Nice House In Autumn Day

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

Nice House In Autumn DayYou might be ready to break out the hoodies and apple cider, but is your house ready for the changing seasons? Follow this checklist to protect your biggest investment – your home – from the elements.

  • Check for cracks or gaps where bugs can find their way into your home

With the season change comes falling temperatures. This means that many species of bugs will be looking for a warm place to stay for the duration. If these creepy crawlies are unwelcome in your home, it’s important to scope out where they may be able to find an entrance. Caulk cracks and gaps, fix loose window and door screens, and eliminate other little spots they may find. As a bonus, this will eliminate drafts and cold air leaks too, helping you save on heating costs.

  • Look out for cracks in concrete and brick too

The upcoming freeze and thaw can cause driveways and sidewalks to heave or even bigger cracks in your chimney or foundation. Fill these cracks now so that a little repair doesn’t turn into a huge headache. This may also be a good time to seal your sidewalks and driveway to prevent cracks in the future.

  • Fertilize your lawn and plants

Fall is the time to winterize your lawn. Different types of grass may require different fertilizers, so it’s a good idea to figure out what kind of grass you have in your yard before going to purchase a fertilizer. Some plants may also need to be winterized, like roses and geraniums. By giving them a little attention now, you’ll have a green and luscious yard come springtime.

  • Clean and protect your gutters

It is essential important to clean your gutters in the fall to eliminate the leaves and pine needles that have fallen. If you ignore these clogs, you may find yourself with broken gutters or foundation problems. By installing gutter protection, you can prevent these clogs from happening in the future, and save yourself a headache next fall when those pesky leaves come down again.

  • Replace furnace filters

Regularly replacing your air filters is always a good idea, especially if you have pets. A new filter before the cold weather hits will help your heating system run more efficiently, and may even reduce your utility bill.

  • Stock up on the winter essentials

By stocking up on rock salt, de-icing windshield fluid, shovels, and other winter essentials now, you can avoid the risk of stores running out of these items when you (and everyone else) most need them. As an added bonus, you may also find better bargains since it’s still considered off-season.

  • Change batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when you flip your clocks back

Sure, most clocks are digital these days, but you might still have a few stragglers that need to be manually changed. It is also extremely important to test out your detectors and change batteries, so why not pair these tasks together so you remember to do both? Closing your house up like a drum for the winter and starting fires in your fireplace make these detectors literal lifesavers if you get a carbon monoxide leak or a spark falls into your wood pile by accident.

Following this checklist will help you save money, prevent headaches, and have a fun fall this year.


What's The Point Of Basement Waterproofing?

basement waterproofingMany homes in Michigan are built with basements to be used for storage, safety, or additional square footage. This may be your favorite space in the house, depending on what you have in it. Basement waterproofing is an important part of home maintenance that you need to look into if you have a basement in your home. Let's explore how this process works and why you should consider it a sound investment.

What Is Basement Waterproofing?

Basement waterproofing is a unique service that involves sealing off the flooring and walls in your basement. Special sealants are applied to the inside and outside of your home to minimize the water that gets in. Ground water absorbed by the soil can slowly seep into your basement through the walls and floors. This water may only make your floors damp, but it could also lead to a series of other problems explained in the next section. Whether you have a finished basement or unfinished basement, your home could be susceptible to water damage if your basement is not waterproofed.

What's The Point Of Basement Waterproofing?

Basement waterproofing is designed to reduce your risk of water damage in your home, which may include:

  • Flooding, Especially After A Large Rainstorm
  • Mold And Mildew In the Carpets, Drywall, And Other Porous Surfaces
  • Increased Humidity Levels, Which May Cause Additional Mold Development
  • Weakened Or Cracked Concrete Flooring
  • Cracked And Bowed Basement Walls
  • Water Stains On Drywall And Light-Colored Flooring

In cities like Detroit that receive around 33 inches of rainfall per year, there is an inherent need for basement waterproofing for almost all of the homes in the area. If you live in a city with high precipitation levels, you should strongly consider getting your basement waterproofed.

Basement Repair After Water Damage

If you have already experienced water damage in your home because your basement was not waterproofed, your first goal needs to be getting the water out of the basement. Once the basement is fully dry, a home restoration company can straighten your walls, replace your carpets, get rid of your mold, and do anything else necessary to get your basement in proper working order. Along the way, they can coat the room with sealant to block out moisture and avoid damage in the future.

Contact Brickworks Property Restoration today at (586) 868-3234 to learn more about basement waterproofing and other services to help you protect your home.

 


home mold prevention

Use Chimney Repair For Home Mold Prevention

home mold prevention

Chimney repair is an important part of home maintenance, but most people do not realize just how many benefits come from this service. Did you know that chimney repair can be used for home mold prevention? It’s true – by fixing and sealing your chimney on a regular basis, you can protect your family from extensive health problems associated with mold spores. Let’s take a look at how your chimney affects mold development in your home so you can see the true value of fast-acting brick-and-mortar repairs.

Dangers Of Mold Spores

Mold growth can lead to a slew of health problems, including:

  • Nasal Stuffiness.
  • Wheezing.
  • Difficulty Breathing.
  • Skin Irritation.
  • Eye Irritation.
  • Fungal Infection Of The Lungs.
  • Other Respiratory Symptoms.

People with asthma, COPD, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, and similar respiratory conditions are more likely to react poorly to mold spores, but even people without these conditions can be sensitive to mold. Rather than figuring out which group you fall into, you might as well do all you can to prevent mold from forming in your home.

How Chimney Repair Contributes To Home Mold Prevention

Mold spores develop in areas of high moisture because mold needs water to grow. When excessive moisture is available, the mold has more to feed on and it grows even faster than normal. Cracks in your chimney’s bricks and mortar can let in rain and moisture from your home’s exterior, which could lead to mold in the future. Simple processes like tuckpointing and brick sealing can drastically reduce the amount of moisture that leaks in through your chimney, which will in turn stop mold development. 

Note also that brick structures like chimneys are susceptible to water damage because of their porous nature. Excessive moisture can lead to a host of structural problems in your home. In fact, water-damaged chimneys may be too dangerous to operate safely. And finding mold in a basement or crawl space could indicate even bigger structural issues. In short, never ignore the presence of mold in or around your home!

Warning Signs Of Mold To Watch For

If you are worried about mold forming in your home, watch for these signs of mold spores so you can get assistance right away:

  • Visible Mold Spores, Typically Black Spots And Speckles On Walls, Ceilings, And Floors.
  • Trouble Breathing In Your Home, Particularly In Cooking Areas and Bathrooms.
  • Musky Smells And High Humidity Levels.
  • Strong Asthmatic Reactions.

As with most home-maintenance issues, the sooner you identify and act to address mold spores in your home, the better off you’ll be. So save yourself time, money, and stress by making regular chimney maintenance a priority!

Contact Us

The best way to control mold is to prevent it from ever forming. Get a chimney inspection from Brickworks Property Restoration right away to check for problematic leaks before they ever turn dangerous. We can repair your chimney and keep your home well-insulated for years to come. With the right home maintenance over time, you may never have to worry about mold development inside your house. Contact our team here at (586) 330-4843 to learn more!


Protect Your Chimney From Spring Storms

spring stormsA damaged chimney is a portal for rain, insects, moisture, and other problems in the middle of spring storms. If you want to protect your home and the integrity of your chimney, it is important to invest in chimney repairs before the rainy season hits. Michigan has an average rainfall of 33.42 inches per year, and every one of those inches could put your bricks and energy bills at risk. Here are a few ways you can protect your chimney from spring storms.

Get A Chimney Inspection

One of the first steps in preserving the structure of your chimney is getting a chimney inspection from masonry experts in your area. A professional will come out to your property to assess the current state of your chimney. If there is any noticeable damage or deterioration, your inspector can provide a quote on the spot for the repairs. Then you will know what it will take to get your chimney back in good condition.

Note: If you live in the Metro Detroit area or one of our other service areas, we will gladly come out to your home to conduct a free chimney inspection. Call (586) 868-3234 to learn more.

Seal Your Bricks

With brick sealants, you can shield your bricks from excessive water and help the rain drain right down to your roofing. Water has a tendency to wear down bricks over time, so sealing will preserve your masonry as long as possible. Think of this like wax for your car. It will not last for the entire lifetime of the bricks, but it can add years to their lifespan and save you a ton of money in chimney repairs down the road.

Invest In Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing is a process that replaces old, worn mortar with new mortar, color matched for a seamless appearance. If you invest in tuckpointing throughout the lifetime of your chimney, you can preserve its insulating abilities and minimize damage to your bricks over time. Tuckpointing will also help your home in the winter because it will keep the heat from your chimney inside your home, rather than letting it seep through the cracks. This is a simple, affordable, and effective way to protect your home from spring storms and cut down your energy bills at the same time.

Prepare for spring before it gets here and you will be set up for success no matter how much rain may fall.


How To Make Brick Porches Safe For Winter

 

As beautiful as the snowfall may be in the winter, it can also be incredibly hazardous around your home. A simple patch of ice on your porch could cause someone to trip, fall, and severely hurt themselves on your property. Not only will you then have to look over the person's recovery, but you could be held responsible for the fall due to negligence as a property owner.

Assuming you want to avoid this worst-case scenario, follow the guide below to learn how to make your porch safe for the winter.

Clear The Snow

Clear the snow off your brick porch on a regular basis to minimize the chance of ice building up on the concrete. If you still get ice even without the snow there, you can try putting black blankets or towels over the ice in the daylight. Dark colors absorb light better than light colors, so they will capture the sun and direct it on the ice patch. This should help you clear up the ice without damaging the concrete,

Watch The Guttering

The guttering that hangs above your porch could be a disaster waiting to happen. If you have ice built up in your gutters, it could eventually come crashing down on your visitors. It may also cause icicles to form above the porch, which can be hazardous on their own. If your gutters are not draining water properly, try filling a nylon sock with chloride ice melter and placing it just above the guttering. This will ensure that the ice melts before entering the gutters so you do not have to worry about large ice blocks.

Refinish The Surface

If the concrete on your porch is unlevel and uneven, you may want to have it refinished before the winter progresses too far. This will minimize the chances of someone slipping while on your icy porch. It will also keep the ice buildup to a minimum so you have less risks to worry about. Concrete refinishing does not cost much, and it may even add value to your home.

Extend The Roof

If you want to spend a little extra money protecting your porch in the winter, you may be able to extend your roof so that it covers the porch better. This is an investment that you may want to hold off on until you know that ice is going to be a significant problem. Porches along the north and east sides of the home tend to need more protection than others because they do not have as much access to sunlight. Assess the needs of your home and invest in the option that is right for you.


Chimney Damper

How Different Types Of Dampers Impact Your Chimney

Chimney DamperDid you know that there are different types of dampers out there, and that each of them have a different impact on the overall abilities of your chimney? Chances are you just know how to open and close your damper when your fireplace is not in use. That is all most homeowners know how to do, if they even know that much. Nevertheless, having the right damper on your chimney could have a major impact on your heating bills, your chimney repair bills, and the lifespan of your chimney. Do we have your attention now?

Let's take a look at how different types of dampers impact your chimney.

Throat Dampers

Throat dampers are probably the most common forms of dampers in chimneys today. They are situated at the bottom of the chimney to regulate air flow. While these dampers are great for insulation purposes, they will not last forever. They will eventually warp and rust, which will make their insulating efforts ineffective. If you have an older chimney with a throat damper, it may be wise to invest in a new one.

Top Mount Dampers

Top mount dampers are situated at the top of the chimney, and they're great for providing an extra layer of protection from birds. Top mount dampers are preferred by most chimney repair experts because they do not have as much of a chance of warping or rusting. These products can still be subject to damage over time, but they are not as likely to wear down as throat dampers. They are just as easy to control as throat dampers, but they last much longer.

Chimney Balloons

Chimney balloons are the least common options on this list, but they can still act as a damper when the fireplace is not in use. All you have to do is fill it with air when there is no fire going so that the warm air from the home does not escape. When you want to have a fire, simply deflate the balloon and pull it out. This damper solution is a bit more of a hassle than the others, but it works well for temporary situations while your damper or chimney needs repair.

Consider all of your options when investing in a chimney damper, and you will be able to save some money on your heating bills.


Remove A Bird's Nest From A Chimney

How To Safely Remove A Birds Nest From Your Chimney

Birds will make a home in just about any tight, quiet space they can find. That is why you see so many birds’ nests in store signs and light posts. If your chimney is not properly capped, you may find yourself hosting a bird’s nest on top of your home. This can be a problem if you need to use the fireplace, and the noise alone will surely drive you crazy after a long day at work. Also, birds and other animals can affect the airflow and the structure of your chimney, which can present numerous other problems. Before you start poking around in your fireplace for relief, check out this guide that will help you deal with a birds nest in your chimney. 

Know The Law

According to the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, it is illegal to move or remove an active bird’s nest in your home –– even if it is in a bad location or creating a health risk for your family. This law is not widely enforced, but it is something to make note of. If you know there are eggs or baby birds in your nest, you will need to leave it alone until all of the birds have left the nest.

Block Off The Entry

Since you are not allowed to move an active nest from your chimney, you will need to ensure that it is not active. This means blocking off all gaps in the top of your chimney so that the birds cannot get in. It is best to do this early on so they do not lay eggs and make a large nest to remove.

Break Up The Nest

Once you know that the nest is no longer active, you can use metal rods of varying sizes to break the nesting material apart. Wear safety goggles and a mask when doing this because debris and dust will be falling down with every poke. Depending on the size of the nest, it may only take one or two pokes to get the nest to fall down.

Sweep The Chimney

After all of the nesting material is out of the chimney, call in a chimney sweep to clean out everything and get it ready to use again. You may also call a professional chimney cleaner to remove the nest for you if you do not want to do it on your own. As long as you abide by the law and avoid trying to smoke out the birds with fire, you should be able to clear the bird’s nest out of your chimney.

Install a Chimney Cap

Chimney caps are relatively small and cheap products that nevertheless provide great value to homeowners. Chimney caps and covers help prevent fires, improve ventilation, and stop birds (and other animals) from nesting in your chimney. If you’ve recently moved into a home with a chimney –– or you’ve recently had to clear a nest from your chimney –– then call a professional to install a chimney cap right away. 

Contact Us

At Brickworks, we help homeowners protect their homes and ensure their chimneys are in good working order at all times. Chimney safety is serious business, so if you notice any problems with your chimney, then contact a professional ASAP.

Our team has years of experience working with homeowners to find brick and masonry solutions, and we handle all varieties of chimney repair, maintenance, and service. Contact us here at (586) 330-4843 to learn more!


Mixed Mortar To Make Your Historic Home In Detroit

Will My Chimney Repair Match My Historic Detroit Home?

Mixed Mortar To Make Your Historic Home In DetroitIf you have a historic brick home in Detroit, you have to undergo special maintenance solutions to keep your home sturdy and strong. The materials used in newer homes have not gone through the same wear and tear as your home, so they do look as weathered, faded, and aged. In the case of chimney or brick repair, this may cause you to question just how obvious the repair will be. "Will my chimney repair match my historic Detroit home?" It all depends on whom you work with…

Multiple Supply Yards Mean Multiple Chances For A Perfect Match

Most chimney repair companies in Detroit only work with one or two supply yards. At Brickworks Property Restoration, we work with 15-20 supply yards at any given time, giving us a much broader selection of bricks to choose from. No matter how rare or weathered your bricks may be, we have the resources necessary to find a seamless match for you. That is the benefit of having extensive options to choose from. The more choices there are, the better the match is going to be.

On-Site Samples And Brick Comparisons

Another way we ensure you have a perfect or near-perfect match for your bricks is by bringing samples from the supply yards directly to your home. We also take bricks from your home to the supply yards to get the best possible match we can find. Some masonry repair companies rely on photos to do their matching, but pictures can distort the color and texture on a brick. We bring in the real thing to get the best comparison possible.

Mortar Color Matching

Bricks aren't the only components you have to worry about with chimney repair projects. You also have to think about the color of your mortar. Will the new mortar blend well with what you currently have on your home? We offer up-to-date mortar matching to get our mortar as close in color as possible. If there are any noticeable differences in coloration, they will fade after a little bit of sun exposure. We strive to ensure that our chimney repairs go unnoticed to everyone but you. You'll get the repair work you need without worrying about a giant eye sore.

If you work with quality brick repair experts like the ones at Brickworks Property Restoration, your chimney repair can in fact match your historic home.


How To Prepare Your Chimney For Winter

Before the winter months come barreling in, it is important to prepare your chimney to go to work. This will ensure that your home stays warm and toasty through the day to day chills. The preparation process is easier than you might think, and it could save you a ton of money on your heating bill. Check out the guide below to learn how to prepare your chimney for winter.

Get A Professional Chimney Inspection

In a professional chimney inspection, someone from Brickworks Property Restoration will come out to your home and look over your chimney from all angles. We will check for signs of cracking, leaking, damage, etc. If there are any issues that indicate a need for chimney repair, we will let you know what the repairs are, how urgent it is to get your chimney repaired, and how much the project will cost.

Note: You can be a big help in the chimney inspection process. If you have noticed any drafts, odors, or leaks coming from your chimney, point them out to the inspector so he knows what to look for.

Clean Your Chimney

If you have not had your chimney cleaned since last winter, you may need to clean it again before this winter hits. This will make sure that your chimney works at maximum efficiency. If you do not have the tools to clean your chimney on your own, you can hire a chimney sweep to get the job done for you. Assuming that your chimney has been fairly well maintained, this process shouldn't cost you a lot of money. Best of all, it will reveal damage and drafts in the chimney you might not notice when it's dirty.

Close The Damper

When you aren't using your chimney, keep the damper closed. This will prevent warm air from escaping your home through the chimney. Of course, you want the smoke to clear out when you are using the chimney because that could be damaging to your breathing. When you are using your central heating unit though, close the damper until you are ready to light a fire again.

Gather Firewood

This is less of a chimney prep tip and more of a general suggestion. Fall is usually the best time to buy firewood because it is not in high demand yet. You can get a good price on wood that distributors have been hanging onto all summer, and you'll be able to beat the crowd of fireplace owners that need wood in the winter. Start stocking up for winter, and you will be nice and toasty when the cold fronts hit.


Tuckpointing Brick Repair After Picture

How Tuckpointing Can Improve The Life Of Your Chimney

Tuckpointing is a process in which the mortar on your chimney is repaired or replaced. The bricks on your chimney are made to last a lifetime, but the mortar tends to get damaged much sooner than that. This damage can hurt the entire structure of your chimney, which can lead to some hefty costs in the long run. Rather than letting this problem get out of hand, you can use tuckpointing to improve the life of your chimney and save yourself money at the same time. Here's how.

How Tuckpointing Works

Tuckpointing Brick Repair After PictureIn tuckpointing, professional masonry contractors will grind down the existing mortar between your bricks and replace it with clean, color-matched mortar. The mortar is inserted in a way that blends seamlessly with the mortar on the rest of your home, and not of it is left on the brickwork. Think of this like re-caulking your windows once they start to leak. The process is relatively the same, but this one is a little more complex in the end. No matter what, you will get new mortar that looks great and functions much better than the old mortar.

Unexpected Benefits Of Tuckpointing

Tuckpointing isn't just meant to extend the life of your chimney, even though that is its primary goal. This process can also act as insulation from your home by keeping out wind that flies in through the chimney. Furthermore, tuckpointing can reduce the amount of bugs that make their way into your home because there are fewer cracks for those critters to crawl through. This process will even benefit you in the winter when you use your fireplace because it will help direct the smoke where you want it to go. The benefits keep going from there.

When Should You Invest In Tuckpointing?

If you can see visible cracks in your mortar, it's time to look into tuckpointing. You may also want to schedule an inspection for your chimney if your home is old or it has recently suffered some sort of structural damage. A lot of times there are issues in the mortar that you might not be able to see from the ground. Upon closer inspection though, a masonry contractor will be able to let you know if it is time for tuckpointing or not. Spend your money on the right maintenance early on, and you won't have to worry about big expenses in the future.