home foundation repair

7 Signs You Need Home Foundation Repair

As unwelcome as the prospect of foundation repair is, ignoring the warning signs won’t do you any good. In fact, failing to contact a professional if you suspect that you may be experiencing problems with your foundation is one of the least responsible things you can do. The longer you wait to take action, the more it’ll end up costing you in the long run. So, to protect your home and your wallet from a potential crisis, always be aware of these seven signs that indicate you need home foundation repair help right away:  

Interior Cracks

While cracks on porches or on the exterior of your home could indicate foundation trouble, cracks in the floor or on the walls of your basement are generally much more concerning. Horizontal or vertical, big or small, cracks on the inside of your home often indicate something isn’t right with your foundation.

Unstuck Doors & Windows

When a home’s foundation shifts, it can cause doors to become stuck or to come off their hinges. Similarly, you may also spot a gap developing between an exterior wall and a window. If you have trouble closing or opening windows, your foundation may be shifting.

Bowing Walls

Bowing or curved walls in your basement is never a good sign. Should one or more of your home’s walls begin to bow, it’s a strong signal that all is not well with your foundation.

Water Damage

Water can cause a myriad of home-masonry difficulties, from brick stains to foundation safety. As such, any homeowner that finds standing water in their basement or who lives in an area with high rainfall should constantly monitor the status of their foundation.  

Sagging or Uneven Floors

One quick way to tell if your home is starting to slant is to pour a glass of water out and watch its progress. Floors can become uneven over a long period of time and it’s possible for a homeowner to overlook this subtle change. Furthermore, sagging floors also suggest foundation issues –– especially on an exterior porch or within a crawl space.

Popped Nails

Sometimes minute movements within a home’s foundation will cause nails to pop from the drywall and leave a small indentation. While it’s relatively simple to pound them back into place, doing so won’t alleviate major structural damage. Watch out for this hidden housing problem.

Leaning Fixtures

Eventually, when a foundation is no longer stable, fixtures within the house like walls or chimney may begin to lean or “pull away” from the rest of the structure. At this point, substantial foundation repairs will be required and letting the building deteriorate any further could lead to collapse. Make sure to keep an eye out for the other warning signs, but if your walls are “leaning” in any fashion, enlist the help of a professional immediately.

The Bottom Line

The bad news is, foundation trouble won’t go away on its own. Fortunately, you don’t have to tackle this issue all by yourself. If you need foundation repair assistance, don’t hesitate to make a call. Contact the Brickworks team today for help. We have years of experience in home masonry, and we’ll work with you to find the best, most cost-effective solution available. Call us here at (586) 330-4920.

fireplace safety

8 Fireplace Safety Tips To Keep You Safe This Winter

There are few things more enjoyable than curling up in front of a warm fireplace on a snowy winter’s day. And considering that large parts of the Midwest and Northeast have been hit by some major snowstorms already this season, people have had plenty of opportunities to do so. However, as wonderful as fireplaces are, it’s essential that all homeowners follow these eight fireplace safety tips in order to protect themselves and their home. Check them out here:

Only Burn Dried, Cured Wood

Burning substances other than firewood (like paper) in a fireplace is both dangerous and unnecessary. Don’t try to start a fire with foreign materials and don’t use wood that’s wet. Wet wood and other objects produce dense smoke when they burn, and dense smoke contributes to creosote build up within the chimney, which is a major catalyst for chimney fires.

Store Your Wood Properly

Above all, keep your firewood dry. It’s not a bad idea to purchase your firewood for next year months in advance so that you can ensure that it’s stored properly.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps prevent downdrafts, animals building nests within your chimney, damaging moisture from entering your chimney, and chimney fires from spreading to adjacent buildings. There's no reason not to install one. 

Never Leave a Fire Unattended

Though it may seem obvious, it’s extremely unwise to leave a fire burning unattended. And never leave a fire burning around unsupervised children!

Purchase Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you plan on using your chimney regularly, then items like smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are essential. Remember to always replace the batteries for these detectors because they just might save your life one day.

Keep Your Damper Open

It’s imperative that you keep your damper open until the fire is completely out. You can check the effectiveness of your damper by lighting a match and seeing if it flickers or not.

Clean Your Chimney Area Thoroughly

After a fire is out, make it a point to sweep away any ash, debris or embers. What’s more, never leave flammable materials –– like a rug –– next to a fireplace when in use.

Schedule Regular Maintenance

Even if you strictly adhere to every fireplace safety practice, it’s essential that you call a professional to inspect and perform maintenance on your fireplace and chimney regularly. (Experts recommend at least twice a year.) Though you may not realize it, it’s possible that loose bricks caused by moisture or creosote build-ups are threatening the safety of your chimney –– and by extension –– your home.

Contact a Professional

No one likes to think about the possibility of chimney or house fires, yet tens of thousands occur every year. The good news is, by contacting a professional you can protect your home and your family. At Brickworks, we have decades of experience providing home-masonry solutions. From chimney maintenance to foundation repair, we’re ready to take on any project. So don’t wait –– call us today here at (586) 330-4920.

chimney caps

Why Are Chimney Caps So Important?

It’s hardly surprising that most homeowners don’t spend much time thinking about chimney caps. After all, chimney caps are inexpensive, they’re thoroughly unglamorous, and many homeowners don’t even realize that they need a cap for their chimney in the first place. Yet, the reality is, it’s important for everyone with a chimney in their home to purchase and maintain a cap for it. Here’s why:

Chimney Caps Limit Water Damage

Brick walls and exteriors –– especially those under twenty-five years old –– are solid and reliable. Indeed, one of the few things that can upset the structural integrity of a brick wall is moisture. Though brick is a strong material, it’s very porous, which means that water can pass through it. Over time, water damage can erode, chip, and splinter bricks. And the last place a homeowner wants to find brick damage is within their chimney. Besides the costs of chimney repairs, forgoing necessary chimney maintenance could create a safety hazard within your home. Fortunately, installing a simple chimney cap will limit your chimney’s exposure to rain and other forms of natural moisture.

Chimney Caps Prevent Animal Nests

Squirrels, birds, and other animals love to use the openings at the top of chimneys to build nests. While that might seem like a minor inconvenience at first, animal nests can block proper chimney ventilation and potentially cause build-ups of dangerous gases like carbon monoxide.

Chimney Caps Ensure Proper Ventilation

In addition to keeping rain and critters away from your chimney, chimney caps help maintain regular ventilation. Chimney caps inhibit wind from entering through the chimney and causing a downdraft within your house. As such, homeowners in particularly windy locales will want to invest in a chimney cap to stop this from occurring.   

Chimney Caps Help Contain Fires

No one likes to think about the possibility of a chimney fire, but there are over 25,000 chimney fires every year. Through a chimney cap won’t flat-out halt a chimney fire, it can contain burning embers and flames and stop them from spreading to your roof or adjoining buildings.

Chimney Caps Extend the Life of Your Chimney

As we mentioned above, a chimney cap is a small, inexpensive measure that can nevertheless save you a ton of money and plenty of stress. A chimney is a great addition to any home, but without proper maintenance, it can also cause thousands of dollars worth of damage. Thankfully, installing a simple cap will make chimney upkeep that much easier!

Contact a Professional

There’s no benefit to waiting to add a chimney cap to your home –– so take action today and hire a professional to do it! At Brickworks, we have years of experience helping homeowners just like you protect their homes and enjoy their chimney to the fullest. What’s more, we’ll work with you to find the best solution possible so that you can avoid unnecessary expenses. Whether you need assistance with a chimney cap or require foundation assessment, we’re ready to take on your project. Don’t wait –– contact our team here at (586) 330-4920.

Brick Deterioration

4 Ways To Prevent Brick Deterioration

Brick exteriors provide a myriad of benefits to homeowners. After all, bricks are durable, brick walls help cut down on utilities, and brick facades boast a classic look that never goes out of style. Plus, brick homes are typically low maintenance. However, unchecked brick deterioration can ruin the look of a brick wall and corrupt its structural integrity. The good news is, there are a few simple ways you can prevent brick deterioration from occurring to your home. Check them out here:

What Causes Brick Deterioration?

First, it’s important to determine what causes brick deterioration, or “spalling” in the first place. In general, two main culprits are to blame for brick fading, flaking, or crumbling: time and water. Brick surfaces are very strong, but they’re susceptible to the elements like anything else. Water in particular can cause problems within brick surfaces. As such, most of the best ways to prevent brick deterioration center around limiting the effect of water on your exterior.

Ensure Proper Drainage

There’s not much you can do to prevent rain affecting your home –– short of moving to an arid landscape! Yet, homeowners can mitigate against the effects of a wet climate by maintaining a proper drainage system for their house. Remember that this includes the structure underneath your home as well. Water that collects in soil can pass up through a brick structure or even seep into your home’s foundation if you're not careful.

Use a “Breathable” Sealant

The last thing any homeowner should want is to treat their brick exterior with a sealant that traps water under the surface. However, there are a number of products that do precisely that. This will only exacerbate the negative effects of water on brick –– since the sealant prevents moisture from escaping through the bricks’ porous surface. Therefore, always consult with a professional before applying brick sealant.  

Tuckpoint and Replace Crumbling Bricks

If you’ve recently purchased a brick home that’s over 25 years old, it’s prudent to tuckpoint your exteriors and replace any crumbling bricks in the facade. Tuckpointing is a relatively simple process that you can do on your own if the building has been well maintained and you’ve got the requisite tools and free time.

Minimize Power Washes

It’s okay to use a power washer to clean your brick exteriors occasionally, but power-washing excessively could contribute to brick deterioration and property damage. If you’re concerned about your home’s appearance, consult a professional for assistance.   

The Bottom Line

Regular brick-home maintenance is a simple, and effective, way to ensure the structural integrity of your house. What’s more, by staying on top of small issues now, you can avoid expensive measures like foundation repair in the future. At Brickworks, we specialize in brick and masonry solutions and can help you fix, restore, or maintain the home of your dreams. Our team has years of in-field experience, and we consistently deliver high quality service to achieve high quality results. Call us today here at (586) 330-4920 to protect the beauty and integrity of your brick home!