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 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. **
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.
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.
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:
Wood burning fireplaces are a common upgrade to many Pocono homes. Proper chimney care will protect your home's value and enhance its appeal.
This stone chimney was in need of some repairs to bring it back to its natural beauty and proper functionality.
While our freeze/thaw cycles will affect all areas on the exterior of your home, in this case, the lack of a proper cap had accelerated water penetration in the joint areas between the stones. This made the chimney more vulnerable to the elements.
Previous joint repair attempts needed to be removed, so we dug pretty deeply to remove the joints. Straps were used as a safety measure to be sure the stones stayed in place.
Then a proper chimney cap was formed and poured while the joints were repaired in a more long lasting manner. Both of these measures will greatly enhance the lifespan, and therefore the value, of the chimney.
At this point, our portion of the project is completed. The only area of concern, from our point of view, is the chimney cricket. That particular cricket is small for the placement and chimney size. A better design should be considered when there is roofing work done.
Do you have any problems with your fireplace or chimney? Give us a call, or email some photos. We will be glad to take a look at it for you!
Call Now! (267) 226-8293
We've all tried the DIY route and we've all tried the low cost route. For a lot of home improvements these are cost effective ways to handle minor repairs.
As we see in the image above, masonry repairs are usually more specialized and benefit from more advanced skills. The handyman who repaired these steps before us only succeeded in adding additional costs to the repair work.
Proper repairs of masonry materials far extend the lifespan of the improvement and therefore maintain its value over a longer period.
1. Once you notice problems don't ignore it. They are not likely to go away. If your busy, or just not sure if you need to pursue it, just take some pics and email them to us. We will be glad to give you a free opinion.
2. Water penetration is one of the biggest concerns in freeze/thaw cycle areas. This is where proper masonry repairs are essential. Short term repairs, such as caulk, will only increase the costs of, and possibly complicate, a proper repair.
3. Masonry projects have an incredibly long lifespan. Don't be easily persuaded to rip them out in lieu of newer materials. That 1960's chimney, properly maintained, will still be beautiful and functional for our great grandchildren at minimal cost.
4. Improper chimney repairs can, and will, burn your home down with your family in it. The kicker here is, it is NOT costly or complicated to maintain a wood burning chimney. You simply need to maintain it in a timely manner with a knowledgeable chimney mason.
5. Only hire a mason with experienced. Don't pay someone who says they do masonry. Hire an ACTUAL mason who is experienced in the repairs you need.
Call us today!!
Before you rip out that concrete walkway or patio read this entire blog! A good majority of concrete products do not need to be completely ripped out to beautify and improve them.
Concrete resurfacing is an option for any concrete where the surface has been damaged in some way. You have the option to: re-top the surface, use a concrete overlay, or apply epoxy coatings. Your solution depends on the type and scope of the damaged area(s).
As with all repair work, it is important to keep a keen eye on the design of the repair so that the end product is visually appealing.
Concrete Crack Repair
Cracked concrete repair solutions depend on the types of cracks and the purpose of the concrete. Basement floor cracks need more care than walkway repairs. Historically, homes in our area have often been constructed without proper vapor barriers under the basement floors. Therefore cracks in these floors can allow both water and radon intrusion unless they are properly repaired with methods such as urethane or hydrolic cement. The necessary solution will depend partly on the age of the home and the use of the area.
Concrete walkways are somewhat less complicated to repair. It is often possible to cut out the effected area and re-pour it with concrete. Multiple cracks can be cut out and filled in a way that creates a custom walkway design.
Whether part of a repair project or part of a home improvement project, concrete stains and sealers can be used on virtually any concrete surface regardless of its age. These products can be customized to incorporate the general aesthetics of the home and durable enough to withstand heavy traffic areas. They are also a wonderful option to camouflage repaired areas.
Top 4 Reasons to completely replace your concrete:
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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