Basement Leaks: An Unpleasant Situation

By Megan S. Ward  

            It was a summer night where I was home alone once again. I struggled to find something to occupy my attention, but the rain outside had not ceased for 3 days straight. In a gaming mood, I tiptoed down the stairs and walked contentedly towards the gaming room. Looking for my favorite game, I walked over to the storage corner, where I noticed a wet spot on the carpet. Initially I thought it had been my dog Bo at it again, but then I noticed that all along the walls of the basement, the carpet flooring was wet. Feeling a bit concerned, I wandered into the second basement area where the basement was not finished. Over the past three days, water had somehow managed to find its way into our house. Everything—ranging from paintings to boxes, had been completely drenched. No one was home, so I panicked as to what I should do. I went to grab the carpet cleaner which had a water suction feature and noticed that there were tiny black dots speckled all over the walls. So this is the extent of having a home in New Jersey? Why would the water be getting in and what could I do to prevent this? After doing some research I learned of things that cause, stop and prevent leaking. I’d be happy to share this with others as it has prevented my parents from ripping their hair out over water damage.

            When it comes to water damage and leakage into your basement, there can only be so many causes. Some of the most common ones are water mitigating through concrete, excess humidity (thus causing condensation), ground water, a clogged or incorrectly installed gutter system, cracks in the foundation and bad insulation. Concrete is actually a porous material, meaning that it can easily absorb or have water go through it. Water may be flooding at the base or below the basement and slowly seeping into your basement over time, while humidity from daily household activities (showering, cooking and heating) can easily build-up over time and go to the coolest part of your house (your basement.) Ground water can seep into your foundation and cracks in the foundation will lead to water leaking in at the base. With a gutter that is clogged or improperly installed, the water may be directed towards your house instead of away. Let’s say that your home’s backyard lacks a slope from where the gutter ends, then the water will usually flow back into the base of your house and in through the walls. Bad insulation is also a common cause in basement humidity as moisture is directed towards the coolest part of the house. Then there’s the case of when you have heat being released to the attic after it is generated in the house, then you are more likely to have a high amount of moisture in your basement, leaving you with an environment suitable for mold to grow and fester in. The problem with our house was the angle that it was on. The water was actually flowing towards the basement instead of away, thus causing the leak in the first and second basements. One has many options to stop and prevent the causes of water leakage into your basement.

            If you are seeking for some ways to stop and prevent leaking, then look no further. As mentioned earlier, flooding and leakage can be caused by incorrect gutter installation. A gutter extension can be installed at the end of the gutter, in addition with a angled slope to direct the runoff even more. This will give your gutter the boost it needs and the length (at least 4-5 feet away from your house) to divert the water to a different area. However, a downspout that is too short is not always the case. Your gutter may be clogged and full of debris, making the rainwater overflow in a certain area.  A clogged gutter can be easily fixed with a gutter cleaning and mesh barrier installed on the top to prevent debris/leaves from getting in. Next, plugging the gaps (if any) in walls is a good practice. Doing so will prevent water from dribbling into your basement. Hydraulic cement is use in most cases and costs less than $20. Keep in mind that the plug-in trick is only good if the water is coming in from a higher point of the wall and not lower. A lower leakage is just from groundwater and a plug won’t solve the problem. After you’ve attempted these two or have assessed the actual problem, perhaps it may be the fact that you have to restore the crown—the soil underneath your house that slopes a minimum of 6 inches over 10 feet in any and all directions. The common enemy of this structure is time, causing erosion around the foundation as the dirt lessens and settles. One can simply rebuild this part of the house with dirt and a shovel. There is a more costly way that uses clay, but it costs around $30 and should cover the perimeter of your house.

Aside from all the replacing of systems and rebuilding of bases, one should consider the need to rebuild the landscape as well. You’ll want to make sure that the water is going away from the house and that the crown is far away so as to not rot the wood of your house.  If your basement does not have any foot drains, you can always go with the alternative of installing a curtain drain to divert any water that travels underground and eventually leaks into your house. This is the solution that my father went with and it is known as a French drain. The overall purpose of the French drain is to provide a shallow trench in which the water flows into. Gravel and piping are included in this process and will help to divert the water away. This method is inexpensive and will cost $9 to $17 per linear foot. So you’ve tried all of the above methods, but have not gotten any results? That means the best option is that you’ll just have to pump it. That’s right; your basement will have to channel the water from the inside. An interior draining system solves the leakage problem in most cases, but costs about $3,000 to install. The main function of the interior draining system consists of a channel around the perimeter of the floor where pipe is installed to connect to a collection tank at the lowest spot of the basement. The water is then transferred to a sump pump which will shoot the water outside of the house.  It may seem a bit costly, but it is one of the best options for an unfinished basement or for a basement that is underground. In the end, waterproofing your basement is often the best choice, but also the most expensive, weighing in at about $20,000 per treatment. You can perform moisture, mold and leakage tests to various parts of your basement, as well as have someone inspect what could be causing your leakage problem. I hope this helped as I have dealt with a soggy basement on more than one occasion.


Proper Insulation; A Great Way to Save Money

By Megan W.

It’s the end of the month or as I like to call it, the emptying of monthly savings. The bills are finally being taken into account, with staggering charges for heating and cooling. The new-age of technology has arrived, compelling us to conform to the need of saving ourselves from any possible form of expense. This means that nowadays most homeowners take on the tiresome task of saving money by adjusting the amount of utility usage within the house. Instead of sacrificing the amount of time spent on electronics for warming/cooling, why not just take a simple step that could save you thousands each year? Insulation is the answer to most of your household billing conundrums as it optimizes the way in which heat is retained, as well as ensuring that your house stays cool during summer. If you read further on, there will be a basic explanation of insulation and, types of insulation and what it can do for your home.

Insulation is the method for retaining a desired temperature/climate in the household. The pieces for insulation are usually installed within a crawlspace, drafty areas and in-between walls. Since one can easily lack insulation, improper insulation is a common mistake in wasting ones energy efficient capabilities. There are many things to be taken into consideration when installing the insulation for your house. Consider what type of climate that you live in. Often, homeowners in a cold-climate will be discerned at spending more money than they already do heating, but proper home insulation is one of the best ways to invest in your house. A well-insulated house will make you feel more comfortable and at ease for when the hot/cold seasons arrive. Being that there are so many ways to insulate your house, let’s take a look at what insulation actually does. Insulation consists of various materials being used to trap tiny air pockets, thus slowing the amount of heat moved in/out during the alternating seasons. This value of resisting air releases is known as R-value. Insulation consists of three basic mechanisms which are convection, conduction and radiation. Each mechanism refers to a simple process of where heat is transferred, ranging from heat transfer via materials, liquids, gases and in a straight line through any receiving solid. If you have a high value of this, naturally you will have a lower energy bill. However, in most cases, if the insulation is installed incorrectly, it can actually make matters worse. The amount of R-value in the material varies depending on its thickness, type and density. Let’s look at the different types of insulation materials available.

You can find many different types of material at your local hardware store, however, when it comes to such a detailed procedure of layering upon layer, it’s best to leave this to the professionals. If you still desire for a DIY type of job, then at least use blanket rolls and batts. This material is something that you can install yourself and it is great for standard joist and stud spread. It is an inexpensive material that is relatively free from obstructions. You should use it to insulate ceilings, floors and unfinished walls. The reason for why this material may be so affordable is due to its fiber-like structure. Concrete block insulation is another good way to go, as it can also be done without a professional, but often requires specialized skills upon installation. It is great for insulating walls, new renovations/constructions and unfinished walls. Concrete block insulation is known to have 10x the amount of R-value due to its autoclaved and aerated cellular structure. This material takes the shape of a foam board and can be stacked, laid and easily surface bonded. Aside from doing things on your own and risking a faulty installation, it is probably best at this time to let the professionals do it. Think of your home as a space ship—if you were in deep-outer space, you wouldn’t want air to get through your vessel, unless you want your eyes to would bulge out of your head like Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall. Remember that adequate airflow is key; however, covering places where heat can come in or escape (your attic) will only leave room for improvement in your home. The ideal material is something that suits the R-value to a minimum standard for you house, depending on its finished structure and age. Layering with extra fluff is often the best choice. This is where blown-in and loose-fill insulation come in handy. The composition of the material is basically a cellular and mineral-like structure and is used in attic floors and other empty cavities in your home. In most cases, this material is poured or blown in by professionals. A good factor of this material is that it can be used as additional insulation following any other material that you so choose. You could say that this is basically your filler-upper of a material in home insulation. Another instance of filler is the sprayed foam material, which can be applied with a pressured sprayer; it is mainly composed of polyisocyanurate, phenolic, polyurethane and other compounds. For generalized or secure insulation, some good options are pouring cement between the walls (ICFs), rigid fibers (fiberglass that can withstand high temperatures) and structural insulated panels (straw/foam used for walls and roofs.) With all of these techniques, you may be thinking that it is all out of your budget, but there is also the option of a reflective system where foil-faced craft paper is used between joists and other areas. Surprisingly, this method is the most effective out of all the do-it-yourself methods as bulks of it can be used. Contact your local carpenter or contractor and ask which one is best for your home type.

Having good insulation can do so much for your house in the future. You will not only save money, but aid the house in keeping the weather out. The house will maintain a good level of dryness as well, preventing mold or rotting under the roof should there be any leaks. If you have proper ventilation, you should have proper insulation as well. This will aid in moisture control strategies by preventing heat transfer to other areas of the house. It is vital that moisture control be enacted as vapor can easily move in and out of a home via heat transfer, air currents and diffusion through materials; all of these methods of moisture transfer are the same as heat transfer in insulation. Since air movement accounts for over 98% of any vapor movement in your home’s cavities, this transfer can be easily prevented with a good insulation system. By controlling the moisture level in your home you are not only making your house more energy efficient, but also a safer place to live with the absence of any mold growth. Some good materials to reduce the induction of heat between areas in the house are foam board and fiberglass insulation. No matter what method you use, as long as it is layered and properly installed, there should be a satisfying outcome in your gas and electric bills. With proper insulation you can contain the heat, eliminate drafts and excess moisture.


Boring Bedrooms; Remodeling for Keeps

By Megan W. 

So you’ve considered the fact that investing in your home is one of the more lucrative ways of earning money. How does one go about this process? There are many rooms, appliances and landscaping aspects that come into consideration during the revision of your home. Perhaps the best way is to take a look at the most essential room in the house—the master bedroom. Most couples will spend the majority of their time decompressing here and it is this room that will make the house their own. Even if you’re not selling your house now, putting money into remodeling your bedroom is like investing in yourself, only you will get more satisfaction and money back in the future. Here are some ways to amplify the ambience of your room, without emptying the majority of your bank account.

When remodeling your bedroom, take into consideration what it is that you find relaxing. This room is unique from the others and should have a luxurious and restful feeling. If you don’t quite know where to start, reset your frame of mind and ruminate the thought that your bedroom is like your walk-in closet. If you’re going to get anywhere, you’ll need to get rid of old things that occupy space and are of little use to you. Having a cluttered environment is the ultimate mood damper and can make one feel even more stressed in life. It’s no hint that you like something if it’s stacked around your room and found in all the little nooks and crannies. You should probably get rid of them, but if you know that you’ll regret it later on, you should find a better way to store these things. Let’s say that you find that reading to be your thing, but care too little for the way that your books are stored. Instead of having piles and towers of books, you should splurge on getting yourself a good shelf or storage furniture with decent accents. It will make the room seem bigger and more open. A kindle is always recommended and you can get all of your books onto that one little device. For everything else, get rid of duplicate objects, unused clothing, things that are worn out and everything that has been gathering dust. Once you sell or donate these items, you can have a piece of mind knowing that everything is in its place, leaving more time for you to relax.

Another thing that you can and should do when remodeling your soon-to-be master suite is to alter the walls and windows. For instance, if your wallpaper looks like something out of Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, it will only subtract from the charm that the rest of the room has. Painting is a good and inexpensive way to boost the overall character of the room itself. You can give it a warm tone or generate a tropical getaway with light blue ocean paint. It is recommended that one works around the trim, which is where the ceiling begins from the floor. One should go above in beyond in finding the perfect tone and color to enhance the type of ambiance that you are going for in your room, whether it is bright, modern, cozy and warm, eclectic or something else. Don’t be afraid of making the wrong choice, as you can easily turn over a new leaf, so to speak, by painting over the current layer of paint. With windows, they are your outside door to the world. You can enjoy the view outside and even if you live in the city and the view may not be so pleasant, make the best of it and accentuate the inside. It is always good to do this and add to the amount of privacy as well. Consider adding a little laying area under the window, with a decent amount of light coming in. If you don’t really want to add any alterations within the window itself, changing the window coverings may be just the ticket. Most houses maid in the 90’s have those investigator window blinds, which are great in blocking out light and interrogating your daughter’s new date. However, the saying in with the new and out with the old could not be more stinging then it is now. Most bedrooms are smaller and are overcome by the large furniture, which makes one focus on something beyond the bed—the windows. This is where your window dressings play an important role in determining the value of your bedroom. They can add to your aesthetic layout by creating shadow when needed and bringing in just the right amount of light. You can sleep in more with deep curtains that block early morning light. When a person works late, they will love curtains that make day seem like night, easing them into a faster and restful sleep.

Aside from being just a place of rest, give the buyers and yourself an idea of multiple uses for this room. If you include an area for a TV, it can also become a movie room. Having a big space leaves the mind open to a lot of ideas, so take advantage of each one and organize it so that there is enough space for the bed. You can make a reading area with some lighting from a floor-lamp with a comfy chair.  Simple gestures like this are what make a bedroom a master suite in which you can unwind in at the end of the day. Some of the most essential features that you should have or at least include in your master suite are a well-organized closet, enhancing the view (or at least the look of the window from the inside), adding dimension (arranging things in a specific way to give off a sense of more space), minimalism in furniture and decoration and just adding your own personal touch. Once you have finished with the main room and closet, remember that a bathroom is what makes a master bedroom a master suite. Some common things that are found in a master suite’s bathroom are good lighting, proper storage, double sinks, non-slip floors and a huge shower with an attached bath. While having a big bathroom is great, remember that efficiency is sometimes preferred over design.

gutters 2

Protect Your Gutter from Clutter

By Megan S. Ward

Gutters are an important feature of a roof. They are designed in the form of a narrow channel through which rainwater flows, once collected from the roof. The system is designed to divert and catch any water, so that none leaks into your house. Many homeowners make the mistake of thinking that the roof itself is causing a water leakage, when it may very well be your rain gutter. Over time, this trough can become cluttered with leaves, debris and even small pieces of dirt. Without a proper protection system for your gutter, the water builds up and eventually overflows, thus eliminating the original purpose of the rain gutter. I will go over what types of gutters there are, how a clogged gutter can be harmful to your home and how you can protect your gutter from clutter (that rhymes, I know.)

There are many types of gutters; each with their own unique shape to fit the contour of your house. The materials used to build the gutter may even vary a bit themselves. A gutter is usually composed of metal which rusts over time, but there are gutters that are made from copper, steel, stone, cast iron, lead, zinc and so much more. It’s important to ensure that your gutters are water-proof, before having them installed. It is through the technological advance in building that cold forming became an actual technique in gutter creation. There are three ways that gutters are often installed by—integrally, discreetly and as a crowning. When a gutter is installed integrally, this means that the gutter is built around the lower edge of the roof. While discretely built gutters are designed to not protrude outwards, but rather be suspended and projected well beyond the edge and slope of the roof. A wall integral structure is where the rain gutter is installed beneath the edge of the roof, as a crowning wall element. After deciding the best technique, a box gutter is usually installed as the form of gutter itself. A box gutter is deeper than most gutters and is more appealing in terms of building design. This is due to the fact that it is often built within the roof’s structure. You can often find these types of gutters on commercial buildings, as well as residential buildings. To protect the box gutter from rusting, usually the builders line the gutters with roofing felt or asphalt. Since these types of gutters are built with the contour of the house, it is often easier to maintain these types of gutters, but if anything were to get stuck, it then becomes a big project.

A clogged gutter can be very harmful to your house over time as the gutter was built to help reduce the effects of erosion, water exposure and leaks. If your gutter is full of dirt, silt and debris, the water will then overflow and leak into the crawlspaces of your house and eventually, your basement. Not only can a clogged gutter cause leaks, but it can also lead to mold growth and weeds as well. Aside from having the possibility of more mold spores on the roof lining, a clogged gutter also poses the threat of stagnant water due to the water backing up. This will create an environment where mosquitoes can easily breed and lay eggs. Cold forming technology may allow for gutters to run continuously, but even though the amount of jointing is reduced, your gutter is still at risk for being clogged. If you don’t properly maintain your rain gutters, they will overflow and eventually soak the foundation of your house. Damage to the structure of the roof and bigger ice dams during bad weather are more common with back up gutters. It’s not uncommon for grass to grow in a clogged gutter as well.

If you take to the time to properly protect your gutter, you can avoid water damage to your house and optimize the efficiency of your home. There are many ways to protect your gutter from becoming clogged or full of debris. One of the most common ways is to have a mesh or metal bars installed on the top of your gutters. With a proper strainer added, less maintenance is required. If you are looking for other options as well, micro mesh screens, solid hoods and louvers are offered as well. You may have to get a certain one to cover all the space depending on the placement of your gutter. Hiring a professional is highly recommended, but not required. The pricing should be inexpensive and the installments can be made within a day. Ensure that water flow is still prevalent, but that the protection method keeps debris out as well. Even though you may have had a proper installment, it can’t hurt to have an inspection and cleaning every 2-4 years to confirm that you have taken the right precautions in protecting your gutter.


Is Your Deck Ready for Summer?

Even though summer is pretty far away, just like saving up for a college education, it is never too soon! Close your eyes and imagine a bright, warm area for you to relax your fears and worries away. You can feel the cool breeze and the sweet fragrance of botanical wonders surrounding you. Sounds too good to be true? There are many things that can make a backyard a dream yard for the summer, let’s see what we can do for that yard of yours. The ideal things to focus on are lighting, furniture, plants, decks, patios and fencing.

First, you’ll want to consider the entire layout of your yard. Is everything up-to-par? During the long other season(s), your backyard’s components such as decks, stones and fences may become damaged and worn out. Handy Man on Call offers the services of waterproofing and weatherproofing of decks, as well as restoration services. With all of the services they offer, it’s no surprise that painting, power washing and fences are also included. These are all important elements in a summer-ready wonderland. Will you be entertaining often? If so, it’s more than just comfort. Try to set the mood with proper lighting. You can go about this many ways—varying from different light types, fire pits and glowing decorations. Fire pits may seem expensive, but serve multiple purposes and can even be a DIY project if you are determined enough to dig one. Fortified by the surrounding area, a fire pit can provide a place of comfort, warmth and culinary arts (or as I just like to call it—marshmellow roasts!) Adding even just the slightest glow can make a big difference in appearance just by adding that subtle touch.

Aside from the light situation, in order to have a decent backyard, you’ll want to take into account what makes it so unique from your house. The answer is simple: it’s outside. Flowers and plants help support and make life possible here on Earth. There are many different types of interesting plant species to be found and setting up your soil for the right ones will bring a certain depth of art and admiration to your garden. By putting fragrant flowers and herbs in your garden, you create a gentle tone. Ensure that all areas are weeded and properly sealed by stone, mulch or plastic against any future weeds. Putting a barrier around this area will help to prevent the material from eroding over time, thus depriving your plants of the nutrients essential to a beautiful and full bloom. Handy Man on Call provides multiple services relevant to outdoor needs, but also ensures that you will have a long-lasting finish. Since Handy Man on Call also offers tree services, you can get those big and dead trees out of the way. While trees are beautiful, if dead and loose after a storm, they can be very dangerous to be around and can cause damage to your house. Having a tree that blocks your house can also take away from the beauty. By using minimalism, you avoid having a, “cluttered,” look in where the outer scenery takes attention completely away from the house.

Furniture is a great way to accentuate the area around you. By matching and picking out contrasting colors to the deck color, (white or teal furniture on a brown deck) you essentially are creating the space around you. But what if that space is already worn-down and decaying due to poor sealing of the stone in the patio? Handy Man on Call also offers the service of restoration, decks and maintenance. Even if something is not broken, why not upgrade? Your house shelters, comforts and supports you. To renovate on the outside increases its value by ten-fold. Although people may see it as another expense, you are in terms investing for a future occupant of the household, who will enjoy the fruits of your labor for many years to come. By providing good fencing, it shows that you have valuable content on the inside that needs to be protected. Your guests will love a well-prepared backyard that is well-lit, decorated nicely, in good condition and smooth. First impressions always do last.


What Counter Type is Best for Your Kitchen?

When choosing the right countertop, one should make sure that they are happy with their decision. This decision can be based on decorative, efficiency or money purposes. Whatever the choice may be, Handyman on Call guarantees a good installation that will last a lifetime! Even if the brand designates that it has a certain guaranteed shelf-life, Handyman on Call ensures that their customers get high-quality sealing and protection on their countertops so that they last longer through the wear and tear of life. Before we consider buying a certain countertop, conditions in our lifestyle and house type should be considered. These can often range from income, availed money to spend, cooking needs, desire level for decor and efficiency. The average household family prefers a useful and common countertop rather than an expensive one. For these families, there are alternate choices available. Let’s go over house types and conditions to narrow down what countertop should be chosen based on living situations.

If you are living to help support your family, but don’t need something simply decadent, just efficient, it is recommended that one should go with wood counters or laminates. These are very economical types of counters and can provide you with years of service if maintained well. The pros to the laminate counters are that they come in a lot of color choices, are easy to maintain and durable, while the pros for wood counters are the easy to clean areas, ideal for repairs and can quickly be sealed and/or sanded at any time. However; with everything good, something bad must follow. The cons of Laminates are that they are nearly impossible to fix when it comes to small chips or scratches, the seams can show and finding the right pieces for finishing ends can be tricky. Wood’s pros may be good, but over time, wood can become damaged by water and will stain over time. However, for wood, scratches and chips can be easily sealed and oiled to preserve the original state of the counter. Concrete counters are even an option, but can often bring down the appearance of the house. The great thing about concrete counters is the heat and scratch resistant feature. Who knows? With something new and out of the ordinary, it might just look good. Concrete can be color-tinted after all and is the least expensive of these three alternative options.

For those who can afford something more extravagant and decent in design, it is recommended to choose tiles, soapstone counters or even eco-friendly counters. Tiles are a good option for those who seek an interesting design. This set can be very beneficial to your household as they are budget-friendly, but also have the qualities of resistance towards heat, scratching, moisture absorbance and stains. That is a lot to be said for something so light-weight. Since these are a classic, it can be a DIY project, but it is not recommended as many accidents can occur in the sealing process. It is essential to ensure that the tiles have been sealed properly as most of the cons come from the gout which is susceptible to mildew growth. Aside from tiles, soapstone counters are often one of the more common choices as a historic feel looms about its design. Usually soapstone is dark gray, consisting of a smooth feel to the touch. This is great for modern homes and is valued for its rich décor that it adds to the room. However, although it is somewhat stain resistant, it requires daily maintenance. This process of maintenance consists of applying mineral oil to the counter. With this being said, soapstone, if mismanaged, may darken and/or crack over time. Then we have the eco-friendly counter tops. These are a conversational-piece as the contents of the design will astound those who come across it. Made of fine bamboos or recycled materials, these counters are often hard to find, but not too expensive to get. With low price, comes a high amount of cons as the mixed and recycled contents can easily chip/break, while the bamboo has to be regularly sealed to prevent the bamboo from warping.

Lastly, the final and most expensive choices are for those who want that brand new and epic kitchen. The beautiful granite, marble and metal counters! Each choice has its own beauty and definition in the kitchen, but all make suitable soldiers against your kitchen cutlery and messy family members. The granite stone may be expensive, but it holds up against the pressure of heat and is considered to be second-rated after Diamonds in strength, resistance and durability. It is the very definition of beauty in the American kitchen and comes in a multitude of colors. I guess the only real con is that it can dull your cutlery over time if used as the cutting board. But, if installed properly, there should be no cracks or stains during and after usage. Following granite, another nice choice can be marble. This material is very easy to stain, but it is waterproof, heatproof and just plain beautiful! Although it may have a high price tag, you can just purchase it as an island in your kitchen to add that elegant touch that is needed to make any kitchen a kitchen. Marble can be easily scratched though and will require sealing to prevent stains, but its luxurious look is unlike no other. Then, lastly we have the metal types of counters. A good example of a metal would be stainless steel. This type of counter is ideal for any cook as it is anti-bacterial, easy to clean and takes hot pans. Just don’t use it at night as it is very noisy. That being said, it may also dent…Just because it is metal does not mean you can cut on it, as fabrication for it is quite expensive! Other types of metals available to choose from are pewter, copper and zinc. Each can give a unique touch to your home, whether it is modern or traditional.

If you still haven’t found your dream counter, you may want to consider other types such as natural stone, cultured stone and engineered stone. All imitate the likes of expensive stone and look gorgeous in any home if done right! They all require constant maintenance, but bring out the best in combination when it comes to composition. Finding the right countertop is often challenging and installing it is no cookie. Consult Handy Man on Call for a free consultation and the option to view our many selections of possible countertops.


Is Your Roof Leaking? Here’s What To Do

Often having a leaky roof can ruin the internal value of one’s home. Water rings on ceilings should not be ignored as they can get much worse in the future and can ultimately lead to the downfall of your house and its foundation. So you know that your roof is leaking? How does one fix such a simple problem? The hardest part is to find and determine where the leak is coming from. It could be from a pipe instead of the roof, but in the highest floors, this is usually not the case. The signs to look for in a leaking roof are things such as missing shingles, damaged flashing or roof sealants and small roof holes. These can be easily identified and are usually outcomes of storms, age and lack of proper sealants. Once you’ve actually figured out that it is indeed your roof, you should continue to fixing it properly by learning the causes of this catastrophe. Here’s how leaky roofs are born:

Ultimately things like shingle wear, storm damage, clogged gutters, ice dames, poor workmanship and antenna removal are the cause(s) of a leaky roof. By not addressing them, you are basically saying goodbye to your roof. Having a good roof is essential for a strong and energy-efficient house. It increases the value and preserves the internal structure of the house for further years to come. Knowing these causes can help you to prevent further damage to the roof after you repair it. By simply just cleaning your gutters or ensuring that the solution used for sealing was high-quality can help to prevent further wreck and terrors to your home’s roof. Now that you know what a leaking roof looks like and how it’s caused, why not go over how to stop and fix a leaking roof?

When a house is over 10 years old or more, it is not uncommon for a roof to have leaks. If you want to fix it, the answer is quite simple. You first should check the condition of the roofing through material and flashing. By finding and removing as debris such as branches, twigs and various other objects, you relieve the tiles of further stress against their placement on your roof. You should also take the time to evaluate for any further problems. If any are found upon inspection, things such as moisture in high areas of the house like your attic, contact a professional immediately to help fix this if you are not a handyman. But before the professional even arrives, you can easily diagnose and address certain issues that may have caused this problem and temporarily provide cover to the damaged area of the house. You’ll want a professional as putting up roof tiles is not a 1-man job preferably and should be done with assistance in case of a safety issue. Remember, one can easily fall due to slipping tiles and lose security of the ladder. Here are some helpful things you can do until a professional gets there:

  • Tape a piece of string with a bucket to the side. This will catch any water in place of the area where the leak is sprouting
  • If the leak is really bad and bigger than an inch, you can drill a hole in the ceiling which helps to allow the water to escape. Again; you will need your handy-dandy bucket for this to catch the stray water. By taking this essential step, you cheat yourself out of saturating your ceiling with water and ultimately in the long-run save it from collapsing.
  • You should continuously inspect your house inside and out to ensure that the problem has been taken care of and that there are no new problems. By catching and detecting a roof leak early, you save not only your money, but the house inside.
windows-and-doors installation 6

Five Reasons You Should Replace Your Windows Today

Having a safe house is a main concern of most people. However, having just even a bad door or window can lead to the downfall of your home. There are many reasons as to why windows are needed. Pprotection from the outer elements, proper insulation and optimized airflow are the reasons for why windows were invented. (Other than that gorgeous view!) Many often imagine their house as a solid and well-built place. But, just like many manufactured things today, each product or thing is given a time lifespan so that the business of buying and selling continues. For instance; you may have bought that practically-brand-new 10 year-old house, but it is more likely that it is made of the sources available to builders and not those that are of high-quality. Most window panes are poorly built and consist of wood that is not secured against moisture. The wood begins to easily rot and can even be poked through with a screwdriver if weak enough. This and other surprising things of a window may just lead you to replace it. Let’s go over the five reasons for why you should replace your windows today.

  1. Windows are our view to the outside world and many of its beauties and horrors can be seen. You wouldn’t want the horrors of that storm to come flooding in, right? Well, a poorly designed window often has cracks and crevices in which the water can easily flow in. The wood begins to rot and the whole frame that is holding the glass in becomes useless overtime. Unless your house was built in the 70s, the wood is of standard, economical value which means that it isn’t going to last long. Most windows designed are going to only last as long as the manufacturer wants them to. Improve the appearance of your home, just like you would with your floors or walls.
  2. Winters are tough on us. Things are constantly frozen and then thaw, in a repeating process which has worn the earth around us. By replacing your window, you are preventing the possibility of costs due to damages from weather coming in. Imagine spending less money on gas. The reason for why your gas bills may be so high is improper insulation. This occurs when the windows are poorly sealed and cold air gets through, or worse, hot air leaks through the window. This is the cause of sickness during the cold season. Why pay with the seasonal flu and expensive gas bills when you can have better results by just replacing your outdated windows?
  3. Another reason for replacing windows is on the issue of safety. Can you imagine what your old windows contain? You’d be surprised at the amount of lead in old window paint, as well as the ability for your window to crack and break so easily. When the windows are poorly sealed, your children get sick and moisture is more likely to come into your home via your windows. This can cause mold and ultimately lead to the ruin of one’s lungs and even be harmful to your family’s health. One of your family members could easily break through windows as windows overtime become frail and unable to withstand normal and everyday impact from children or pets. If you have a pile of broken glass, it wouldn’t be left out, now would it? You’d replace the thing broken to add back to the value of the house and also to rid your family of the harm it could have caused. The same goes for windows.
  4. If you are not one to be friendly with rebates, this is something that you should really, “warm,” up to. Did you know that utility companies are most likely to give rebates to anyone who has new energy efficient windows? That’s right! Get a rebate for being smart and safe on your household and its ability to function properly. It’s not hard to do and you can even contact a local energy company to learn more about saving on the energy initiatives stated earlier. Different rebates are always offered! You can literally go, “window,” shopping without the fear of missing out on a good deal! Some stores will bend over backwards to get your deal, with rebates that are almost impossible to resist. Who says window shopping isn’t beneficial?
  5. The last reason is: if you are a green-eco fan. That’s right. Wanting to save up energy, but have already reduced, reused and recycled? Well, now you can help the environment by just supporting the right window. With a proper installation of an energy-efficient window, gas emissions are lessened by using less natural gas, a common gas used to heat the houses of America. When you user less of this, “natural,” gas, you are helping to reduce the amount of green-house gas emissions, thus saving our planet one window at a time.

When making those repairs on the house, keep these all on mind as they could save your  life – and your wallet!


What Type of Flooring Works Best For Your Home?

Did you know that improper flooring is one of the most common causes of household injuries?  When it comes to picking out what type of flooring will best suit your house or a room in general, Handy Man on Call provides a multitude of options, sure to accent your house in a tasteful and charming way. Depending on what your specific needs are, finding the right flooring is necessary and makes life a lot simpler. Bring life to each room with versatile textures and bright colors. There are 3 main types of flooring category wise that you should know about. First we have carpets, each full of rich textures, bound to please any foot by providing comfort and support, as well as the quiet your space needs since it softens hard sounds. Next is the most versatile of materials—tiles, stone, ceramic and vinyl flooring! These are stylish, classic, easy to clean and add a nice touch to any renovation of the house—whether it be a room or a whole area. Lastly, there are the elegant hardwood floors which every household secretly yearns for. Its fine-finish is envied by most as it is America’s #1 choice for flooring in terms of hard surfaces. Anyone can afford it as it is no longer only considered for usage by high-end home construction. Since no house is alike, let’s go over specific needs and choose what is best for you through your current lifestyle and conditions.

Carpet is one of the more common and less expensive of flooring. This flooring is ideal for elderly, young children and people who suffer with chronic conditions. Why is this? It provides a peaceful indoor environment, full of soft and thick bedding which can help to soften kid’s/elder’s falls and also provides a non-slip surface. These features help to make life easier and a home, well, a home. Carpeting is also great for insulation of the house, due to the way it hugs around the floor and room. A more scientific explanation is what we call the R-Value. The term R-Value means the amount of heat loss by the given material. With carpeting, the combinations of padding altogether help to reduce the amount of heat lost or transferred as well as to keep the house cool during the summer. It is a decorating investment that not only looks nice, but also feels great, too! Whether it is safety, decoration or money-saving reasons, carpeting is one of the more common solutions for inexpensive and beneficial house-flooring and is best for those with families.

Tiles, stone and vinyl – these are all very promising flooring options, but at the same time, are best for those who do not wish to clean often. They are easy to manage if installed correctly and only require a sweep or wipe here and there. It is beneficial to go with tiling as there are less dust-bunnies and dust-mites that you have to worry about. This is a great option for those who suffer from allergens or are allergic to dust-mites. Just by having a stone floor, you can simply renovate just an area or even a whole room. The materials for these types of floorings are easy to obtain and there are many inexpensive options available. All in all, it is recommended to those who enjoy to cook, but don’t want the mess from spills or accidents. This flooring is a great choice for decoration and cleanliness mainly.

Finally, we have the hardwood types of flooring. It is this ideal type of flooring that makes any room in the house elegant. In the past hardwood floors were hard to maintain and not comfortable on the feet. However; nowadays, you can have hardwood floors installed so that you no longer have to worry about damaging the varnish when you clean or splinters in the foot. Some say that it is almost like walking on slippery silk. This is a great addition to any main room in the house and can be a good appealing feature of the space. The best part is that like the stone flooring—this requires little to no maintenance and creates an allergen-free environment for your loved ones. Unlike the stone flooring, this has more of a chance to insulate your household, but also may or may not be more costly.

Now that we’ve gone over all of those—choose the flooring that’s best for you and let Handyman on Call install it correctly! That way it will last for years and years to come, as well as make your house a home.


The Handyman provided excellent service. He arrived timely and proceeded to tackle the numerous projects. Both of the handymen were very courteous and knowledgeable. The projects were completed timely and a reasonable price. I will contact the service again in the future.

Stephanie Bowen