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restoration clean up

Worth Waterproof The Basement?

basement remodel

It may not be immediately obvious, especially to new homeowners, but it’s important for your basement to be water resistant, if not outright waterproof. First and foremost you want to prevent flooding inside your home. There is no worse disaster, beyond potentially a fire, than a flooded home. Waterproofing your basement can help prevent that terrible occurrence from becoming a likelihood. You want to protect your home from mold and mildew that can build up and grow in damp and humid environments. Damp basements are perfect homes for mold and mildew and you can expect such problems to only get worse over time. When you’re waterproofing your basement make sure you fully clear it out and clean it out to have a full view of the extent of the problem and project. Divide your basement up into sections and work on them slowly over time if need be. Begin with the walls and work downward to the floors once the walls are all sealed up. If you are applying a product to your basement floor be sure to purchase enough material for the size of space you’re covering. Don’t forget to check for any radon issues ahead of time as well – it’s best to do any radon mitigation first, before doing your waterproofing. There is no doubt that your best bet to ensure the work is done right is to call a professional. A licensed pro will know all the extra considerations to make and will be sure the work is all done according to whatever code might be applicable in your area. There are a few don’ts to keep in mind as well. Where possible, avoid plastic sheeting material. This type of material solution can work in certain circumstances, particularly where your options are limited. However the material can tear and wear down over time, and cracking can eventually allow moisture in and will need replacing. Likewise, avoid tar when selecting materials. Tar will eventually become very brittle and crack, creating pathways for moisture to get through. When backfilling, avoid limestone and use gravel instead – limestone could create a clog in drainage structures and create additional problems that you’re trying to solve. For all of your basement and crawl space clean-up needs, turn to Restoration Certified Specialists. Contact us at 707 570 0555 to talk about your project today.

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Eco-Friendly Tips For Eliminating Mold

painted hand holding leaf

Eliminating mold is a concern for staying healthy, especially for those with chronic respiratory issues such as asthma or severe allergies. Finding eco-friendly ways to prevent and eliminate mold is an even healthier choice. Here are some eco-friendly ways you can stay healthier while getting rid of mold.

Mold Prevention

Mold prevention takes away the need to use any cleaning products for mold removal, which is the best option. Preventing mold is easier than cleaning it up once it begins to grow. Here are some things you can do to prevent mold from growing in your home.
  • Look for and repair any leaky faucets, pipes, or hoses as soon as you find them.
  • Repair leaky windows, doors, and the roof to avoid excess water from getting inside your home.
  • Keep your house as dry as possible by sopping up any water right away and using a dehumidifier or fan to dry out wet areas.
  • Use the exhaust fan during stovetop cooking in the kitchen.
  • During and after showering, turn on the exhaust fan or slightly open a window to keep air flow moving.
  • Permanently remove carpeting from bathrooms or kitchens where water spills are frequent, and carpet stays wet.
  • Remove and dry out any wet carpeted bath mats from the bathroom as soon as possible.
  • Choose mold-resistant paint especially in kitchens and bathrooms.
  • Re-grade the soil against the home foundation sloping away from the foundation.
  • Clean out gutters and downspouts to keep them clear from any debris that blocks water flow.
  • Keep humidity levels in your home under 50% by using a dehumidifier.
  • Test your home for mold if you notice a strong musty odor that won’t go away.
  • If excessive moisture, humidity or mold continue to be a problem, call a professional mold remediation company to find and eliminate the source of the problem.

Eco-friendly Mold Removal Products

Since toxic chemicals can trigger respiratory distress, using eco-friendly products makes even more sense for a healthier alternative to clean away mold. Here are some options you can use to remove mold, many of which you may already have in your home.


Vinegar is truly an eco-friendly miracle for many uses around the home, including mold clean up. Because of its anti-bacterial qualities, vinegar is capable of killing off most types of mold. Use vinegar by pouring into a spray bottle without diluting with water. Spray the full-strength vinegar enough to saturate the affected area. Let sit for about an hour, then rinse off with water and dry. The worst part about vinegar is the smell, which thankfully dissipates within a few hours.

Hydrogen Peroxide

For the best results, use hydrogen peroxide with a concentration of 3 percent or more. Pour into a spray bottle to reduce contact with your skin since higher concentrations can irritate skin. Spray directly onto mold, let sit for about 10 minutes and wipe down with a clean, wet cloth.

Baking Soda

Completely dissolve a ¼ tablespoon of baking soda into a spray bottle full of water. Spray the moldy area and let sit for about 10 minutes. When ready, lightly brush or scrub the area and wipe dry with a clean cloth.

Ingredients to Avoid

When looking for eco-friendly options, make sure the products you choose do not contain ingredients such as:
  • Alcohol
  • Ammonia
  • Chlorine
Read product labels for descriptions such as “phosphate free,” “petroleum free,” “biodegradable,” or “botanical.”

Professional Mold Remediation

If you need help finding ways to prevent, locate or eliminate mold in your home, don’t hesitate to call a mold remediation professional for advice. Take advantage of a free consultation and any recommendations their years of experience can offer you. At RCS, we offer expert advice and services to eliminate your mold issues with the latest in healthy, eco-friendly products and techniques.

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Improving Air Quality in Your Home

hot air balloon over home

Good air quality in the home provides the environment all of us need to live comfortably and stay healthy. Why is good air quality important? If you suffer from respiratory conditions such as asthma or allergies, you know how important it is to reduce the odds of a flare-up or full-blown respiratory attack. Here are some things to know about improving the air quality in your home.

Poor Air Quality Triggers

In addition to the after-effects of sewer or water damage, there are many every day biological contaminants that reduce indoor air quality and can trigger an asthma or other respiratory attacks.
  • Mold and mildew due to excessive moisture in and around the home
  • Bacteria and contaminants from water damage or sewer backups
  • Dried rodent droppings (which become airborne)
  • Contaminated insulation, carpeting

Three Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Eliminate Sources of Poor Air Quality

Getting rid of the source of indoor pollutants can help improve indoor air quality. Indoor pollutant sources include, but are not limited to:
  • Building materials (flooring, carpeting, furniture, remodeling materials)
  • Black mold and other types of fungus
  • High humidity levels (above desired humidity level of between 30-50 percent)
  • Inadequate ventilation

Improve Ventilation

A simple solution to improving indoor air quality is to let more outdoor air inside. Even the most energy efficient HVAC system can’t bring fresh air indoors. Here are ways to bring fresh air inside:
  • Open doors and windows.
  • Running fans or an open vent window air conditioning unit.
  • Exhaust fans to not only eliminate contaminants from a bathroom or kitchen but increase the outdoor ventilation rate if vented to the exterior.
There are three different ways to ventilate your home: Natural From outside air entering the home through doors and windows Infiltration Outside air gets into your home through leaks, cracks, broken seals Mechanical Forced air controlled by your HVAC system Keep in mind that venting is especially important when working directly with contaminants. It’s important to increase ventilation while using oven cleaners, bleach or strong cleaners, paint stripper, paint, or while sanding, staining wood, using gas appliances or the fireplace.

Clean the Air

Air cleaners are available for purchase in a wide range of models and price ranges. To be effective, look for an air cleaner that both traps indoor air pollutants (efficiency rate percentage) and for how much air is processed through the filter (measured in cubic feet per minute). Both an efficient level of trapping pollutants and amount of air processed through cleaning filter must be in place to make a difference in air quality.


One of the most common reasons for reduced air quality in the home is due to sources of moisture and dampness found in crawl spaces, basements, kitchens and bathrooms. This is because among other things, excessive moisture breeds bacteria and causes mold to grow, which decreases the air quality in your home. If you need an expert to complete an inspection and offer valuable recommendations to eliminate risk factors for moisture and mold in your home, contact the mold remediation professionals at RCS in Sonoma County.

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Solving the Mystery of Recurring Moisture Issues in Basements and Crawl Spaces

unfinished basement

When it seems like every time it rains or gets humid outside, the lower level and crawl space in your home is damp, full of moisture and maybe even standing water. Identifying the source of moisture and why it continues to be a recurring problem in these same areas is the first step to eliminating the problem for good.

Basements and Crawl Spaces = High Risk Areas

After or even during a rainstorm, you probably head straight to the basement to check for water. Despite taking preventative measures, you continue to combat moisture issues. The common denominator for these moisture problems is water. The goal is to solve the mystery of how it’s getting inside your home. If water enters the basement and/or crawl space and has no way to escape or dry out, moisture and dampness is going to continue to be your issue. Unresolved moisture issues ultimately lead to bigger issues such as mold, odor, structural damage and pest infestations.

Breaking Down Potential Water Sources in High Risk Areas


If your gutters are failing, water slides down the sides of your home, pools around your foundation and gets inside. Make sure your gutters are clean, in good working order and downspouts direct water well away from the foundation of your home. If you notice cracks in the basement walls, it’s another place where water is able to get inside. If there is carpet or cardboard boxes on the floor, the water will soak right in, remain wet and become moldy and musty. Leaky pipes and faucets in the basement are another source for moisture and standing water problems. Old basement windows may very well have broken or cracked seals allowing water to enter the home.

Crawl Spaces

Many of the same moisture issues that affect the basement also affect crawl spaces. Excess moisture or water in crawl spaces may result from standing groundwater, failing gutters, faulty grading around the foundation, leaking pipes or leaky windows. The bigger problem with crawl spaces is that you don’t check those spaces often, which gives water a chance to stand and pool without ever drying out. Too much water in a crawl space causes damage to any insulation or mechanicals stored there. Standing water in a crawl space is a breeding ground for all kinds of insects or rodents, in addition to making conditions perfect for mold.

Call a Professional

When you’ve checked all the areas, repaired what you could see yet continue to experience water issues, call a professional to check the basement and crawl space areas. Keep in mind that dampness and moisture problems lead to bigger problems for you and your home down the road. A professional service can find the source of the water, thoroughly dry affected areas and seal/drain the crawl spaces to prevent further problems and damage. In Santa Rosa and surrounding Sonoma County areas, call RCS for expert moisture prevention recommendations, services and a free estimate.

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Benefits of a Clean Crawlspace

cleaning crawlspace

A crawlspace is an area between the ground and first floor of a home. Typically, it’s a hollow area usually not higher than 3’ or just enough space to crawl through. Crawlspaces should insulated and can be used to store mechanicals of your home like plumbing, electrical, HVAC ducts.

Disadvantages of a Crawl Space

While a crawlspace provides support and acts as a buffer between your home and the ground, there are distinct disadvantages especially if not maintained regularly. Crawlspaces are not counted as livable space and not suitable for storage. Because of its small size and exposure to outdoor elements, a crawlspace is not the place to store anything that you don’t want exposed to the elements. Water and moisture problems: Excessive moisture and standing water are serious problems in a crawlspace. If not cleaned and dried, the mechanicals of your home can incur damage, and energy bills will rise due to HVAC and electrical not working efficiently. Excessive moisture causes musty odors which will infiltrate your home. If you notice a foul sewer smell in your home, it may be due to water or sewer damage coming from the crawlspace. Mold: Where there is excessive moisture and water, there is mold. Once mold begins to grow in the crawlspace, mold spores become airborne and travel into your home. This puts your family at risk for allergies, asthma attacks and other respiratory issues. Pest infestations: Crawlspaces make excellent homes for all kinds of pests and rodents. The dark, damp area complete with insulation gives mice, rats and other unwelcome rodents an invitation to live there. Where rodents live: there is excrement. This smell will seep into your home, and it’s not just unpleasant, but potentially dangerous to inhale.

How to Clean Your Crawl Space

If unable to fit in the crawlspace or are unsure of how to clean it properly, call a local professional to manage the cleanup for you. Certified Restoration Specialists will remove wet/moldy items stored in the crawlspace, clean/dry any water or sewer damage and replace moisture and/or vapor barriers. The entire area will be sanitized. Any damaged insulation is replaced, after a thorough vacuuming. All pest/rodent droppings are removed, and a pest control company may be brought in. Plumbing, electrical or HVAC referrals may also be necessary to repair/replace any damage in those areas. Other issues are addressed based on the condition and assessment of the crawlspace. Benefits of a Clean Crawl Space Once your crawlspace has been cleaned, restored and sanitized, you’ll notice the benefits right away. Safety of House Structure: After cleanup, you’ll have the peace of mind of knowing there are no pests or water/sewer issues causing damage to the structure of your home. Improved Energy Efficiency: New insulation and vapor/moisture barriers ensure your mechanicals are safe and running at maximum capacity. Dry Conditions: A dry crawlspace prevents odor and mold from affecting the air quality inside your home. Pest Control: A clean, dry crawlspace discourages pests and rodents from living under your home. This prevents bacteria from pest excrement, odor and rodent damage to insulation and mechanicals. Improved Health: By far the most important benefit, a clean crawlspace prohibits mold spores, bacteria and airborne allergens from negatively affecting your health. To reap the benefits of a clean crawlspace, contact the certified professionals at RCS. We will work with you during the cleanup process and show you how to prevent future problems. RCS proudly serves the Santa Rosa, Sonoma County and surrounding North Bay areas.

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How is Drywall Installed?

drywall installation sonoma county

Drywall is commonly found in most homes and is used to not only insulate your living space but make it more flame-resistant. If you’re interested in learning more about this material and how it’s installed, keep reading. You’ll discover some interesting facts about it and more about its installation process.

What is Drywall?

Drywall is a flat piece of gypsum plaster that’s stuffed with compacted paper. Because of its rigidity and durability, it’s frequently used to cover walls. This material comes in various styles. Some types you’ll find are:
  • Standard
  • Mold-resistant
  • Fire-resistant
  • Soundproof

Signs You Need New Drywall

While this material is heavy-duty it can run into some problems. Here are a few signs to watch out for that indicate it’s time to get it replaced.
  • It’s discolored
  • It’s buckling or peeling
  • It has cracks
  • Its nails are popping out of place

How to Install Drywall

To hang drywall, you first need to measure the area you plan to install it in. These dimensions will help you figure out the right length and thickness the panels need to be. Once this is done, take the correctly measured pieces and lay them against the wall’s frame. You’ll then need to grab a drill and create holes in the middle and around the edges of the drywall sections. Make sure the holes are about 16 inches away from each other. Otherwise, you risk it buckling. You can then line drywall on the wall’s frame and tighten screws in the holes to secure it in place. After the first layer is on the wall you’ll want to add another for extra protection. This layer can be applied similarly to the first one. In some cases, you might need to use a utility knife to carve the drywall so it fits around windows and outlets. This process needs to be done carefully as even the slightest imperfection will show.

Should I Apply Drywall Myself?

Installing drywall can be a time-consuming and difficult task. Unless you’ve done it before, it’s probably best to use professional services. They can get the job done faster and are trained in cutting the pieces so they fit perfectly around tricky areas. Drywall is found in almost every structure because it does a good job of protecting them. If you notice that you're having problems, contact RCS. Our reconstruction team will investigate them and determine whether it would be beneficial to have them replaced.