I had the opportunity to review this product and I have to say this is a delightful home decor piece!
We aren't exceptionally avid birders, but, it is especially pleasing to hear the bird songs when you are at the end of a long northeast winter.
In the box:
The clock arrived in bird nest inspired packaging with two faux eggs and some very nice reference guides. Everything about the clock and its presentation was well thought out, informative, and appealing.
My immediate thought was that this product would be a wonderful gift because it is such a pretty clock and it is so well presented.
The setup is pretty basic. Install your 3 AA batteries and set the time.
The longest part of the process, for us non birdwatchers, was identifying the song with the correct bird. It took a couple pushes of the red button to find a bird whose call we recognized.
Clock info from the Amazon listing:
The light sensor mentioned in #4 is really a great feature. You won't hear this clock at all during the nighttime hours as long as there isn't a light near it.
The only thing I didn't like about this clock is the stand it has. I had it on a shelf and every time I moved it to adjust the angle of the face the stand would pop out.
It would be great if the little stand snapped in somehow so it is more stable when it's not wall mounted.
The Mark Feldstein Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Singing Bird Clock is a beautiful and delightful home decor item for birding and non-birding homes.
It's lovely to hear these lifelike bird songs no matter what season it is!
Home improvements aren't the only thing to take into consideration when you are planning to sell your home.
Here is some expert advice, selected for you by the editors of realtor.com.
First impressions matter, and the living room is typically the first major room that buyers see. So it’s no place for your kid's train set or any unnecessary clutter. Find out how to showcase this space right.
The 2019 COST VS VALUE REPORT is here!!
Remodeling Magazine compares average costs for 22 remodeling projects with the value those projects retain at resale in 136 U.S. markets.
We've broken out the numbers by Mid-Atlantic regional averages and then by our closest local market data, which is Allentown PA.
Here are our picks for the best home improvement projects to increase property value in 2019.
We've included: the average percentage recouped at resale, both in the regional market and closest local market. Plus, any thoughts we have for local home improvement projects.
There you have it folks! If you are planning home improvements for 2019, crunch the numbers and get the most out of your hard earned money!
View the full report here: https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/
Follow us on social media for home improvement ideas, trends and tips!
It is inevitable here in the North East that at least once a winter we will get pummeled with a good storm and the associated power outages. Here are some storm preparation tips courtesy of the CDC.
Make sure you have at least one of the following in case there is a power failure:
Turning on the stove for heat is not safe; have at least one of the following heat sources in case the power goes out:
Have a week’s worth of food and safety supplies. If you live far from other people, have more supplies on hand.
If your pipes freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Thaw the pipes slowly with warm air from an electric hair dryer.
Minimize travel, but if travel is necessary, keep the following in your vehicle:
Check out their entire Winter Preparedness Checklist here:
The winter snow season is upon us!
If you live in Shohola PA or Barryville NY and are in need of snow plowing services give us a call! (267) 226-8293
If you prefer to handle your own snow removal needs, check out these tips:
1. If you have any physical limitations consider buying a snow blower or hiring a neighborhood teenager to help you. There is no sense in struggling with the snow if you can avoid it.
2. Shovel often during big storms. Go out every few inches and remove the snow while it's lighter and easier to manage.
3. Beware of overhead dangers. Large icicles, snow slides from metal roofs, and falling branches can all cause head and neck injuries so be aware and watch out above you.
4. Relax and take some breaks. Give yourself plenty of time to do what you need to do without creating to much stress.
5. Your leaf blower can be a big help with the light and fluffy snow. The gas powered blowers are the best way to go.
6. Buy an s-shaped shovel. Your back will thank you!
7. Make sure you have some form of ice melt handy around steps and walkways. These items can often be stored in inexpensive garbage cans to keep them dry and readily available.
8. Check the weather forecast. Some of the white stuff may go away on it's own in a day or two.
9. Try not to throw the heavy wet snow. That type pf twisting and lifting is an invitation for a back injury. Try walking the snow to where it needs to go or simply moving as little as possible to clear steps and walkways. More snow removal can always be done later if it doesn't melt first.
10. Check on your elderly or home bound neighbors. If you are struggling to clear your snow then they are too.
It doesn’t feel like it now, but, fall is just a few weeks away.
You can save money this winter by taking a little time to prepare your home during the autumn months.
Here is our Top Ten Fall Home Maintenance Checklist for 2018.
Call us if you need us: (267)226-8293
We all have the ability to improve our home’s value even with the ever changing real estate market. Simple well thought out home improvements will pay off years later with a little planning.
Things that affect your home’s value:
Weekend DIY Projects: Some inexpensive ideas to add value to your home now!
- Add some mulch
- Tend to your plants, shrubs, and trees
- Refresh your paint where you see peeling or chipping
- Clear the clutter from the yard and garage
Home Improvements worth paying for in 2018:
- Manufactured Stone Veneer
- Garage Door Replacements
- Entry Door Replacements (steel)
- Deck Addition (wood)
Read about the 2018 Cost VS. Value report from Remodeling Magazine: www.billpearnmasonry.com/blog/home-improvements-2018-cost-vs-value-report
Welcome to summer! Here is a quick run down of some of the top DIY home improvement projects you should be focusing on this season. Then, with the kids getting out of school soon, we included a great list of kid friendly DIY projects in the second part with a Pinterest Board of examples.
Have a wonderful summer everyone!
Dryer Vents – Detach and thoroughly clean your dryer vent from the dryer to the outside of your home. Don’t forget to unplug the dryer before working on this.
Paint –Summer is a great time to work on your home’s exterior and fresh paint is an affordable way to create a new look. Along with prepping the area, be ready to fix damaged or rotting wood. This project will give you a big leg up preparing your home’s exterior for winter weather.
Windows – Older windows can create costly home heating leaks in colder months. If you can’t afford to replace all your windows you can simply start with one room or one side of the home and then continue with the rest next summer.
Power Washing – Siding, decks, walkways and patios all benefit from occasional power washing. If you don’t own, or don’t want to buy, a power washer you can simply rent one from your local equipment rental business.
Stain and Seal Wooden Decks – Keep your wooden deck looking new with regular maintenance. Staining and sealing will beautify your deck for all your summer activities and protect it from the elements. Be sure to check its structural integrity annually.
Pool Deck Repairs – Simple timely pool deck repairs will save you thousands in the long run. Watch for cracks, popping, and any shifting in the pool deck materials and correct accordingly.
Kid Friendly DIY Projects!
Teaching kids to maintain their own home will be lessons that benefit them their entire life. Try these kid friendly summer projects to teach your children new skills while creating new memories!
Sandbox – Planning and building a sandbox is a great summer building project for the whole family and it creates a new seasonal play area. Be sure to include a sandbox cover to keep animals out when it is not in use.
Tree Swing – All you need is some rope and wood, or an old tire, for this project! If you use a tire be sure to create a drainage hole in the bottom so rainwater runs out.
Bird Houses – If you don’t have the tools to cut scrap wood then bird house kits will be just fine. Each child can paint their house as they’d like and then they can watch and learn about their new tenants!
Gardening – Any kind of small garden is a fun way to create new summer activities. You can try vegetable, herb, or flower gardens in a variety of sizes.
Mulch – New mulch is a fast affordable way to create visual appeal to your landscaping and it’s something that the whole family can do! Layout the outside of your mulched area and let the kids fill it in and rake it out.
Check out our Pinterest board of kid friendly DIY projects and ideas:
Conserving water isn't something we immediately think of when the spring melt off is in full swing and everyone's minds are turning to their concerns about their damp basements.
However, since the spring home improvement season is in full swing this is a great time to take a critical look at your water consumption to reduce your use all year long.
Conserving water may save on water bills (if you are on a shared system) or home maintenance costs (well systems) since less use will reduce the wear and tear on your well pump, holding tank, hot water heater, etc.
Check out this info-graphic by SanifloDepot for great DIY home maintenance tips on how you can reduce your water needs.
Our top 10 Spring home maintenance checklist for 2018!
Here is your Spring home maintenance checklist to start getting your home ready for Spring and Spring home improvement projects.
We also have the printable Spring Home Maintenance Checklist PDF attached at the bottom with areas for homeowner notes, contractors to call, and ideas for home improvement projects.
Spring Home Maintenance Checklist
1. Roof Maintenance – look for:
• lost or damaged shingles
• damaged or warping of flashing
• water stains
• any sagging in the roof line.
2. Gutter Maintenance – look for:
• leaking gutters
• clogged gutters
• improper downspout drainage
3. Chimney Maintenance – look for:
• damage to chimney and cap
• damage to cricket
4. Concrete – look for:
• signs of movement
• improper drainage
• surface damage
5. Outside Faucets – look for:
• freeze damage
• damage to hoses
6. Yard Tools – look for:
• discolored gasoline
• check batteries and chargers
• clean equipment
• sharpen blades
7. Foundation: Check foundation walls, floors, concrete, and masonry for:
• loss of or loose mortar
8. Deck and porches – look for:
• loose spindles and rails
• rotted wood
• damage or rust on ledger board and bolts
9. Wood burning Fireplaces – look for:
• rust and damage on damper
• missing mortar joints between fire brick
• rust or damage on spark arrestor
10. Exterior Walls – look for:
• water stains
• check for openings
• damaged areas or knots that have popped out
The home improvement trends lists for 2018 are almost all including concrete as a top ten trend!
A heavy hitter in the world of real estate, Realtor.com has concrete at #7 on their list.
7. Concrete in unexpected places
The Washington Post Lifestyles sections includes concrete as #7 as well.
7. Concrete accents
Last, but not least, is Remodeling Magazine showcasing Houzz's list of 2018 Home Improvement Trends and a short (but sweet) shout out for concrete.
Sinks - Dark-hued sinks made of concrete, stone, and copper will start to trend more than white or stainless steel sinks. Trough and bucket sinks could be more popular, especially as the modern farmhouse trend persists.
We have to agree with Houzz. Custom concrete sinks are an amazing, and affordable, way to create a unique feature in your kitchen, outdoor kitchen, bath, or mud room.
Concrete has always been one of the go to material for pool decks, patios, foundations, walkways, counter tops, and flooring so it's only natural that this sustainable building material transitions into other parts of the home.
When you are ready to build your dreams in affordable and sustainable concrete, call Bill Pearn Masonry.
Remodeling Magazine has published their annual home improvements cost vs. value report!
There aren't a lot of surprises this year so we'll just highlight some home improvements that should be on the minds of home owners in our area, starting with their top suggestion for our Mid-Atlantic Region.
#1 Best Home Improvement ROI for 2018
Manufactured Stone Veneer: Home owners are looking at an almost 94% return on investment with this home improvement.
Our suggestion: Be open minded about stone types. The big box stores can often be more expensive than independently owned retailers and certain types of stone veneers can require more labor costs than others. Visit our siding page for stone veneer ideas.
#2 - Garage Door Replacements (90,6% ROI)
#3 - Entry Door Replacements (steel) (78.4% ROI)
Our suggestion: These two home improvements are both minor projects but they also give a big boost to the look and feel of your home. Replace both doors at the same time with complimentary styles for maximum curb appeal.
#4 - Deck Addition (wood) (74.1% ROI)
Our suggestion: Decks and/or patios are necessary features for homes in the Poconos. Most homes will have one or both, or need one or both to maximize the home's functional space.
Wood decks are again outperforming composite decking this year and with a sizable cost difference it is easy to see why.
If you have a deck now, inspect it regularly. Every single year older decks fail in the Poconos because they were not built to reflect current codes, or, they have not been properly maintained.
If you need help with ideas for new decks/patios, or with understanding the lifespan of your current deck, visit our decks page.
#20 - Backyard Patio (43.9% ROI)
Our suggestion: The write up they give for this project makes it a major home improvement project with a good amount of maintenance and a high price tag ($56.067). For most home owners in our area, this specific project as described is going to be a financially out of reach home improvement.
We would likely suggest a backyard patio design that is similar in size (20'x20') but with less expensive features, at least initially. Our well thought out designs are beautiful projects on their own, but also leave plenty of opportunity for additional upgrades. Visit our landscaping page for great patio ideas.
To learn more about the entire list of home improvement projects, visit this link: http://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2018/middle-atlantic/
Here is our latest top ten tips for winter home maintenance!
There is always plenty to do this time of year so check our other blog posts for our winter tips lists from years past.
Have a safe and wonderful holiday season!
Coffee tables ought to be viewed as central points of each living room since they are the place where the whole family sits together. Boring coffee tables which will make your grandparents so proud should not be a part of your home, let alone a living room. If you want to enjoy your morning cup of coffee or tea in your living room with a view on one of the best coffee tables then I suggest you take a quick look at the list I have prepared for you.
Ecology is very important and the designer of this table, Matt Gagnon, is completely aware of that. Due to that, he has made a line of eco-friendly furniture and we have noticed this amazing table. it is made completely from the laser-cut recycled sheet paper and it looks very interesting. The table is very simple yet effective and you can notice from the picture it has holes and cuts. Those are actually storage for magazines and that really impressed me.
Foosball coffee table
This coffee table has two purposes, it is a coffee table but it is also a foosball table. If your husband has a man cave and you want to give him something which is elegant and stylish I definitely suggest this table. Made from hardwood, the table has playing surface, rods and tempered glass above the field. It is a great table for foosers and it also has a storage space in the bottom area.
Alburni Coffee Tables
The reason why Alburni coffee tables are on this list is their impressive connection between nature and engineering. As you can see from the picture, the table top is actually a cross-section of a wood and the legs are made of steel. With this table, you have a part of the nature in your room, a part that fits perfectly in modern, eco-friendly surrounding.
Slate Coffee Table
Concrete is getting more and more popular in furniture design which makes this table one of the most wanted pieces for living rooms. The table doesn’t have legs and it looks like 3 concrete boards, but it is not made from concrete. As you can see from the design, the table has more than enough storage separated on 3 levels which means you can organize remote controls, magazines, books, and cups on the table and there will still be enough free room on the table.
Stone Coffee Table
It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about marble, granite or some other type, stone tables look amazing every time. Today I have chosen a circular stone coffee table made with great steel legs which turn the table into an industrial piece. A round stone is simple but silver metal legs are responsible for the “bling” factor. The table top is made from natural stone which gives it special effect in your living room.
This post is made by Mark who has a blog called Foosball Zone. On his blog, he has many articles about foosball because he needs to show to people around him all how amazing foosball is. For many interesting foosball articles including the foosball coffee table, visit his blog.
We have been so blessed for so many years with not only this business, but also, the luck of good health which has been a primary factor in our ability to remain self sufficient and self employed.
This holiday season we'd like to assist a long time friend who is suffering from the effects of Cystic Fibrosis.
He is a college professor who will not get on a transplant list without showing after care funds to cover costs that his insurance won't cover.
Please take a moment to read his story. Then make any type of donation that you are able to, share his story, and please say a prayer for him.
May the blessings of the season be with all of you.
Custom outdoor storage sheds have come a long way in recent years. You have your: she sheds, man sheds, wood sheds, utility sheds, pool sheds, greenhouse sheds, garden sheds, bar sheds, BBQ sheds, etc, etc.
Along those same lines, you have a world of opportunity to make a wonderful outbuilding by simply increasing the size. Slightly larger buildings can be used for yoga, reading, play houses, offices, workout areas, artist studios, outdoor kitchens, workshops, hunting cabins, and even mixed use buildings.
All of these potential uses create wonderful new ways for home owners to maximize their home improvement dollar by creating new functionality and enjoyment in their property.
The beauty of custom built sheds, studios, and outbuildings is the versatility to make the project a new feature that also seamlessly integrates into your property and lifestyle.
Based on current prices of prefab construction and hauling, a custom built shed or outbuilding requires only a minimal increase in investment if there is an increase at all. For many retirees and weekend home owners, a small project may be all they need and the pricing could actually be less than the prefabricated options that are available.
Of course quality is paramount with all home improvement projects. Cheap is not cheaper if you have to replace something in half the time. Quality construction maximizes both the lifespan of the improvement and the use to the home owner.
Contact us with your shed or outbuilding idea. We'll be happy to help you create something that fits your needs perfectly.
If you are looking for ideas, follow our Sheds and Outbuildings boards on Pinterest. The images above are just a small number of the ideas we have collected.
If you have already purchased something prefabricated or if you've purchased a shed kit, check out our sheds page to get ideas on what kind of a base will make the most of your project.
Pocono homes are still rich with paneling from decades ago. On the upside, paneling walls are generally very sturdy and long lasting. On the downside, paneling walls immediately date the look of your home.
Painting your walls is one of the most cost effective DIY home improvements available to home owners. Painting paneling walls, is one of the fastest and easiest way to create a fresh new look and updated feel in your home.
This DIY project may vary slightly depending on exactly what kind of paneling you have and the desired end result.
5 How To Steps for painting your paneling walls:
1. Make sure the walls are clean. Some Dawn dish soap, water, a bucket and sponge, along with some elbow grease will be all you need. Make sure the walls are free of smudges, buildup, and grease.
Pro Tip: Using extra lights will help you create a polished look by allowing you to see all the small detail areas that need attention throughout this process.
2. Do the walls have a shine? If your paneling has any kind of sheen to it you will need to get rid of that shiny top coat to allow the paint will stick. Any local paint store will have some removal agents that can be wiped on, but, a light sanding will also complete this step.
Pro Tip: Use a shop vac liberally or use a sander with a dust collector to save time cleaning up.
3. Step back and consider: Outlets, light switches, trim, and defects. If your paneling color and paint color are very different shades you may need to replace the electrical fixtures and trim, or, paint them to get the look you'd like.
Tip: This is the best time to fix any dings, holes, or loose nails in your walls.
4. Prime! Use a good primer from the paint store, use a brush to cut in around all the edges, and then roll an even coat of primer on everything that will be painted. If you have any areas that require extra cleaning or sanding you should be able see and fix them at this point.
Tip: Most wall paneling has grooves so once the primer coat is on you will have a good visual idea of how those grooves will, or won't, work with the look you are trying to achieve. If you really don't like them you can fill them in with some Spackle.
5. Paint! A good coat of interior latex paint is your next step. Use a brush to neatly cut in around the edges and roll, or brush, a good coat on everything else. Once the paint has dried you can decide whether or not you will need any additional coats.
Pro Tip: When you buy your paint, get a little extra so you have a perfect match for future touch ups.
That is pretty much all there is to this DIY home improvement project. If you try it, post your results in the comment section.
If you have a suggestion for a future DIY blog topic post it in comments section below!
The crisp fall weather is almost upon us and that means that the wood burning season right around the corner.
That makes late summer the best time to look at your fireplace and chimney home improvement needs.
If you are looking to add a new fireplace or chimney, there is a world of opportunity to create an old world style with modern day function. We maintain a large collection of ideas on our Pinterest Board to help both new construction customers and renovation customers find something they simply love:
If you are looking to update the style of, or if you are in need of extensive repairs to, your fireplace or chimney then a renovation project is your best bet. Changing the material used and adding some creative touches will bring both new life and long lasting value.
Minor maintenance and repairs will extend the lifespan of your existing fireplace and chimney for decades. If you have some concerns about something you feel may be an issue such as: cracks, leaking, plant growth, animal activity, or loose materials, give us a call. (267) 226-8293
If you are just not sure about something, or would just like some advice, feel free to email your question along with a photo of the area in question. Bill@BillPearnMasonry.com
Bill Pearn Masonry is your go to local contractor for new construction, renovation, and maintenance / repairs of fireplaces and chimneys. Check out our fireplaces page for project ideas:
Also visit our chimneys page:
** Please be sure to have your chimney properly cleaned at the beginning of every burning season. **
Landscaping with gravel is simple, clean, beautiful, affordable, and environmentally friendly.
Gravel can be used for large and small landscaping projects. It lends itself well to driveways, walkways, and foundation skirts, as well as decorative borders for trees, shrubs, and fencing.
A variety of gravel types, colors and sizes can be used to create visually interesting areas that are also low maintenance and have extensively long lifespans.
This type of landscaping is very approachable as a DIY project, but it is also an affordable option to have done by a hired Home Improvement Contractor.
The ease of upgrading these projects creates a win-win for home owners since the original material investment is almost never lost. Plain gravel can be easily upgraded with paving stones, brick, concrete, more gravel types, and more decorative pebbles and stones to create a more sophisticated look.
Few home improvements are as timeless and worthwhile as gravel landscaping.
Visit our Pinterest Landscaping board for an amazing variety of landscaping ideas from around the web!
I don't know who to credit the image below to, but, it is a perfect example of the versatility of gravel landscaping.
I found it on Pinterest.
When done correctly, a finished basement is a cost effective way to add valuable living space to your home. This blog is a general guide to help you save money and have a successful home improvement project. Every home is unique, however, these basic principles will apply to almost every home in our service area.
If you are planning this type of home improvement project, you will save a lot of money in the long run by first properly examining your basement for potential areas of failure and necessary upgrades. For example, here in the Pike County PA area moisture penetration, insect/animal activity, and high levels of radon are all common issues for home owners. It is much cheaper for the home owner to address these issues right in the beginning their project.
Let’s look at your basement from the bottom up.
Anyone looking to finish a basement should already have a concrete basement floor. Take a good hard look at the quality of the concrete work and any defects in the floor such as: cracks, moisture penetration, or uneven areas. Those items need to be addressed prior to framing and with a consideration of what type of flooring will be going on top of it. You can use concrete stain and sealers to finish your existing floor if it is in good enough shape, or, you can use it as subflooring for another type of flooring system. If you do not already have a concrete basement floor, give us a call and we’ll make sure your project gets off to a great start.
You need to understand what your foundation is made of, and when it was built, so you can assess the remaining lifespan of that material. No home owner benefits from paying for a finished basement if it floods or molds over in a year because of a failure in the foundation.
Whether your basement is made of cinder block, concrete block, poured concrete, or stone you are looking for the following issues: cracks, rotation, disintegration, moisture, missing mortar, and caulk. No one should be using caulk to fix defects in the mortar. That is a band aid fix that will fail much faster than simply replacing the mortar.
Basement Windows and Basement Doors
Now is the time to make decisions about whether or not to change or upgrade the windows and doors. Prior to considerations about insulating your basement or adding basement heaters: look at how the age of the windows or doors will affect heating efficiency. In addition to that, also look for rotting of the frames and look at the general functionality of the items. Do you have good ingress and egress? Do your existing windows and doors match your idea of how you’d like your finished basement to look?
Take a good look at the sill plate, floor joists, and main beam for rotting or warping and for insect or animal activity. Also take a look at the main beam supports. Check the spans on your supports and make sure you have proper support for your beam, especially if you plan on later renovations upstairs.
Electrical and plumbing issues for the entire home should also be taken into consideration at this point. Any work that may need to be done there to bring things up to code is far more efficiently done prior to finishing the basement. The same goes for moving any utilities (water heaters, holding tanks, etc.) that are currently housed in the basement.
Take a look at our Basements page for repair options and great basement finishing ideas!
When you have those areas of your basement ready you will be in a good position to continue with your project.
The specific needs of your home should dictate the types of construction methods used to frame and finish it, but, these videos from This Old House are good overviews for what comes next.
How to Frame Out Basement Walls - This Old House
How to Frame Walls for a Basement Room - This Old House
Follow this home improvement blog for all your DIY or professionally done projects.
If you have a specific topic you’d like to see us cover, leave a comment below.
I have worked in almost every single Home Owners Association in Pike County, PA and many in Monroe County and Wayne County.
Most places are very nicely run, but I have had several customers discuss with me alarming stories regarding their HOA and how it conducts business.
Unfortunately for me, my HOA Horror Story tends to be the worst of them all.
I moved to Shohola with my wife and son with the intention of building a life and a business.
We enjoy the Delaware River, DVSD schools have been very nice, and all of my customers have allowed me to make an honest living.
I never anticipated that simply living the American Dream makes you a target.
I have been fighting a neighboring HOA in court, and winning, for over six years.
They initially sued me on a $5,400 "back dues" bill. I don't owe any dues, let alone back dues. The "bills' I received only went up from that amount.
Eventually they sued me for these "back dues". The judgments are on the website linked at the bottom.
Currently, May 2017, they are appealing me to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania because they are unhappy with the $30.00 judgement they received because THEY pushed us to go to a non-jury trial last year. That is not a typo, that is thirty dollars.
The local judges have been spot on with their judgments. The HOA just doesn't seem to like that they are told they are wrong.
I did not buy a home in an HOA because I did not WANT a home in an HOA. If you think this can't happen to you, your friends, or in your neighborhood HOA, you are very wrong. I have worked in enough HOAs in the last 15 years to see the strength and weaknesses of the different communities.
Please take a few moments to read about our story and then sign the petition if you do not agree with the HOA.
Here is my HOA Horror Story: Poconos Edition
We all know that masonary materials (concrete, brick, stone) are sustainable building materials with the best value at resale, but, did you know that they are also naturally hostile to both ticks and tick hosts? They are!
Lyme disease is the most commonly reported vector borne illness in the United States.
In 2015, it was the sixth most common Nationally Notifiable disease. However, this disease does not occur nationwide and is concentrated heavily in the Northeast and upper Midwest.
95% of confirmed Lyme disease cases were reported from only 14 states, which include: New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.
Lyme disease isn't the only disease these ticks carry. According to the CDC:
"Powassan (POW) virus is transmitted to humans by infected ticks. Approximately 75 cases of POW virus disease were reported in the United States over the past 10 years. Most cases have occurred in the Northeast and Great Lakes region.
Signs and symptoms of infection can include fever, headache, vomiting, weakness, confusion, seizures, and memory loss. Long-term neurologic problems may occur. There is no specific treatment, but people with severe POW virus illnesses often need to be hospitalized to receive respiratory support, intravenous fluids, or medications to reduce swelling in the brain."
So, who is at the highest risk for tick related diseases? Well, according to the CDC, our kids are.
Reported cases of Lyme Disease are most common among boys aged 5-9.
We didn't find any information regarding how they happened upon the ticks (their own yard, the woods, from pets, etc.) but the ages of those children strongly suggests an 'in their own home area' tick encounter.
So, what can we do as adults to protect our own health and the health of our family?
Well, we can learn about what ticks like and minimize, or remove, those items from our frequent use areas.
With the variety of homes and lifestyles here in Pike County, tick migration and encounters can be happening in a number of ways.
Our goal is to use the natural qualities of our masonary projects to create functional areas around your home that will be consistent with your outdoor activities as well as resistant to tick intrusion.
Here are some beautiful examples (from our Pinterest board) of how we can do this.
More landscaping ideas to avoid tick bites:
If you are considering any type of landscaping this year, let us help you to create a healthy and enjoyable environment for your entire family.
Either way there is nothing nice about unconstrained water in a home.
If you are in our service area (and even if you are not) we can usually diagnose the issue pretty quickly based on when the home was built. Different decades used different construction standards and we have been waterproofing basements long enough to pinpoint the issue quickly.
1. Take photos for us from the inside and the outside.
This helps us to determine where it came from. Puddling along the foundation is different than water coming in low along the basement walls or (God forbid) coming up through the basement floor.
2. Get the water out!
As fast as possible! Borrow a shop vac if you have to. Then get some fans and a dehumidifier because the next major crisis you will have is going to be copious amounts of mold and that won't be pretty or healthy. Then wipe down everything that got wet.
3. If it flooded once plan on it flooding again.
You have to fix basement water problems. It is NEVER a once in a lifetime thing. Also, never ever rely on a sump pump. Firstly, they all burn out eventually and that little tid bit of info will only come to your attention when it does not kick on and the water is coming in through the sump pit. Secondly, you need a power backup for them because any storm that is bad enough to flood your basement is certainly bad enough to cause power outages. Even with an in-line generator for the sump pump.....they still burn out.
4. Keep electrical items up.
Anything that can cause a current in your flooded basement needs to be up on something. Concrete blocks make great pillars. Just get it above the highest known water level until you can get it waterproofed. If you have low electrical outlets I would have an electrician disable them until the problem is solved and proved to be solved for a couple years.
5. Gravity is your friend!
There are a number of ways to approach a leaky basement. The all time best way is to have drains that are gravity fed. No power necessary! Water flows in and water flows out and hopefully this can be done around the perimeter of the home in an effective manner. Bringing water into the basement to sump pump it out is less than ideal. Sometimes you can seal the outside of the basement walls, sometimes you can seal the inside of the basement walls, it depends on where it is coming from. Go back to #1 - take the photos and then email or call us and we can help you! Visit our Basements page for more information.
Home improvement cost vs value report for 2017.
Here is a list of some of the best home improvement investments you can make, and the percentage of costs recouped at resale, for projects in 2017.
Manufactured stone veneer, additional benefits: durable, pest resistant, fire proof, water resistant, a wide variety of choices. Visit my siding page for inspiration!
Basement remodel, additional benefits: additional living space, healthier home, better insulation, higher resale value, pest control, radon mitigation. Visit my basements page for inspiration!
Backyard patio, tick resistant, surface water management, outdoor living space, curb appeal, lower outdoor maintenance. Visit my landscaping page for inspiration!
Benefits of adding an addition: higher resale value, additional living space, design aesthetics, cheaper than moving, enjoyment factor. Visit my foundation page to learn about how I can help you get started!
For the full list of top national home improvement projects for 2017 go to:
Bill Pearn Masonry Blog
Quality construction does not only build structures, it also builds: town pride, small business opportunity, beautiful neighborhoods, home equity, and ultimately better lives.
More articles are available on the individual topic pages.
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