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Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home, What You Need to Know

Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home, What You Need to Know

If you see wood damage around your home, you will probably assume you have termites, but it might be a carpenter ant infestation. Carpenter ants also lead to structural damage because they build nests in the wood of your home.

Carpenter Ants Damage Your Home, What You Need to Know

How Serious Is Carpenter Ant Damage?

Carpenter ant damage is not as severe as termite damage, but the ants can cause extensive damage over a period of several years. The colony may go undetected, and as it grows over time, the ants expand through your wood, leading to a potentially dangerous and costly situation.

Where You Can Find Carpenter Ants

The ants damage any wood in which they nest, but usually they nest in wet wood. Look for nests around windows, sinks and bath traps. The ants always have a point of entry into your home—through the foundation or a crack in the home. They can enter along electrical wires, telephone lines and water pipes. To find them, try to follow their trail into your home.

Once inside your home, they prefer to build nests in structural lumber areas like hollow walls or doors and around windows. If you see piles of wood shavings around your home, you very likely have an infestation. The ants create the shavings as they burrow into the wood to make nests. The shavings actually look like pencil shavings you’d see after sharpening a pencil. You also might hear them at work—a faint rustling sound inside the walls. Finally, if you see large ants with wings coming out of ceilings, walls or crevices, your home is almost certainly infested.

Carpenter ants can also build their nests outdoors in trees that have moist or rotting wood. If you see them outside, be particularly proactive about checking for carpenter ants inside.

Carpenter Ants Versus Termites

Many people mistake carpenter ants for a termite infestation. Carpenter ants have winged ants called swarmers that reproduce in warmer months, usually March to June. While termites actually eat the wood, the ants do not. Instead, they just damage the wood as they make their nests. The U.S. has 24 species of carpenter ant, and because the ants have wings, they are often mistaken for termites.

Carpenter ant nests are very difficult to find. They can go undetected in your home for years. A large colony can grow to 2,000 worker ants in a few years time. If you suspect an infestation, call a professional pest control company. When they’re done, call us to repair carpenter ants damage.

Maintaining a Crawl Space: Unseen but Important

Maintaining a Crawl Space: Unseen but Important

When is the last time you looked around in the crawlspace under your house? Crawl spaces are notoriously damp, uncomfortable places so most homeowners tend to avoid them. The main people that venture into crawl spaces are home service specialists like HVAC technicians, plumbers and electricians who may or may not tell the homeowner about any issues they see under there. Unfortunately, there are actually a lot of home issues that can be prevented by properly maintaining your crawlspace. At Restoration Certification Services, we want to help you prevent the damage to your home and your family’s health that can come from a poorly maintained crawl space.

Maintaining a Crawl Space: Unseen but Important

Here are the problems you face if your home has a crawlspace:

Moisture In Your Crawl Space

Moisture is the most common issue in crawl spaces and leads to mold and wood rot. If you haven’t made any improvements to address moisture (like a moisture barrier, dehumidifier or sump pump), then you are probably going to have a moisture issue. The nature of a crawlspace being dark with little ventilation almost guarantees that you will have to do something to combat moisture. If left unchecked, moisture will rot your floor joists and supports and eventually your floor will have to be replaced. Moisture and mold can also rise up through your floor and into your living areas triggering allergies and breathing problems.

Pests in Your Crawl Space

Rats, insects and larger animals can get into your crawl space and leave droppings and/or damage duct work. It is really important to thoroughly check all possible entrance points to keep pests out of your crawlspace. As mentioned before, since most homeowners don’t go in their crawlspace often, it is possible for pests to do a lot of damage before they are noticed.

Your Crawl Space’s Insulation

Poor or no insulation in your crawl space means that you will spend more money on heating and cooling your home. It also means that mold can easily travel through the floor and into your living space. Getting your crawl space insulated will lower your power bills and extend the life of your floors.

You need to get your crawl space checked out. Our team at Restoration Certified Specialists is experienced, and we are dedicated to both making your home safe and saving you money. We offer full crawl space services from cleaning to installing protective measures. Contact us for more information.

Is Your Landscaping Damaging Your Home

Is Your Landscaping Damaging Your Home?

Your landscaping could be damaging your home. Does your basement keep flooding? It may be because of your lawn.

Is Your Landscaping Damaging Your Home?

Water, Water, In Our Yards, and Not a Drop In Our Basements

Rain water has to go somewhere, always. Properly graded and landscaped yards direct this water to desired locations while improperly graded and landscaped yards could allow water to collect in the basement or foundation of your home.

Water flows downhill. You want to ensure that your landscaping slopes so that water goes away from your home and certainly doesn’t pond around the home. 

Landscaping Plants Helping or Hurting Your Home

Flowers, shrubs, and trees can be important players in the moisture level of your yard and, indirectly, your home. If your yard tends to retain a lot of water, thirstier plants can help manage this. On the other hand, too thirsty plants like certain trees growing close to your home, can make the soil too dry and lead to an unstable surface for your home’s foundation.

What To Do If Your Landscaping Is Damaging Your Home

Make sure your downspouts drain away from the home. Most downspouts have a protector underneath to lessen the impact directly under the spout and prevent ponding, but you can further protect your home by landscaping around the downspout to channel the water say 10 feet away.

Consider any gardens up next to your home. Could they be sloped away from the home? Are they retaining too much water?

Consider trees and plants next to the home. You might add or replace plants to optimize the moisture level of the soil around your home.

A bad enough water drainage problem may require professional grading. This is the process of adding, removing, and/or shaping the ground under or around a building. Ensure that your yard slopes downward 10 feet away from your home. 

How Ivy May Be Damaging Your Home

How Ivy May Be Damaging Your Home

It is hard to argue with the aesthetic appeal of ivy covered homes. When the conditions are right, ivy makes a beautiful accent to your structure, but ivy growing on structures that are not strong enough to support them or sturdy enough to resist their root system can be very troublesome. In such a bad situation, it takes considerable effort to rid ivy from the area before restoration of damaged surfaces can even begin. So it is important to know where ivy growth is safe and unsafe to grow on your home.

How Ivy May Be Damaging Your Home

Good Ivy Locations

If you have a newer brick home you have a perfect environment for growing good healthy ivy. Ivy grows up the wall by clinging to cracks and crevices, but it is far too weak to create them. Ivy grown on new sturdy brick structures not only looks good but can benefit the wall by aiding in temperature control and moisture reduction.

Train your ivy to grow where you want it to and be vigilant that it does not take hold on any wooden portions of your home.

Also ensure that you are growing the right kind of ivy on your home. There are many invasive species of ivy that can actually penetrate even newer masonry and also threatens nearby trees.

Poor Ivy Locations

Brick walls may seem like an automatic good choice for a place to grow ivy. But if the bricks are cracked and the mortar is old and crumbling, you have a very poor location to grow ivy. The roots will be able to dig in, weakening the structure and allowing water to penetrate into the structure.

Other places you should avoid allowing ivy to grow:

  • Wood Surfaces: Wooden structures are easily damaged by ivy growth, weakening the structure and promoting wood rot and insect infestation.
  • Siding: When ivy gets into the seams of the structure it can creep under the siding and cause damage.
  • Stucco: Ivy roots will penetrate stucco, and as the plant becomes heavy, the stucco can crack and break apart resulting in discoloration and an unsightly appearance.

 

The Damage Trees Can Inflict On Your Foundation

The Damage Trees Can Inflict On Your Foundation

Ten years ago, that new tree you planted looked great, didn’t it? But now, you sometimes feel that same tree is attacking your house. It’s really close to your house. The roots are sticking up out of the ground and tunneling under your house.

The Damage Trees Can Inflict On Your Foundation

Trees can cause lots of different types of foundation damage. Even if the roots are not growing near your foundation, the roots of large trees soak up a lot of water. Unfortunately, that dries out the soil around your home and over time, causes foundation damage.

Trees + Water + Foundation = Bad

Trees use a lot of water. On a hot summer day, some trees can use as much as 15 gallons every hour. It’s incredible! A large oak tree can draw 50 gallons of water every day.

There are high water demand trees, as well as low water demand trees, so if you’re thinking of doing some spring planting, here are some tips. Plant conifers like cedar, pines and spruce or other trees like beech and birch; all are low water demand.

High demand trees are oaks, maples (especially Manitoba and silver varieties) willows and elms. If you have any of these large and established high demand trees anywhere close to your foundation,  that might spell trouble. Even moderate water demand trees like maples (sugar and red), ash or cherry can create foundation issues, particularly in hot weather.

Because of the moisture taken away by the tree, your foundation can settle on one side but not on the other. The concrete may crack and even collapse without the soil support underneath.

How to Prevent Foundation Damage from Trees

Of course, it’s always best to not plant next to your foundation. But if that is unavoidable, use soaker hoses around the foundation to keep the soil moist. It means a bit higher water bill, but that pales in comparison to what a foundation repair might cost. You might even consider removing landscaping or cutting down any problematic trees.

You can also have tree root barricades installed to stop roots from growing into the foundation. They’ll typically be installed about five feet away from the foundation for trees that are within 20 to 30 feet of your house.

Reasons You Need to Hire a Professional if you have Water Damage

Water damage to your home can have lasting consequences, especially if left untreated. Mold can grow, wood can weaken, and a nasty smell can linger.  It is imperative to have a professional look at the problem so that the damage can be minimal, and you won’t have to spend double the money on repairs. A professional can tell you the procedure for how they will handle the water damage to ensure it is fixed properly. You will want to inform the professionals as soon as possible to avoid any further issues or complications. It is also important to hire a professional to see the damage so you can properly file a claim with the insurance company. The insurance company can be a hassle to work with, and hiring a professional will speed the process. Depending on the company and the size of the claim, they may assist you with the report to file with your insurance company, which will save you time.

One of the worst things that can happen when you have water damage is to have mold start to grow.  Mold grows quickly and can cause a lot of health issues if left untreated, even with a small amount of moisture. Hiring a professional water damage company will give you the proper care to remove the mold. They will be able to determine if mold is growing and can stop it from reaching other parts of your house. Mold is an issue that needs to be dealt with immediately. Without a professional water damage company, you may not realize where mold could potentially grow, leaving yourself open for a larger issue months down the road. Can you imagine repairing the water damage only to have everything need to be redone months later due to a mold issue? 

If you need a professional water damage company, you will want to look at local businesses. They have knowledge of the area, local references, and can tell you what to expect.  They have more to lose as well because they thrive on the local population for business. Most local companies will be striving for a good recommendation and will do their best for you.  It is also a good idea to go local because a lot of them provide 24-hour services.  It’s a benefit if you have major damage and need them to look at it right away.  You can find a good local company through local reviews and business flyers.

When you hire a professional water damage company, they work quickly and efficiently to repair the damage.  It’s hard to fix everything yourself, and the assistance you get from a professional service can save you a lot of time and money.  The worst part of hiring a professional company is that you have to pay for the service, along with the cost of repairs.  It is a lot of money to put up front, but it will benefit you in the long run. There have been too many horror stories of DIY repairs gone wrong and homes having to be remodeled because of the lasting effects of water damage. Don't take chances, hire a professional immediately.