Archives November 2018

Cracked House: Tuckpointing vs. Foundation Repair

Major cracks in a foundation are an obvious sign that foundation problems exist. However, there are subtle signs that people miss or that they ignore hoping they won’t worsen. Foundation problems should not be ignored because over time they will become worse. Search your home for both interior and exterior signs. Subtle signs include small cracks in walls and basement cracks inside that go from the floor to the ceiling.

 

Other interior signs are sagging floors, doors that stick, and puddles of water near a basement slab. An extremely wet crawl space, strange smells in a basement, high indoor humidity, and a very musty smelling basement are all subtle signs of a foundation problem. With a brick home, if there are stair-step cracks leading from the foundation, this is a sign of a foundation problem. Over time, this type of crack spreads eventually compromising the structure of the brick. Interior signs are drywall and plaster cracks that run diagonally along the wall and windows. Paneling that has separated from the wall can indicate an issue. Long-running cracks in hard surface flooring can be an indication of foundation issues. Gaps that occur between the floor and baseboard trim are usually interior signs that there are underlying foundation problems. Additional interior signs include fireplace cracks and uneven or sloping floors. Cabinets that separate from the ceiling and floor are interior signs of underlying foundation problems plaguing a home.

 

During severe drought conditions, the soil underneath and around a home can shift and cause problems with the foundation. This condition causes cracks in the cement foundation resulting in severe vertical and horizontal cracks in the walls of a home. Deep cracks can run up the walls and across the ceiling. The process of swelling and shrinking soil can bow brick veneer and cause the brick ties to pull away from the framing. Separating and cracking brick mortar is an exterior sign. This, in turn, causes the exterior brick veneer to pull away from the home. The brick veneer will separate around windows and door frames creating visible cracks.

Tuckpointing Company in St. Louis

Another exterior sign is when a patio or porch separates from the home. If the chimney leans and the roofline is uneven, these are exterior signs. Eventually, expensive framing, plumbing, and roof problems will occur which begin with serious foundation issues. Poor soil compaction causes foundation cracks. Plumbing leaks and water under the foundation slab will lead to additional problems. Foundation problems occur with older homes and they can happen with poorly constructed newer homes. With new houses, foundation problems can occur within a five-year period. Hiring licensed reputable contractors to lay a solid foundation can help with avoiding future foundation and structural issues.

 

Some foundation problems are superficial and repairable. Other problems run deeper and are more severe. They require an in-depth foundation review and the help of foundation repair experts. Before hiring a foundation repair company, obtain several written estimates and check all references. Check their reputation with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).


Pest Control: What to Do in the Fall and Winter

Seasonal change impacts humans as well as pests. When the weather turns cold, pests seek a warm home. They will invade your home and pose a health risk to your family. Avoid sharing your cozy home with rodents and insects. Several methods of eliminating pests include using chemicals and organic or natural methods to eradicate them from your home. If you choose a DIY pest control method, take proper precautions to avoid exposing yourself to harmful chemicals. Try using organic or natural methods to safely remove pests from your home. The best method involves using a certified pest control service company to remove pesky pests.

 

Common pests that seek a warm place in the cold months include mice, rats, cockroaches, and spiders. Take steps to prevent pests from sharing your home during the fall and winter months. Choose a safe pest control method that will not harm humans and pets. Remember children and pets are inquisitive so remove harmful chemicals from their reach. Don’t leave chemical bait traps where children and family pets have access to them.

 

St. Louis Pest Co.

 

Helpful steps to use to prevent pests from invading your home.

 

  • Remove standing and stagnant water from inside and outside of your home because it draws bugs. Keep the basement and garage dry. If necessary, use a dehumidifier. Pests, i.e., bugs, are attracted to moisture.
  • Repair leaky pipes and poor drainage systems. Fix gutters and downspouts and move water away from your home’s foundation. Clean out drains that are in the basement and outside the home.
  • Keep the home well ventilated and dry. In the winter, maintain a relative humidity level of 40 percent.
  • Remove paper, old rags, and unwanted items, i.e., clothing, materials, and clutter. Rats, mice, squirrels, and other rodents like to chew on paper, material, wires, and even plastic. So remove clutter from attics and basements. This also removes fire hazards from your home.
  • Remove weeds, shrubbery, flowers, and trees. Keep them away from the foundation of your home.
  • Move firewood away from your foundation and keep it 25 feet away from your home. Move items away from the foundation and your home’s entrances.
  • Seal cracks inside and outside to keep bugs from entering your home. Seal around utility pipes where mice and bugs can enter your home through very small spaces. If you have brick on your home, seal damaged mortar to prevent bugs and mice from entering the home. It will keep out cold air as well.
  • Replace worn door seals and weather-stripping with new seals. Repair damaged window screens and replace screens on vents and chimney caps.
  • Regularly remove garbage from inside and outside the home. Keep garbage in tightly closed containers.
  • Store food in sealed containers. Bugs and rodents like to invade the pantry and cupboards.
  • Keep the countertop and appliances clean and remove traces of sugar and oil which attracts pests.
  • Watch your pet’s food dishes. Rodents and bugs will invade those, too.