craftsman movement. Ideally, choose colors that are akin to a forest decor. Green, brown, tan, red and gray are perfect colors that reflect this period home. The colors allow the artisan-like accents to take center stage 

9. Updating the Garage Doors 

If you’re in the market for a new garage door, it can be a major Craftsman addition to the architecture. Consider a natural-wood door with recessed accents. Opt for a door with windows lining the upper section too. In most cases, you want a front door that matches the garage door as well. These design choices bring the architecture together into a cohesive unit. 

10. Detailing With Light Fixtures 

Change up your lighting fixtures to Craftsman-style shapes. Lantern designs that flank your garage door, for instance, are great accents to the home. Think about adding more light fixtures around the porch area too. During the Craftsman movement, the fixtures were typically full of candles topped with flames. Although you might have a modern LED bulb within the fixture, the illumination gives off the right tone around the house. 

Continue to add to your Craftsman-style home because the extra accents only define it more prominently. The home’s value rises, and your personality is solidified into the architecture. Live on forever with your style emblazoned into a Craftsman-style property.


Author Bio

Matt Buquoi works at FlowerWindowBoxes.com, a company that offers premium-quality, no-rot flower window boxes and outdoor planters at affordable prices.

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Shed Building on A Budget https://www.checkthishouse.com/8382/shed-building-on-a-budget.html Tue, 26 Feb 2019 23:00:37 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8382 Let’s face facts; the longer time we spend at a place, the more junk we acquire. Since houses don’t tend to grow on their own, storage sheds often come into play to make up for the room. These days we don’t have to spend unnecessary time going through boxes of stuff to give away or ... Read more]]>

Let’s face facts; the longer time we spend at a place, the more junk we acquire. Since houses don’t tend to grow on their own, storage sheds often come into play to make up for the room. These days we don’t have to spend unnecessary time going through boxes of stuff to give away or have a garage sale because people build storage sheds.

Whether or not your home is bursting with stuff you may or may not need, you can get shed plans and build your own. Storage sheds can be used to store off-season items, but it can also give a home more space without actually adding rooms on to the house.

Building storage sheds on a budget is possible, as long as you don’t mind being a bit creative!

Start by looking for free shed plans

image1

Image source: sheds.co.uk

You shouldn’t break the bank to get a solid set of shed plans when you can find free plans online. Building a storage shed can be a fun new adventure, plus something exciting you can do with your pals or your family. Being able to build a storage shed without blowing your budget, while also making it visually pleasing and sturdy is an adventure on its own!

Get a building permit if you need one

The biggest mistake new builders make is attempting to build a shed without a permit. They feel that it is their property and therefore they have the right to build onto it, but let me tell you that is wholly untrue. Most jurisdictions require that you apply for a permit with the local building inspector’s office before you start building. This is a small formality but it will require you to list the size the structure will be, but if you don’t get the permit trouble will follow.

Building without a permit can lead to huge fines and worse, you might have to take down the structure and start building all over again.

Consider renting tools instead of buying

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Image source: rueducommerce.fr

If this is your first storage shed you probably don’t have most of the essential tools required to get the job done. Exercise caution when you decide how to acquire power tools because nothing will ruin your momentum faster than stopping because you don’t have the tools needed to cut your lumber. Last minute power tool purchases tend to be more expensive because you don’t have time to comparison shop.

Once you have figured out what tools are required to build storage sheds, you can make a list of what you need. You’ll save money if you go to a big name home improvement store because they offer tool rental services. You can pay by the hour or by the day, so you can save even more by strategic planning.

Save money by using scrap materials

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Image source: expoknews.com

If you are one of the lucky few for whom money is no object, congratulations. But for most of us, building storage sheds will require a bit of scrimping and saving and this is where scrap materials will be a gift. You can start with sale and clearance items for things like screws, window boxes, and other shed necessities. But when it comes to materials you might want to hit up scrap yards.

You can find scrap materials for all types of storage sheds. You’ll find that construction companies have tons of discarded lumber that have never been used at a discounted price. Be sure to factor this into your budget, including tools required to cut and clean up the discarded lumber.

Or if you plan to build eco-friendly storage sheds you can hit up scrap yards for plastic and metal alternative materials. You might decide to make a shed out of plastic bottles, tires or scrap metal, and if you do a scrap yard will be a great source of raw materials. Finding alternative materials is a great way to build storage sheds on a budget.

Think about reusing plastic

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Image source: stroyvopros.net

Many people who find themselves in need of storage sheds look to plastic rather than wood because it is a much lower maintenance material. It is easy to clean and it doesn’t require regular painting and other maintenance against the elements.

If you want to use recycled materials to build your storage shed, plastic bottles provide the perfect material that is pretty much in endless supply. You can wait until your family uses enough bottles to build your shed, have neighborhood kids bring them to you each week or head over to your local recycling facility and stock up on materials.

What’s interesting is that you can use clear bottles for additional sunlight in your storage shed, or mix up the color for a unique structure with the potential for plenty of daytime lighting.

Recycled wood is a perfect idea too

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Image source: postila.ru

If you have your heart set on a cute little wooden storage shed you don’t have to spend a ton of money at your local home improvement store; you can also use the good pieces from a recently discarded fence or head over to a construction site looking for “imperfect” planks. You might even be able to find leftovers and scraps at home improvement stores for a discounted price.

Using recycled wood to build storage sheds means you have to be extra careful about your materials. Wood can look good when it isn’t, so touch and smell your materials before purchasing them. Rotting wood is not ideal for any type of structure!

Give a second chance for discarded windows

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Image source: niftyhomestead.com

Most storage sheds require at least one window. Even if you only store items you’ll have to dig through the rubble one-handed while holding on to a flashlight or have a way for a bit of light to filter through naturally. The good news is that you can use a variety of discarded windows for your own storage sheds.

You can secure plain window panes for your shed, or go a little more exotic by using windshields, stained glass or even plastic sheets.

Decorate your shed with cafeteria trays

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Image source: desconinc.com

If you’ve ever visited a school, hospital or government complex then you know just how sturdy those cafeteria trays can be. Whether you choose metal or plastic, these trays are flat and straight so you can easily gauge how much you’ll need for your storage sheds. You can go for a great silver storage shed that looks like a tricked-out Airstream or for the whimsical colorful route with rotating color walls and roof.

Check with the cafeteria workers to find out what they do with discarded trays and see how you can get your hands on a few.

Think outside the box and expose your creativity

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Image source: nationaltrust.org.uk

If you’re willing to think outside the box there are a variety of materials you can use for your shed from car tires to vehicle doors and even school lockers or old boat parts! Of course, you’ll need to have more than a little creativity and a knack for building with unorthodox materials.

Building storage sheds from recycled materials is a fun, smart and inexpensive way to store your stuff! The key to using these materials is to get more than you think you’ll need. Measuring car tires isn’t as exact as measuring planks of wood so in this instance having more than you need is better. Mix and match your materials for a unique look, while still being functional!

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Garage Renos: How to Finish A Garage Interior With No Regrets https://www.checkthishouse.com/8295/garage-renos-how-to-finish-a-garage-interior-with-no-regrets.html Sat, 01 Dec 2018 18:00:14 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8295 Chances are, your garage is a cold, dingy, and most likely cluttered, cave that gets used solely to keep your vehicles out of the rain and snow – or even worse, as an unintentional storage space that doesn’t even have enough room left in it to protect your ride. This, my friends, is a waste. ... Read more]]>

Chances are, your garage is a cold, dingy, and most likely cluttered, cave that gets used solely to keep your vehicles out of the rain and snow – or even worse, as an unintentional storage space that doesn’t even have enough room left in it to protect your ride.

This, my friends, is a waste.

Your garage is 600(ish) square feet (or more!) of space just begging to be put to good use!

Of course, many realize this, and many attempt to turn their garages into something more functional – only to end up with regrets (and quite possibly a lot of debt). But don’t let that scare you! Garage renos really can add value and functionality to your home – if you do them right!

We are here to help you get the most out of your garage – you just need to follow our tips for how to finish a garage interior with no regrets, and you’ll be enjoying your new space in no time!

Why Remodel Your Garage?

Whether you are simply wanting some new shelving or you are thinking your garage would be better used as a home theater, there are a number of reasons why renovating your garage is a great idea.

Creating a More Usable Space

This is particularly desirable for those of you with smaller homes and/or growing needs – especially in areas where additional space tends to come with a hefty price tag.

A garage remodel is a great way to take a wasted or underutilized space and transform it into a space that will not only get more use but that will benefit you and your family.

Perhaps you work from home and could really use your own secluded, ~quiet~ work space; maybe your family is growing and an extra family room sounds like a nice idea; or maybe you simply need a better storage solution for the infinite amount of things collecting throughout your home.

A (successful) garage reno can do any of those for you.

Adding Value to Your Home

Not only does remodeling your garage give you an additional usable space, but this additional functionality also increases the value of your home.

If you are currently planning on selling, or think you may sell in the future, a garage reno can be a great way to help your home stand out amongst the others in addition to enabling you to list for a higher price.

Sure, most houses have a garage – but do all houses have a home theater, games room, home office, or complete second living space? Didn’t think so.

Give the buyer’s what they want – and what they want is usable space!

How To Have A Happy Reno

Of course many of you would probably rather settle for a mediocre and underutilized garage than deal with a full-scale remodel – and we don’t blame you.

Remodels can go downhill – and fast – so we have outlined are top 3 tips to keep in mind to ensure that your upcoming reno goes off without a hitch – and leaves you with zero regrets. All it takes is a little planning, practicality, and passion.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Probably the first thing to go wrong with 99% of remodel jobs that end badly is the budget – but is that really a surprise?

Renovations, no matter where they are in your house or for what purpose they serve, are not cheap. Materials cost money; labour costs money; heck even your time costs money!

If you don’t create a budget for your upcoming renovation that outlines how much you are willing and able to spend as well as where and on what you will be spending it, you will go over budget – simple as that.

Safety Is Key

The second thing that any homeowner with ambitious remodeling plans must remember is that there are still a number of requirements that must be met both for safety and legal reasons.

Considerations must be made for issues such as zoning requirements and building codes, as well as safety concerns such as proper firewall installation.

Before taking on any remodel, ensure that you are legally able to convert the garage how you would like to and that you are capable of meeting the various building codes that may be brought on by a change in the main purpose of the space.

Transform It Into Something You Need

Lastly – don’t do a remodel just for the sake of doing a remodel. Turn your garage into the dream space you’ve been waiting for!

No matter how stressful, messy, off schedule, and expensive the renovations were, if you are in love with the final product you are sure not to regret it!

What Are You Waiting For?

It’s time to say good-bye to that grey box you are calling your garage and hello to a brand new livable and usable space that you can incorporate to your home and your day-to-day lives.

Sure, remodels of any kind are intimidating, we know that – but just follow our three simple rules on how to have a happy reno and you will be enjoying your newly remodeled garage in no time, and with no regrets!

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Basic Ways to Prepare Your Home For Winter https://www.checkthishouse.com/8317/basic-ways-to-prepare-your-home-for-winter.html Mon, 22 Oct 2018 18:43:51 +0000 https://www.checkthishouse.com/?p=8317 The cooler months of the year are certainly full of their own distinct charms, but for homeowners they also bring a distinct set of challenges. The precipitation levels increase, cold winds blow, and temperatures drop. Keeping our homes in good working order and ensuring they remain bright and warm doesn’t happen accidentally. Instead, it’s a ... Read more]]>

The cooler months of the year are certainly full of their own distinct charms, but for homeowners they also bring a distinct set of challenges. The precipitation levels increase, cold winds blow, and temperatures drop.

Keeping our homes in good working order and ensuring they remain bright and warm doesn’t happen accidentally. Instead, it’s a matter of planning ahead and preparing for the specific difficulties potentially on the horizon. But, there are relatively straightforward ways homeowners can maintain their homes and create a space that weathers — pun intended — the seasons well, and in doing so promotes health and happiness.

 

Highlight the Sources of Light

Obviously, the primary way to achieve a home that remains warm and welcoming all year is by ensuring you have the appropriate lighting sources. Successfully utilizing your existing natural and artificial light sources is the key to combating less sunlight.

Windows

While it’s more challenging, even in months with less daylight you can take steps to maximize the natural light — and by extension warmth — coming into your home. This is largely a result of creating a support system that will highlight every bit of light.

Make sure they’re well sealed: It is important to make sure your windows are well sealed. This will ensure that the value of the light let in isn’t missed due to loss of heat in your home. In most cases, this will require simple recaulking if your windows aren’t fully sealed.

Reflect the light: When you can, fill your spaces with reflective surfaces so that the light is continuously transferred throughout the room. Mirrors, hardwood floors, and reflective furniture are best for this.

Accentuate window spaces: Home decor experts note, “The effect of sunlight through your window curtains can sometimes bathe a room in color when the curtains are drawn… The less dense the fabric is, the more light it will let in unless it is lined.”

Thus, choosing curtains shouldn’t just be about how well they’ll block, but also how well they’ll be able to let light through while still granting privacy.

Artificial Lighting

Not all artificial lighting is created the same. In this case, more is not necessarily better. Instead, it’s worthwhile to invest in the right kinds of bulbs and to use them in a strategic manner.

Pick the right bulb: Warmer, yellow light-creating bulbs will make spaces like the bedroom and living room seem cozier and calmer. Whiter lights in practical, task-oriented spaces like the bathroom and kitchen will work best.

Install dimmers: This is the magic step that can transform how bulbs appear and how they impact the living spaces where you place them. Dimmers give you the ultimate control over the bulbs you’re using.

Keep them clean: The most cost effective way to utilize what you’ve got is to keep the bulbs clean. Going through your home and cleaning what you have will pave the way for lighting that is efficient and effective.

 

Maintain the Spaces That Receive the Most Winter Wear

Part of the reality of inclement weather is that it inevitably takes a toll on the spaces we live in. Whether its because it’s impossible to leave the precipitation outside, or because our behavior inside our home changes, there are specific sections of the home that often experience more damage during the cold months.

Outside Interiors: Cold weather can make otherwise harmless outside spaces risky to move about in. If you have a garage or shed, water can enter and then freeze when the temperature drops, creating a hazard for all who enter.

Before the weather takes a serious turn for the worse, organize your shed or garage so that the floor is free of obstructions, and you can access whatever tools you may need with ease. If keeping the area heated is not an option, remain diligent in terms of removing excess water from the floor or vehicles so that it won’t become a safety risk.

Floors: When there’s excessive rain, sleet, or snow, it will often stick to clothing and shoes, and our floors pay the price. This really means we pay the price if we don’t take care of them. To protect floors from damage, use mats inside and outside, mop up any liquids, and vacuum up the salt tracked inside as quickly as possible.

Stoves: According to the Department of Energy, a seasonal shift happens in the kitchen: when the weather drops we use our stoves and ovens more than during other parts of the year. Be sure to keep burners and the oven clean.

 

Prepare for Storms

There are few things more disconcerting than being caught unprepared in the midst of severe weather. You can’t always control the amount of impact that a weather-related situation has on you and your family. However, preparing in advance for difficult situations means you are doing what you can.

Batten down the hatches: To prepare for weather at its worst, be sure to take some precautionary measures to protect your house. Tree branches should be trimmed, gutters cleaned out, and siding secure. This is the time to check and verify that weatherstripping on your home is up-to-date.

Protect pets: Include your pets in your preparation. In winter, it’s difficult not to expose some pets to the elements. Take preventative measures to ensure your pet stays safe and dry at home, too; options like pet insurance and pet wellness plans guarantee that you’ll prepared in the worst case scenario.

Emergency supplies: Consider investing in extra supplies, and even a generator in case of power outage. Keep emergency kits in both your home and vehicles. Additionally, there’s wisdom not only in knowing CPR as adults but also in having kids learn CPR.

Prepare for health hazards: While colds and flus may not be literal storms, in the United States they become so pervasive during fall and winter the CDC refers to them as “annual epidemics”. Thus, to avoid illness taking over your home the healthcare professionals at Healthline recommend taking extra care to keep your home clean and disinfected and to practice healthy habits as individuals.

Home preparations for fall and winter may seem daunting, but the reality is they’re totally doable. Not only that, they have the power to make the season, as a whole, more enjoyable as well. The cooler months of the year can mean we feel that we’re perpetually battling the weather so that we can protect our home from the elements. This can be discouraging not only in terms of our houses physically, but also in terms of how we feel in general.

Most of the time, though, the elements’ power to affect our homes and our emotional well-being is impactful only in direct correlation to the amount of time and planning we invest in home preparation.

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Garage Safety | How to Really Make Your Garage Safer https://www.checkthishouse.com/6280/garage-safety-how-to-really-make-your-garage-safer.html Tue, 15 Nov 2011 00:38:04 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6280 Garage Safety While checking the news this morning I stumbled upon this short article listing a few garage safety issues by U.S. Home Safety Council. To explore a little more their garage safety suggestions I followed a link to their website and looked at much longer list. I have to tell you that I’m disappointed after reading it. While working as a home inspector I‘ve evaluated close to 5000 properties and majority of them with car garages. In most cases there were serious, even life threatening garage safety issues involved, and yet, 3 of them have not been included in that list, part [...]]]>

While checking the news this morning I stumbled upon this short article listing a few garage safety issues by U.S. Home Safety Council. To explore a little more their garage safety suggestions I followed a link to their website and looked at much longer list. I have to tell you that I’m disappointed after reading it.

While working as a home inspector I‘ve evaluated close to 5000 properties and majority of them with car garages. In most cases there were serious, even life threatening garage safety issues involved, and yet, 3 of them have not been included in that list, part of one has been briefly mentioned.

It is not about scaring homeowners, it is about educating them. So, if the title says “Make your garage safer” and 4 major garage safety issues are almost entirely missing from the short (news article) and longer (U.S. Home Safety Council website) list… I guess it is time to fill in the blanks and complete the list.

Keep in mind, the importance of the following four garage safety categories is not based on some theory. These are the most common garage safety issues found in thousands of home garages while performing home inspections for almost 13 years.

First category covers overhead doors garage safety sensors

Garage safety - improperly installed door sensorSome of the homeowners should probably get an award for unparalleled ingenuity in finding spots for installation of those safety sensors. Despite the fact that they must be installed within 6” from the garage floor surface, across from each other on the overhead doors door jamb or side rails, homeowners put them on the ceiling beams, above the doors, tied to the garage door opener, etc. Check this article for more details: garage safety sensors

Second garage safety category is garage door opener.

Garage safety, open-close force adjustment on the garage door openerAre you aware of the fact that improperly adjusted garage door opener paired with improperly installed overhead garage door safety sensors can easily kill your child and heavily injure or kill an adult as well… Did that ever cross your mind?

Well, that convenient device hanging under the ceiling in your garage must be properly adjusted to operate safely. Without proper settings and periodical testing it might appear to be working properly, open and close the overhead doors, but without correct settings it may pose serious threat to anybody passing underneath while the door is closing. Find out more here: garage door opener safety.

The third garage safety issue is the overhead door springs

Garage safety - overhead garage door torsion spring brokenIf you have double extension or torsion springs on your door(s) and one of them cracks, the other one will not have enough power to hold the overhead door in open position without the opener. The opener will struggle while opening and closing the garage doors, eventually quitting on you. Even the garage safety has been compromised, with a stronger motor you may not even notice it for a long time.
However, if you decide to disconnect the opener (to investigate the problem) while the door is in “up” position it might come down with crushing force destroying everything in its path.

Unless you’re extremely strong (capable of lifting 400 pounds or more in some cases) there will be no way of stopping it once you pull the disconnect handle, or lifting it by yourself if the door ends up on your foot. That’s why you need to remember this garage safety item, have door springs properly adjusted (preferably by a professional) and visually evaluated on regular basis. More details here: garage door springs safety.

Finally, garage safety issue #4 – firewall separation

Garage safety - firewall drywall seams (ceiling and wall) must be taped and sealed with joint compoundFor those with attached garages this separation wall between the house and an attached garage is extremely important garage safety item. Your life might simply depend on it!

It must be properly assembled and not abused in any way so it protects you inside the house in case of garage fire or Carbon Monoxide spillage (ie. running vehicle engine). Abusing the garage firewall doesn’t really take much effort but results can be devastating. Follow this link for more information: garage firewall.

I think that the above four categories complete garage safety list by U.S. Home Safety Council.

Please, check your garage safety now.

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Asphalt Shingles Types | Roof Shingle Choices to Consider https://www.checkthishouse.com/6146/asphalt-shingles-types-roof-shingle-choices-to-consider.html Fri, 27 May 2011 05:07:01 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6146 The majority of homes in the USA,  Canada, and the European countries tend to be covered with various asphalt shingles types. They create superb systems which safeguard homes from poor weather conditions, blowing wind as well as water.

Simply because asphalt shingles are such an essential section of just about any home, there are numerous manufacturers both local as well as overseas which produce different asphalt shingles types for various purposes.

Actually, the number of shingles types is really so significant, that simply choosing the kind of roofing shingles for the home could be mind-boggling for many customers. Making that choice is a process that’s far easier to complete with some professional help.

Many people think that picking out from several shingles types is based just on 2 elements:

  1. shingles color
  2. shingles pattern.

Whilst they are essential elements without a doubt (specifically due to the fact you will be watching them for an additional two decades or even more), additionally you have to take into account the components, with which roofing shingles are created because they possess distinct characteristics as well as price ranges.

Probably the most traditional and well-liked selections are asphalt roofing shingles.

There are two ways of categorizing asphalt shingles types:

  • by means of material
  • by thickness

Asphalt roofing shingles which are made from natural components are known as organic roofing shingles, and those which are made from fiberglass are known as fiberglass roofing shingles type.

Additionally, asphalt roofing shingles could be categorized based on their thickness in 2 groups:

  • composition roofing shingles
  • dimensional roofing shingles also known as architectural shingles

All of the organic roofing shingles fit in with one of the groups of each classification, getting a total of 4 classifications. Nevertheless, these types of classifications aren’t utilized by companies whenever providing details to their customers, therefore it is smart to inquire about them.

Asphalt roofing shingles types produced from organic and natural ingredients have been popular a couple of decades earlier, however they have been discontinued as of 2005. There were a few reasons behind this decision;

  • asphalt shingles types produced from organic and natural components were much less resistant to fire
  • because of the grade of the organic and natural components (in some instances, even old papers were utilized), the organic asphalt shingles types were prone to accelerated de-lamination and decay and needed to be replaced more often.

Asphalt shingles types - dimensional shingles

Asphalt shingles types - composition shingles

Fiberglass roofing shingles types tend to be a little more costly. Nevertheless, they make it up utilizing their greater ability to resist impact. Additionally, they are much more resistant to fire.

  • Asphalt roofing shingles are thinner, also known as composition roofing shingles, are less costly and simpler to install on the roof
  • Dimensional roofing shingles types are heavier, which contributes to their sturdiness, however the actual distinction would be that the additional layers are shaped and utilized to give shingles a personalized appearance.

Thus, as you can see, you will find completely different kinds of asphalt roofing shingles types. Choose carefully as you will be looking at your asphalt shingles for the following two decades or even more.

If this is too much information for you, start from deciding on the roofing contractor first, he should be able to help you with choosing one of the asphalt shingles types.

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Illinois New Roof Cost Calculator | 10% OFF a Shingle Roof Installed https://www.checkthishouse.com/6139/illinois-new-roof-cost-calculator-installation-discount.html Tue, 17 May 2011 01:55:13 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6139

Illinois New Roof Cost Calculator

Receive 10% OFF a Shingle Roof Installation if you use this Illinois new roof cost calculator

To calculate your Illinois new roof cost you do not have to get up on the ladder, in many cases everything can be measured from the ground. If you’re trying to figure out northern Illinois new roof cost I have just that information for you… with a 10% OFF bonus if you choose to accept the already low price.

The calculator located below will give you an approximate Illinois new roof cost of an asphalt shingle roof replacement performed by:

JB Roofing - Illinois new roof cost calculator

  • A reputable
  • Family owned
  • Fully licensed
  • Insured & Bonded

JBRoofing Inc. operating in the Illinois / Chicago metropolitan area market for over 15 years.

Keep in mind that prices through the US vary from state to state and this particular calculator has been designed to calculate ONLY the Illinois new roof cost.

Remember that the final number from this new roof cost calculator is only approximate and as good as your measurements. It is just to give you a general idea of your new roof cost.

Don’t worry if you are not able to provide accurate measurements either. If you decide to contact JB Roofing, one of their representatives will personally evaluate and re-measure your roof with no cost.

Before calculating your Illinois new roof cost I’d suggest to scroll down (below the calculator) to find out what’s included in the final JB Roofing price and how to operate this roof calculator.

 

What’s included in the final JB Roofing price:

  • Roof examination and measurement to confirm dimensions provided by the costumer. 

    A word of advice: check your attic or ask your roofer to check it before providing you with a full estimate. I’ve examined thousands of properties as a home inspector and many of them have had new roofs installed and attics heavily contaminated with mold. Attic mold issue could be resolved by the roofer at the time of a roof replacement

     

  • Cost of materials: asphalt architectural shingles (30 or 50 year warranty), ice and water shield, felt paper
  • Roof tear-off and disposal if required (calculator option)
  • New chimney and skylight flashing if required (calculator option)
  • New ridge vent if desired (calculator option)
  • Labor
  • JBRoofing overhead and profit
  • 10 year labor warranty / material warranty provided by the manufacturer

Illinois new roof cost calculatorThe easiest way to determine approximate Illinois new roof cost is to enter your roofs dimensions into the calculator or rather its ground projection dimensions (click on the drawing to the left for details).

If your house’s roof has an overhang (just like on the drawing), make sure that you incorporate that overhang into the final dimensions.

Next important thing is to determine roof’s slope and choose the corresponding menu from underneath.

  • Low – Medium slope roof is easy to walk on making the installation less expensive.
  • Steep and very steep roofs require additional equipment such as roofing jacks, planks, and fall arrest equipment. Therefore, you should expect paying more for such installation.
  • Mansard type roofs are even more difficult to install and estimate may not be as accurate as the 3 previous choices, simply because it requires more precise measurements and climbing up on the roof.

Is your roof too complex and it doesn’t fit into any of the 4 roof types? Don’t worry, just click 10% OFF button under the Illinois roof cost calculator, complete the form, and you are guaranteed to receive this discount as well.

In any case, JBRoofing’s representative will always re-measure everything to make sure that you’re provided with the best Illinois new roof cost proposal.

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Building My Shed Requires a Plan: How to Prepare for Garden Hut Construction https://www.checkthishouse.com/6118/building-my-shed-requires-plan-prepar-garden-hut-construction.html Sat, 07 May 2011 23:03:27 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6118 Just like any project small or big, building my shed requires a plan. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced carpenter or still going through the learning curve, it’s always extremely important to have everything ready in place before beginning the project. Just follow the steps I took while preparing to build my shed. Those ... Read more]]>

Just like any project small or big, building my shed requires a plan. It doesn’t matter if you’re an experienced carpenter or still going through the learning curve, it’s always extremely important to have everything ready in place before beginning the project.

Just follow the steps I took while preparing to build my shed. Those are actually questions that I needed to answer before beginning construction of my shed.

What do I really need my shed for?

Building a shed might put your car back in the garage

My house has no basement and I started running out of space in my garage. There are all kinds of tools, pressure washer, lawn mower, bikes, cardboard boxes from whatever I’ve purchased over the years, and two cars.

My kids are already older so I don’t have to worry about their big toys, holiday decorations are stored in the attic, so it looks like my shed will be primarily used for garden equipment, some power tools and bikes.

How do I determine size of my shed?

How to determine the size of my shed - the easiest way to find outSince I determined shed’s purpose at the beginning it’s time to pick the size and visualize the interior features (shelves, organizers, etc.). It’s good to plan for the future so the floor area / sq footage of my shed should be large enough to accommodate whatever I’m planning to put there plus some extra space.

The easiest way to determine shed’s size is to organize all the items that you’re planning to put in the shed on a flat surface. Distribute them nicely so you can move around and measure the area they occupy.

Where am I going to build my shed?

Where am I going to build my shedMy backyard’s landscape isn’t going to change in the future, I have my pond, decks, little garden, and the flowerbeds already “strategically” positioned. That makes finding a place for my shed much easier because I don’t have to worry about my wife asking to move it 1 foot to the left to make room for some new plants.

You may be limited by the sq footage area of your land, shape, and slope, which will in some cases require compromises – building a smaller shed.  However, the key points to build my shed are:

  • My shed has to be easily accessible so I can move all the equipment in and out without destroying anything around it. Attaching my shed to the house is one of the options but that would require a full foundation and raise its cost significantly.
  • My shed has to blend in with the landscaping. You may wish to have your shed stand out from  everything else – it’s your project.
  • It has to comply with local zoning department requirements – distance from the property line, square footage, etc. (you need to obtain that information locally).
  • Before preparing foundation for my shed I need to call  811. It’s a number for a local “Know what’s below. Call before digging” center to get all of the underground lines locations marked (water/sewer, gas, electric). Each state has different rules and regulations governing digging, some stricter than others, so make sure that you find out before you cut your electrical power cable…

Do I need to have my shed insulated, water-resistant, or open?

I’m 30 miles north of Chicago, a four season climate, so my shed needs to withstand heavy winds, snow, rain, cold and heat. I’m not planning to install any heating / cooling equipment so insulating it would be just waste of time and money. I need a solid roof and weather resistant walls / doors.

Do I need a permit to build my shed?

Building my shed my require a permit - don't forget to askMy local building department says that I do need a building permit for my shed if its floor area exceeds 40 square feet, which it most likely will. This is a very important step and I wouldn’t skip it under any circumstances.

Imagine getting a violation ticket from a local building inspector forcing you to take that brand new shed apart. What would you do?  Ask about the permit before starting your project!

Visit your local building department or start from their website, find out the requirements, and get the permit if necessary (they may ask you to attach plans / shed blueprints and a plat of survey to your permit application).

Building my shed my require plat of survey

What about money for my shed? How big is my budget and how much is it going to cost?


Don’t worry, you can update a basic “my shed” project in a year or two when there’s some more cash to spare.
Building my shed budget - how much is it going to costI know the size of my shed, got the requirements, and looked at my bank account.Sky may be the limit or you may need to go easy on your project, adjust your dreams a little.

Open your favorite internet browser and type “storage shed cost” to get some ideas. To get a more exact number you’ll need to find a shed plan that includes material list, go to your local lumber yard or some home improvement store, and determine the total cost of the project.

What are the best places to get plans for my shed?

This is a subject that needs a little more exploration, go to free shed plans to discover what I’m considering to use for my shed project.

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3 Ways To Get Free Shed Plans | Blueprints For Woodworking Projects https://www.checkthishouse.com/6105/3-ways-to-get-free-shed-plans-blueprints-for-woodworking-projects.html Fri, 06 May 2011 03:22:15 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6105 3 Ways To Get Free Shed Plans

Free shed plans floor frame detailFree shed plans and blueprints have many benefits for anyone attempting to start a garden shed project. Unless you are a professional carpenter experienced in building sheds for a living, you will need some kind of a plan; step by step instructions that will guide you through the entire garden / storage shed construction project.

You can find various resources that will provide you with free shed plans and blueprints. For somebody without any experience, starting out with this first woodworking project, just looking at it may be scary. Don’t worry, there is always a first time in everything, and in most cases those free shed plans are designed in a way that even a novice can understand.

Where can you find free shed plans?

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MyShedPlans.com

  • Free shed plans at local lumber yards and home improvement stores.

They often provide customers with free shed plans to compliment material purchase for the entire project or simply as an advertisement of a shed kit. They may have a few standard, free shed plans in stock and will usually be able to provide the materials for each one of them (on site or through the special order).

  • Do you have any drawing skills, an idea about the look of your garden shed?

You can try to sketch it on a piece of paper and take it to a local building supplies store or a lumber yard. Some of them are equipped with computer design software that might be able to render your drawings, or based on your idea draft up some free shed plans for you. In some cases that “free” part might require a commitment, a promise that you purchase wooden shed materials from their store.

  • This list wouldn’t be complete without the third free shed plans source – the Internet

My shed plans concrete foundation detailsMy shed plans foundation detailsMy shed plans step by step instructionsThere are many websites offering free shed plans just for asking (MyShedPlans.com is one of them). Not because of their generosity, simply because they have another paid product you may be attracted to after examining their free shed plans.

The paid offer following free item is usually connected to it or in some cases that “free” thing may even depend on the paid product. In case of free shed plans from MyShedPlans.com you don’t need anything else if you have some previous experience with carpenter & woodworking tools. Their free shed plans include detailed material list and step by step instructions on how to proceed with the entire project.

My shed plans provides thousands of different wood project blueprintsMy shed plans bonuses include many different projects including birdhousesIf you are 100% new in the carpentry trade My Shed Plans paid product will leave no stone unturned. Their package contains an entire woodworking guide (tools, techniques, materials, etc.), preparation instructions covering different types of shed foundation, literally thousands of plans / blueprints for sheds, barns, garages, fences, and all kinds of other small and big woodworking projects.

You may be looking for some free shed plans today but tomorrow it could a new fence, patio table, or a chair.

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Maybe you’d like to build a bird house with your kids, a play house, or something as simple as a shelving unit – it’s all in free shed plans, everything in a single, huge package for a very small investment.

No need to search for another collection of wooden projects in the future. There’s also no risk involved in their offer: you have full 60 days to evaluate this package and in case this isn’t what you’re looking for, they’ll give you money back.

Free shed plans are just the beginning…

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Wood Shed Plans Collection of Everything Made Out Of Wood https://www.checkthishouse.com/6097/wood-shed-plans-collection-blueprints-of-everything-made-out-of-wood.html Mon, 02 May 2011 21:00:35 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6097 Wood shed plans - storage shed assemblyYou must be looking for some wood shed plans and / or experiencing “need for storage space” in and around your home. This… I think you can call it “wood shed plans collection review” may be helpful.

Before purchasing wood shed plans online I always try to do research and find all the positive and negative reviews. Also, an important criteria for me is to determine which of the reviews are purely affiliate recommendations (just to push a sale, make a profit without even knowing what you’re recommending) and which are made by a person who has actually “touched” the product.

For me there are two reasons behind choosing wood shed plans collection by MyShedPlans.com for the review.

  1. I was looking for an inexpensive (or free) set of wood shed plans to create some extra storage area on my backyard
  2. Since I have this home maintenance, remodeling, improvement, etc. website (You are Here Now), I’ve been looking for a product / wood shed plans I can fully endorse, use it by myself, and promote it as an affiliate.

If you purchase wood shed plans collection by MyShedPlans.com using links / banners from this website I will be paid a commission. Don’t worry, you’re not going to pay more while using those links; actually you may even pay less if you use the link at the bottom of my review (if this offer is still available – let me know if it isn’t).

Garden shed - wood shed plansWood Shed Plans Collection by MyShedPlans.com includes 12,000 woodworking projects (I don’t think 12000 reflects an actual number of shed plans, it’s the total number of blueprints of any kind). So it’s not only a wood garden shed you may be looking for, this collection of wood shed plans includes such things as small birdhouses, wooden toys, various garden furniture projects, decks, various sizes and shapes of storage sheds, garages, full size buildings, and everything in between – you name it.

Before purchasing this wood shed plans collection I downloaded the free shed plan which is also a complete build-a-shed guide.  However, if you don’t have any experience in carpentry, some sections of the project might require more research and explanation.

My first impression after the wood shed plans collection purchase… the size of the package is overwhelming.  There are many  comprehensive diagrams with material lists and precise step by step directions (not for all projects) that will guide you through the entire wood shed building process.

What if this is the first time you’re going to do carpentry work, use carpenter’s tools, prepare a foundation for your shed, assemble the wall and roof structure? I’ve been working in a construction business for over 10 years, performed home inspection for 13 years, so I can say that I’m not a beginner in this field.

But looking at wood shed plans / blueprints and handling construction tools might be scary and discouraging if this is the FIRST Project in your life.  I wanted to make sure that the statement from the wood shed plans collection sales page “It Doesn’t Matter What Skill Level You Have” is 100% the truth. So, I started digging into the files downloaded from the MyShedPlans.com after the purchase (it is an almost instant process if you carefully follow on-screen directions).

I can assure you that even if you don’t use wood shed plans to build a wood shed or anything else, the bonus woodworking guide you can download is worth much more.  Let me just list a few of the files… actually it’s more like an entire woodworking course, you’re going to find in wood shed plans collection by MyShedPlans.com

Woodworking guides included with wood shed plans cover:

  • lumber and plywood
  • glues
  • wood joints,
  • working with regular and power tools
  • beginner’s toolbox
  • applying paint
  • sandpapers
  • conversion charts, etc.

Of course you can start research and find a lot of that information online but do you know what to look for? This one is already handpicked and nicely organized in separate files – ready for you.

  • Another thing I was looking for in wood shed plans collection was information about the shed base / foundation. Free shed plan doesn’t describe in detail how this should be done and the requirements vary by jurisdiction. In some areas you may be able to build a shed on compacted gravel base; some will require concrete slab, piers, or maybe let you go with treated wood runners.

All those foundation options are explained in detail so you can just pick the one that can be used in your area. For me it looks like with wood shed plans collection it doesn’t matter what skill level you have because it provides answers to even most basic questions.

But this isn’t all; I was very surprised seeing this next folder in the wood shed plans collection download. It contains over 120 Do It Yourself tutorials that cover home improvement tasks, explain many plumbing, electrical, and other common home-related DIY projects – no more searching for you.

Like I said before – it’s overwhelming what MyShedPlans.com is offering for such a low price.

But… Unless you are a woodworking professional, there’s no chance that you’ll be able to even remotely get close to utilizing all the included information. If you’re just like me, you’ll end up in creating a single project from this entire package, maybe a few more if you have kids or plenty of free time. So, do you really need the wood shed plans collection from MyShedPlans?’

Well, this is my approach of the wood shed plans collection:

    1. I bought it because I was looking for a shed idea and the wood shed plans collection has quite a few of them – I like to have choices :-).
    2. I bought wood shed plans collection because I found some negative comments which I wanted to verify (the comments are 2 years old so I’m not sure if the package or customer service has been updated / improved since).
    3. I’ve been working with thousands of clients over the last 20+ years and I know that there’s no product in the world that will satisfy 100% of the buyers.
    4. The wood shed plans purchase has a 60 day money-back guarantee which eliminated my risk completely. However, after purchasing and evaluating the materials I see that the value of the entire package is much higher than its price (I paid $37.00 for a download version but you can have a CD for a few extra $).
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  1. I think that it is a solid product to promote and Ryan Henderson (MyShedPlans.com founder), who compiled the wood shed plans collection took care of everything to satisfy both, a woodworking beginner and a professional looking for more ideas.

As I have mentioned before, you can probably get the package from MyShedPlans for less than I have paid ($37) by clicking the image above.

I can’t guarantee this discounted price for wood shed plans collection but it was there last time I checked.

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10 Tips on How to Use Free Shed Plan and Build an Outdoor Storage Shed https://www.checkthishouse.com/6089/free-shed-plan-tips-build-outdoor-storage-shed.html Tue, 26 Apr 2011 00:43:42 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6089 There are ten easy steps you should follow after downloading this free shed plan. Even if you’re not a skilled carpenter you can build a shed by sticking to the plan described below and inside the “free shed plan” file. If you didn’t have a chance to download it from “My shed plans decision” post,  click on the ... Read more]]>

There are ten easy steps you should follow after downloading this free shed plan. Even if you’re not a skilled carpenter you can build a shed by sticking to the plan described below and inside the “free shed plan” file. If you didn’t have a chance to download it from “My shed plans decision” post,  click on the shed picture to the left and get it now –  no name or registration needed.

Free shed plan tips

1. Before starting with free shed plan visit your local building / zoning department and determine the requirements for building an outdoor storage shed on your property. There are a couple of ways you can do that:

  • Visit the website of your local building / zoning department, this is how I did it in my area: open www.Google.com (I always get the best results using it)
  • Type into the search box: Vernon Hills IL shed (replace Vernon Hills & state abbreviation with yours)
  • Click “Search” or hit “Enter” on your keyboard and examine the results – my answer was in the first position. Go over the page / article that answer your questions.

It might not be as easy as it was for me, if you can’t find it, you should give them a call or personally visit the facility. Before you go to there, print the free shed plan and take it with you, so you can ask if any alteration would be necessary to comply with the local code. At the same time you can apply for a permit if such is required in your jurisdiction.

Free shed plan tips - decide on the location2. Once you know all the requirements you can start proceeding with this project and begin using free shed plan. First decide where you’re going to build the storage shed. Its maximum size (floor area) will be determined by the building department and is usually described as a % of the size of the land and any structures standing on it. The free shed plan has 96sq feet of the floor area (12’ x 8’).

This is how it ‘s regulated in my jurisdiction:  “The shed and/or modular storage unit area, when combined with the area of other structures in the rear yard, shall not exceed forty (40) percent of the required rear yard area.”

3. Based on the material list from the free shed plan (pages 3-6) and additional guidelines provided by the building department, make a trip to the lumber yard or a local home improvement store. You are going to need a larger size vehicle or have the materials delivered – the free shed plan longest lumber piece has 14’ (roof ridge board) and there are 4’ x 8’ plywood sheets as well. Get everything at ones so you don’t waste time running back to the store once you start working on this project.

4. Once you have all the shed materials on site, start the free shed plan project by leveling the ground and preparing to lay the foundation. Make sure to prepare the foundation exactly as described by your local building department, don’t rush with the framing work (Free Shed Plan: page 16 has one of the possible options). If using piers or a slab to support a shed, a pre-pour concrete inspection may be required before you proceed with the construction process.

Free shed plan recommends using pressure treated lumber for the wall bottom platesAlways use pressure treated lumber for the wall bottom plates while building your shed5. Once the foundation is ready, start building the floor frame (Free Shed Plan: page 16) and the side walls as described in the free shed plan. It’s much easier and faster to build wall sections on the ground / flat, lift one up when assembled, and secure to the foundation / floor platform.

Pressure treated 2”x4” for the wall bottom plates are not included in the free shed plan material list (regular type lumber has been listed instead). However, I’d highly recommend this upgrade for two reasons:

6. After securing all four walls in place, cut the first of the roof trusses and use it as a template (Free Shed Plan: page 17-18). Follow the roof framing steps and by the time you nail the last member in place your project will have a complete shed frame ready.pressure treated lumber is often required for the wall bottom plates wall bottom plates are exposed to moisture and using pressure treated wood will prevent or at lest significantly slow deterioration

7. The next step is to install the fascia boards, roof sheathing / plywood & roofing material – asphalt shingles – those steps are outlined on page 19 of the free shed plan.

8. Shed soffit, plywood siding, and trim will follow the shed construction procedure. Although the free shed plan lists plywood siding as the wall finishing material, you can use any available material that pleases your eye and for example matches your home’s exterior walls – use your imagination.

If you stick to this free shed plan and use unfinished plywood siding, make sure you apply some wood protection over its surface. A couple of coats of exterior grade varnish or paint will protect your project for years to come.

9. The free shed plan lists the materials and describes how to build the windows and doors as well. However, if you’re not up to this challenge, you can purchase prehung windows and doors that can be easily installed by following manufacturer’s directions. As necessary, paint or varnish them to prevent moisture penetration and material deterioration

10. The storage shed entrance ramp is the next step, it is an optional free shed plan chapter, and it might not be necessary. In most cases it would depend on the grading and floor level distance from the ground at the entrance to your shed. If you think that you can benefit from having a ramp installed, assembly is simple and it will not take long.

Congratulations! You should be proud of yourself, especially if this free shed plan was your first project of this magnitude.

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My Shed Plans Decision| Garden Shed Blueprints https://www.checkthishouse.com/6082/my-shed-plans-decision-garden-shed-blueprints.html Fri, 22 Apr 2011 02:56:09 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=6082 My Shed Plans Decision

My shed plans - it's time for a new shedThe weather has finally improved to the point that my shed plans started taking an actual shape, at least a virtual one at this moment. Hopefully they can become a reality soon because storing some of the garden equipment in the garage isn’t possible anymore. A few extra square feet of space in my shed seems to be the only option.

I did some research while “assembling” my shed plans and I’ve seen hundreds of sheds as a home inspector, but I’m still debating between the vinyl and a wooden frame shed. Therefore, I’ll just walk you through what I have discovered so far and hopefully this will help you in a process of making the final decision.

The first step in my shed plans adventure was to check with the building department for requirements and permits in my Village (I’m in Vernon Hills, IL, near Chicago). I would definitely suggest starting with this one because in some cases your shed plan idea might need to be changed completely based on the information from your local building department. In other words, skipping it might cost you money and aggravation.

For example, I couldn’t have my shed  build out of metal, a metal shed installation in my jurisdiction is not permitted. You don’t want to purchase several hundred dollars worth of a structure, install it, and find out from a local building inspector that it must be disassembled…

So on my shed plans # 1 thing to do is: a local building department visit to obtain a complete list of requirements and a permit if necessary.

You can start this procedure simply by checking their website: type in your favorite search engine (Google always gives me the best results) the name of your location followed by “building department” or “shed requirements”  (Vernon Hills shed requirements – this worked for me).

There are a several requirement in Vernon Hills, IL that I will have to apply to my shed plans:

  • Shed material I can use: wood, masonry, vinyl (no metal permitted)
  • Square footage of my shed plans –  40sq feet floor plan does not require a permit but must comply with the village building and zoning ordinances
  • My shed plans can have maximum dimensions of 120sq feet (floor) and 10 feet height. Your shed dimensions might be limited by the square footage of the property your
  • My shed must be built on a weather resistant base: wolmanized wood, concrete, etc.
  • I will also have to securely anchor my shed in all 4 corners to its foundation or to the ground
  • If I decide to attach my shed to the house structure, it will have to have a full foundation with footings unless it can be otherwise designed by an Illinois licensed structural engineer
  • Some other requirements for my shed cover: a setback from the property line, fences, regrading, utilities, inspections of the performed work, and many, many more… Scary, isn’t it?

Well, I did check websites of a few other neighborhoods and some don’t even have a third of the requirements listed for my village… So, maybe you’ll have a little more luck than I did.

The 2nd step in my shed plans “debate” was (still is) to decide on one of the permitted shed building materials. Since I can’t install metal sheds and I don’t want a masonry one, I’m left with a vinyl, and a wooden shed option.

Vinyl shed has been classified by my Village as a Modular storage Unit and described by them as: a prefabricated accessory storage unit not greater than 40 square feet in floor area and constructed of vinyl, only.

My shed plans - vinyl shed pictureWhat’s appealing in the vinyl shed choice:

  1. Fairly quick way of getting from the beginning to the end of my shed plans project. I’d just need to prepare the base and assemble the components.
  2. Extremely maintenance free features of the vinyl shed. I wouldn’t have to worry about the moisture damage and deterioration over time.  However, its limitation would be the size which cannot exceed 40sq feet in my Village, this isn’t much but unfortunately that’s how big I’d be able to go with my shed.

There’s a huge variety of those vinyl sheds offered by different manufacturers and if this is what you’re looking for, feel free to follow this link to search & compare different products – Vinyl Shed Shopping.

If you’re up for a “my shed” challenge and into woodworking, wooden frame sheds are on the list of my shed options as well. I’ve been looking for some free shed plans or at least not too expensive ones and if you just need a basic shed, just grab this completely FREE shed plan – instant download, no name or email required 🙂 – click on a shed image below.

Click for a FREE shed planFree shed plan opens in a new browser window (it’s a PDF format file) from where you can save it to the computer.

This 12’x8’ FREE shed plan includes illustrations, blueprints, material list and step by step detail instructions. If this is something you like, print the plan, take it to the local building department or attach it with you permit for evaluation. You may also wish to check Free Shed Plan Tips.

Let me know if you like it and email me a few pictures of your project if you proceed with it. Maybe I can put together some kind of “My Shed Plans” gallery to give others creative ideas.

my shed

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Roof Rain Gutter Downspout Maintenance & Cleaning Tips https://www.checkthishouse.com/5643/roof-rain-gutter-downspout-maintenance-downspout-cleaning.html Thu, 23 Sep 2010 20:13:02 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=5643 Roof Rain Gutter Downspout MaintenanceThe amount of the roof rain gutter downspout maintenance depends mostly on the rain gutter maintenance and the downspout bottom end / its extension condition. There's not much to worry about if you're living in a tree-free neighborhood, where your rain gutter downspout will (in most cases) require no maintenance. However, every tree located close to your house will increase the chances of losing some of your valuable time on rain gutter downspout maintenance. The closer and taller the trees are, the more maintenance might be required. The simplest method to minimize it and keep the gutter downspout interior clean is to install the rain gutter strainer. The gutter strainer will stop leafs and other debris from flowing into the downspout, and in some cases, contaminating it. You have to remember to clean the gutter strainer periodically (depending on the number of trees surrounding your house) to prevent it from blocking the water flow. Your rain gutter downspout should do OK without the gutter strainer if there are no trees in your area. Clogged Rain Gutter Downspout 1. Observe your rain gutter downspout discharge while it’s raining. If there's little or no water coming out the downspout bottom end - check the gutter outlet first (top of the downspout / at the rain gutter attachment point). If it's contaminated - clean it and watch if that improves the water flow.]]> Roof Rain Gutter Downspout Maintenance

There’s not much to worry about if you’re living in a tree-free neighborhood, where your rain gutter downspout will (in most cases) require no maintenance.

Rain gutter downspout performance depends on the gutter maintenanceRain gutter downspout maintenance - clogged downspout discharge end

However, every tree located close to your house will increase the chances of losing some of your valuable time on rain gutter downspout maintenance. The closer and taller the trees are, the more maintenance might be required.

Rain gutter downspout - gutter strainers require cleaningThe simplest method to minimize rain gutter downspout maintenance and keep the gutter downspout interior clean is to install the rain gutter strainer. The gutter strainer will stop leafs and other debris from flowing into the downspout, and in some cases, contaminating it.

You have to remember to clean the gutter strainer periodically (depending on the number of trees surrounding your house) to prevent it from blocking the water flow.

Your rain gutter downspout should do OK without the gutter strainer if there are no trees in your area.

Clogged Rain Gutter Downspout Maintenance

Observe your roof rain gutter downspout discharge while it’s raining.

If there’s little or no water coming out the downspout bottom end – check the gutter outlet first (top of the downspout / at the rain gutter attachment point). If it’s contaminated – clean it and watch if that improves the water flow.

Damaged rain gutter downspout extension causes gutters overflowing and downspouts crackingIf your roof rain gutter is still full of water, the gutter outlet is clean, and not much is coming out of the downspout – start by checking the condition of the downspout bottom end (most likely at the point of a curve), and / or its extension (especially the flexible type). Be careful while doing it, though.

If the bottom end is clogged, there might several gallons of water just waiting for you to open the clogged section.

Top point of a downspout curve is the most common spot to look for a clogBottom point of a downspout curve is the most common spot to look for a clogIf the bottom appears clean and there’s no mechanical damage, you’ll have to work your way down the gutter downspout. The clogging debris usually accumulates at the first or second point of curve, right below the soffit level.

You can try to unclog the downspout with a plumbing snake by fishing it down through the rain gutter outlet. Anything long enough that is small in diameter, flexible, and strong enough to be pushed through a few downspout curves will work fine too. One of the examples would be an electrical “fish tape”, just be prepared for it to corrode, unless you happened to have a fiberglass type.

Continue your  rain gutter downspout maintenance and keep turning / wiggling the snake line if it gets stuck on any of the curves or obstructions until you get through. Try to go in and out a few times to push down or break loose as much of the accumulated material as possible.  The sound of the rushing water and a suddenly emptying rain gutter will confirm your success.

If your roof rain gutter was empty, insert the garden hose into the downspout’s top opening and open the water valve – full blast.  This should clear any remaining deposits from the clogged area.

Roof Rain Gutter Downspout Maintenance – Back Seam

Clogged rain gutter downspouts, or their extensions, hold the water inside. The water freezes during the cold season and expands / cracks the seams open. When it gets warmer, the downspout spills water onto the wall behind the open seam, even after the clogging has been removed.

Rain gutter downspout seam cracked - rain gutter maintenance pictureLook between the gutter and the house wall to see if it is intact. If the gutter downspout surface looks uneven – the seam is most likely broken. Other signs of the broken downspout seam might be a stain on the wall, deterioration of the house wall material, and/or interior wall damage in the area corresponding to the downspout.

You can try to squeeze the gutter seam together – sometimes it will snap back in, sometimes you’ll need to replace this damaged section.

Roof Rain Gutter Downspout Maintenance & Underground Drains

Some jurisdictions do not allow underground drains anymore and require home owners to discharge rain water from their roof gutter downspouts onto the surface. Others may require to use those drains.

Extend rain gutter downspout into the underground drain pipeIf your gutter’s downspouts run into an underground drain, do not permanently secure that connection, allow for expansion and contraction during the cold season. Just make sure that the downspout section is slightly inserted into the underground drain opening to prevent water from splashing onto the wall finishes. Also, install the gutter strainer to lower the amount of debris flowing into the drain.

Roof Rain Gutter Downspout Maintenance – Extension

The further the gutter’s downspout extensions run from the house, the better. Their installation directly benefits your house and various components around it.  The following are just some of the most important:

  • lower amount of water that might penetrate foundation walls
  • lower pressure that water saturated soil puts on the foundation walls
  • it helps to prevent house foundation cracking and uneven settlement
  • it helps to prevent cracking, settlement, and displacement of the house’s surrounding hard surfaces


However, any sections of the extensions resting on the ground surface that are left attached to the rain gutter downspout for the cold season will most likely freeze up. The ice will eventually build back up to the downspout preventing drainage and causing downspout seams to crack – one of the reasons you need rain gutter downspout maintenance.

If your downspout extends almost to the ground level, disconnect that long extension as soon as the temperatures start dropping below freezing point. Also, make sure that the bottom discharge end is clean.

Cut back the downspout and elevate it above the ground before the cold seasonAnother option is to cut a section of the gutter downspout attached to the wall, so its extension starts higher above the ground. At the same time you also keep the extension suspended / supported above the ground level.

For practical reasons / in some high traffic locations around your house, this rain gutter downspout extension setup may not be possible, but it is something to consider.

And the next step is to get your roof rain gutter downspout maintenance rolling 🙂

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How to Clean Gutters and Other Gutter Cleaning Tips https://www.checkthishouse.com/5618/rain-gutter-maintenance-gutter-leaf-guard-gutter-screen.html Mon, 20 Sep 2010 03:05:39 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=5618 Routine gutters cleaning may prevent corrosion of a steel gutterLearning how to clean gutters is one of the most important house maintenance tasks to perform on the exterior of your property. Neglecting rain gutter cleaning and its maintenance might result in damage and costly repairs of the soffit, fascia, house wall (exterior and interior), roof decking surfaces, and other structures surrounding your property.

Rain gutter cleaning must be performed more often if there are trees surrounding your house or if there are trees in the near neighborhood. During the fall, when all those trees start shedding their leaves, you may need to have gutter cleaning performed several times.
Remember to perform your final rain gutter cleaning, gutter maintenance and downspout maintenance / check-up at the end of the fall, when all tree leaves have disappeared.

The safest method to find out how your gutters are performing and if the gutter cleaning would be required is to go outside during the rain and check your downspouts.

If there’s very little / no water discharging from the roof downspouts, or water is overflowing the gutter edges, you have a few possible problems:

  • the gutter or the downspout itself is clogged – downspout or rain gutter cleaning is required
  • the rain gutter has a negative slope – away from the downspout, and needs to be repositioned to discharge water properly (1/4″ slope per every 10 linear feet of the gutter will minimize your gutter cleaning efforts, of course, more would be better )
  • section of the gutter is sagging – that happens occasionally as a result of loose nails / screws / brackets holding the gutter in place (separating from fascia board), contamination (weight of dirt, leafs and debris accumulated along the rain gutter) – gutter cleaning and / or just repositioning would be required
  • if you have lots of water discharging from your downspout and still have an overflowing gutter, you might need to replace your gutter system or at least the downspouts with a larger diameter

How to clean gutters #1

For a lightly contaminated rain gutter cleaning you can use a regular garden hose and flush all the deposits towards the downspout, then pick up anything that didn’t make its way down in the downspout attachment area.

It might be possible to perform your gutter cleaning from the ground by using a garden hose attachment / extension. In case you have some type of the gutter leaf guards installed, you’ll need to remove them first.

However, such gutter cleaning procedure may not work on years of deposits inside the gutter and you’ll need to pick up all the decomposed leaves and debris by hand.

While performing gutter cleaning use utility gloves (preferably rubberized) to protect your hands from gutters sharp edges and joint screws. Safety glasses are also recommended.

For the clogged downspout, try to use your garden hose – just make sure the bottom of the downspout is open and free of debris before you stick the hose into the top opening.

Filling a completely clogged rain gutter downspout with water will put a lot of stress on all joints and downspout brackets – it might cause your entire downspout assembly to collapse. For more about downspout maintenance follow this link: Roof rain gutter downspout cleaning.

Flushing the gutter or downspout with a garden hose while standing on top of the ladder is hazardous. Water filled garden hose is heavy and might pull you down from the ladder – ideally, it should be secured / anchored above the area you’re working on / not to the ladder!

There are various tools available on the market and some of them might speed-up your gutter maintenance process, but the old-fashioned way (100% manual) will give you the most satisfaction :-), just be extremely careful and outsource it if you don’t fell 100% comfortable with gutter cleaning by yourself.

How to clean gutters #2 – Gutter seams

Learn how to clean gutters and seal leaking gutter corner seams

All it takes to repair a leaking rain gutter seam is a few minutes of your time – perform gutter cleaning in this leaking area, remove all debris and contamination, and apply Dap 27062 Butyl-Flex Gutter and Flashing Caulk, or a similar sealant designed for that purpose.
After it stops raining, look at the gutter corners, around the downspout attachment area, and any other seams.

Depending on the installation, a leaking seam may or may not cause any problems. Surface beneath the gutter protected by a good quality paint (no matter how good it is, it will not last forever), or aluminum capping will survive that leak.

Gutter cleaning - if you see leakage stains under the gutter, check the roof condition aboveYou have to look for damage in the area directly next and below the leaking gutter seam, there might be a rotten soffit / fascia board, deteriorating brick or mortar, water damaged siding or even moisture / water penetrating the interior of the house.

If you notice any stains underneath the rain gutter, I’d also recommend to check the roof surface directly above this area – it might be already damaged.

On taller houses, with roofs above the tree line, gutter cleaning may only be required once a year (or every couple of years), usually in the downspout attachment area. However, their seams might break and start leaking periodically as well.

How to clean gutters #3 – Gutter cleaning may prevent corrosion

Rain gutter maintenance - gutter cleaning may prevent corrosion, holes in the gutter bottom surfaceRain gutter maintenance - leaking gutter patchIt all depends on the amount of rain gutter corrosion – seeing slightly corroded gutter bottom might be a sign of a heavily corroded interior, and in that case the gutter or its section would most likely require replacement. However, if you are creative… roofing cement, aluminum foil, silicon, electrical tape, duct tape, and many other materials can be used. It might not look beautiful but sometimes it works for a while

If the metal gutter material feels solid, remove as much rust as possible with a steel wool, treat the area with a liquid rust remover, apply the rust converter and than mach the gutter color with some corrosion resistant paint.

Routine rain gutter cleaning may often prevent corrosion. Simply because there would be no standing water inside the gutter or contaminated sections where trapped moisture accelerates deterioration process of rain gutter material such as copper, aluminum, or galvanized steel.

How to clean gutters #4 – Rain gutter guards and screens

Rain gutter guards and screens help to lower the amount of maintenance and gutter cleaning. There are several different types of rain gutter guards, so do some research before you spend money. I personally recommend plastic guards, which I installed on my own gutters several years ago.

Rain gutter maintenance - leaf guard (brown color on the picture) minimizes gutter cleaning requirementRain gutter maintenance - leaf guard (white color visible on the picture) helps to maintain clean guttersThey have round holes on the surface and a fine screen / micro mash on top of it. This prevents debris falling off the trees from contaminating the gutter. Anything that accumulates on top of the screen will be eventually washed off by the rain or blown off the surface with the wind, thus reducing your gutter cleaning tasks to minimum.

There’s another version of this guard without the screen, it is slightly cheaper but allows smaller leaves and debris to penetrate and eventually clog the gutter.

Another thing to consider is the rain gutter guard color – this particular type comes in white and brown, at least in my local home improvement stores. Believe it or not, the color has some impact on the amount of your gutter cleaning time.

Why is the rain gutter screen / guard color important – if your roof receives a lot of sun, brown gutter guards made out of plastic will absorb lots of heat and start bending and changing its dimensions over time. This is what happened on my roof and resulted in significant gaps between individual sections … and more rain gutter cleaning / maintenance.

So, a white gutter guard (plastic) will perform better, and if you could get a similar product in long sections to avoid seams, your gutters will be almost maintenance free.

There is a variety of other products that minimize your gutter cleaning efforts (or at lest this is what they claim) on the market like foam and brush-like inserts that in my opinion will require a lot of maintenance. For those who are willing to invest some serious money, there’s a Gutter Helmet® system (and a few other similar products) that achieve the same goal as a simple plastic screen with a micro mash.

How to clean gutters #5 – Rain gutter strainers

Clean gutters on regular basis to prevent overflowing - plastic strainerAnother thing that helps to cut our rain gutter cleaning time or rather downspout cleaning is a gutter strainers. Those small devices are installed inside or on top of the rain gutter outlet, in most cases partially inserted into the downspout. They prevent leafs and debris from clogging your downspouts and work fine for as long as you perform gutter cleaning on regular basis. Leafs and debris that start accumulating around the strainer will eventually block it completely, and cause the gutter to overflow.

I highly recommend using rain gutter strainer if your downspout discharges into an underground drain and if there are any trees in the vicinity of your property – just remember to clean it periodically!

However, if you have no trees at / and / or around your property, the rain gutter strainer is not necessary. Small debris carried by wind will simply flow down the downspout without accumulating around the strainer and having any negative impact on gutter cleaning efforts.

In such case a missing strainer may save you from gutter cleaning.

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House Roof Asphalt Shingles Maintenance Tips https://www.checkthishouse.com/5449/house-roof-asphalt-shingle-maintenance-tips.html Mon, 30 Aug 2010 21:30:12 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=5449 Roof asphalt shingles maintenance - your roof may be leakingHouse roof asphalt shingles maintenance process can be divided into three steps and performed twice a year – fall, and spring (unless you notice something alarming in between the roof maintenance checkups). This will give you a more complete picture of the asphalt shingles roof condition, even if it is a brand new roof – trust me.

Put this task on top of your house maintenance exterior schedule, as soon as you spot a problem, don’t delay any repairs – do it before you start remodeling interior of your property.

Step 1 – Asphalt shingles roof exterior evaluation
Step 2 – Asphalt shingles roof decking / house ceiling and attic evaluation
Step 3 – Asphalt shingles roof repairs and replacement

Amount of the required house roof asphalt shingles maintenance depends on the property surroundings, roof shape, shingle colors, quality of the workmanship, attic or cathedral ceiling ventilation, your geographical location, etc.

Step 1 – House asphalt shingles maintenance – roof exterior evaluation

If you have a single story home, the safest (but limited) method of inspecting asphalt shingle roof surface would be from the ground, preferably with a pair of binoculars .

Inspecting asphalt shingle roof from the ground has significant limitations / because of the angle you’ll be looking at the roof surface, and detailed evaluation will not be possible. However, before you climb up the roof or start making any repairs, try to visually memorize any “out of ordinary” areas observed from the ground, continue to Step 2 to ensure that there’s a solid decking beneath the shingles, and come back outside to compare your observations.

While performing asphalt shingles maintenance look for:

  • broken / cracked shingles
  • displaced shingles
  • missing shingles
  • curling asphalt shingles edges
  • washed out protective granules from the shingle surface
  • nails penetrating the asphalt shingle surface
  • uneven house asphalt shingle roof surface – significantly sagging or buckling areas
  • debris accumulating on surface
  • discoloration of shingle roof surface
  • loose, displaced, contaminated, corroded, leaking gutters

or anything that simply put – doesn’t look right.

If you think that there is no more room for asphalt shingles maintenance, consider new roof – if you’re from IL, click the link to get Illinois replacement roof cost using my calculator.

Asphalt shingles roof maintenance - leaf contaminated valley shingles deteriorate much fasterPay special attention to the valleys on your asphalt shingle roof because they tend to deteriorate much faster than open / flat surfaces. Especially if you let debris and leafs accumulate and decompose for a few seasons inside the asphalt shingle roof valley.

Also, carefully inspect flashing around the roof penetrations – this includes the chimney, plumbing vents, skylights, and anything that is attached to the roof or penetrates the roof asphalt shingle roof surface. There should not be any cracks / separations along the seams. Follow the roof edges looking for loose / displaced pieces of trim, rotten soffit, and fascia.

If you have a tall house and / or low pitch roof, it might not be possible to get a good observation angle even with the binoculars. In such case, you’ll need a professional roofing contractor to perform this evaluation, and if necessary, proceed with asphalt shingle roof maintenance / repairs… unless you feel 100% capable of doing it yourself.

Ladder safety first - before you climb up the roofIf you decide to climb up the ladder to perform asphalt shingles maintenance;

1. make sure you’ve already followed Step 2 / attic evaluation – it’s very important to perform this 2nd step because it might save you from falling through your roof while working on its surface


2. check Ladder safety guidelines. It’s sometimes very painful not to follow the basics of safety.
Some important tips on using the ladder:

  • Check your ladder for any damage before climbing, make sure it can support your weight
  • Make sure it stands on a solid, flat surface to prevent it from tipping over – don’t use any small objects (stones, bricks, etc.) to level it
  • Never lean the ladder against the chimney unless you’re are absolutely sure it can support it
  • Avoid windy days
  • Secure the ladder if possible to prevent if from sliding away from the roof when unattended
  • read the Ladder safety guidelines again!

Asphalt shingles roof maintenance - step on shingles with caution, some might be loose and slide from under your foot Some of the asphalt shingles might be loose, improperly secured, and even if they look OK, might slide out from under your foot – be extremely careful / watch your step – feel the area before you fully shift your body weight onto your  foot.

Loose shingles are common on multi-layer asphalt shingle roofs where the installer used shorter than required roofing nails – they need to penetrate old shingles layer(s) and the roof decking.
Asphalt shingles roof maintenance - never step on cables while evaluating roof surfaceNever step on cables / wires left on the roof surface, they will roll under your foot and you may loose your balance. If your asphalt shingle roof looks suspicious / uneven, heavily deteriorated, it is wet, frost / ice / snow covered, or appears too steep – don’t step on it!

Stay away from the roof edges, especially along the gutters – decking surface might be rotten and won’t support your body weight.

So, you’ve noticed some problems on your asphalt shingle roof surface, checked the attic / house ceilings for water damage, and learned the ladder safety abc’s.

Now it’s time to perform repairs if necessary and put a check-mark next to your house roof asphalt shingles maintenance entry.

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Garage Door Sensors & Overhead Door Opener Sensor Troubleshooting https://www.checkthishouse.com/4175/garage-door-sensor-overhead-door-opener-sensor-troubleshooting.html Wed, 12 Aug 2009 02:30:46 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=4175 garage door sensor troubleshootingGarage door sensors, also called photoelectric sensors, are designed to protect people and their belongings (not just cars) by constantly checking for an obstruction in the path of an automatically closing overhead door. As soon as something is detected, the garage door sensors send a signal to the garage door opener to reverse its movement and open the door.]]> garage door sensor troubleshooting

Garage door sensors are also called photoelectric sensors, are designed to protect people and their belongings (not just cars) by constantly checking for an obstruction in the path of an automatically closing overhead door. As soon as something is detected, the garage door sensors send a signal to the garage door opener to reverse its movement and open the door.

A single pair of the garage door sensors includes a transmitter that emits an infrared beam and a receiver. In order to operate effectively, both of them must be properly aligned – the receiver eye must see the transmitter eye.

Each of the garage door sensors has a small “status” light that stays ON at all times on the transmitter side, and turns ON at the receiver side only if there’s a clear path between them. You might also have a receiver with a light that instead of turning OFF changes color to red or starts blinking when the infrared beam is broken.

Height of the garage door sensors

You should install each of the overhead door opener safety eyes (top of the lens) no higher than 6” from the garage floor surface. This is critical for small children or any individual lying down on the garage floor in the path of a closing garage door.

I would not recommend installing the photoelectric garage door sensors very close to the floor surface.

  • Placing the sensor within and inch or two from the floor might result in leafs or other small debris triggering the overhead door opener false responses.

Under no circumstances should you install the garage door sensors anywhere else. Sometimes I see them taped together on top of the garage door opener or secured to the roof/ wall framing, which creates a serious safety hazard – do not do it!

Overhead garage door sensors troubleshooting

Problem

  • When you push the garage door opener button, the door starts traveling down, but as soon as you release the button – it reverses automatically. The following are just the most common issues under the assumption that the safety eyes itself and the garage door opener are not mechanically damaged.

Things to investigate

  • Check for any obstruction in the infrared beam path, it might be a spider web, leaf, etc.

  • Check the garage door sensors lens and clean it if necessary (transmitter and receiver)
  • Check alignment of the sensors / make sure that both of the status lights are constantly ON. If they are not, try to slightly adjust the transmitter or receiver – if this works, secure them in place.
  • Wave your hand in the path of an infrared beam to see if one of the garage door sensors status lights turns OFF / changes color to RED / starts blinking

If there’s no status light on either of the garage door sensors, make sure that the wires at the garage door opener terminals and at the sensors (if not permanently attached) are secured / wiggle them slightly to see if none of them have separated / broken at the screw that is holding them.

  • It is also possible, that the wire between the overhead door opener and the garage door sensors got accidentally damaged / cut – check the entire length.

If none of the above helps to correct the garage door closing, you may need to call a professional to investigate the problem.

You can also check the overhead door opener post for more information about the garage safety issues.

I hope this will help you in troubleshooting and proper installation of the garage door sensors.

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Why Plumbing Vent Flashing Does Not Work with Roofing Cement https://www.checkthishouse.com/2384/plumbing-vent-flashing-does-not-work-with-roofing-cement.html https://www.checkthishouse.com/2384/plumbing-vent-flashing-does-not-work-with-roofing-cement.html#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2009 03:53:53 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=2384 plumbing vent flashingHouse plumbing vent flashing is required around the pipe at its roof surface penetration. Without it, or if improperly installed, rain water or melting snow will seep around the vent and damage the roof decking material, sometimes making its way down to the wall / ceiling surfaces inside the property. Depending on your roofing material ... Read more]]> plumbing vent flashing

House plumbing vent flashing is required around the pipe at its roof surface penetration. Without it, or if improperly installed, rain water or melting snow will seep around the vent and damage the roof decking material, sometimes making its way down to the wall / ceiling surfaces inside the property.

Depending on your roofing material and roof slope, there are different types of plumbing vent flashing that can be installed and NO – roofing cement is NOT one of them.

cracked at seam

Question: Why roofing cement should not be used as a permanent plumbing vent flashing:

Answer 1: Because every roof structure contracts and expands independently from the plumbing vent stack

Answer 2: Because every building settles differently from the plumbing vent stack

Both of the conditions (A1 & A2) will cause roofing cement applied around the plumbing vent stack to crack, separate from the pipe, and eventually leak water.

Plumbing vent flashing manufactured specifically for this application creates a waterproof / watertight seal around the roof-penetrating pipe without the use of any sealants. The most common types of materials used for this purpose are:

  • neoprene rubber
  • sheet metal with a neoprene rubber insert
  • lead

There are also more sophisticated and expensive copper or galvanized steel plumbing vent flashing types assembled from two or more pieces. While serving the same purpose, they also add appeal to your house’s roof.

Neoprene rubber flashing and sheet metal with neoprene rubber types are very easy to install, but you have to keep in mind that water will penetrate it if you fail to do it right. The most common mistake is placing the flashing on top of the sloped roof surface material (shingles, rolled composition, metal, etc.) and applying roofing cement or caulking around it.

Properly installed plumbing vent flashing on sloped shingle roofImproperly installed plumbing vent flashing is a common point of leaks - top and side edges should be under the shinglesTop and side edges of the plumbing vent flashing apron (this section is mostly hidden under the roofing material) have to be inserted under the slope roof surface material with the bottom edge exposed.

That open bottom edge prevents any possible condensation from the pipe sweating from being trapped under the roofing material, and can eventually cause roof decking damage or mold growth in the attic.

Any other installation is unprofessional and will most likely fail over time.
Plumbing vent pipe neoprene rubber flashing cracked - requires replacementAlthough neoprene rubber has a long life span, it might eventually crack along the seam with a plumbing vent pipe, and at that point, I would definitely recommend replacement.

If you’re able to pick a warm day for this procedure, it might be possible to slightly lift the top shingles (they will split / break if it’s cold and you will need to replace them) and replace the flashing without causing any damage.

You can use a hacksaw blade to remove nails holding down shingles located above the plumbing vent stack and the vent stack flashing itself. Just slide the blade underneath the surface and cut any nail that prevents flashing removal.

In some occasions, however, to properly install a new plumbing vent flashing, the roofing material needs to be removed from the vent surrounding area and be re-installed (especially on a multilayer roof).

Lead flashing has been used on plumbing vents for many decades, and because of its larger apron, it is still the choice of many roofers. It also slides down over the plumbing vent stack, but instead of the neoprene rubber that provided seal in the previous two types of flashing, a lead top section bends inside the vent pipe, and by overlapping it, prevents water penetration.

Plumbing vent pipe flashing made completely out of metal has a minimum of two pieces:

  1. Flashing / apron section, which also covers part of the vent pipe
  2. Counter-flashing secured to the top of the vent pipe and overlapping bottom section

Such design works like a telescopic antenna, allowing for structure movement independently from the plumbing vent stack; it definitely stands out from the crowd.

Plumbing vent pipe flashing installation on a flat or low slope roof also needs to provide for a building structure / roof framing independent movement. However, depending on the roof type, whether it’s metal, built-up roofs, modified bitumen roofs, single-ply (EPDM, EP, Hypalon, PVC, etc.), or membrane roofs, the installation procedure will vary.

Missing flashing at the plumbing vent pipe sloped roof penetrationOnce again – the one thing that should not be used on any of those roofs as a plumbing vent pipe flashing is, and has always been, the roofing cement.

Consider this – before you make another hole in your roof for that extra bathroom plumbing vent, check your attic. It might be possible to connect extra pipe to the house main plumbing vent stack without causing any roof damage

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3 Useful Patio Sump Pump Tips & Tricks https://www.checkthishouse.com/2228/patio-sump-pump-solutions.html Fri, 02 Jan 2009 22:46:14 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=2228 Patio Sump PumpHouse walkout basements opening to a patio (or just a patio located below the grade) sometimes require a dedicated drainage system. A combination of a drain tile and / or sump pump ensures that moisture intrusion will not threaten the living space located at the same level; it will also prevent your patio from turning ... Read more]]> Patio Sump Pump

House walkout basements opening to a patio (or just a patio located below the grade) sometimes require a dedicated drainage system. A combination of a drain tile and / or sump pump ensures that moisture intrusion will not threaten the living space located at the same level; it will also prevent your patio from turning into a pond … and staying one.

In warm climates, even shallow sump pump pits / drain tile installations perform perfectly all year round. However, in climates where temperatures drop below freezing, such installations require a little more planning.

Patio installed sump pumpThe most critical situation would be when your patio is lower than the surrounding grounds / surfaces and at the same level as your walkout basement or any living area. When designing a sump pump assisted drainage system for such purposes, you should take into consideration the frost line depth in your area .

Any sump pump and pipes located on the exterior and above the frost line would freeze up. Even if the sump pump is only partially submerged under water, freezing might cause permanent damage to the assembly.

If you have a shallow pit that only collects surface water (a pit with solid walls and solid bottom with no drain tile connected to it), remove the sump pump for a cold season.

You can equip it with a flexible hose and use it periodically, whenever it starts getting warmer and water accumulates in the pit. If the temperature drops below freezing, remove the pump and flexible pipe (you can leave the pipe outside but make sure that it is empty).

Since general purpose sump pumps are not designed to carry anything other than clean water, you should not add salt, antifreeze, etc. to the sump pump pit in order to prevent it from freezing. Chemicals might accelerate corrosion, damage seals, cause electrical failure and create hazardous conditions. It can also contaminate your soil and make it impossible to garden / plant anything.

Exterior sump pump pits that provide below the frost line depth will only work properly during the cold season if:

  • Discharge pipes are also installed underground or somehow protected from freezing
  • Sloped away from the pump
  • Drain pipes are discharging into the reservoir that  does not freeze up during the cold season (municipal underground rain water drains / storm drains or sewer systems – make sure that your local authorities permit connection of your sump pump discharge line to them – most will probably not)

Do not connect your sump pump discharge line to the septic tank, it could significantly compromise its performance.

Sump pump pit installed within the area of a concrete patio. If the top edge of the sump pump pit / well is level with a concrete patio surface, there should be an expansion space left between the well wall material and a concrete slab itself.

When you remove the sump pump for the cold season and the pit fills up with water all the way to the top edge, freezing water and moisture-saturated concrete will expand at slightly different levels. This might cause the concrete slab to crack since the sump pump well penetration has already weakened its integrity.

If there is no gap between the pit and the concrete, try to keep the water level inside the well below the bottom of the slab (usually 4”).

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Crawlspace Venting: How Many Foundation Vents, Requirements & Beyond https://www.checkthishouse.com/1560/venting-or-not-the-crawlspace-dilemma.html Sat, 25 Oct 2008 04:11:35 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=1560 Read more]]> A quick answer would be yes for the crawlspace venting and not-venting. However, there are many supplemental conditions that would support each “yes” answer, and there are ways to make any condition favorable to either – the only thing in your way is usually just the cost.

Summer in Illinois is often hot and very humid. The theory was that in such weather, crawlspace vents would allow the humidity trapped under the house to be exhausted to the exterior… Well, it took a few decades to realize that the theory was wrong.

What actually happens during the humid summer is that passive (non mechanical) crawlspace vents will actually contribute to increasing the humidity under the floor and in our house unless the floor has a moisture barrier underneath.

With some important exceptions added to the “under the floor ventilation” section in the current and 2003 IRC (International Building Code), it is actually possible to legally eliminate crawlspace vents entirely, and with a benefit to our healthy house. Below is the main requirement from 2006 IRC:

Crawlspace venting

1203.3.1 Openings for under-floor ventilation. The minimum net area of the crawlspace ventilation openings shall not be less than 1square foot for each 150 square feet (0.67 m2 for each 100 m2) of crawl-space area. Ventilation openings shall be covered for their height and width with any of the following materials, provided that the least dimension of the covering shall not exceed 1/4 inch (6 mm)

1. Perforated sheet metal plates not less than 0.070 inch (1.8 mm) thick.

2. Expanded sheet metal plates not less than 0.047 inch (1.2 mm) thick.

3. Cast-iron grilles or gratings.

4. Extruded load-bearing vents.

5. Hardware cloth of 0.035 inch (0.89 mm) wire or heavier.

6. Corrosion-resistant wire mesh, with the least dimension not exceeding 1/8 inch (3.2 mm).
Let’s look at some crawlspace ventilation options that are currently available on the market and ways to implement them under the floor:

Very Important:

If you have any fuel burning appliances installed in the crawlspace area, you’ll need so called make-up air / combustion air, which is necessary for a proper burning process. Unless the appliances have a sealed combustion / burner chamber and use exterior air for combustion (most high efficiency furnaces, but not all of them), you might need a vent installed in the crawlspace area providing combustion air from the exterior. If you’re not sure, have a licensed HVAC contractor to check it for you.

Exception 1
Where warranted by climatic conditions, crawlspace ventilation openings to the outdoors are not required if ventilation openings to the interior are provided.

This crawlspace ventilation exception would apply to houses with partial basements and crawlspaces connected together. Split level homes often have such designs and do not require crawlspace vents. For a house with a full crawlspace underneath , you’d have to have an opening in the house floor that permits air exchange between the crawlspace and a living area.

The exchange will happen automatically, and it is called the stack effect (the warm air is lighter than the cold one and it raises, first in the crawlspace, then through the floor, ceiling, attic, and roof vents).

Assuming that your crawlspace is 100% dry, insulated, and has no Radon or any other problems – you can close the crawlspace vents (check HVAC combustion air requirements). Just don’t put a crawlspace vent register in your house floor without checking your crawlspace condition first.

Exception 2

The total area of crawlspace ventilation openings is permitted to be reduced to 1/1,500 of the under-floor area where the ground surface is treated with an approved vapor retarder material and the required openings are placed so as to provide cross ventilation of the space. The installation of operable louvers shall not be prohibited.

Crawlspace floor finished with PolyThis exception suggests that you seal the crawlspace floor with an approved vapor retarder (which is very good), and lowers the number of required passive vent openings in the crawlspace foundation or right above it (which is also good, because we get closer to eliminating them completely).

Passive crawlspace vents installed in the foundation wall don’t work in humid conditions as originally anticipated, and this has been already scientifically proved … so I’m wondering why they are still required, if instead of removing humidity, they will transfer more into the crawlspace during the humid summer months.

Exception 3

Crawlspace ventilation openings are not required where continuously operated mechanical ventilation is provided at a rate of 1.0 cubic foot per minute (cfm) for each 50 square feet (1.02 L/s for each 10 m2) of crawl-space

Last one! Let’s go into details step by step:


Flooded crawlspace Flooded crawlspaces – no matter how good your crawlspace ventilation would be, standing water will not evaporate through any vents. You have to correct the problem that is causing flooding, and properly installed drainage system with an efficient sump pump usually does the job.

Assuming that you’ve eliminated flooding and are just dealing with a damp crawlspace now, let’s see how close we can get to eliminating those vents completely:

  • Install Vapor Barrier on the entire crawlspace floor and part of the foundation – various types of liners are currently available with some advanced ones composed out of multi-ply materials with exceptional strength and also treated with antimicrobial agents that prevent mold and mildew growth under their surface.I wouldn’t recommend going all the way up to the framing with that liner if there’s a possibility of the crawlspace termite infestation (Termites might build their mud tubes under the sheeting and infest the framing without you even knowing about it).
  • When the Vapor Barrier installation procedure is done professionally, the moisture should no longer be an issue in your crawlspace. Don’t insulate your house floor for the following option (I personally prefer this one)!
  • Seal your crawlspace vent ports except for the ones which are required for mechanical vent installations
  • Install a mechanical crawlspace vent in your foundation wall, place a damper between the living space and the crawl space, and a monitoring system (control module in your house, and temperature / humidity sensor in the crawlspace, with and optional exterior temperature / humidity sensor).This system operates by analyzing  the temperature and humidity changes in the crawlspace (and optionally from exterior), and activating the mechanical vent and damper whenever needed. The damper opens only for the period of time the crawlspace fan operates.

This option fully complies with the code and eliminates all passive crawlspace vents.

The alternative is using the mechanical crawlspace vent and one passive vent on the opposite side of the crawlspace, keeping the living area completely isolated.

The advantage of the first setup keeps the crawlspace conditioned with your house air and you don’t have to worry about freezing water pipes during the winter. With the second option, I would suggest insulating the house floor, air ducts, and water pipes.

If your house has a crawlspace – make sure that you visit it periodically! For help on what to look for under the floor, you may also wish to check “Crawlspace Inspection” section on my website. Happy Crawling!

Crawlspace vent manufacturer website, the first one will show you step-by-step how it works:

http://www.smartvent.net/

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Importance of Attached Garage Firewalls & Garage To Room Entrance Safety https://www.checkthishouse.com/744/garage-fire-wall-separation-wall.html https://www.checkthishouse.com/744/garage-fire-wall-separation-wall.html#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2008 03:37:07 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=744 Garage Firewall SafetyGarage fire wall / separation wall between the house and an attached garage is very often mistreated  by the home owners. I’m assuming that they are simply unaware of the fire safety requirements and how critical it might be to gain those extra minutes that garage fire wall should provide in case of fire. As always. check your local jurisdiction requirements, because they might exceed the IRC (International Building Code). #1. Garage fire wall / separation wall – materials used on the garage side of walls and ceiling common to the house must meet certain requirements in order to slow [...]]]> Garage Firewall Safety

Attached garage firewall is a separation wall between the house and an attached garage. The problem is that this firewall is very often mistreated  by the home owners becoming a significant garage safety issue.

I’m assuming that they are simply unaware of the attached garage firewall safety requirements and how critical it might be to gain those extra minutes that attached garage firewall should provide in case of fire.

As always, check your local jurisdiction requirements, because they might exceed the IRC (International Building Code).

#1. Attached garage firewall / separation wall

Attached garage firewall material used on the garage side of walls and ceiling common to the house must meet certain requirements in order to slow the spread of fire. IRC (International Building Code) specifies that single and 2-family building must have a one hour rated surface, half an hour if an automatic sprinkler system has been installed.

Missing drywall on the attached garage firewall ceiling, below the second floor bedroom

Missing drywall, holes in the attached garage firewall - separation wall

Attached Garage Firewall Material

In order to achieve this garage wall fire rating, the house – garage common wall needs to be sheathed with at least 1/2″ thick drywall, and the ceiling surface requires minimum 5/8″ thick, type X gypsum board.

All drywall seams must be taped / finished with joint compound and some jurisdictions  might require fire rated joint tape for this purpose.

Attached garage firewall drywall seams (ceiling and wall) must be taped and sealed with joint compound

Attached Garage Firewall Material Seams and Penetrations

  • The attached garage firewall should have no missing / damaged drywall sections
  • Any penetration must be sealed (fire rated caulking would be perfect for small gaps around the pipes, air ducts, door frames, etc)
  • If the firewall is made out of brick, cinder block, stone, solid concrete, or any other non-flammable material, you’d just have to worry about penetrations

Attached garage firewall - garage to room door must be at least 20 minute fire resistance rated, or one & three eights of an inch solid core #2. Attached garage firewall – garage to room entry doors

Garage to room entry doors they must be at least 20 minute fire resistance rated, or 1 3/8″ solid core doors – no hollow core, interior type doors like the ones that you normally install in bedrooms, closets, bathrooms, etc.

Garage to room doors require proper weather stripping to create an air tight barrier between the garage and a living quarters.

No openings are permitted from an attached garage to room used for sleeping purposes!

One more feature that helps to preserve an attached garage firewall is a self closing door. Although, I always recommend it to my clients purchasing older homes, self / fully closing garage door is required on a new construction in many jurisdictions for several years already.

Attached garage firewall - garage to room entrance door should be self and fully closingI don’t think that any local code enforcement division would force a homeowner to upgrade in an older home, but it makes sense to do such an update for your own sake. It is a very small investment (around $30.00) to improve this attached garage firewall penetration, and all you need to do is replace a couple of regular door hinges with a spring type and adjust the door so it will fully close automatically.

It is for your own safety … I know that nothing bad ever happens to you, but just in case somebody forgets to turn off the car engine and leaves the door between the garage and the living quarters open … you won’t smell Carbon Monoxide …

The entry door from an attached garage to room should be slightly elevated / higher than the garage floor surfaceAttached garage firewall - many building codes require a step (or curb) at the house to room entry door and the garage floor#3. An attached garage to room entry door – its threshold needs to be slightly elevated / placed higher than the garage floor surface.

Many building codes require a step (or curb) between the house door and the garage floor. The step (min 4″ recommended, but check your local code) prevents spilled gasoline vapors from entering the house and partially protects residents from carbon monoxide fumes.

Attached garage firewall - air forced heat register open into the garage which is not permittedAttached garage fire wall - a forced air heating system distributing air through the house with a register (supply or return) open in the garage violates garage fire wall#4. A forced air heating system distributing air through the house with a register (supply or return) open in the garage violates attached garage firewall.

This is typical for older homes that often used home heating system to control garage temperature. They should be removed and the air duct opening sealed with sheet metal (at least 26 ga. steel) and fire rated caulking.

Metal air ducts exposed in the garage area should be at least 26 ga. steel to prevent attached garage firewall violation. No plastic or aluminum (thin wall or flexible type) vent hoses penetrating the separation walls are permitted – if there’s no other way to run those vent pipes, insulate it, box it out and finish it with 5/8″ drywall (Type X, taped).

#5. An electrical box installed in an attached garage firewall with another one connected to its back

Electrical boxes back to back installation with one side serving garage and other  serving the house might be forbidden in some jurisdictions. They might also not allow having an electrical panel installed inside the garage fire wall.

#6. Attached garage floor must be non-combustible material and sloped towards the floor drain or overhead doors.

I’ve seen many garages with a carpet installed …

#7. Attic access installed in an attached garage firewall.

Even if the garage attic is completely separated from the house attic or house walls don’t back-up to it, open access creates a vacuum and garage fire will be sucked into the attic – keep it closed at all times (check drawings in comment section below for some tips).

Many single story homes with an attached garage have no ceiling in the garage section and an open attic above the house. In such case the attached garage firewall / house separation wall should extend all the way to the roof decking or garage section should have a 5/8″ drywall ceiling installed.

Typical garage attic access (at least in the majority of Chicago land homes including new construction) is a square drywall section, usually set on four pieces of trim. Drywall is fine, but the trim neither provides a proper seal nor has a required fire rating … it would most likely burn within a few minutes …

Attached garage firewall - attic pull down stairs finished with a quarter of na inch thick paneling violate fire wall separation

Another “gap” in an attached garage firewall is a pull-down type staircase to the attic – most of these have only a 1/4″ or 3/8″ paneling sheet installed and rarely provide proper seal along the opening – have your local code enforcement division comment on it if your garage attic opens to the house attic space.

Many older homes do not comply with those attached garage firewall requirements, and of course – I’d highly recommend to do all of the necessary improvements – it’s better to be safe …

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Garage Door Opener Safety Manual Bottom Line https://www.checkthishouse.com/696/garage-door-opener-safety-manual-bottom-line.html Tue, 19 Aug 2008 19:05:58 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=696 There is one extremely important reason for presenting you this garage door opener safety manual.

Because it is a mechanical device, and if improperly installed , combined with a 400 pounds garage door (give or take some), it will hurt you badly! It might even kill you!

There is a well known phrase – “if it works, don’t touch it” (or fix it) – but maybe there should be also another one added to it “if it was properly installed”… Most of us hate instructions but please stay with me till the end of this post – it might be beneficial for you, especially if you have any garage door opener safety concerns… maybe because the opener has been installed by somebody else, it is old, or you aren’t sure if what you did with it is really safe.

Garage door opener safety manual is not a review of any kind, for garage opener reviews I’d recommend this free site (all types of reviews) – Consumer Search – Reviewing the Reviews.

This post is about garage door opener safety features that MANY people (homeowners / installers) neglect to install properly.

Garage door opener safety requirement;

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) requires that all garage door openers manufactured or imported after January 1, 1993, for sale in the United States are equipped with an external entrapment protection system. It also recommends, that any garage door openers without a such safety feature should replaced.

External entrapment protection system refers to two types of garage door sensors:

  • Garage door opener safety sensors two photoelectric eyes installed on both sides of the garage door track – they should never be installed higher than six inches from the garage floor (4″-6″ is the recommended location). Such installation ensures that a small child cannot crawl under the sensor’s invisible beam.

When the light beam of the garage door opener safety sensors is broken during the door closing process, the door should stop and reverse. If there’s anything on the sensor light beam path or both sensors are out of alignment, you’ll still be able to close the door by holding the wall button – correct the problem instead of forcing the door to close.

I’ve seen so many garages used as storage where it is impossible to see the lower section of the garage door from the area the push button has been installed, so you might not know what’s blocking the light beam.

Garage door opener safety sensors improperly installed above the opener - at ceiling levelGarage door opener safety sensors improperly installed on top of the opener - at ceiling levelGarage door opener safety sensor on garage doors installed too high it should be 4"-6" above the floor surfaceWhat you see on the first 2 pictures is unfortunately a very common installation – two sensors taped together and secured above the garage door opener … the sensor on the third image should be lowered to its recommended location.

  • Garage door opener safety edge sensor – commonly used on elevator doors, but also in some residential garage door openers – it’s a strip installed along the bottom edge of the door. When it detects pressure applied by any obstruction, it should stop and reverse the door.

Open - close force adjustment on the garage door openerAnother of the garage door opener safety features is a reverse on obstruction setting, which must be adjusted properly.

In case this is the only garage safety feature (no door edge sensor or photoelectric eye) – it becomes critical. It is also critical in situations where an electric eye has been improperly mounted (too high or in a different location – like on the pictures above).

There should be a couple of adjustment screws on the body of the garage door opener assembly, usually marked “down force” & “up force” or “open force” & “close force” (just like on the picture). Make sure, that you’re adjusting the proper set of screws, because many models of garage door openers will also have “up / down travel” adjustments – read the label.

Always follow manufacturers instructions when doing adjustment, if the paperwork is gone, look it up online for that particular model. The general rule is to place a 2″x4″ block of wood underneath the door and try to close it.

The garage door opener safety setting “up / down” force must be adjusted in such way, that when the door bottom edge touches some obstruction, it will immediately reverse. Some recommend using paper towels rolls instead of a wooden block, because it has a density similar to the human body, and especially small children. If you can get the garage door opener sensitivity adjustment that close, it would be perfect!

Garage door opener safety Up - Down adjustmentGarage door opener arm slide bracket at the travel limit screwGarage door opener safety – Up / Down travel

This is also very important because overdoing it, often combined with an improperly adjusted Up – Down force, might compromise the garage door opener and the door itself.

Garage door opener safety – Down travel
It should be adjusted so when the door it is in a closed position – the bottom weather strip is slightly compressed (not crushed completely).

Garage door opener safety – Up travel
When the door is fully open, the garage door opener arm bracket should never hit the opener itself or a protective bracket / screw – at the most, it should stop right before it, without actually hitting it.

The garage door opener is not a crane – it’s a device that replaces your own hand in opening / closing process. What this means is that before the opener arm is physically connected to the door, you should make sure that the door spring tension has been properly adjusted and the door is equally balanced.

If you want to test the door already equipped with an opener, disconnect the opener arm only when the door is fully closed – be careful, because some door spring tension may be too high and it could pull the door up as soon as the opener has been disconnected.

Garage door opener safety tip
When springs are properly adjusted, you should be able to easily raise / lower and stop the garage door at any height, and it should remain at this level without any assistance – stay clear of the door path and don’t place your fingers between the door sections when performing any tests.

If the door is out of balance – doesn’t act like described above – call the professional to adjust it – this is a very dangerous procedure if you don’t know what you’re doing! Few more things:

The garage door opener safety - unit powered by an extension cord which might nullify its warranty

 

Garage door opener safety – garage door opener should be plugged directly into an electrical outlet, not an extension cord, not a light fixture socket.

Latest NEC (National Electrical Code) requires garage door opener GFCI protection Not necessarily a convenience if it trips on a high ceiling installation, but there’s an easy solution, just follow the link above.

Garage door upper panel cracked in opener arm attachment area - missing door reinforcement barGarage door opener safety – any time you install the garage door opener, make sure that the upper door panel or door section (with single panel doors) has been reinforced – this applies to single and double garage doors. Reinforcement bar doesn’t usually come with the door, it is an additional piece of metal you have to pay for.

  • For a single door, without the electric opener, it isn’t absolutely necessary.
  • For a double door, I’d highly recommended one bar along the top, at least one more along the bottom edge, for heavy doors the third one might be necessary, and installed with or without the opener. Wide doors without the reinforcing bar start sagging after a while, and will most likely crack in the center of the top panel, right above the garage door opener arm attachment area.

Garage door opener safety – push button

Recommended installation is at about 60″ to prevent small children from playing with it, and in a location where you can see the overhead door when closing – Consumer Product Safety Commission

Garage door opener testing procedures:

  • Garage door opener safety – On closed garage overhead doors, carefully disconnect the opener arm (some older models might not have a disconnect option) and test if properly balanced – if not call a professional to adjust it. Springs tension should be adjusted in such way, that overhead door can be operated by hand without the mechanical opener, stopped at any level and remain there without any support.
  • Garage door opener safety – If operating properly without the opener, reconnect the arm and test it with a block of wood or better with a towel roll – adjust if it doesn’t reverse (if you open and close the garage door opener too many times while adjusting sensitivity it will overheat and stop responding until its motor cools down).

– If your garage door opener is malfunctioning or has improperly installed safety features – correct this potentially hazardous garage door opener safety condition immediately!

– If your overhead garage door opener has no currently required safety features please replace it, it’s dangerous!

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Garage Door Springs Safety, Avoiding Serious Injury https://www.checkthishouse.com/656/garage-overhead-door-springs-and-more.html Sat, 16 Aug 2008 02:06:51 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=656 The overhead garage door springs safety cables missing

The major garage safety issue, and the most dangerous component of the overhead door is the garage door spring – (or springs depending on the design), which supports the entire weight of the door panels (sometimes over 400 pounds) and helps you to lift / lower the entire door assembly.

The overhead garage door is usually the largest mechanical thing around your house.

I have personally installed 3 overhead garage doors with 2 different types of  garage door springs and you do have to trust me on the following – garage door springs are under enormous pressure and you can get seriously injured or even killed when performing such work. If you decide to take your chances – it is imperative that you follow instructions to the last detail!

Even if you have a friend or a professional installing garage door springs for you, read the manual and check everything after installer finishes the job.

The garage overhead doors have no safety brakes (at least I haven’t heard about one), that would prevent it from falling down when the supporting spring fails. I’ve found some US patents for such devices, but apparently none of them was ever implemented into an actual garage door.

According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, garage overhead door related accidents account for thousands of injuries every year (average of 30000 per year). For example, these injuries are; fractures, crushings and amputations. It is believed that not all injuries are reported in the United States. (www.cpsc.gov)

There are basically two types of the garage door spring systems utilizing tracks / side rails (at least these are the most common types in Illinois and probably the rest of US):

1. Torsion type garage door spring(s)

Torsion garage door springs are wound-up on a rod above the garage door opening top section (door header)

2. Extension type garage door springs

Extension garage door springs are attached on either side of the door and stretch along the horizontal part of the track when the door is closed

You might also have an old, one piece door that swings outward as it goes up and overhead. This particular design will have garage door springs mounted on the sides of the door opening – at about your waist height, secured to a lever bracket system that extends the springs toward the ceiling at the door closing.

It is an old and extremely dangerous system, not manufactured anymore. If you have a such system in the garage, I’d highly recommend replacement.

Overhead garage door springs safety - broken spring 1Overhead garage door springs safety - broken spring 2* Torsion type garage door springs come in either single or double spring designs. The spring will usually break while under the maximum stress which is when the overhead garage door closes / travels down, or it is already completely closed (USUALLY). If you’re closing it manually and it happens during this operation, don’t try to prevent it from crushing down, let it go and step / jump back as quickly as you can / make sure your foot is not where the door will slam!

When one of the two garage door springs breaks you need to have them both replaced at the same time! It will cost some extra money, but having an old and new spring installed will:

– put much more stress on the new one

– the garage overhead door will loose proper balance

– the remaining garage door old spring will most likely break soon

Torsion type garage door springs for residential overhead garage doors have anywhere between 5000 – 30000 cycles life span. Those digits represent an average total number o times you should be able to open and close your door before anticipating garage door spring replacement.

Properly installed garage door extension spring safety cable 1Properly installed garage door extension spring safety cable 2* Extension type garage door springs – you might have either one or two on each side of your overhead garage door.

A critical issue with extension type garage door springs is to have a safety cable installed inside of each single spring and secured properly, so when the door opens and closes, the spring can freely slide on this cable!


When the garage door spring snaps without the cable inside, broken ends might severely injure anyone standing within their range. The cables should be always included with the overhead garage doors hardware (assuming that they came equipped with extension springs), but A LOT OF PEOPLE either forget to install them, or don’t read instructions and maybe assume that they are not required.

Replacement of torsion type garage door springs – Manual

Go ahead and carefully test your garage door springs safety.

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Back-Up Sump Pump – it’s Always About Taking Chances https://www.checkthishouse.com/488/back-up-sump-pump.html https://www.checkthishouse.com/488/back-up-sump-pump.html#comments Sat, 02 Aug 2008 22:10:30 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=488 Read more]]> It’s in a human’s nature to believe that bad things happen only to others; unfortunately, reality works its own, unpredictable, and mysterious ways.

Any time I see basements with a sump pump and no battery operated backup pump, especially finished basements, I always wonder about calculations.

A battery operated sump backup pump starts around $300.00 and a finished basement starts around $30,000.00 (prices might vary – don’t quote me on that). Because I’m not a salesman and far from it, I think you can trust me – it’s well spent money, and you’re getting a free piece of mind with the pump.

Power outages happen everywhere, and regular sump pump, no matter how good and reliable, will not operate without power; maybe it’s a good time to make a little investment. You have many choices as far as manufacturers and two choices for the types of pumps.

The first one, and the most common type, would be a battery operated pump. The typical setup consists of a pump located inside the sump pump well / pit / basin, and is installed slightly higher than regular pump, with a floating switch setup higher than a regular sump pump activating device. Such setup is required so the backup sump pump kicks in only when the main pump fails.

The second component of this setup is a 12V battery with a controller (many different designs which usually stimulate the price) – I highly recommend installing the sump pump battery and controlling device higher up and not on the floor surface / right next to the sump pump well cover.

Place it on a table, shelving unit, or any other surface suspended above the floor. Such pumps are designed to operate for several hours (it varies between the manufacturers), but sometimes pump discharge might be less than amount of water accumulating in the pit, which might eventually overflow and cause damage to the controls killing your backup pump. Hey … less water in the basement is always better than more water … like you didn’t already know that 🙂 .

The last piece of the equipment would be a switch (also few different types available) that activates the pump – the most common being a floating device attached to the sump pump body. Others are mounted above the well and connected to the floating device inside the sump pump well with a long stick that rises up with water and activates the switch.

It would be also a good idea to install an audible alarm (they are very cheap, and sometimes “life savers” starting from around $10.00 a piece) and place it on the floor, next to the sump pump well.

The second type of a backup sump pump (I honestly haven’t seen one installed – US patent for this device was issued in March 4, 2003) is the Water Powered Sump Pump (Manufacturer website – just one of them). The main advantage of this device is that it doesn’t require any electric power source and needs no maintenance (at least this is what they claim).

The basic requirement for Water Powered Sump Pump is 3/4″ size water supply and pressurized municipal water supply.

What this basically means is that the water main (your water service pipe from the street to your house) is at least 3/4″ in diameter, and your water supply is under constant pressure maintained by your local utility company – if you have your own well, with a pump depending on electricity, this setup might not work for you because during power outages, your well pump will stop operating (unless you have your own power generator).

Also, if the water distributing pipes inside your house is galvanized and old, you’d probably have to run a new line from the main shutoff valve to the pump (3/4″). The way this pump works is very simple: the pump is activated by a floating device / switch (just like any other pump, except this one doesn’t require electricity).


The switch opens the pump valve and starts discharging City Water to the exterior (that’s the bad part – every time this pump kicks in, you’re loosing drinking water), and then the water flow creates a vacuum that sucks in the water accumulating in the sump pump pit and discharges it to the exterior.

So it is pretty much “Set it and forget it” … I forgot who created this phrase to give them credit … Prices for this device start at around $300.00, same as the battery operated sump backup pump … so which one should it be?

Our whole life is about taking chances, so do a little calculation – if you have an unfinished basement or crawlspace, with nothing valuable in it, and your sump pump well stays dry all the time, even during heavy rain storms, there is a big chance that you don’t need a backup sump pump at all.

If your basement sump pump kicks in once in a while in described conditions, get one of two backup sump pumps. If you have a finished basement, then replacing flooring, walls, and furniture (in case of flooding) would cost several times more than getting a couple of sump pumps … what’s there to think about?

Final thoughts:

If you get this water powered backup sump pump, make sure that it includes backflow prevention system – it prevents sump pump well water from mixing with City Water and some jurisdictions will require it.

Make sure that your local jurisdiction allows water powered backup sum pump installation

If you have an empty basement with a water heater and furnace installed in it, and it floods, you may need to replace both appliances – basement backup sump pump is something that could prevent it from happening.

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Proper House Sump Pump Installation & Maintenance Checklist https://www.checkthishouse.com/385/sump-pump.html Wed, 30 Jul 2008 01:15:13 +0000 http://checkthishouse.com/?p=385 sump pump installationHouse Sump Pump Pump in the hole / house sump pump, is just another component of our precious home that we tend to forget about. I know that for a fact because it’s a very popular item in the “servicing required” section of my inspection reports. Wake-up call from a broken house sump pump in your basement or crawlspace may be sometimes very painful (wet and expensive), so bare with me for a few minutes. How an entire drainage system around and inside your property is designed will go into another post, for now I’m assuming that you don’t care what’s [...]]]> sump pump installation

House Sump Pump Installation

“Pump in the hole / house sump pump”, is just another component of our precious home that we tend to forget about. I know that for a fact because house sump pump installation is a very popular item in the “servicing required” section of my inspection reports. Wake-up call from a broken house sump pump in your basement or crawlspace may be sometimes very painful (wet and expensive), so bare with me for a few minutes.

Typical house sump pump installation in the basement

How an entire drainage system around and inside your property is designed will go into another post, for now I’m assuming that you don’t care what’s under the ground. The most typical house sump pump installation is visible on the pictures and you can compare if what you see here is what you got at your place. A house sump pump installation basin / well / pit might be located in various areas, sometimes it’s not even visible.

The most common house sump pump locations are basements or crawlspace corners, but you’ll also find them in garages, exterior wells, under the carpeting in finished basements (sometimes pipes might be hidden completely), or elsewhere.

Missing cover on a house sump pump well poses safety hazardTwo piece plywood cover on a house sump pump wellHouse sump Pump Installation – Well Cover

If the house sump pump well is located in an exposed area, easily accessible, even in the dedicated closet, make sure that opening is well protected. This is extremely important when small children are occupying or visiting the premises – make sure that your house sump pump cover is in place and installed in such a manner, that stepping on it will not displace it (secured with screws would be ideal but some of the setups don’t have room for screws).

This might be difficult when a back-up sump pump and an additional discharge pipe is added to the pit. The easiest way to solve this problem is using a two piece / cut in half cover, or installation of a “Y” shaped connector for both sump pump discharge pipes just below the cover (in such house sump pump installation, you’ll have two sump pumps but only one discharge pipe penetrating the cover) – of course, only if the well is deep enough to accommodate such installation.

Just in case Radon gas is an issue – house sump pump well and cover penetrations must be sealed air tight!

House Sump Pump Installation – Water Discharge

House sump pump installation - discharge pipe extension missingHouse sump pump flexible discharge pipe on exterior Flexible discharge pipes installed on a basement located sump pump are not recommendedA PVC pipe is the cheapest, easiest one to service, assemble, replace, or whatever you wish to do with it. But … because a house sump pump motor vibrates, glued PVC pipe connections tend to separate, so they should be well supported, secured, and monitored periodically. Older sump pump discharge assembly might be galvanized or copper pipe; eventually corroding  and sometimes leaking. Some people also use flexible hoses, which I personally don’t recommend.

Flexible discharge hoses used on house sump pump installation are perfect for the exterior of the house, where they rest fully supported on the ground.  They simply extend the house sump pump discharge pipe as far as possible from the foundation (don’t let it discharge next to you foundation).

However, inside the basement, sometimes suspended on a few straps from the ceiling or in vertical runs, a flexible pipe might easily separate at connections – every time the house sump pump motor is activated, water pressure puts significant stress on such assemblies.

Also, flexible pipe wall is soft and easy to puncture, which isn’t that important on exterior, but in the basement might create a small disaster.

House sump Pump Installation – Discharge Pipe Check Valve

Two check valves installed on two house sump pumpsHouse sump pump check valve Check valve is a device installed on the discharge pipe, usually within a few feet above the sump pump cover. House sump pump installation check valves come in different “shapes” (elongated, usually thicker than a discharge pipe, made out of plastic, rubber, brass or combination – you can see a couple of them on the images.

Despite the check valve’s shape, they always have the same purpose – to prevent water remaining in the discharge pipe from flowing back into the sump pump pit after being pumped out.

For house sump pump installations discharging to the exterior and having very short runs, such device doesn’t really change / help much. Small amounts of water backing up to the sump will be harmless; on the other hand, during the winter, water trapped inside the pipe (if you forget to disconnect extension on exterior) will freeze and crack the pipe.

This might sometimes happen inside or at the exterior wall penetration. Therefore, remember to remove this extension or make it shorter and keep it above the ground for the cold season.

  • Sloped towards the house sump pump if no check valve installed
  • Sloped towards the ground on exterior run with the check valve installed

However, for the house sump pump installation connected to the city sewer systems this check valve is necessary to prevent sewer from backing up into the sump pit (some jurisdictions banned such connections to prevent rain / ground water from flooding city sewer systems, so check with your local authorities before you make such connections).

Inspect sum pump check valves occasionally for leaks, they usually occur on connections to discharge pipes, but sometimes the center section may also separate and start leaking.

One more thing:

If you are about to install a house sump pump discharge pipe check valve or replace a defective device, make sure that it is installed the proper way – there should be an arrow on the body of the check valve, which reflects water flow and it should always point out / away from the pump. Disconnect the sump pump power supply cable before the procedure!

Tip – if the discharge pipe between the house sump pump and the exterior wall has a horizontal section, try to secure  it with a little slope towards the house exterior, so even without the pump running, the pipe will empty itself to the exterior and prevent freezing during the cold season (with check valve installed).

The House Sump Pump Installation Itself

Make sure that the sump pump sits on a solid base. Older basins might be bottomless and filled with debris which could damage / block the pump rotor – clean the basin, set the sump pump on some bricks or concrete tile so it is picking up water only.

DISCONNECT THE SUMP PUMP POWER CORD BEFORE YOU PERFORM ANY SERVICING.

There are two basic sump pump types:

House Sump Pump Installation – Pedestal Sump Pump

It has a motor suspended above the water – this one should newer be submersed, it is usually activated by a switch mounted on the motor and connected to the floating material (Styrofoam, rubber / plastic ball) inside the basin, rising water pushes up the floating material and activates the switch.

Sump pump floating switch on top pump, and pressure switch on bottom pump

House Sump Pump Installation – Submersible Sump Pump

Submersible sump pump has to be under water for proper cooling, it is activated by either a floating or pressure switch. A floating switch looks like a ball at the end of a short wire attached to the pump. A pressure switch is attached to the pump body bottom section.

Floating switch needs to float freely so make sure that it’s not suspended inside the basin or tangled with / blocked by the sump pump wires or pump itself.

If you’re planning a weekend project and need advice on a house sump pump sizing, this publication by University of Illinois Extension – College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences might be helpful.

House Sump Pump Installation – Testing Procedures

The most “real-life” approach would be to fill-up the house sump pump well with water, but sometimes it might take a long time and waste lots of water – look inside the well for openings on the side walls. If they are located close to the top, much higher then the pump or floating device itself, it shouldn’t take that long. But if they are low, at pump level, you might need to flood drain tile underneath the entire house first before water level raises inside the well and activates the sump pump.

If you have a floating switch, just lift it up and the sump pump should start – for pedestal pumps you can just lift the switch arm mounted on the motor, for submersible, use some kind of a wooden or plastic stick to lift the floating ball.

Don’t put your hands into the water!

Sump pumps are insulated and should not under any circumstances pass electricity into the water. However, it happened to me once … I was lucky because the basin was dry, and I touched the sump pump enclosure only.

When your house sump pump starts running, look into the well to make sure that it is actually pumping water out; there might be a faulty check valve, clogged discharge pipe on exterior, broken impeller, or other things that will prevent discharge.

Testing house sump pump installation controlled by a pressure switch

House sump pump installation - pressure switch plug with air vent tubing on topYou begin with the first method (well flooding), or unplug the electrical cord from the receptacle – if there’s a small tubing protruding from the plug, you can try to suck out the air from that tubing – it is connected to the pressure switch (wipe the surface, there might be some oily substance on it), seal it fast with your finger and plug it back in, the sump pump should start working and you can release your finger from the tubing.

Some of the house sump pumps are designed with double electrical cord / plug – one supplies power to the sump pump and second to the floating switch. What you can do is to separate plugs, and plug in a single plug into the outlet (one without the receptacle). This will test the sump pump motor only, and not the switch – after testing, return the plugs to original configuration for the system to operate properly.

House sump pump water alarm

House sump pump water sensor-alarm

  1. Use dedicated circuit / outlet for the house sump pump, plug the pump directly into the electrical outlet. Since 2008 a GFCI protected circuit is required for the sump pump (more here: house sump pump GFCI). This new law makes sense and it is an important safety issue, however, GFCI might trip when the pump is needed the most …
  2. Install water sensor with an audible alarm / place it on the floor surface next to the sump pump
  3. Finally, get a battery operated sump – backup pump, just in case the power goes off … unless you have a generator.

Most common house sump pump installation problems / reasons for the sump pump to stop working or performing properly:

  • loose electrical power cord plug
  • tripped breaker in electrical panel, blown fuse or tripped / failing GFCI outlet if used for circuit protection not responding floating switch (blocked / stuck in “down” position, damaged)
  • damaged / jammed house sump pump impeller
  • broken impeller shaft
  • damaged / burned out sump pump motor
  • clogged intake (base of the sump pump), check valve or discharge pipe
  • frozen discharge pipe on exterior (for the cold season disconnect exterior extensions, and check discharge pipe end for ice buildup)
  • air-locked house sump pump – it operates but not pumping water out, which usually happens when relief hole (small hole that should be drilled in discharge pipe, above the sump pump but below the well cover, gets clogged or hasn’t been drilled at all (should be 1 /16 in. to 1 /8 in. in diameter)

Don’t ever connect your basement bathroom, kitchen or laundry drain to the house sump pump well – ejector pump must handle it (assuming that you have an overhead drain)!

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