What To Check For When Buying a Home

What To Check For When Buying a Home

Buying a home is the biggest purchasing decision a person can make. It can be a very daunting task and you can easily get overwhelmed with the number of items on your new home to-do list.

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There are a million little decisions to be made such as if you need that many bedrooms, the flow of the house, if the backyard is big enough, etc. However, there are a few very important things to check for to make sure you don’t have unexpected maintenance bills down the road.

Here are some simple things to look for when you are considering a potential home:

  • Roof – The roof is one of the most important items to check. If the roof is leaking, it can affect many other aspects of the home.
    • Check to make sure the external roof lines are straight and free from deflections.
    • Check the inside of the roof gutters to make sure they are rust free.
  • Water Damage – If the house has issues with internal pipe leaks, they could turn into a costly repair bill.
    • Check the inside of the cupboards for mildew, dampness, and mold.
    • Check for water stains and corrosion on the walls that back onto showers and baths.
    • Check for mold on the ceilings and walls. If it has been cleaned recently, the walls will look like they have grey clouds on them.
  • Drainage – This is an important item to check as it will save you costly water damage bills to your basement.
    • Check the drainpipes that come down from the roof and make sure they drain to the sewer and not straight onto the ground.
    • Check for drain holes on the exterior door and window frames. These allow water to escape the cavity walls so water won’t penetrate the interior walls.

While these are the most important things to check your new home for structurally, there are more items that most people look for in a home:

  • Steepness of the lot
  • Window size for natural light
  • Driveway length and street parking
  • Heating and cooling devices
  • Kitchen features
  • The neighborhood

There are many features to check when buying a home. Buying a home is a big decision and you should make sure you absolutely know what you are buying. Looking at all these areas yourself is fine but make sure you also have the house checked out by a qualified home inspector. A good home inspector knows where to look and what to look for, and will lend their expert opinion on things such as the quality of the foundation, electrical wiring and general durability – among others.

If your home does need some repairs you can count on Grennan Construction to give you the best service and advice there is. Grennan Construction specializes in siding, gutters, windows, roofing, insulation, painting and drywall, masonry, weather damage, and general repairs.

Grennan Construction can help you turn the home you buy into the home you want!

The Best Method to Wash Your Home

The Best Method to Wash Your Home

369D8C305ADuring the summer months, your home can take a beating from nature’s elements. Dirt, mildew, pollen, and other materials can build up more easily on the outside of your residence over the course of several months. To get your house looking as new as the day it was built, give it a high-quality wash!

Depending on what type of siding you have on your home, it is important to choose the proper method to clean your house so as to not damage the siding.

Most people will automatically think to opt for the pressure washer (who can blame you? It’s a fun tool!). While it is often the best (and fastest) method if you have some serious dirt on your house, some materials just can’t handle the intensity of a pressure washer.

If you have a home made from stucco, brick, or delicate woods, it would be best to avoid the pressure washer and stick to your garden hose. If that isn’t strong enough, or if you have heavier dirt that your hose just won’t handle, there are many different chemicals and nozzles that will easily remove dirt, and keep your siding safe.

Homes made of vinyl, wood, and hybrid materials are generally strong enough to withstand pressure washing, but even so it is usually better to start light and work your way up. Most dirt and grime will come off with your garden hose so that’s always the best place to start, just in case.

If you do opt to use a pressure washer, here are a few important safety and procedural guidelines to follow in order to make sure you get the most out of your pressure washer:

  • Make Sure Windows and Doors Are Closed – Self-Explanatory! No one wants a wet carpet.
  • Wear Safety Glasses – While you obviously don’t want to point a pressure washer at your, or anybody else’s eyes, there will be dirt and other particles flying off of your house that could still strike your eyes.
  • Keep Others Inside – Other family members, children, and pets should be kept indoors during pressure washing because of flying debris, as well as the potential dangers of the pressure washer itself.
  • Test First – Pressure washers are very powerful. Before starting on your whole house, test its effects on a non-visible portion to be sure that it won’t cause damage.
  • Keep Moving – Keeping the hose moving will prevent the pressure from damaging your house. Use a side to side, sweeping motion will effectively remove the dirt from your home.
  • Point the Hose Downward – Regular dirt from rain, snow, and wind come from above so it is important to make sure you spray from the top down. If you don’t then getting pressurized water up behind your siding or into cracks will be very damaging.
  • Avoid Spraying Windows – While your windows might be just as dirty as the rest of your house, there is a chance that the intense pressure could crack or break the windows, especially in older homes.

 

The best way to make your house look beautiful for this summer is to give it a nice wash! Just make sure you know what type of washing is best for the siding that is on your house and be safe when doing it. Remember, if it is too big a job, or you don’t feel safe on a ladder, consult a professional.

Tips and Tricks to Prepare Your House for Summer

5F7649370BWell, Summer is almost here!

The warm weather that we have all been waiting for is imminent and there are some simple techniques available to make sure your house is as energy efficient as possible.

We want to help you keep cool air inside and hot air where it’s supposed to be…outside!

 

What We Are All About
Grennan Construction can provide you with all your necessary home improvements that are needed to keep your house running at peak efficiency during the summer months.

We can also provide many options to make your house more energy efficient including siding, gutters, windows, roofing, and insulation. Also, if the worst should happen, Grennan Construction is ready to repair and replace whatever has been damaged, whether it be from regular wear and tear or from the weather.

 

Keeping Your House Efficient
The simplest way to save money and energy is to make sure your home is up to date on all energy efficiency matters. No matter if it is a new roof, or simply securing windows and doors, Grennan Construction is the best way to make sure your home is well prepared for the coming summer months!

 

Checking for Leaks
For optimum efficiency; windows, doors and air ducts of your home need to be leak-free. The caulking on the windows and doors is the first barrier to ensure energy efficiency by keeping the warm and cool air separated. The same principal for keeping heat inside in the winter applies to keeping the cool air inside in the summer.
Making sure the windows and doors are properly sealed will not only make your home more energy efficient but will also help with keeping out insects, which can also come along with warmer temperatures.

 

Check Your Foundation
By simply walking around your basement and the outside foundation of your house, you can save yourself thousands of dollars in potential damage. The biggest threat is water damage.

Leaks, cracks, and imperfections of your foundation can cause a lot of headaches when the rains come in the summer months. Grennan Construction has experts to inform you of potential leaks and can fix any structural foundation problems you might have, providing you with the proper assistance and best materials ensuring your home is protected from the summer elements.

 

Your Roof
The roof of your house is the most important defense against the forces of nature in the coming summer months.

Rain, hail, and sleet from summer storms can take a toll on any roof over the years. It is important to make sure there are no cracks, leaks or other imperfections in your roof in order to prevent flooding or other damage to the inside of your home. If you do find an imperfection in your roof,  you should repair it immediately in order to avoid costly indoor damage.

Replacing your roof is one of the most valuable ways to increase your home’s value and is the best way to prevent damage to the inside of your home. Grennan Construction has the most energy efficient roofs available, as well as being aesthetically pleasing. Whether you are looking for a Metal Roof or a Cedar Shake Roof, Grennan Construction has exactly what you desire!

 

Summer Time!

Summer time is a great time to relax and enjoy yourself, so take a moment ensure your home is secure from rain, hail, heat, and insects. Then call Grennan Construction for all your home efficiency needs, and then enjoy the summer!

Fixing Drywall Cracks And Nail Holes

If you take some time to examine the walls in your house, chances are that you’ll find one or two spaces where the surface isn’t completely perfect. Many walls in residential homes are made from drywall or wallboard – and as many homeowners will discover – drywall isn’t necessarily as sturdy and reliable as it should be.

The walls of your home will contract and expanding according to humidity, and the temperature of the weather. Because of this, the framing of a house can easily swell and shrink over time, leading to cracks and damage in the drywall. Fortunately, although this material is particularly easy to damage, it is also quite simple to fix, depending on the extent of the problem – and where it is located.  With that in mind, here’s a step by step guide for how to fix nail holes and cracks in drywall.

drywall cracks

Fixing Nail Holes

Whether you’re handing a painting, or simply doing some DIY around the home, it’s easy to make holes in drywall that you may want to get rid of further down the line. There are lots of reasons why a nail might be used to hold two pieces of material together. However, it’s all too easy to push the nail head too deep beneath the surface of the wall, causing it to lose its holding power and result in surface damage. After all, even small holes provide a perfect opportunity for moisture to enter into the drywall and start to cause rot. Fortunately, these problems are usually quite easy to fix.

To fix a small hole, all you’ll need is some vinyl spackling compound, a damp sponge, a hammer, a 3-inch putty knife, and some steady hands. To fill small holes:

  1. Start by denting the surface of the wall where the hole is located very slightly, so that you can produce a clean void.
  2. Clean the hole and dampen the surrounding area with a sponge
  3. Apply your compound with a 3-inch putty knife and draw it smoothly across the dent, to ensure you have a clean, level surface.
  4. Sand down the surface as evenly as possible, and repair the wall with a coat of primer and paint.

If you have a particularly large area of damage within your drywall – perhaps from a DIY-gone-wrong nail hole – then you may need a piece of new drywall to replace over the space. Importantly, the new piece of drywall should be of identical thickness to the existing surface, and it should fasten securely, and blend seamlessly with the remainder of the wall.

Fixing Cracks In Your Drywall

Hairline cracks that appear in drywall, particularly around the tops of doors and windows, can be a sign that the wall framing has moved or settled slightly – a common condition for most houses. Fortunately, cracks that appear on flat surfaces are generally quite easy to repair – but if the repair isn’t completed properly, it is far more likely to re-appear.

  1. Using a sharply-bladed utility knife, carefully widen the crack within the drywall into a V-shape that is readily available to accept compound.
  2. Using a broad putty knife, spread either spackle or joint compound over the groove that you have created so that it completely fills the void, and also covers a couple of inches on either side. Smooth the compound out, and allow it to dry.
  3. Sand the area as smooth as possible with fine sandpaper – be careful that you don’t go over-the-top here or press too hard, as you could end up ruining your repair completely.
  4. Touch up the area with paint and primer to match the wall, or repaint the entire wall if you’re looking for a completely seamless job.

Remember, if a crack appears on a flat surface, you can use spackle or joint compound to repair it. However, if cracks appear where the ceiling meets the wall, it may be better to use caulk which is more flexible – and capable of withstanding some movement.

Care For Your Home

Most of the time, drywall repairs don’t require a great deal of effort in terms of DIY, but that doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from accessing the help of a professional. Even something as simple as filling in dents, embedding popped nails, and patching holes can lead to further problems in the future if not done properly. How frequently do you notice cracks and holes in your drywall, and have you tried to fix the problems yourself? Let us know how it went in the comments below!

Image source: Flickr

7 Trees You Should Never Plant In Your Yard

Most homeowners know the value of curb appeal, and want their properties to be aesthetically pleasing on the outside, as well as the interior. Because of this, we frequently plant all kinds of organisms, from flowers and shrubs, to grass and vegetables throughout our lawn. The chances are, if you’re passionate about exercising your green thumb, you’ll eventually decide to plant a tree or two of your own as a way to maximize the visual appeal of your home, and access great summer shade. Unfortunately, there are a few trees that you will need to avoid for a variety of reasons – from weather dangers, to damaging your foundation, pests, and even making allergies worse. Here are just some of the trees that you should never plant in your yard.

7 trees you should never plant

1. Cottonwood Trees

Plenty of tree lovers enjoy the appeal of the cottonwood tree – particularly because of its charming appearance and low need for maintenance. Unfortunately, the cottonwood tree encompasses a soft and shallow root system, which makes it prone to instances of rotting, and can mean it becomes unstable throughout periods of bad weather and severe storms. Besides the fact that the wood itself is highly brittle, it’s worth noting that diseases and insects frequently damage it too, creating all the more risk that it will end up on your roof, car, or garage after a rough storm.

2. Mulberry Tree

Though some trees, such as the cottonwood, struggle with a weak root system and soft wood, the Mulberry tree is dangerous for a radically different reason. Most people should avoid planting this tree in their yard simply because it produces huge amounts of pollen, which attracts insects and pests. Though it can offer some great summer shade, it’s not worth the extra creepy-crawlies that will infest your home.

3. White Pine

Though the white pine doesn’t typically reach extensive heights – like many other trees, an issue arises in the fact that this tree is particularly sensitive, and requires a lot of maintenance. In colder climates, the white pine often suffers winter or ice-related damage, and also attracts plenty of pests, ranging from bagworms to sapsuckers.

4. Leyland Cypress

The Leyland Cypress is a tree that grows incredibly fast – meaning that it needs trimming frequently to ensure you don’t end up with branches everywhere. This is another form of tree that can frequently be uprooted during periods of severe wind or stormy weather, even if they are decades old – making them quite dangerous to grow around houses. What’s more, pests like bagworms love to reside in this particular kind of tree.

5. Mimosa Tree

Similarly to the cottonwood tree, the mimosa tree has particularly weak wood that makes it highly unpredictable during storms. What’s more, this type of tree attracts webworm and pests – what’s more, the Mimosa is also famous for producing quickly-germinating seeds. This could mean that you might end up with a huge forest of mimosa trees quicker than you could possibly imagine.

6. Bradford Pear

Plenty of professional gardeners and homeowners alike love the aesthetic appeal of the Bradford pear tree, as it’s durable, beautiful, and requires very little in the way of long term maintenance. Unfortunately, the naturally pyramidal shape of the tree serves to make it particularly fragile. The way that the branches grow ensure that ice, snow, and high winds are not its friend, as the branches cannot take the weight and the limbs will quickly start to split. If that’s not enough, the flowering blooms also have a particularly unpleasant smell.

7. Quaking Aspen

Found often in northern climates, the quaking aspen has gently vibrating leaves and white bark – making it highly attractive in most yards. Unfortunately, the root system is insidious – sending up numerous suckers that turn relentlessly into brand new trees. In other words, when you plant a quaking aspen, you could be fighting against a forest that’s quickly trying to overtake your home.

Plant Carefully

Too many homeowners fail to regard all of the necessary factors when choosing the right tree – thinking instead about how pretty it might look when combined with the other aspects of their yard. However, some trees have deep strong roots that slowly destroy the foundations of your house, whereas others have brittle branches that could destroy property when caught in the throes of a storm. Which kinds of trees do you prefer to plant in your yard, or do you know of another variety that should stay away from homes entirely? Let us know in the comments!

Home Gutter Cleaning & Maintenance Guide

The rather unloved task of cleaning out and regularly maintaining gutters is one that is frequently overlooked. High up and often hard to reach – the chore of cleaning out your gutters can be a frustrating one – but if you want to keep your home in the best possible condition – you shouldn’t let a little hard work put you off.

Without properly working gutters, the exterior of your home can become extremely compromised, leading to excessive maintenance issues and expensive repairs. The reason for this is that gutters:

  • Prevent water from draining into the basement and interior walls of your home
  • Reduce the chance of water settling through the foundation of your property
  • Prevent excessive damage to woodwork, exterior paint, fascia, and walls
  • Guide rainwater away from your home instead of allowing it to gather on your roof

It’s safe to say that water can cause a wide range of different and distressing problems once it starts to pervade your home. Mould may start to grow – causing health problems, while woodwork perishes, damp patches spread, condensation forms, and brickwork erodes. With that in mind, here is a quick guide on how to clean your gutters and maintain them over time.

gutter maintenance roof tips

  1. Start By Removing Loose Debris

Starting at the lowest point of your gutter, use a garden trowel or narrow instrument to carefully scrape out and remove any loose debris like dirt and leaves – working outwards from the drain outlet. This is usually easier to manage when the debris in question is pliable and damp rather than dried or soggy.

  1. Use A Hose On Gutters

Next, once the debris has been removed, use a high-pressure on-off nozzle at the end of a water hose to clean out the full length of your gutter, moving towards the drain outlet. Remember that this part of the job can be somewhat messy, so try to avoid covering the outside of your home in dirt. You can always use a stiff brush to scrub away encrusted dirt if necessary.

  1. Get Rid Of Drainpipe Obstructions

If you find that water has trouble draining easily through your drainpipes, try using your hose to flush the debris away. If that doesn’t work by itself, try using a snake or plumbers auger to pull the debris free from the bottom, or push it to the top of the drain.

Maintaining Your Gutters

Maintaining gutters starts with inspecting them on a regular basis. You should examine the state of your gutters during autumn and spring to make sure that no damage has taken place, and that debris hasn’t been allowed to build up too much. From time to time, you may find that you have to loosen away dirt that has blown into the gutter, or scrub it away with a stiff brush. What’s more, flushing your gutters now and again will clear away material that has been lodged in downspouts and eave troughs.

Occasionally, you may need to adjust the sloping of your gutter to ensure that the water moves towards the downspouts efficiently. To check whether this needs to be done, simply run water through the system and measure how quickly the liquid drains. If necessary, you’ll be able to add downspout extenders to improve the removal of water.

Another good tip is to frequently check your downspouts for peeling paint, rust, flaking, and leaks. Make sure that they remain tightly affixed to the fascia boards and don’t begin to break away at any point – especially after storms or bad weather. Don’t forget to check the fascia boards too to avoid any dry rot or other damage, and be prepared to replace them when necessary.

Be Wary Of

During your maintenance cycles, be wary of:

  • Weak joints around the gutter sections and downpipes.
  • Blocked downpipes that need to be cleared to operate efficiently – leaf guards may be useful here.
  • Insufficient outlet capacity – some older systems can only handle rainfall of low volumes – increasing your outlets can help to ensure that rainfall drains well from your gutters.
  • Corrosion – Remove any grime or rust as quickly as possible to see what lies beneath – rust can create small holes in the guttering which make it ineffective over time.

Remember that looking after your guttering regularly is an important part of maintaining a home. Do you have any important tips that you think we’ve missed? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter!

Top Six Home Maintenance Mistakes People Make

top-six-home-maintenance-mistakes-people-make-grennan-constructionA home is probably the biggest asset people will own in their lifetime, next to their vehicle.  Like a car, your home requires a certain amount of maintenance over the years to ensure that it will proper withstand weather conditions, general living wear and tear and to keep up its value.  Without proper care, it is easy to see how a house can simply fall apart and not properly function like it is supposed to.  Again, just like a car.

Here are the top six common home maintenance mistakes that people make.

Home Maintenance Mistake #1: Forgetting to Unclog Gutters.
Gutter maintenance is a really common overlooked maintenance task for many homeowners.  It’s out of sight and out of mind for many homeowners.  Gutters channel water away from your home’s roof and foundation.  If you neglect to properly maintain your gutters, it can lead to roof leaks and problems with the foundation.  It’s important to clean out your gutters for any clogs or backups at least twice a year.  If you don’t want to do this on your own, you can hire a professional to help you unclog your gutters and check for any leaks or deterioration of your gutters.

 

Home Maintenance Mistake #2: Neglecting Dusting Duty.
Another common home maintenance mistake that people make is neglecting the battle with dirt and dust.  Many people will take care of the obvious dirt or dust that they see visibly on a table or counter, but what about the dirt you can’t see?  It’s important to change your air conditioning and heater filters regularly as they can build up dirt and dust, preventing proper air flow and energy efficiency.  Additionally, cleaning the coils on the refrigerator is also advised to prevent premature breakdown and help keep down energy costs to keep your food cool.  Dirt and dust also breaks down carpet fibers, causing increased wear and tear.  You can help the battle with the dirt by placing doormats outside all doors and vacuuming carpet once or twice a week, especially if you have any pets.

 

Home Maintenance Mistake #3: Ignoring Leaks.
Plumbing leaks are probably the most costly of all of the mistakes, because ignoring even the seemingly smallest and “most harmless” water leak can eventually compound over time and result in a very expensive repair (or replacement) cost.  From damage to laminate flooring, carpet, roofing, drywall, cabinets, insulation and unseen structural supports (such as wall studs or floor joists)—water leaks and damage caused by water need to be addressed right away.  Ignoring these leaks can also prove deadly if mold and mildew start to develop.

 

Home Maintenance Mistake #4: Filling Grout Gaps.
The purpose of grout isn’t aesthetic.  The purpose of grout is to seal gaps between floor tiles.  If you have a gap in grout, you shouldn’t ignore them or simply fill them.  Gaps in grout mean that moisture is already starting to get through the grout and mold or mildew growth, plus potential water damage, is already a risk.  The best way to handle any gaps in grout is to clean out and remove any old grout and seal the gap with brand new grout.

 

Home Maintenance Mistake #5: Let Paint Chip and Peel Off.
Neglecting paint that is chipping or peeling is never a good idea.  Cracks in the paint expose drywall or exterior wood surfaces.  This means that water is penetrating the surfaces underneath the paint, which will cause further damage and only worsen the cracking and peeling paint.  If you spot any paint peeling or chipping off, remove any loose paint from the surface, repair any damage, prime with a coat of primer and then repaint.

 

Home Maintenance Mistake #6: Disregard Foggy Windows.
If you ever notice foggy windows, it’s a potential sign that the seal of the window is broken and may need replacing. Disregarding foggy windows may result in added heating and cooling expenses, so be sure to replace the seal as soon as possible.

Owning a home is a big responsibility and it doesn’t make sense to neglect your home.  Some neglect their home to save money, but as you can see, some of these home maintenance mistakes result in added expense (and headaches!).  If you properly maintain your home, you will help save on a lot of unnecessary repairs and expenses, including additional energy costs to run an improperly maintained home.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Grennan Construction, a family owned and operated company since 1998.  We specialize in roofing, siding, windows, insulation, gutters and chimney repairs. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo Credit: renjith krishnan via freedigitalphotos.net