Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Some Considerations of Sustainability...

... in Site Work, Excavations, and Foundations

Site Selection 
  • Buying and renovating an existing building rather than building a new one saves a great deal of building material. If the existing building has been scheduled for demolition, it also avoids dumping an enormous quantity of material into a landfill.
  • Building on a  damaged site, and designing the building so that it helps to restore it, benefits the environment rather than degrading it.
  • Building on agricultural land takes that land out of production forever.
  • Building in forests and on wetlands and prairies destroys wildlife habitat.
  • A building that is well connected to existing networks of public transportation , and to pedestrian and bicycle paths, pays environmental dividends every day for the life of the building by saving fuel, reducing air pollution from automobiles, and minimizing commute times.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

What Frame Are You?

Wood light frame construction is the most versatile of all building systems.  There is scarcely a shape it cannot be used to construct, from a plain rectilinear box to cylindrical towers to complex foldings of sloping roofs with dormers of every description. During the century and a half since it first came to use, wood light framing has served to construct buildings in styles ranging from reinterpretations of nearly all the historical fashions to uncompromising expressions of every 20th-century architectural philosophy. It has assimilated without difficulty during this same period a bewildering and unforeseen succession of technical improvements in building: central heating, air conditioning, gas lighting, electricity, thermal insulation, indoor plumbing, prefabricated components, and electronic communications.

          Light frame buildings are easily and swiftly constructed with a minimal investment in tools. Many observers of the building industry have criticized the supposed inefficiency of light frame construction, which is carried out larghely by hand methods on the building site, yet it has successfully fought off competition from industrialized building systems of every sort, partly by incorporating their best features, to remain the least expensive form of durable construction. It is the common currency of small residential and commercial buildings in NorthAmerica today.

          Wood light frame construction has its deficiencies: If ignited, it burns rapidly; if exposed to dampness, it decays. It expands and contracts by significant amounts in response to changes in humidity, sometimes causing chronic difficulties with cracking plaster, sticking doors, and buckling floors. The framing itself is so unattractive to the eye that is seldom left exposed in a building. These problems can be controlled, however, by clever design and careful workmanship, and there is no arguing with success: Frames made by the monotonous repetition of wooden joints, studs, and rafters are likely to remain the number one system of building in North America for a long time to come.


Friday, November 2, 2012

Happy Birthday!

C & E General Contractors, Inc. highly recommends Clean As A Whistle for your carpet and fabric cleaning. They have been in business 28 years, today, and are experienced in all flooring and fabric types as well as every soiling condition known to the industry. Not only do they have a great reputation - education is only one of their strong attributes. 

Clean As A Whistle is certified by the IICRC, the Institution of Inspection, Cleaning, and Certification - the world's most recognized body of certification for Carpet and Upholstery cleaners holding multiple Master & Journeymen Cleaning Technician designations. Clean As A Whistle's cleaning systems are the most advanced on the market getting MAXIMUM SOIL REMOVAL and MAXIMUM SPOT REMOVAL without leaving a sticky residue or over-wetting your carpet.

Need your carpets cleaned, call Clean As A Whistle today!        (713) 784-4648

They are a company you could trust... 
Make sure to tell them, Mark McNulty with C & E General Contractors  referred you!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What is Sustainability?

          Sustainability may be defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. By consuming fossil fuels and other nonrenewable resources, by building in sprawling urban patterns that cover extensive areas of prime agricultural land, by using wood from forests that are not replanted, by allowing topsoil to be eroded by wind and water, and by generating substances that pollute water, soil, and air, we have been building in a manner that will make it increasingly difficult for our children and grandchildren to meet their needs for buildings and healthy lives.
          On the other hand, if we reduce building energy usage and utilize sunlight and wind as energy sources for our buildings, we avoid depletion of fossil fuels. If we reuse existing buildings imaginatively and arrange our new buildings in compact patterns on land of marginal value, we minimize the waste of valuable land. If we harvest wood from forests that are managed in such a way that they can supply wood at a sustained level for the foreseeable future, we maintain wood construction as a viable option for centuries to come. If we protect soil and water through sound design and construction practices, we retain these irreplaceable resources for our successors. If we systematically reduce or eliminate the various forms of pollution emitted in the processes of producing and operating buildings, we keep the environment clean in perpetuity. It is often possible to do these things without increasing the monetary costs of constructing and operating buildings, and in some cases actually to reduce these costs.
          Realization to these goals is dependent on our awareness of the environmental problems created by building activities, knowledge of how to avoid these problems, and skill in designing and constructing buildings that harness this knowledge. Sustainable design and construction, also called "green" building, is steadily becoming the goal of more and more building owners, architectural and engineering firms, contractors, and building operators, among them some of the largest organizations in each field.
          Sustainability must be addressed on a life-cycle basis, from the origins of the materials for a building, through the manufacture and installation of these materials and their useful lifetime in the building, to their eventual disposal when the building's life is ended.

Considerations of sustainability:
       in Site Work, Excavations, and Foundations
       in Brick Masonry Construction 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Strategy for Remodeling Bathrooms

You dream about a bathroom that’s high on comfort and personal style, but you also want materials, fixtures, and amenities with lasting value. Wake up! You can have both.

A mid-range bathroom remodel is a solid investment, according to Remodeling Magazine’s annual Cost vs. Value Report. An average bath remodel of $16,500 will recoup about 62% of those costs when it’s time to sell your home, and a more extensive $52,200 job returns about 55.5%. In addition, you can maximize the value of your investment by using these smart strategies, which will create a stylish yet budget-friendly bathroom.

1. Stick to a plan

You can afford that Italian tile you love if you can live with the total square footage you already have.

Keeping the same footprint, and locating new plumbing fixtures near existing plumbing pipes, saves demolition and reconstruction dollars. You’ll also cut down on the dust and debris that make remodeling so hard to live with.

Make the most of the space you have. Glass doors on showers and tubs open up the area. A pedestal sink takes up less room than a vanity. If you miss the storage, replace a mirror with a deep medicine cabinet.

2. Keep the same footprint

You can afford that Italian tile you love if you can live with the total square footage you already have.

Keeping the same footprint, and locating new plumbing fixtures near existing plumbing pipes, saves demolition and reconstruction dollars. You’ll also cut down on the dust and debris that make remodeling so hard to live with.

Make the most of the space you have. Glass doors on showers and tubs open up the area. A pedestal sink takes up less room than a vanity. If you miss the storage, replace a mirror with a deep medicine cabinet.

3. Make lighting a priority

Multiple shower heads and radiant heat floors are fabulous adds to a bathroom remodel. But few items make a bathroom more satisfying than lighting designed for everyday grooming. You can install lighting for a fraction of the cost of pricier amenities.

Well-designed bathroom task lighting surrounds vanity mirrors and eliminates shadows on faces: You look better already. The scheme includes two ceiling- or soffit-mounted fixtures with 60 to 75 watts each, and side fixtures or sconces providing at least 150 watts each, distributed vertically across 24 inches (to account for people of various heights). Four-bulb lighting fixtures work well for side lighting.

4. Clear the air

Bathroom ventilation systems may be out of sight, but they shouldn’t be out of mind during a bathroom remodel.

Bathroom ventilation is essential for removing excess humidity that fogs mirrors, makes bathroom floors slippery, and contributes to the growth of mildew and mold. Controlling mold and humidity is especially important for maintaining healthy indoor air quality and protecting the value of your home—mold remediation is expensive, and excess humidity can damage cabinets and painted finishes.

A bathroom vent and water closet fan should exhaust air to the outside—not simply to the space between ceiling joists. Better models have whisper-quiet exhaust fans and humidity-controlled switches that activate when a sensor detects excess moisture in the air.

5. Think storage

Bathroom storage is a challenge: By the time you’ve installed the toilet, shower, and sink, there’s often little space left to store towels, toilet paper, and hair and body products. Here are some ways to find storage in hidden places.

• Think vertically: Upper wall space in a bathroom is often underused. Freestanding, multi-tiered shelf units designed to fit over toilet tanks turn unused wall area into found storage. Spaces between wall studs create attractive and useful niches for holding soaps and toiletries. Install shelves over towel bars to use blank wall space.

• Think moveable: Inexpensive woven baskets set on the floor are stylish towel holders. A floor-stand coat rack holds wet towels, bath robes, and clothes.

• Think utility: Adding a slide-out tray to vanity cabinet compartments provides full access to stored items and prevents lesser-used items from being lost or forgotten.

~ Visit our web site at C & E General Contractors, Inc.  ~

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Storm Preparedness

Protecting the home

Every region in the United States is susceptible to some type of major storm. Whether it’s a hurricane on the Atlantic or Gulf coast, a tornado in the Midwest or a tropical storm in the Pacific, there are steps homeowners can take to protect their homes and keep their families safe.

Keep your roof in good shape:
The roof is your home’s primary defense against the elements, and an annual roof inspection should be part of your storm preparedness plan. During an inspection, a roofer will check the overall structural integrity of your roof; look for loose shingles that could easily blow away in a storm, and other areas that may be prone to damage. For homeowners who live in areas prone to high winds, a roofing company can install wind-resistant shingles, plug areas where water could enter the home, and add extra fortification to your gables, rafters and sheathing.

Clear gutters and downspouts:
Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of obstructions and in good repair.  This is important to do anyway, but as they will need to work overtime during a major storm. Poorly sloped, leaking or obstructed gutters and downspouts can overflow, causing water damage to your home’s exterior or foundation.

Tend to trees and other wind hazards:
If you have trees near your house, have an expert look at them once every year or two to trim away dead limbs that could break off during a storm and crash through your roof.  Don't just hire the guy with a chainsaw who knocks on your door; find a qualified tree expert and have weak limbs taken down before a storm does it.
When a big storm is headed your way,  look around your property for objects that could become dangerous flying debris. Even heavy structures like playground equipment, porch swings and grills should be secured to the ground.

Give your sump pump a backup:
The sump pump is often overlooked during storm preparation, yet it provides the main line of defense against basement flooding. If you have a finished basement, install a sump pump with a battery backup to ensure it will continue to operate in the event power is lost.

No, don't open the windows:
It’s a common misconception that you should open windows in the home in anticipation of a wind event such as a tornado or hurricane.  It was incorrectly assumed that it would help move air through the home and prevent it from becoming too pressurized and exploding. This theory has been debunked, and it actually puts your family at a greater risk of injury caused by flying debris.
Homeowners in areas prone to tornadoes can install impact-resistant glass for extra protection. People in coastal areas can install hurricane shutters made out of plywood, aluminum or steel to prevent windows from breaking. Talk to a window installation company for more information.

Insurance considerations

Having a homeowner’s insurance policy does not guarantee that your home will be covered from weather-related storm damage. In fact, many insurance policies do not cover things like floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and even sewer backups. It's important to check with your agent so you know what is covered and under what circumstances.

Read the policy:
You are responsible for reading the entire policy, and understanding the type of coverage you have for your home and possessions. Many policies do not cover things that might seem automatic, and a failure to understand your policy could result in high replacement costs down the road.
You need to determine the potential weather-related threats that could damage your home, and adjust your insurance policy accordingly. If you have any questions about your existing policy, or want to confirm whether have coverage for things like hail damage or flooding, consult your insurance agent.

Make sure you're covered:
Get an appraisal by a home appraiser to establish how much insurance coverage you need. Although it may be more expensive, you should purchase a policy that insures your home for 100 percent of the replacement cost. If you get 100 percent coverage, you will be reimbursed for the full cash value of the home and not the depreciated cost.
It’s important to ensure you have the right type of insurance for your home. Many policies do not cover floods, hurricanes, hail and other weather-related damage.
Insurance companies often change the wording of their policies, and the items they cover can be extremely confusing. For example, insurance policies routinely do not cover water damage, so if your home gets flooded by a hurricane, you might have to pay for the damage in full, and out of pocket. Homeowners in low-lying areas should purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Take inventory of your belongings
Many insurance policies will reimburse you for your personal possessions at a rate of half the overall insured value of the home. If your home has a $300,000 policy, your possessions would be covered for $150,000.
Take an inventory of your possessions to ensure everything is appraised and accounted for. Take photos and video of your possessions for proof in case you have to file a claim. Include all of your possessions in the inventory from jewelry and clothing to CDs and DVDs. If you are concerned that your policy will not cover the actual value of your possessions, you should purchase a policy with full replacement value. This type of policy reimburses at the actual retail value of an item without taking age and depreciation into account.

Make a family plan

Anything can happen during a major storm, so it’s important to establish a family preparedness plan before severe weather strikes. Your plan should have specific instructions for how your family will ride out a storm, as well as plans for evacuating the home and a meeting at a predetermined location in case family members become separated.
The most important part of your preparedness plan should explain exactly how your family will stay safe during a storm. If you live in an area of the country that is prone to tornados or other sudden catastrophic weather events, you should designate a safe spot for the family to take refuge. Basements and storm shelters should be utilized if possible. People who do not have an underground space should take refuge in a windowless room in the middle of the home.
In the event of a hurricane or tropical storm, it’s wise to establish an evacuation route and destination for riding out the storm. You need to consider the fact that many other people will also be trying to flee, causing congestion on roadways and gas stations. If at all possible, pick a relative or friend’s house because hotels fill up fast during storm evacuations.
You also need to establish a place where the family can meet in case someone becomes separated. The meeting spot can be a place in the home, at a neighbor’s house or community storm shelter. Once there, take a head count and check to see if anybody needs medical attention.

Emergency supply kit
No matter how well prepared local officials and utility companies may be, a major weather disaster will stretch all resources thin.  If your house is badly damaged and you're left without power for a week it will make a big difference whether you've made your own preparations.  Think about essentials like food, water, medications and important documents.

Water – Experts recommend 1 gallon of water for every member of the family per day. You should keep a week’s supply on hand.

Food – You also want to have enough food to feed each member of the family for at least seven days. Choose nonperishable foods like canned goods or dehydrated foods. You may also need a hand-operated can opener and eating utensils. If you lose power, keep the refrigerator door shut as much as possible because cold food will only last for a couple of hours before going bad.

First aid kit – Keep a first aid kit on hand with medical necessities like rubbing alcohol, bandages, gauze and pain relievers.  If a family member depends on daily prescription medicine, never let your stockpile of that precious commodity dwindle to less than a week's supply.

Clothing and bedding – You definitely want to make sure you have an extra supply of blankets. You could lose power for weeks in the event of a major storm which would prevent your HVAC system from working. You also want to keep additional clothing on hand but the type depends on your geographic location. People in colder climates should stock up on extra jackets, long pants, boots, hats and gloves. In warmer climates, you want extra rain gear, dry clothes and shoes.

Radio – Keep a battery powered or hand crank-operated radio on hand (and a couple of packages of new batteries) in case you lose power for an extended period of time. It could be the only way to stay informed with weather and news updates.

Flashlights and batteries – In the event of a power loss, a flashlight is one of the handiest tools to keep on hand. Of course, you also need several extra sets of batteries.

Important documents – Make copies of important documents and keep them in a waterproof container. You should include medical records, bank account numbers and credit cards, insurance records and emergency contact information.

Cash – In the event of a widespread power outage, local businesses and gas stations could lose power. Cash could be your only option for purchasing food and supplies.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Launching Our Referral Reward Program!

C & E General Contractors offers general residential construction services. We specialize in insurance claims and also provide home owners and real estate investors with a multitude of services: including kitchen/bathroom remodeling, room additions, drywall repair and upgrade services for a reasonable price and within a reasonable time frame.

Our mission is to create strong, lasting relations within the community and to cultivate exceptional service and products through continuous improvement... Book an estimate with us online today and your consultation will be free... Call us at (713)363-4124 or download a brochure for more information.

We are offering a special Referral Reward Program to honor those who provide new clients to our company. This is your opportunity to earn credit with us in exchange for your referrals.

We believe there are a number of construction or building opportunities available, the challenge is discovering where they are.  That is where you come in... When you know of a potential project we want to hear from you.  Perhaps you have a friend that manages a property looking to renovate or remodel, or maybe a friend or family member who recently had a flood in their home or property. This Referral Reward Program was created to express and extend our gratitude for your support.
Refer us to your customers, friends, or family by displaying or sharing our brochures, business cards, or our website.
~ Visit our website for continuous updates...                      http://cne-gc.webs.com ~

~ We are also on facebook... Come check it out and like us!     
                                                https://www.facebook.com/CnE.GeneralContractors ~

Monday, June 11, 2012

Reading "The Construction Contractor's Digest"

C & E enjoys receiving informative emails from the Construction Contractor's Digest... And to all those starting out in the construction industry, this is awesome stuff and good to know. We encourage you to click on the full article below especially if you would want to get on the big boss' good side!

        By: Matt Stevens
        Titled: For Your May / June Graduates

                                We have been asked on several occasions for career advice from young construction professionals. Here is the start of the conversation that others should continue. We have collected and listed 15 hard won lessons and observations for young construction professionals to consider. We are certain there are many more if you ask any executive in a construction firm. Again, here is a starting point.

~ Are you looking for a career in the construction industry? Well, hurricane season is here. Visit our web site at http://www.cne-gc.webs.com and click on the Employment option... ~      

Friday, June 8, 2012

Flood Insurance vs. Home Owner's Insurance

Visit our website at http://www.cne-gc.webs.com


As the name implies, a standard flood insurance policy, which is made available by the National Floor Insurance Program, provides coverage up to the policy limit for damage caused by flood. The dictionary defines "flood" as a rising and overflowing of a body of water onto normally dry land. For insurance purposes, the word "rising" in this definition is the key to distinguishing flood damage from water damage. Also important to note is that flooding must be general and temporary, and it must affect more than just one property.

Generally, damage caused by water that has been on the ground at some point before damaging your home is considered to be flood damage. Examples of flood damage may include:

A nearby river overflows its banks and washes into you home.

Surface water caused by a heavy rain seeps into your basement because the soil can't absorb the water quickly enough.

A heavy rain or flash flood causes the hill behind your house to collapse into a mud slide that oozes into your home.

Flood damage to your home can be insured only with a flood insurance policy -- no other insurance will cover flood damage. Flood insurance is available through your insurance professional. To determine if your home is located in a flood plain, contact your county planning office. If you are living in a flood plain, flood insurance may be an excellent purchase.

A homeowners insurance policy does not provide coverage for flood damage, but it does provide coverage for many types of water damage to your home. Just the opposite from flood damage, for insurance purposes, water damage is considered to occur when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground. A few examples of water damage may include:

A hailstorm smashes your window, permitting hail and rain free access to your home.

A heavy rain soaks through the roof, allowing water to drip through your attic or ceiling.

A broken water pipe spews water in your home.

Even if your homeowners insurance policy doesn't cover the water or flood damage you've experienced, losses from theft, fire or explosion resulting from that damage are covered. For example, if a nearby creek overflows and floods your home, and looters steal some of your possessions after you've evacuated the house, the theft would be covered by your homeowners insurance. However, the flood damage would be covered only if you have flood insurance.

Flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage for water damage. Instead, they complement each other. It is up to you to talk to your insurance professional about flood insurance and homeowners insurance and then decide which insurance coverage you need to protect your home, its contents and your family.

Visit our website at http://www.cne-gc.webs.com

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Are You Prepared For A Hurricane?

Hurricane season takes place in the Atlantic, Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and Central Pacific from June 1 to November 30 while in the Eastern Pacific the season is from May 15 to November 30.

 A hurricane is one of many destructive natural phenomenons which occurs about 40 to 50 times worldwide each year.  Hurricanes are violent tropical storms with sustained winds of at least 74 mph. They form over warm ocean waters – usually starting as storms in the Caribbean or off the west coast of Africa. As they drift slowly westward, they are fueled by the warm waters of the tropics. Warm, moist air moves toward the center of the storm and spirals upward. This releases torrential rains. As updrafts suck up more water vapor, it triggers a cycle of strengthening that can be stopped only when contact is made with land or cooler water.

Are you prepared?   Below is a list of what you can do to get prepared for a hurricane:
  • First and foremost pay attention to what is going on concerning the weather.
  • Stock up your water supply, non-perishable food items and any special dietary foods. 
  • Always keep your car's gas tank full.
  • Have a two-week supply of your prescription medications.

  • Make a plan if you choose to evacuate and a list of supplies you'll need.   
  • Store valuables and documents like birth certificates and other important documents in waterproof containers.
  • Prepare and secure your home with plywood to protect your windows and glass doors.    
  • Make sure your pets are included in your evacuation plan and list as well.
  • Start an emergency cash fund.
  • Have a disaster supplies kit which should contain the following:
    1. Flashlights and several sets of batteries for each member of the family.
    2. Portable radio and batteries.
    3. Drinking Water. A supply of one gallon per person, per day for a minimum of three days.
    4. Non-perishable Food. A two-week supply is best.
    5. Special dietary foods.
    6. Non-electric can opener.
    7. Prescription medications. Always keep a two-week supply on hand.
    8. Infant supplies that include sterile water, diapers, ready formula, bottles, etc.
    9. Mosquito repellent.
    10. First aid kit including a first aid book, bandages, antiseptic, tape, compresses, aspirin and nonaspirin pain reliever, antidiarrhea medication and antacid.
    11. Distress flag and/or whistle.
    12. Toilet paper, paper towels and pre-moistened towelettes.
    13. Camera and film.
    14. Coolers. One to keep food and another to transport ice.
    15. Plastic tarp, roofing paper, nails, tools, etc.
    16. Plastic trash bags.
    17. Clean-up supplies including a mop, buckets, towels, disinfectant, etc.
    18. Water purification kit. Tablets, plain chlorine and iodine.
    19. If you evacuate take the supplies above and also take:
      1. Personal hygiene items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
      2. Extra clothing, shoes, eyeglasses, etc.
      3. Pillows, blankets, sleeping bags, cots or air mattresses, folding chairs or lawn chairs.
      4. Turn off electricity, water and gas.
      5. Lock windows and doors.
      6. Let relatives know where you are going.

Friday, May 25, 2012

We are C & E General Contractors working hard so you don't have to!

Subscribe To Our Web Site: http://cne-gc.net

For all your home improvement projects, you'll need a general contractor you can trust! From roofing and siding, ceiling to new flooring -- C & E is a must! Schedule an appointment with us online and your consultation will be free... Download brochure for more information...
***   Looking for work? The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to November 30. Click here to learn more >>   ***

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Average Cost of Foundation Repair

As almost any homeowner knows, the stronger the foundation of a house, the more secure the house itself is, and that translates into fewer cracks, leaks and losses of support structures. Of course, not every house can go through its life cycle with the foundation performing flawlessly. This is where foundation repair comes in and it becomes necessary to start calculating fix-it averages.

Read more: The Average Cost of Foundation Repair from

Friday, April 6, 2012

Preventing Water Damage In Your Home

Learn where your home is most likely to suffer water damage, and what you can do to help prevent it.

Possible Indoor Culprits:

The Kitchen

A good place to start when you're trying to prevent water damage is the kitchen: a place where we work with a whole lot of water, right?
Look carefully at your major appliances, and make sure they are up to par.
  • The Dishwasher: Periodically check for leaks under the sink where the hose connects to the water supply. Look around the base of the dishwasher for evidence of leaks, such as discolored, warped, or soft flooring materials, or water damage to nearby cabinets.
  • The Refrigerator: If your refrigerator has an icemaker, make sure the hose connection is securely attached to the water supply line. Also, a wet spot on the floor may be a sign of a crimped icemaker line about to burst.
  • The Sink: Replace deteriorated caulk around sinks, and check the pipes under the sink for leaks. A slow-draining pipe may indicate a partially blocked drain that needs cleaning.

The Bathroom

The bathroom is another water damage hot spot. Here's what you should examine and address:

  • Showers And Bathtubs: Remove and replace deteriorated or cracked caulk and grout. Water from a broken supply pipe behind the wall can leak through these damaged sealants, causing stains or soft areas around nearby walls and floors. Leaking drain pipes and shower pan leaks are also common sources of water damage. If necessary, contact a plumber or contractor for help.
  • Sinks: Check under the sink for leaks from water supply lines or drainpipes. If necessary, contact a plumber or contractor for help.
  • Toilets: Clogs can result from too much toilet paper or objects such as hanging bowl deodorants. Also, some chlorine tablet cleaners may corrode internal plastic or rubber parts, leading to a leak. Again, don't hesitate to call in a professional.

The Basement, Laundry, Or Utility Room

  • Washing Machine: Check hoses regularly for bulging, cracking, fraying, and leaks around hose ends. Replace the hose if a problem is found or every 3 to 5 years as part of a proactive maintenance program. To help make sure the hose doesn't kink, leave at least 4 inches (or 11 centimeters) between the water connection and the back of the washing machine. Be sure to read the manufacturer's installation instructions carefully.
  • Water Heater: Most water heaters last 8 to 15 years. Wet spots on the floor or a rusted tank may signal a leak. Water heaters should be installed on the lowest level of the home, next to a floor drain, or inside a drain pan piped to the floor drain.
  • Sump Pump: Battery-operated backup sump pumps can help protect against power failure or failure of the primary pump. Test the sump pump before the start of each wet season. Sump pumps are not intended to last more than 10 years and must have some components replaced or serviced within those 10 years.
Since water may still come through an overflowing drain or cracks in the foundation walls, make sure items stored in the basement are kept off the floor. Furniture should be on casters or shims and arranged away from floor drains.

Stopping Indoor Leaks

The quickest way to stop a leak is to turn off your home's water. Of course it's not a permanent fix, but turning off the water in the moment can give you time to repair the specific problem.
Make sure everyone in your household knows where the water shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. Check it frequently for problems, and shut off the water if you are away from your home for several days or longer.
Depending on the severity of your leak, you may be able to fix it with relative ease. Plumbing, though, is a complicated business; if you're not sure what to do, don't hesitate to call a plumber or a contractor.


Possible Outdoors Culprits:

The Roof

It's not rocket science: roofs are there to keep your home dry, and if you've got water coming inside, your roof is a pretty good place to start. There are a number of different ways for water to get in through your roof, so consider the following points as you conduct the examination:
  • Keep the roof free from leaves, twigs, and other litter to allow for proper drainage. Clogged gutters can easily lead to poor drainage, which in turn can lead to leaks in both the walls and at the foundation.
  • Make sure air can flow freely through all soffit and roof vents. This will reduce the buildup of heat and moisture and help extend the life of the roof.
  • Consult a professional on using a preservative or cleaner (depending on the type of roof you have) to help limit the weathering effects of moisture and slow the growth of molds and mosses.
  • Replace missing, curling, cupping, broken, or cracked shingles.
  • Watch for damage in valley areas of the roof, and around the flashing at chimneys, vents, and other junctions.
  • Check your attic around flues, plumbing vents, and chimneys for roof leaks, especially if you've noticed water stains on the ceiling.
  • If it's winter and you've got water in the attic or see water stains on your ceilings or walls, look for any ice dams.

From Gutters To The Ground

Once you're off the roof, there are still possible culprits to investigate. Take a look around the foundation of your home; a few simple changes could make all the difference.
  • Place splash blocks at the end of downspouts to carry water away from the foundation, or add an extra length of downspout if necessary.
  • Every spring, have the air conditioning (A/C) system serviced by a qualified contractor. Make sure their service includes inspecting and cleaning the A/C condensation pan drain line. Change the air filters on a regular basis.
  • Before winter starts, disconnect garden hoses from all spigots and turn off each spigot's water supply.
  • Replace any damaged caulk around windows or doors.
  • Repaint wood siding as needed.
  • Fill in any low spots next to the house to help water drain away from the foundation.

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Tips for Drywall Repair

You’ve just returned from an awesome vacation. As you transfer dirty clothes from the luggage to the laundry room, you notice that a section of wall near the washer seems slightly buckled.
At this point, it's important to remember a few things. First, drywall is easily damaged by water since it's made from gypsum plaster pressed between two sheets of thick paper.
Second, mold can grow between those two sheets of paper when they're exposed excessive moisture. With the latter, you’re faced with more than an unsightly stain - mold can put you and your family at risk for respiratory problems.
When hiring a contractor to handle drywall repairs, it's essential you select one with the right experience to handle the problem. As a homeowner, there are a few things that you should know to ensure your contractor is professionally handling the job.
When hiring for drywall repairs, make sure that the contractor:
1. Checks for the source of the damage. This includes inspecting the surface, checking for bubbling or chipping areas of paint and for signs of dampness. Dark stains or a sagging section on the ceiling can point to signs of damage to the roof.  If a leak is not addressed immediately, drywall may begin to crack and fall away from the ceiling.
2. Shows expertise in installing the material. Even though drywall is relatively inexpensive, it's not always easy to install. Standard-cut sheets are 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and no more than a half-inch thick. Each sheet must be cut and shaped to perfectly flatten against the framing.
-This process can be a lot more difficult than it might sound because drywall is surprisingly heavy and awkward to handle. Once the sheets are flat against the framing, each panel must then be screwed into joists or studs to secure it in place.-
3. Properly seals the seams. After the first steps are completed, seams along walls must then be taped and screw heads must be sealed. If seams and screws are not sealed well with drywall compound, they will eventually show through the paint on a wall.
4. Applies the finishing touches. A very thorough sanding of the sealed drywall surface is required at the end of the process. Rough spots on the drywall can prevent the final layer of paint from appearing as a smooth surface.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Ways to Avoid Costly Repairs

From clogged gutters to broken shingles and mold, home repairs can easily add up — especially with all the precipitation and cold weather this time of year.

The costs of home ownership stretch far beyond mortgage payments, property taxes and insurance.

Inspect Your Foundation
Routinely Unclog Your Gutters
Look For Exterior Leaks
Inspect Your Roof
Change Heating or Furnace Filters
Replace Hoses in Laundry Room
Remove Build-Up in Your Water Heater

Before attempting to do any repairs, learn how to do them properly or better yet, hire a professional, like us. The cost of having a repair done right is cheaper than repairing a "bad" fix.

Steps to Building a House

One of the amazing things about American homes is that the huge majority of them are built using completely standardized building practices. One reason for this consistency is a set of uniform building codes that apply across the country. Another reason is cost -- the techniques used to build homes produce reliable housing quickly at a low cost (relatively speaking). If you ever watch any house being built, you will find that it goes through the following steps:

•Grading and site preparation
•Foundation construction
•Installation of windows and doors
•Rough electrical
•Rough plumbing
•Rough HVAC
•Finish electrical
•Bathroom and kitchen counters and cabinets
•Finish plumbing
•Carpet and flooring
•Finish HVAC
•Hookup to water main, or well drilling
•Hookup to sewer or installation of a septic system
•Punch list

Many of these steps are performed by independent crews known as subcontractors. For example, the framing is generally done by one subcontractor specializing in framing, while the roofing is done by a completely different subcontractor specializing in roofing. Each subcontractor is an independent business. All of the subcontractors are coordinated by a contractor who oversees the job and is responsible for completing the house on time and on budget.