30 May 2019

Should You Finish Your Iowa Basement?


Iowa is full of beautiful homes. They ornament our countryside, decorate our towns and cities and hold a piece of our heartland. To you, your home is special: It's where you and your family are building memories. You know what you love about it and you know what you would change about it. When you weigh decisions about home improvement or renovations, though, it’s a time to think carefully.

Maybe you're considering finishing your Iowa basement, or are considering it and haven’t even thought of it until now. Below, we'll lay out the case for how you can add life (and property) value by finishing your basement here in Greater Des Moines.

Property values and home improvement

You've probably heard the classic case for home improvement: You get to enjoy a better house, sure, but it's also a long-term thing that's going to improve the value of your home!

Sometimes that's true, and sometimes it's not. When you redo a kitchen, for instance, you make a high-impact change that can really alter the value of your home — but as the years pass, appliances improve, and design tastes change, you may find that you have to renovate it all over again if you want to keep your home current and preserve its value.

Finishing a basement is an improvement that makes your home more appealing and more valuable. It's also a decision that will age well. Sure, you'll need to refinish basement hardwood or clean basement carpets, but finished basements have been in style for a long time and are likely to remain in style for a long time to come.

Choose your own adventure

A finished basement will bring a new dynamic home for you and your family, but how it does so is totally up to you.

Right now, your unfinished basement is a blank canvas. Will you put down hardwood and turn it into a basement bar? Will you blanket it in carpet and turn it into a playroom for the kids? Will it house a spare bedroom, an exercise room, or a “man cave?” It's all up to you to pick and choose the right contractors to make it a reality.

Finishing your basement is a prerequisite for all of these dream scenarios, but there’s no law saying that you have to stick with just one. Maybe you will finish your basement this year and turn it into your man cave. Then, move your recliner out in a few years to convert the same space into a kids’ playroom for your growing family. Whatever your plans are for your basement in the future, it’s likely that you’ll need it finished. You could do that now and enjoy the present as well.

Making the right decisions

If finishing your basement sounds like the way to go, you may be onto something. However, you do need to be smart about the entire planning process. Basements and foundations are vital parts of your home, and finishing a basement is not a task you want to do yourself or trust to an amateur, explain the experts in basement finishing in Des Moines. Finishing a basement properly takes skill, and it never hurts to have experts in your basement. They are better equipped than you are to spot potential problems with your foundation, plan waterproofing measures, and lending a hand with the manual labor.

Getting the job done right will save you money in the long run; as always with home improvement, paying the right contractors first makes a lot more financial sense than paying them to fix the job the first guys did. So invest wisely in your Iowa basement, and get the job done right!

29 May 2019

Keeping Your Home Free of Water Damage: 4 Ways to Do it Right

Part of being a homeowner is doing regular maintenance to make sure your property stays in great condition. Here are some ways to make sure your house stays water damage-free.

Homeownership comes with several responsibilities — one of which is maintenance. One of the best ways to prevent costly repairs at home, especially those related to water damage, is by doing proper maintenance as often as needed. Otherwise, you won't only have to deal with costly repairs; there will also be significant water losses and insurance claims.

Water damage is the main culprit that causes your home’s foundation to weaken, making the very core that holds your house together extremely vulnerable. It is considered by experts as one of the most common and costliest disasters that affect many homeowners. Every year, it accounts for billions of dollars’ worth of water loss.

You know what core strength means for your overall health. In the same manner, water damage attacks the core strength of your property, which eventually causes significant damage to your structure. Damp wood becomes a breeding ground for carpenter ants and termites, on top of all the mold and mildew that would build up.

Here, top plumbers in Orem share ways to prevent water damage using easy strategies that will help you prepare for the next heavy storms:

Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts Regularly

To avoid blockage and ice dams, do a thorough gutter cleanse at least two times a year. Stagnant water can damage your roof and gutters. Without properly managing the overflow, expect puddles that would ruin your foundation. To make sure that water can properly flow through, clean the downspouts and secure them so they point away from your house.

Disconnect Your Hoses

Standing water left in a hose may seem innocent, but this may freeze in the pipe when the temperature drops, creating an ice block. This could either stop your water flow or worse, cause your pipes to burst. This would create significant damage to your floor, walls, and foundation.

Improve Your Washing Machine Hoses

If you've had your washing machine for quite some time, it's possible that your hoses have turned brittle and leaky. These are among the most common causes of water loss in many homes. So, to avoid costly repairs, replace your hoses regularly.

Install Effective Water Detection Devices

A water detector is a tiny electronic device that works similar to an alarm. It creates sounds to alert homeowners when the sensor gets in contact with moisture. When you have this system, it'll be easier to detect slow leaks or low moisture levels that homeowners often tend to not notice. Get a detector near your water heaters, dishwashers, washing machine, and toilets to avoid mold growth and extensive water-related damage.

Finally, sometimes the only way to determine if there's any water leak in your home is by monitoring your monthly water bill. If you notice any significant increase in your bills from one month to the next, even if your usage remains relatively the same, this could be a clear indication of water leaks. Don't leave any possible problems unaddressed. Do a thorough check and solve the issues as soon as you can.

23 May 2019

Five features your kitchen needs

Updating your kitchen may be one of the smartest investments you can make, especially if you’re planning on selling your home in the future. Up-to-date features that emphasize both function and design not only make your kitchen a room you love to spend time in but can also be a significant selling point when you’re ready to list your home. Read on for five features your kitchen needs.

1. Lighting
Your kitchen needs light, as most rooms in your home do, but kitchen lighting needs a little finesse because it’s a major hub in the house. You’d be amazed at how much a simple change in lighting fixtures can update the look of your kitchen.

If you’ve got an island in your kitchen, add a statement light fixture -- or two -- above, providing plenty of light for your workspace in addition to decoration. Be sure to consider other lighting sources in the kitchen before choosing your statement piece, not only for continuity but also for overall functionality. Consider adding task lighting or under-cabinet lighting to ensure that your most-used workspaces are well-lighted.

2. Appliance garage
Such a strange name for an ingenious concept many homeowners are adding to their custom kitchens: appliance garage. Kitchen appliance garages not only help you keep your kitchen counters free from clutter, but they also add a unique feature that’s sure to catch the modern homebuyer’s attention.

A kitchen appliance garage can be as simple as a recessed portion of space with a cabinet door that fits nicely over it, or a complex built-in unit, allowing you to keep your microwave and other small appliances out of sight when not in use. Appliance garages are a kitchen feature that helps keep your counters clear and frees up valuable workspace.

3. Deep sink
While a deep sink may not appeal to shorter people -- for obvious reasons -- there are more pros than cons by going deeper. Families can benefit from the additional space deeper bowls provide by allowing more space for dirty dishes, but avid cooks will also appreciate having a sink that works well when washing bulky and unwieldy pots and baking sheets. Whether you choose one bowl or two is up to you, but deep sinks will keep dishwater splashes contained regardless.

4. Storage options
Dividers, deep drawers, inset shelving, and custom cabinetry make kitchen organization a breeze (and maybe even a little fun). Again, you’ll benefit from having plenty of storage space in your kitchen, and that storage will pay off plenty when it comes time to sell your home -- kitchen storage options fetch major brownie points (baking pun intended).

5. Pantry
While you may not have the space to add a walk-in pantry to your kitchen, you may be able to add a pantry (if you don’t already have one). If you’ve never had a kitchen with a pantry, you definitely won’t want to go back once you have one. Helping keep counters and cabinets clutter-free, dedicated pantries make it easy to organize all of your non-perishable food items and often provide enough space to store both cookware and serveware.

If you want to make your kitchen a comfortable and functional hub in your home, consider updating your kitchen with lighting and storage. An update can breathe new life -- and convenience -- into your kitchen by modernizing the look, feel, and features, not to mention increasing your home’s value and appeal when you go to sell. Happy planning!

14 May 2019

The Most Common Pests During Spring Time

Winter is over, and springtime is already here. Flowers are blooming once again, and there is much pollen in the atmosphere. As the cold season wraps up, the heat from the sun starts to thaw ice, and many animals are also coming out of their nests after their hibernation ended. Springtime also means that the new pests will hatch, begin their activities and will be eating a lot. This means that pests will be more aggressive in destroying crops, properties, and food products. As a homeowner, you should be wary about the things that these pests can do, and try working with a professional on how to get rid of them. Mountain West Pest Control is a reliable business that can exterminate these pests. Try working with them and see what services they offer to make your home pest free. Here are some of the most common pests that we see during springtime.

  1. Carpenter ants are animals which developed a sensitivity with a cold environment. Once the winter ends, carpenter ants would go out of their nests and forage foods available on the ground. They can be seen anywhere – even inside your home – to take food and water. Carpenter ants that are found inside a property would mean that they were able to enter the building through a hole, or they have already established a colony inside the house. They are creating a vast network of tunnels in homes made of wood, so homes like wooden logs are prone to damage and collapse, especially if these ants managed to destroy most of the foundation. Call a reliable pest control company to exterminate these ants that pose a danger to your home.
  2. Pavement ants are another type of animal that can be found in the soil, and they will also enter homes to search for food. These ants build large colonies, and they will never stop eating until they are satisfied. These ants should be treated immediately because they will cause a lot of trouble for the homeowner. They will eat the food inside the house, as well as any other food scraps. What you can do is to search for their nest that might be located in the pavement outside the house and see if you can eliminate the nest. If you failed from trying to exterminate these ants, call a professional for help, and they can take a different approach on dealing with them.
  3. Bees, wasps, and hornets are also awakened during the spring, and they might have built a nest inside your home during the winter. These animals are dangerous because of their sting, and people who have been stung by these animals might develop a deadly allergic reaction. To make sure that there are no bees, wasps, or hornets that managed to transform your home into their nests, try to investigate and see if you will find traces or pieces of evidence of their presence. If they are inside your home, do not try to destroy their nest. Instead, call a professional for help. It would be dangerous to destroy their nest without any professional assistance because the insects might feel aggravated and attack.
  4. Houseflies are also multiplying the population when spring comes. They are some of the dirtiest insects on the planet. Houseflies are spreading diseases like wildfires, and when you see them land above your food, make sure to throw it away because the bacteria and viruses on their feet would immediately multiply and be transferred to the food, which is dangerous for the health. Make sure that the houseflies don't not make it inside your house, and call a reliable pest control that will be able to shoo them away. You can also use flytraps to minimize the number of flies inside your property.
  5. Rats and mice also multiple during the spring, and they will be a headache because of how they are attacking homes and eating away food that is left behind. They are also dangerous because they bite, and some rats and mice have rabies. Other are carriers of fatal diseases. Make sure to call a professional pest exterminator to get rid of these rodents inside your home and minimize the chances of diseases being spread.

08 May 2019

Damp proofing and eliminating water damage


High water tables and a wet climate can add up slowly to structural damages in both older buildings and in new construction. Long before the appearance of mould and mildew, the gradual action of water could be damaging your home.

One of the essential characteristics of water is that it moves through porous materials through a process called capillary action. What this means for most people is that water from the saturated ground will enter stone or concrete foundations and rise up through the walls until it reaches a point high enough where it can evaporate into the atmosphere.

As it engages in this slow march upwards and sideways, it causes structural damage to the material it travels through and makes a perfect environment for mould and mildew to thrive. As a secondary assault, the mould and mildew cause more damage on top of the damage wrought by the original water. The familiar dank smell of a damp home isn’t just the smell of mould, it’s also the smell of a slow motion disaster unfolding in areas a homeowner can’t see.

What there is to do if you suspect you have a problem with rising damp is to call in a professional who can test your home’s foundations and walls to see if there’s a problem to begin with and if there is a problem, how much trouble that problem’s caused.

Fortunately, there are solutions available. Many of these solutions can be implemented relatively quickly and at a reasonable cost. Every structure, every home, every situation is different and each of them requires its own approach. Calling in a true expert is the only way to find the proper fix to your problem.

You don’t need to suffer through another season of damp and the right professional, like the techs employed by Damp2Dry, can set you other the correct path to ensure many years of health and happiness. Rising damp can jeopardise your health by fostering the growth of black mould but it can also jeopardise the health of your home. The solution is but a phone call away.

07 May 2019

Bringing a Touch of Luxury to Bathrooms

\\KLEBER02\RedirectedFolders\KBowley\Desktop\Bath trends composite image.jpg

A recent survey from Lightstream reports that 37 percent of homeowners indicated they are planning to remodel their bathrooms in 2019, edging out kitchen remodels, which 31 percent of respondents said was a priority. Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed said personalization was their primary reason for investing in a renovation. In addition, according to the 2018 Houzz Bathroom Trends Study, more than half of Baby Boomer homeowners are planning to renovate their bathrooms to support aging in place. These homeowners are looking for bathrooms with accessible features such as lower sinks and toilets, curbless (zero-entry) showers and handheld showerheads.

Beyond making bathrooms more customized and accessible, a growing number of homeowners are also opting to add luxe spa touches to their bathrooms. Following are some easy ways to create a bathroom space that hits the mark in all of these areas.

Elevate the shower. There is a move away from traditional bathrooms toward larger, more luxurious shower areas. Some may even include a freestanding tub, depending on available space and preference. In addition to desiring well-appointed materials and design elements that offer high performance features, homeowners expect their bathrooms and showers to reflect their personal style, whether that be “all decked out” or on the minimalist side. From natural stone shower surrounds to multiple showerheads to stainless steel linear drains, the focus is on creating a more enjoyable – and memorable – shower experience. Available in a range of styles and patterns, linear drains are particularly well-suited for curbless and step-in showers. And, their streamlined footprint has a cleaner appearance than typical center drains, which complements the trend toward more contemporary bathroom designs.

Add luxe accents. Even in cases where it’s not feasible to upgrade to a frameless or spa-sized shower, there are a number of creative ways to infuse a touch of luxury into the bathroom. Incorporating accessories such as an eye-catching mirror, statement lighting and heated towel racks can go a long way in achieving a more luxurious feel. Using a layered lighting approach that utilizes a mix of several types of lighting – for example, vanity lighting, accent lighting such as vertical fixtures or sconces, and natural light – can create a relaxing space for resting and recharging. Heated towel racks not only provide the tactile appeal of freshly warmed towels, but can also dry towels in between baths and showers, and double as a convenient way to dry lingerie and delicates. Larger models can help heat smaller bathrooms, especially beneficial in cooler climates.

Go beyond the surface. When designing or remodeling a bathroom, it’s also important to pay attention to surfaces such as flooring, walls and backsplashes. Adding natural stone, porcelain or ceramic tile can bring a sense of sophistication to bathrooms while also being simple to maintain. Lightweight natural stone veneer can be installed on vertical surfaces to create an organic look that delivers texture and dimensionality. Luxury tiles, such as those from the namesake of iconic carmaker Lamborghini, come in a range of interesting designs for a high-end, luxury feel. Glass-tiled or mosaic backsplashes are another popular way to enhance the look of a bathroom space, especially when paired with colored or metallic grout, which is becoming a desirable alternative to white and beige grout.

For many people, the bathroom has become a sanctuary. Adding even a few luxe elements can transform an ordinary bathroom space into an inviting retreat. Many of these upgrades are surprisingly affordable, making it easy for homeowners to let their inner-diva shine.