Navigation Menu+

Posted by on 4:26 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Is Your Masonry Home Sending You A Message? What Homeowners Must Know About Cracks & Deterioration

There is a reason why homes constructed of bricks and masonry are often more valued and sought after than a frame home of similar size by many home buyers across the nation. In addition to not needing to be painted every few years, a masonry home resists infiltration by insects and can more easily resist damage from strong winds and weather. In fact, a masonry home originally built in 1639, and designated as a National Historic Landmark, is still standing strong today and has been refurbished for use as a museum. While your masonry home is sure to have been built far more recently than the Henry Whitefield House, mentioned above, it is just as important for you to understand why cracks and deterioration can occur in your masonry home and what you can do about them. Watch for visual clues Masonry walls, whether constructed from bricks, blocks or stones, often offer visual clues of damage or deterioration that should never be ignored. These include: cracking (cracks forming in either the mortar or the bricks, blocks, or stones, or both) spalling (surface flaking of bricks, sometimes extensive) bowing (a vertical bulge in the wall) sweeping (a horizontal bulge in the wall)  leaning (a situation where one or more of the masonry walls appear to be leaning into or away from the home, instead of standing straight)  When to worry about cracks Some cracking is normal in most any brick, block or stone building. This can be due to a wide range of causes, including settlement, soil issues, weather, issues with mortar quality, building practices, exposure to some type of stress or movement and many others. In most cases, hairline and minor cracks that do not become worse over time can be managed by simply monitoring them frequently for changes and addressing them as they occur. Unlike minor cracks, those that are more severe or cause portions of the brick, block or stone wall to crumble, move or appear uneven should always be examined by a reputable professional masonry contractor or masonry restoration expert, such as Mara Restoration, Inc., at the earliest possible time. If left unrepaired, the home can be at risk of infiltration from water, insects and even rodents, as well as other issues. Additionally, major cracking issues can cause stress on the home that result in damage to the interior of the home, including plaster damage, sticking or cracked window panes and doors that become difficult to open and close.   Potential causes of masonry cracking and deterioration When noting the formation of cracks or deterioration in a masonry wall, homeowners should examine the area for any issues that may be causing or contributing to the damage. Since excessive exposure to water can cause masonry walls to deteriorate, homeowners will want to make sure that the guttering is in good condition and is not allowing water to either run down the wall or accumulate against the foundation of the home. Additionally, it is important to direct water from the gutters away from the home through the use of landscaping methods or gutter extensions to prevent issues with saturated soil or frost heaving that can cause movement in the foundation and cracking or deterioration in the masonry walls they support.   Another cause of masonry damage or deterioration is the...

read more

Posted by on 4:49 pm in Uncategorized | Comments Off on High Energy Bills? Why Your Garage May Be The Cause & How To Fix The Problem

If your heating and cooling bills seem higher than they should be for your home size, then you may be confused why you are losing your cool and warm air when the exterior of your home is well-insulated. You may be considering spending a small fortune to upgrade your heating and cooling systems to see if your investment can pay off in lower energy bills. However, the problem may not lie in those systems at all. It may sound surprising, but a garage that is not properly insulated can result in higher home energy bills, even when you don’t intentionally heat and cool your garage. Read on to find out how to determine if your garage is the cause of those sky-high bills and how to fix the problem. How Improperly Insulated Garage Doors Can Lead Higher Heating and Cooling Costs in Your Entire Home If you took care to install good installation around the perimeter of your home or chose a home that already had good insulation, then keep in mind that the rooms above and adjacent to the garage are lacking this insulation on the walls (or floors) that are connected to your garage. If your garage itself is not properly insulated, especially the door, then these rooms likely feel cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer, even though your heating and air conditioning systems are heating and cooling the rest of your home well.  Much of the heated or cooled air that enters those rooms leaks right into the garage and out the door. If you compensate by adding extra heating and air conditioning units to those rooms or just cranking up your existing systems to the point where the rest of the home is then too hot or too cool, then you are wasting energy that you could avoid wasting if you just insulated your garage well.  How to Easily Fix the Problem Insulating your garage is likely easier than you think, because the part of the garage you need to focus on is the exterior wall, and a huge part of that wall is your garage door. Some garage doors are about 20-percent of the entire front of a home. Simply switching out your existing garage door for a new, well-insulated one and having it installed properly to eliminate any drafts around the perimeter of it is the first and most important step on your way to a properly insulated garage.  For the best insulation, your garage door should include the following: A a door with with integrated high density polystyrene or polyurethane foam layers. The great news is that when choosing a door with one of these integrated foam layers, you don’t have to sacrifice style and curb appeal for good insulation. Even a typically drafty door made of wood or metal can provide proper garage insulation when it contains layers of insulation.  A thick door. It can be easy to see how a three-inch thick insulated door would provide more insulation than a two-inch one.  Large panels. Every joint between door panels provides an additional space where a potential draft could occur. The fewer panels your door has, the fewer places a draft could occur.  Air-tight seals around the door. A good seal around your door eliminates drafts, so they are...

read more