When foundation walls suffer serious cracks or uneven settling from water getting down next to the foundation, the resulting repair can be extremely expensive.
Members of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council Inc. defined 8 home improvement projects that should not be ignored because these projects could ultimately end up causing larger problems for homeowners.
Tom Feiza, known as “Mr. Fix-It” and a NARI Certified Remodeler, said the No. 1 most critical repair is GGD: grading, gutters, and downspouts.
“Everyone should be very careful with maintenance of the gutter systems, downspout extensions, and the surface grading around a home,” says Feiza. “We must keep water away from a home to prevent basement leaks and serious basement problems like cracks and wall movement.”
When foundation walls suffer serious cracks or uneven settling from water getting down next to the foundation, the resulting repair can be extremely expensive. In most cases, serious basement problems are caused by poor control of surface water, and it’s an especially big problem in Wisconsin.
“The soil around most of our homes in Wisconsin does not help—heavy clay soil," says Feiza. "So, we must be diligent in maintenance and repair to keep water away from our basements. Unfortunately, most people don’t notice a problem until they have a leak or wall movement, and then it may be too late.”
Homeowners can identify a surface water issue by walking around the home during a heavy rainfall and watching the water flow on the surfaces around the home. Water should never flow toward the home.
Debbie Dempsey of Shamrock Building Inspection Consultants in Pewaukee agreed, listing poor drainage and grading problems around the home as the most critical repair. Milwaukee/NARI members count down additional home improvements that should not be put off:
- Electrical Wiring “Improperly installed outlets and switches, as well as improperly installed distribution wiring with subpanels not properly grounded are a big problem,” said Dempsey.
- Recalled Appliances Sometimes home appliances like clothes dryers and dishwashers have safety defects that could result in a home fire. Check the model and serial numbers of each appliance at www.recalls.gov.
- HVAC Humans may have survived before air conditioners, but extreme weather is nothing to trifle with. Especially for young children and older adults, a broken furnace or air conditioner is a must-fix.
- Attic Ventilation & Roofing “Poor ventilation in the attic risks condensation, mold, and mildew,” Dempsey said. In addition to improving ventilation, homeowners should inspect the roof at least once per year for issues.
- Plumbing & Sump Pumps Water leaks in the home can lead to mildew, mold, rot, termites, and carpenter ants. Homeowners should keep an eye out for dark spots and stains on ceilings and under pipes, and fix any drips. Make sure the sump pump and backup pump are functional and unclogged before any storms hit.
- Unsound Structure If the porch or staircase is showing signs of deterioration, fix it now before a collapse causes injury.
- Aging in Place Is getting in and out of the bathtub becoming a dangerous venture? Are some areas of the home too dark to navigate safely? A “universal design” remodel to help homeowners safely age in place is something to look into now rather than later.
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry. PR