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Have No Fear as Winter Nears: Make Your Home Safe and Sound

Halloween is fast approaching: a fun and scary time that signifies winter is on the way. It’s a playfully spooky time; however, other aspects of October’s end are not so fun. Winterization is also on the calendar. It’s that time of year when a thorough home inspection is recommended and winterizing is a must. Preparing a home for the icy winter months should be on everyone’s to-do list.

As winter nears, many people may begin prepping in a variety of ways. Yet, an overlooked item is a home’s foundation. However, a structurally sound and secure foundation is of utmost importance. So, first on the to-do list is a thorough inspection.

Homeowners should grab paper and pen (and even the camera on their cell phones) and head outdoors to begin a detailed inventory of their home’s exterior.

First up: the home’s foundation.

  1. Are there new cracks? Tiny fissures that seem to be worsening? Any larger cracks that seem concerning? Are there strange holes in the foundation? Are mice or other rodents making their way into the home? Are homeowners hearing rodents behind the walls or noticing their droppings? All of these are signs there may be foundation issues.

To begin, homeowners should take photos and store them in a file on their cell phones or computers. This is good practice,  so they can monitor fissures, cracks, and holes throughout the coming months ahead and from year to year. If not, it is easy to lose track of the condition of the foundation over time.

Then, fissures and cracks need to be sealed. This creates a secure home and thus a safe home. Cracks can be sealed with mortar. Another method is using foam filler that expands to fill the cracks. This type of filler is often used around plumbing pipes.

If the cracks seem severe or worsening, it is wise to call in experts. Rock Foundations of Fenton, Michigan, is the best company for foundation issues. Rock Foundations has served the Fenton area and surrounding communities for years and provides outstanding, expert service in every way.

Sometimes, cracks can become quite large and are more challenging to repair. Also, they may point to larger problems that require expert attention. For example, what is causing this more severe cracking to occur? Are there more significant underlying issues like settling that needs attention? Are there problems with support beams? This is where Rock Foundations comes in. They have the needed expertise to study a situation, diagnose the causes, and make the needed repairs in a manner that will last. In such situations, it is best that homeowners contact professionals like Rock Foundations. Once Rock Foundations makes the repairs, the home will once again be safe and secure.

Next: the crawl space.

        2. Is there any evidence of rodents in the crawlspace? Signs like the following:

  • Rodent droppings around the crawl space entrance, near cracks, or throughout the crawlspace and in crevices.
  • Visible nesting material. Dried plant matter, torn fabric, and shredded paper all can be signs of rodent infestation.
  • Holes chewed in places throughout the crawlspace. Holes where they might enter. Where they have worked their way into the rest of the home.
  • Unpleasant smells in the crawlspace, especially in hidden areas.

       3. Are there signs of standing water in the crawlspace? If possible, homeowners should crawl through their crawlspaces not only looking for rodent problems but also water problems. Is there unexplained moisture? Is there pooling of water in spots? Are there any signs of mold or a plantlike smell that might indicate mold growth? Have there been any respiratory problems in the family? Unexplained or prolonged coughing and cold-like symptoms? This can be the result of mold. Water in the crawlspace can create the perfect condition for mold, which can have considerable negative consequences on human health.

If there are signs of rodents or moisture problems in the crawlspace, Rock Foundations should be contacted immediately. Rodents broaching the home’s exterior and proliferating in the crawlspace is a serious problem. Rats and mice can chew through wire, which can be a fire hazard, as well as damage furniture, chew up insulation, and ruin most anything stored in the home. They also damage the home with their urine and feces. This can harm food and the people who are eating it. This poses a considerable health hazard to family members. Further, rats and mice carry and transmit diseases via their saliva, blood, feces, and urine. Diseases like Hantavirus and Tularemia are possible. Also, rodents carry pests like ticks, which carry their own diseases. Mice can squeeze through a hole as small as ¼ inch, so homeowners need to address this problem.

This will only worsen as the temperatures drop and more rodents discover entrance into the crawlspace. These creatures can do considerable damage to the crawlspace and the rest of them home as they gain entry. Further, as mentioned, water can cause significant problems. So, in these situations, it is best to use professionals like Rock Foundations. They will visit the home, make a thorough inspection, create a plan to address the concerns, and then implement all needed measures to make the home safe and secure once more.

Lastly, homeowners should make sure that crawlspaces (and cellar doors) are tightly sealed. Even a small space can allow rodents to enter and water to find its way in. And the crawlspace and its entranceway should be monitored over the winter. Homeowners should take a look from time to time throughout the winter months to make sure the doorway is still sealed shut.

Finally: exterior areas.

4. Are there ice dams forming on the home’s roof? This is a solid ice ridge along eaves of the house. These thick ridges of ice build up. Further, are their icicles hanging along the eaves of the house?

While it is only October, water will begin freezing soon and creating these problems on many homes. Homeowners should be on guard. Dams and icicles can cause many issues like water backing up into a home, shingles loosening and even coming off, and gutters being torn off. And when water backs up into a home, the results can be disastrous. The house can experience paint peeling issues, floors that begin to warp, ceilings that show staining and sagging, and waterlogged insulation. Wet insulation can lead to mold and mildew.

There are many ways to correct this problem, but one important response is to add insulation to an upper crawlspace. Heat needs to be contained. So, adding more insulation to an upper crawlspace or attic will ensure that heat is confined to its proper place. Rock Foundations is the best company to contact with help in this area. They can inspect crawlspaces, looking for moisture problems, and inspect the home’s eaves and determine the source of the problem. It is best to get professional help because water can damage a home extensively and also lead to unhealthy conditions. Rock Foundations has been responding to such problems for years and is the best company around to solve these issues.

5. Are there weeds and other vegetation growing along the foundation? Is dead vegetation accumulating or signs of mold appearing along the home’s foundation? Are there tree roots too close to the home? Or beginning to grow along and displacing the soil?

Homeowners need to kill and get rid of all plants and weeds that are growing too close to the home’s foundation. They also need to rake away all dead and rotting vegetation. This will help remove mold and keep it from growing in the first place.

Also, trees that have roots growing too closely to the foundation may need to be removed. Tree roots can cause extensive damage to foundations. Even though the roots of a tree grow slowly, they can put extreme pressure on a foundation. The roots push through the soil, searching for water and nutrients. This shifts the soil in various ways, depending on the type of soil. For example, clay soil can become compacted; whereas, the soil in more arid climates becomes dry and loose. This type of situation leads to soil that cannot support a load. Also, older foundations may settle or begin developing cracks. If homeowners are unsure or believe tree roots are becoming a problem, they should contact Rock Foundations. They will visit the home, inspect the foundation and the tree root situation, and diagnose the problem and offer solutions. They are the area experts in all issues related to foundations and can provide professional advice.

Eighty-one percent of Americans say their home is their best long-term investment. And almost forty percent of annual budgets is spent on housing. So, maintaining a home’s safety and security is of crucial importance to most people. Not just for financial health but also the health of their families.

Thus, at this time of year, as cold temperatures and challenging conditions are right around the corner, homeowners would be well served to make their to-do list and being winterizing their homes. Foundations, crawl spaces, and home exteriors should be on that list. With careful inspections and assistance from Rock Foundations of Fenton, Michigan, winter can be a happy season with a safe and sound home.

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