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Hardwood floor cleaning brings lots of benefits

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Hardwood floor cleaning does more than improve the looks of your flooring. Proper cleaning and maintenance can even extend the life of your floors.

 

Dust, sweep or mop regularly – It is important to clean your wood floors regularly. Dusting, sweeping and or mopping should be completed every few days. It is important to remove surface contamination as it can ruin finish or leave scratches. Any spills or stains should be cleaned up immediately. Water can penetrate into the flooring and cause swelling or microbial growth. Utilize furniture pads to prevent scratching. Furniture can cause hard wood floors with scratches or wear marks. 

 

Use a vacuum weekly – A vacuum with a bare floor or hardwood setting is very effective for cleaning floors and preventing damage. A vacuum will get the dirt and debris which can settle into the crevices and be missed with sweeping or mopping.

 

Clean with hardwood floor cleaner multiple times a year – There are many products available for hardwood floor cleaning. Make sure you pick one that is suited for your type of floor. It is often best to test any new products before using it.

 

Have a professional cleaning completed once a year – A professional deep clean of your hardwood floors can maintain a hardwood’s natural beauty. A deep clean will eliminate all abrasive particles and ensure a lasting clean. 

 

Refinish flooring every few years – Hardwood flooring needs to be refinished every few years depending on the amount of traffic it gets. This range is normally between three to six years.

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Understanding Foundation Cracks and Fixes

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A foundation crack can lead to water or structural damage in a home or business. Discovering a problem with the foundation of a building can be an unsettling situation, but Team Newman is here with some helpful information so you can be educated about what to do with a foundation crack. 

 

Vertical cracks are the most common – As a home settles, it is typical for vertical cracks to develop. Vertical cracks are found most often in basement walls and are typically the easiest type of foundation crack to fix. The main issue that comes with vertical cracks is how they allow for water to penetrate the foundation. However, a foundation waterproofing injection can solve the issue and prevent interior water damage.

 

Diagonal crack may point to bigger issues – If a foundation crack has an angle from 30-75 degrees, it is considered a diagonal crack. These can be caused from the foundation settling in an uneven manner. If water does not drain properly from one side of the house, it can cause the soil to compact more on one side and create a diagonal foundation crack. Along with fixing the crack, additional steps may need to be considered to ensure the cause of the uneven foundation settling is addressed. Landscaping and drainage issues often need to be addressed. A diagonal crack can also require a structural fix to ensure the integrity of the foundation.

 

Horizontal crack can cause issues with structural integrity – This is the most serious type of foundation crack. Pressure on the foundation wall can cause it to bow inwards. This can lead to the failure of the foundation and collapse of the property. It is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed right away. Fixing a horizontal crack is often a major project. It can involve installing anchors or piers to prevent any further bowing to prevent the foundation from failing.

 

Fix it when you have the chance – When a crack is discovered, it is best to seal it right away. If a crack is left unattended, it can grow and lead to a more costly repair. A horizontal foundation crack may require that the property be evacuated until it can be fixed. Many vertical cracks can be sealed with a waterproofing injection. Horizontal and diagonal cracks may need a structural fix if recommended by a structural engineer. 

 

Be on the lookout for signs of a structural issue – Water or added humidity in a basement or crawl space is a common sign that there is a foundation crack allowing for water penetration. Pungent or musty odors are also an indication that water is entering the property through a slow leak or foundation crack. Cracks in plaster walls and doors that no longer open easily are a sign that the foundation is settling in an uneven matter. These signs are a good reason to have your home and foundation inspected. 

 

Water damage from foundation cracks may not be covered by insurance – Many homeowners are not protected from foundation cracks and the ensuing water damage. Because the water is coming from outside the home, many insurance carriers will deny coverage. It is always best to have an understanding of your liabilities or gap in insurance coverage. Often, a flood insurance policy can protect homeowners from water damage due to an outside source. However, it is important to cover the topic with your specific insurance company.

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Spring is the perfect time for a professional carpet cleaning

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Professional carpet cleaning is the perfect way to maintain a substantial investment made in a home. Especially when entering the warmer months of the year, a professional carpet cleaning can improve the look and health of your carpets.

 

Extend the life of a carpet – A professional carpet cleaning improves the lifespan of a carpet. It is often a requirement to maintain the warrant of a newly installed carpet. If done correctly, a carpet cleaning will remove dirt and debris from the carpet that can cause permanent damage if left to stay. Ever notice traffic lanes start to develop in a carpet? A professional carpet cleaning can help these areas spring back and last longer without wearing out. It is important to get rid of the dirt and debris that has built up over the winter!

 

Develop a healthier in-home environment – Allergens, dirt and bacteria become trapped in a carpet from regular use. A professional cleaning can thoroughly reduce the amount of contamination built-up in a carpet and create a healthier environment. It can also reduce odors that are emanating from a carpet. Your carpet can act as a filter for the air in your home. You do not want to go an entire year without getting that filter cleaned. 

 

Improve the look of a carpet – One of the most noticeable benefits of a professional carpet cleaning is the improved look. A cleaning can remove staining and brighten the look of a carpet. It also revitalizes worn down traffic lanes. Don’t be hesitant to invite guests over because of carpet that looks worn down. A professional cleaning will make your carpet look much younger.

 

Add a carpet protector – After a professional cleaning is the best time to add carpet protector. This is an option with most professional cleaning companies. It can protect against the buildup of stains and dirt. It also allows your vacuum to work more efficiently and will leave your carpet looking cleaner for longer.

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Spring is the perfect time for a chimney sweep

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As the weather begins to warm up around Montana, most of use will retire using the fireplace or wood burning stove for the next six months. However, now is the best time to get a chimney swept.

 

Chimneys should be swept yearly – If a chimney is used regularly during the winter, it should be swept every year. A chimney sweep can prevent creosote buildup, which is a common ignition source for a dangerous house fire. A sweep will also eliminate any blockages and allow for the chimney to draft more efficiently. 

 

Avoid the rush – Once the cold weather starts to set in, the phone starts ringing for professional chimney sweeps. You can avoid the rush by booking your chimney sweep in the spring or summer.

 

Be ready for the cold weather – Getting your chimney swept early puts your mind at ease for when the cold weather comes. Having a clean chimney means you are prepared for the cold weather ahead.

 

Easier access = a better clean – A snow covered or icy roof can prevent access to the top of the chimney. The ability to clean from the top of the chimney down to the fireplace or stove, allows for a more thorough clean.

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Be cautious of ice damming on your property

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Snowfall and freezing temperatures leave many homes at risk of water damage from ice dams. Ice dam removal should be handled by professionals and can be dangerous for the inexperienced.

 

What is an ice dam – An ice dam occurs when snow melts and refreezes on a roof. Sunlight or heat from the inside of a home partially melts the snow as it refreezes overnight. Water can penetrate the shingles and then freeze and expand, eventually causing damage to the roof and allowing water to penetrate inside the home.

 

How to prevent ice dams – There are many products available to prevent an ice dam. Heat tape, snow shields, roof melt and improved attic insulation are all beneficial products to prevent an ice dam. Roofing and insulation experts can be your first line of defense against an ice dam. Using a roof rake to clear snow from the roof before it can freeze is an effective tool, but it can be dangerous and difficult work.

 

Removing an ice dam – Removal can be a tricky and dangerous job. Aggressively removing an ice dam can pull shingles and cause further damage. Do not use a sharp tool like an axe or pick to remove an ice dam as it can penetrate the roof. The most effective method is to use a roof melt product to create a trough for the ice to melt off the roof. It is also important for gutters and downspout to be clear to allow for proper drainage

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Beware of frozen pipes with plummeting temperatures

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Temperatures across Montana are expected to drop below zero during the month of February. It is time to pay attention and take the necessary steps to prevent freezing pipes.

 

Where are pipes most likely to freeze – Some pipes are more vulnerable than others. Pipes running near exterior walls are susceptible to freezing. Pipes in the crawlspace are also vulnerable to freezing if they are not properly insulated. Whichever areas of the home are the coldest or most difficult to heat are going to be the first to freeze. These areas should be checked daily to catch water damage before it develops into a larger issue.

 

Signs of a frozen pipe – Water flowing suddenly from pipes or barley trickling out can be a sign of freezing. Excess moisture or a very cold tap is another indication. A frozen pipe may also be bulged out around where the water has frozen. It is possible to unfreeze a frozen pipe, but you should only attempt to do so with the water turned off. Some common home remedies are to use a hairdryer or wrap the pipes with warm towels. Team Newman suggests using a trusted plumber to unfreeze any pipes and offer solutions to prevent freezing in the future.

 

Protect vulnerable areas – Adding insulation, pipe wrap or electric tape can prevent pipes from freezing. Eliminating the source of cold air near pipes is also important. Fixing drafts and missing insulation is crucial to protecting pipes.

 

Do not turn off the heat to your home – While it is a cost cutting measure, turning off the heat in your home can lead to very expensive water damage. A pipe may not freeze and burst right away, but consistent freezing and thawing can develop into a sudden rupture or slow leak. Both results can develop into an expensive remediation bill. If the temperature inside a home is in the fifties, exterior wall cavities can easily drop to below freezing. Keep the thermostat above 60 degrees to protect against water damage. If you are going to leave a property unattended, it is recommended to have a plumber winterize the pipes. This step is expensive, but is often less than the deductible for a water damage claim.

 

Perform a structure walkthrough – It is a good idea to inspect all the living spaces of your home daily. Look for discoloration in walls or ceilings or a musty smell. These are signs of a possible slow leak from a damaged pipe. A small leak can lead to large amounts of damage if it is undetected. It is also recommended to check crawl spaces and attics routinely, as they can also develop water damage. Look for excess moisture or elevated levels of humidity, which are often the first signs of water damage in unoccupied or unfinished spaces.

 

Know where to shut off the water – If a pipe does rupture, turn off the water to the home immediately. Knowing where the water shut off valve is located is very important. It is a good practice to clearly label the valve so someone else can easily find it. These valves are most often located on the perimeter of the home in a utility space. It will be located very close to where the water enters the home from the main line. If it is difficult to find the water shut off, contact a local plumber who can help explain the system. Shutting off the water quickly can prevent additional damage.

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Fire prevention and safety tips

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Fire prevention and safety tips

 

Regular steps can be followed to decrease the chances of a fire occurring on your property. These measures need to be paired with home safety to protect occupants from a fire. According to the American Red Cross, occupants may have as little as two minutes to escape a fire. Protecting life is always the most important factor in fire prevention and safety.

 

Fire alarms and maintenance – Follow professional recommendations and code regulations for installation and location of fire alarms. They should be located on all levels of a structure and inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test fire alarms monthly and immediately address any issues. 

 

Fire safety plan – Develop a fire safety plan and practice it! Everyone living inside the dwelling should know the safety plan and how to execute it. Remember, there may only be a few minutes to escape the structure and the safety plan needs to be executed quickly. 

 

Know when, how and what type of fire extinguisher to use – It is important to know when it is appropriate to use a fire extinguisher versus escaping a fire. Also understanding how a fire extinguisher works and what type of fire it is appropriate for. Please follow this link for more information: Fire Extinguisher Classes & Safety Tips – Nationwide

 

Be up-to-date on regular maintenance – Do you sweep your chimney and get it inspected every year? Do you have your dryer vent cleaned every year? These are important maintenance items which need to be addressed. Dryer vents and chimneys are leading sources of home fires.

 

Be mindful of normal household items – If you utilize space heaters, make sure there is adequate space around them so they do not catch something on fire. Watch out for stray tea towels or flammable items near the stovetop. It only takes a few seconds for something to catch fire.

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Check for proper drainage to avoid future water damage

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With a mild winter so far in central Montana, now is a good time to take advantage and check for proper drainage throughout your property. 

 

Complete a thorough check of the gutter system – Ensure gutters are clean of debris and blockages. Check that connections are tight and there are no gaps between the gutter system and the roof. Double check gutters have the proper slope that goes towards the downspouts. The gutter pitch or slope is very subtle and often needs to be checked with a level. A half inch of slope is recommended for every ten feet. Over time, pressure, wear and knocks from branches can mess with the pitch. It is important to check the gutter pitch to ensure water is able to flow easily to the downspouts without pooling.

 

Downspouts need to remain clear and have enough space to push water away from the foundation – A clogged downspout can be trouble for the entire system and lead to damage and repairs. Downspouts should drain at least five feet away from the property. If possible, have downspouts pushing water onto a hard surface which is sloped away from the property. If this is not possible, utilize splash pads or downspout extensions to properly divert the water. 

 

Whether it is rain or snowmelt, check to see where the runoff is going – Controlling water runoff is key to avoiding water damage inside your home. If water is pooling close to foundation walls, it can saturate the ground and cause interior water damage. If water is consistently settling near the foundation, landscaping may be required to create proper drainage.

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Start off the new year with a healthier indoor environment

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As we naturally spend more time indoors during the winter months, it is imperative to have a healthy indoor environment. The duct system of your home can be seen as the lungs of a house. If they have not been professionally cleaned, the duct system can spread dust and allergens around the home. 

 

It would surprise many homeowners how much debris can be held inside the duct system. Everything from pet hair, dust buildup and even small children’s toys can find their way into the vents. These items allow for blockages or buildups of moisture and debris which impact the air quality of a home. 

 

A professional duct cleaning will systematically clean all the vents and trunk lines to remove any debris. This will create a healthier living space and allow the system to run more efficiently.

 

Along with a professional cleaning every three years, furnace filters should be replaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, normally every 90 days. Check for debris lodged in vent covers and clean them out before they fall into the ducting. 

 

Carpets are another portion of the home which can negatively impact indoor air quality. Allergens and dirt will trap themselves inside the carpet fibers. Regular vacuuming will help, but can also spread allergens if the vacuum does not have a good filter.

 

A professional carpet cleaning will reduce the allergens and dirt trapped inside a carpet. The proper detergent and process will increase the visual appearance and the cleanliness of carpet and upholstery.

 

Are you concerned about your indoor air quality? Contact Newman Restoration at 406-672-2819 to discuss our cleaning services which can make your home a more comfortable place to live!

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Understanding microbial growth in your home

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One of the most common questions asked of a professional restoration company is, “do I have mold in my home?” It is a common concern for many homeowners, however the answer to the question is not always easy. 

 

At Newman Restoration, we typically do not use the word mold, but instead refer to it as microbial growth. There are many varieties of spores and growths which can occur in a home, and they can not be accurately diagnosed with a visual inspection. To properly diagnose microbial growth, samples must be collected by an industrial hygienist and analyzed in a certified lab. 

 

Microbial growth needs a food source, time and the proper atmospheric conditions to grow in a home. The food source is often drywall or wood and with the proper atmospheric conditions it can begin to develop in 24 to 48 hours. Microbial growth also requires moisture to allow it to grow. This water source can be from a variety of factors inside a home.

 

A flood or slow leak are the most common sources of moisture which allow for microbial growth. A flood from a burst pipe or external water source can develop an issue quickly if the water is not removed. A slow leak from a sink, dishwasher or toilet can allow for microbial growth over time. High levels of humidity are another possible source of moisture. Elevated humidity in a crawl space or attic can develop condensation and allow for microbial growth. 

 

Preventative measures are necessary to avoid microbial growth. Check faucets, toilets and appliances for leaks and get them fixed right away if any leak is detected. Regularly inspect crawl spaces and attics  for elevated humidity. If you do have a flood in your home, have the water extracted and necessary demolition and dry out completed.

 

There are a few physical signs of microbial growth which require immediate attention. If a home is starting to develop a stale or mildew type smell, it can be a sign of microbial growth occurring. Microbial growth can develop inside a wall cavity or underneath flooring and the first sign may be an odd odor. Visual signs of microbial growth will also occur. Stringy or fuzzy patches of growth can appear on building materials. These growths can be a variety of different colors, from black, brown and grey to yellow, pink and green. Any of these signs should be addressed immediately. 

 

It is important for microbial growth to be addressed correctly. It is very easy to spread spores and contaminate other areas of the home. Proper personal protective equipment must be utilized to keep workers safe when they are removing microbial growth. A professional remediation company will set air containment chambers and use specialized equipment to protect themselves and prevent cross contamination. Depending on the severity of microbial growth, building materials may need to be removed and replaced.

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