Emergency Board Up Services

When your home has been damaged by fire or a bad storm leaving it exposed to the outside, it is important for you to ensure that it is boarded up securely. Your home’s exterior may have been damaged by tree branches, hail or windows may have been blown out by a fire or broken by emergency services. Boarding up might not be one of the first things you think of but it is vital for this to be done. Boarding up areas of your home that are exposed will protect your property from further damage and greater losses. There are several reasons why this should be made a priority.

Firstly, when your home has experienced damage to the walls, roof and/or windows, you want to be sure that no further damage is caused by the elements. If the damaged areas are not properly boarded up it allows for wind, rain and snow to enter. This will only cause more problems therefore it necessary for this to be done quickly. Water that enters through the damaged exterior will especially cause more issues. Water damage is one of the most expensive to repair and can ruin everything in your home. When water enters, there is also the risk of mold growth occurring which can be another challenging and expensive task.

Boarding up will also deter vandals and thieves. Unfortunately, there are people out there who will take advantage of others misfortunes. If they see a damaged home that has not been secured and is easily accessible, they may enter. Once inside they may vandalize your home and/or loot it. Both of these scenarios will only cause you more devastation.

Furthermore, boarding up will keep wildlife out of your home. Animals looking for shelter and food can enter and they can cause a ton of damage. Animals can tear up your inside furnishings, chew wires, insulation and drywall and leave a horrible stench inside your home from their urine and droppings. Many species of animals can easily enter an unsecured home such as mice, rats, raccoons, squirrels, bats and skunks. They do not require a large opening to get inside, a broken window will easily allow them entry.

Boarding up can also prevent problems with your insurance company. Many companies make it their policy that measures be taken to prevent further kinds of damage. This means that if you do not board up, they may deny all or part of your insurance claim. Do not give your insurance company an easy reason to deny coverage. You will be in a much more stressful situation.
Boarding up will protect your home while you wait to have it properly repaired. It can take time for windows to be replaced or roofing to be repaired so boarding up helps ensure that in the meantime your home is safe.

Restoration Mate can be at any emergency in a very minimal amount of time. We can provide durable material to secure your home quickly in a way that will last until the needed repairs can be completed.

Why Waterproof the Basement?

Basements are at an increased risk of flooding due to them being underground. They commonly become damp and moist, creating a long list of problems for homeowners that is stressful and expensive to deal with. Basement waterproofing is a way to safeguard your home from water damage.

Many homeowners now finish their basements for extra living space or even create an apartment to rent for extra income. Water seeping into the basement can destroy all this costly work. A finished basement generally will cost somewhere between 15 and 30 thousand dollars so it is definitely recommended to have waterproofing completed beforehand to lessen your risks of water damage occurring.

Water damage can cause serious problems within your home. Not only can it completely destroy your furnishings and belongings but it will also cause mold growth if not dealt with quickly and effectively. Mold can put the health of all household members in jeopardy. Some types of mold are very dangerous to be exposed to. Water damage that is coming through the basement foundation can also start to wear away at it. This eventually will lead to structural damage, compromise safety and lead to another expensive repair.

There are 2 methods of waterproofing. The first is to have it done exteriorly. This is normally seen as the best option. A trench will be dug in the required areas, then layers of protective coatings and weeping tiles are applied. This directs the water away from the home’s foundation, keeping the inside dry.

The next option is to have the basement waterproofed from the inside. This method is very useful when there is not enough space to work from the outside of the house. It also is less costly. Interior waterproofing is more of a water management system as it doesn’t prevent the water from entering but it effectively manages the water to keep it from causing damage. For interior waterproofing a trench is dug around the inside walls of the basement. A system of weeping tiles and sump pump will direct and push the water out and away from the foundation.

Waterproofing is the best way to prevent flooding and water damage. There are several reasons for water entering through the foundation walls or flooring such as inefficient grading, foundation cracks, and hydrostatic pressure. Hydrostatic pressure is when the groundwater rises and causes the water to push up through the basement slab or where the walls and floor meet together. These can all be solved using a basement waterproofing method. This is not a job to tackle on your own however. To ensure it being done correctly you should get in a professional waterproofing company as it is a lot of work and each step needs to be completed precisely for it to be successful.

If you are dealing with a flood situation and water damage, call Restoration Mate. We are always available, no matter the time of day. Restoration Mate has the tools and experience you need to minimize damages.

Removing the Smell of Smoke From a Fire

Fires will cause many types of damage to your home, one of them of course being from smoke.  Smoke smell after a fire can be very concerning to homeowners as not only is it unpleasant but it also affects the air quality of the home and can be hazardous to health.  Naturally, you want to have this odor removed as quickly as possible but it definitely proves to be a challenge.

In many cases, it will not be worth your time and effort to even attempt to do this on your own.  If the fire was large and/or the home was exposed to smoke for a length of time, it will be necessary to have a professional to handle the odor removal.  The materials that were burning also makes a difference.  Some materials produce odors that are more difficult to remove than others.  A fire that is burning wood will be much different than burning plastic.  Professionals will have specialized equipment that will be able to remove the smoke odor completely such as air scrubbers, ozone generators, thermal fogging units and hydroxyl generators.

Smoke smell can be extremely difficult to remove as the tiny particles of smoke will attach to objects in your home, especially to anything that is porous.  Paint, fabric materials and carpeting particularly will soak up the smell.  If the fire was not too serious you may be able to try some tips to get rid of the smell.

  1. Remove all fabrics and wash or dry clean them. This will include furniture covers, pillows, blankets, and curtains.

 

  1. All area rugs will need to be thoroughly cleaned and dried. Carpet that cannot be removed should be cleaned with a steam cleaner or you can try sprinkling baking soda and letting it sit for a number of hours.  Vacuum up the baking soda using a vacuum with a HEPA filter so that the particles of smoke are not blown back in.

 

  1. Wash all surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer.  Wash walls, ceilings, floors, baseboards, blinds and light fixtures.  Wash the mop out often so that you are not simply spreading smoke particles around the floors.  Also wash window frames, sills, windows and window screens.

 

  1. Air out the house. Open up all the windows and doors to allow for a good air circulation of fresh air.  You can also set up fans directed to blow the air outside to help push the smoke smell out.

 

  1. It is important to have your HVAC system cleaned out. Get a professional to do this for you.   Smoke will remain in the ventilation system which will seriously impact your home’s air quality.  Be sure to also change the filters on your system as soon as possible.

 

  1. Air purifiers can help as well. Placing bowls of vinegar or activated charcoal may also help with the odor.

After these attempts, if you still have smoke odor in the home, it is probably necessary to replace some of your belongings.  Items like carpets, curtains and upholstered furniture may have absorbed too much smoke and no amount of cleaning will successfully remove the smell.  Paint can also absorb odors and so repainting your home may be required.

Smoke odor removal is a hefty amount of work especially without professional equipment.  Not everyone is up to the job and if you had a large fire it will not be possible to handle it yourself.  Restoration Mate has all of the expertise and equipment to get your home smelling fresh once again.

Most Common Causes of Basement Flooding

Unfortunately for homeowners, some types of basement flooding are quite common.  Basements are very vulnerable to floods.  This is mostly because they are built underground which makes them prone to water intrusion, especially when there is lots of rainfall or thaw.  However, weather is not the only common reason for finding a couple feet of water in the basement.

As a responsible homeowner you should be aware of the common causes of basement floods.  This way you can do what you can to minimize the chances of having a disaster yourself.  Water damage can destroy many items in your basement and is expensive to repair and restore.  It is much better to be prepared and know what you can be up against. Here we are some of the most common issues that can cause your basement to become flooded.

Blocked Gutters and Improper Downspouts

Eavestroughs that are blocked with debris will not be able to move water efficiently and direct it into the downspouts.  Blocked gutters will overflow.  This can result in pooling water by the foundation and this water can then find its way into your basement.  Clear twigs, leaves and other debris out of your gutters a couple of times a year.

Downspouts should be properly placed.  Their job is to direct water away from the foundation.  Downspouts need to be a minimum of 1.5 meters from the foundation to stop water from pooling there.

Failed Weeping Tile

Weeping tiles are installed around a home’s foundation as part of the drainage system.  They help to keep the water away from the foundation walls.  If these fail or were never installed correctly to begin with, it may lead to basement flooding.  It would be necessary to have a professional do an inspection to see if you have a problem with your weeping tile.

Insufficient Sealing

Your basement’s walls and floor need to be sealed with a waterproofing sealant when being built.  If this was not applied or not done right, you will probably see moisture issues in the basement.  Sealants can also wear away over the years so if you have water intrusion, it might be time to get it redone.

Cracked Pipes, Hot Water Tank and Sewer Backup

Your basement is not only at risk of flooding from water intrusion through the floor or walls.  There are several other common causes.  Basements are full of pipes which can crack or burst.  If a water supply line bursts it can quickly flood your basement.  Cracked or burst pipes can be due to their age, poorly done work, or freezing.  Hot water tanks are also located in the basement.  If your hot water tank fails it can leak and cause a huge mess.  It is advisable to have it inspected once a year to make sure there are no signs of leakage, cracks or rust.

Sewer backup is also common.  Especially when there is a large storm the sewers can become overloaded.  When this happens wastewater can come up through floor drains, sinks and toilets.  You can get a backwater valve installed to prevent this from happening.

Sump Pump Failure

Many homeowners rely largely on a sump pump in order to keep their basement nice and dry.  Having your sump pump fail can be disastrous.  Inspect your sump pump regularly to ensure that it is working properly.

Sometimes even with all precautions taken, the worst still happens.  If you are in need of help cleaning up flood water, you can count on Restoration Mate.  We are always open to deal with emergencies!

How to Stop Your Sump Pump Line From Freezing

Your sump pump is vital in preventing water intrusion in your home.  You want to be sure that it is properly taken care of so that it is working when it needs to be, otherwise you could end up with a water disaster in your basement.  In the winter months it is possible for the sump pump line to freeze which will prevent it from doing its job.  There are some ways that you can decrease the likelihood of this happening.

Firstly, if you have a buried line you want to be sure that it is deep enough under ground so that it is protected from the frost.  Your line should be a minimum of 5 inches below the frost line. If you have an above ground pipe it should be on a slope away from the foundation.  It can be a gentle slope, it does not need to be anything extreme.  Moving water is less likely to freeze than standing water so if the discharge pipe is sloped gravity will keep the water moving through it.

Check your sump pump line throughout the winter, especially after a storm.  Make sure that there is no buildup of ice and snow around it.  If there is any, it should be cleared away.  You should also redirect the water away from your foundation as much as possible.  You can do this with a good drainage system.

This will keep your sump pump from working hard especially if the discharge line is beginning to freeze.  When that starts to freeze it makes the pump work harder, possibly leading it to eventually burn out.  Have the drainage pipe for your sump pump drain at least 20 feet away from your home.  You can extend the pipe by connecting a freeze resistant rigid hose.

Insulating the discharge pipe is important as well.  Hay is a natural insulator that you can use over any exposed piping and you can cover the hay up with a tarp.  There is piping insulator you can get from any hardware store to help prevent freezing.  Another way is to attach a larger diameter pipe over the hose to leave an air gap.

If your sump pump line has frozen, have it dealt with right away.  Your sump pump will not work properly or can completely fail when the line freezes.  You may have to replace the sump pump if it has burnt out or even worse, you may end up with a basement full of water.

You can try to defrost the pipes with portable heaters.  Never try to defrost pipes with a blow torch.  This can be dangerous.  It can cause damage to the pipes, you could severely burn yourself or end up causing a fire.  If you are unable to get the pipes unfrozen yourself, have a professional come in to assist you.  They will be able to get them defrosted in a safe way that will not cause further damage.

If you have had a problem with your sump pump line freezing and have experienced water damage due to it, you can rely on Restoration Mate.  Restoration Mate specializes in water damage clean up and restoration.  We are open 24 hours and guarantee to be on site fast!

Preventing Grease Fires

Grease fires are one of the most common types of kitchen fires.  They can occur either in the cooking pan, oven or under the burner in the drip pan if it has not been properly cleaned out from the previous use.  Grease fires can get out of hand very quickly and cause a great amount of damage.  They are easy to prevent with proper attention and care in the kitchen.  We have some tips for you on how you can prevent grease fires and what to do if one begins.

Preventing a Grease Fire

The most effective way of preventing fires in your kitchen is to pay attention to your cooking.  Leaving your kitchen unattended while cooking is extremely dangerous.  Do not go to do other chores around the house while cooking and try not to become distracted by other things going on around you.  If grease catches fire it can flare up and spread quickly.

Before you begin cooking, make sure that the area is clean.  Wipe up any spills and ensure that the drip pan is cleaned out.  Also, do not have any items around that are combustible.  Do not have paper towels, dish cloths or anything else sitting close by that could catch on fire.

If you notice that the oil in your pan is beginning to smoke you should turn off the burner and remove the pan from the heat source.  Smoking can be a sign that it is coming close to catching on fire.  Most oils will catch fire at 500°F.  Heat up the oil slowly and try to remove as much moisture as you can from what you are cooking before placing it in the pot or pan.  Never put frozen food into hot oil.  It will cause the oil to spatter.  Never add water to grease.

If you are deep frying, always use a pot that is made for deep frying.  Use a thermometer to monitor the oil temperature to ensure it does not get too hot.  If you are not an experienced cook, you should not deep fry on your own for the first time.

What to Do if a Grease Fire Breaks Out

When a fire breaks out, do your best not to panic as it will effect your thinking.  Turn off the heat immediately and never put a grease fire out with water. Water and oil do not mix and throwing water on the fire will cause steam explosions that can spread the fire around the area.

If the fire is small you can try to contain and smother it by putting a metal lid on the pot.  You can also dump baking soda or salt on the grease fire.  Never use other kinds of powder such as flour or baking powder.  They will make the fire worse.  Do not try to move the pot outside as this could cause the fire to become bigger and you could burn yourself or drop it and cause the fire to spread.

You should have a class K fire extinguisher in or very near your kitchen.  This type of extinguisher is highly effective at putting out grease fires.  Know how to use it so you are not attempting to figure it out when you need it.  Use the extinguisher if the fire is still small, is not spreading and the fire is not in between you and your only route of escape.  It only takes moments for a room to go up in flames so if the fire is not manageable and has moved beyond the stove, get out of the house straight away and call 911.

Hopefully you will never have to experience any type of fire and with these tips you should be able to prevent a grease fire in your home.  However, if this unfortunate event takes place, Restoration Mate is always here to help.  Restoration Mate is available 24 hours a day for emergencies and are experts in fire clean up and restoration.