Pest Control: A Natural Necessity

Any homeowner, at some point, will require an exterminator to handle a situation with unwanted pests. Pest Control is a necessary evil when it comes to home ownership. Nature is wonderful, but all of it’s creatures need to stay outside of your home. And depending on what part of the word you live in, the type of pests and insects can differ greatly. Also, pest control is not something you want to put off. An infestation will likely occur if a pest situation is not remedied immediately. And the longer you wait, the worse the problem will become. These issues do not go away on their own.

So what should you look for in your home when it comes to pest control. Basically, anything that seems like it should be outside should be enough to prompt a call to an exterminator. Rat droppings, spider webs, dead insects can all be signs that a pest control situation is developing inside of your home or business. Often times, a pest control situation can be controlled with simple means such as rat traps or ant traps. If you are feeling brave, you can go to the hardware store and buy these traps yourself. However, an experienced exterminator will know exactly where to place these traps inside of your home to most efficiently remedy the pest situation.

St. Louis Pest Brothers

There are other simple ways to prevent insects and other rodents from taking up residence in your home. It is important to keep all counter tops clean and free of food particles and other things that may attract insects. Keeping your floors clean can also prevent rodents and insects from entering your home. Moisture is another trigger for insect infestations. Ants particularly are attracted to moisture and will show up by the hundreds if they find a water source during the summer months. There are ant traps you can purchase at any hardware store, but once again, calling an experienced exterminator is the best way to go as the traps will be placed in appropriate areas.

Larger rodents, such as mice and birds can cause a whole other array of problems. Mice love to enter your home in the colder months and may live there for some time before you discover them. Mice can hide behind walls and in the ceiling where they can wreak havoc on wiring and other functional parts of your home that are not in plain site. Small birds are notorious for entering your home through small cracks between the roof and brick walls. They can also get trapped inside your home, die, and then cause horrible odors that will drive you mad, because dead birds are extremely hard to locate. Make sure you keep all holes and gaps in your roof protected from rodents and birds that may enter.

In summary, your best bet is to contact a qualified exterminator to deal with any and all pest control situations. Time is also of the essence when dealing with unwanted pests in your home. The problem will only get worse and there is no telling what damage these pests may cause. Good luck.

Hiring a Concrete Contractor: Hard Facts

Concrete is durable and it should be installed by a reputable and qualified concrete contractor. Concrete driveways create instant curb appeal. The past few years, the concrete market has vastly improved, with regard to creativity, use, and design. For residential and commercial concrete projects, concrete contractors are in high demand. The mainstay projects remain to be driveways, floors, patios, and other flatwork projects. Stained and stamped concrete work has become popular. Though more expensive than flatwork, it has increased in popularity for both residential and commercial use. This increase led to a strain on the demand for qualified and available concrete contractors who are skilled at working with designs. Before you hire a contractor, know your budget, credit limit, and what type of concrete work that you want to be installed. If you want the standard type of projects, then, seek a contractor who has skill and years of experience with that type of work. If you want fancy designs in your concrete, then, look for a contractor who is up-to-date with the latest designs and methods. In the long run, it will save a lot of hassle and money. Before you hire a contractor, do diligent research. Before the installation begins, check with your insurance agent to ensure that you have the proper type of coverage.

Finding available and reputable concrete contractors is a challenging endeavor. As you would hire any type of contractor, use a thorough screening process. After all, you want the most for your money and a contract is a legal document. Make sure everything is in writing. A written contract should include the price, all fees, timef rames, guarantees, and warranties. Before the work begins, ask about the contractor’s insurance coverage. They should have proof of workman’s compensation insurance. Check for liability and property damage insurance coverage. Each party in the contract has the responsibility of ensuring that all are valid before the contract is signed and the work begins.

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Here are some tips for hiring a concrete contractor. Talk to multiple contractors and don’t settle on the first one. Avoid cheap prices and incentives to draw customers. Check all references and online reviews. Check with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Make sure they have the valid contractor and business licenses within the state of residence or business operation. Ask for at least three references of their previously completed jobs and check their ratings. Be sure to closely read the fine print of all written contracts and warranties. Accept only fixed prices and obtain written comprehensive estimates. Make sure the installation process is written in the contract including all options and details. Don’t pay upfront for the balance of the contract. If you pay with a credit card, you may have some warranty coverage to protect you. Check to see if your credit card company provides that type of coverage. Never accept incomplete or substandard work. Remember this old adage, “you get what you pay for”. Be careful and receive your money’s worth for the job

Chimney Maintenance: Tuckpointing

During the cold winter months, many homeowners like using their fireplaces and chimneys without giving any thought to annual maintenance and repair. On a cold winter evening, the smell of a wood fire coming from a brick fireplace makes one think about chestnuts roasting over an open fire and Jack Frost nipping at your nose as mentioned in The Christmas Song sung by Nat King Cole. During the holidays, hanging Christmas stockings on the mantle and burning the old-time Yule log isn’t much fun if the fireplace and chimney cannot be used.

Some homeowners perform annual chimney cleanings but they do not thoroughly inspect the fireplace and chimney. This type of maintenance neglect often leads to expensive fire damage and loss of human life. Annual chimney cleaning and maintenance can save thousands of dollars. Within a few hours, and spending about $300, by adding a chimney cap and sealing the bricks and crown, the life of the chimney is extended.

The best way to perform chimney and fireplace maintenance is to hire a trained professional called a chimney sweep to perform a certified cleaning and inspection of the fireplace and chimney. However, a skilled DIY homeowner can perform some of the annual maintenance tasks by learning useful maintenance tips. Learn the parts of the fireplace and the chimney in order to be informed about proper operation and maintenance.

Fireplace maintenance and repair tips:

To avoid a possible house fire, perform annual maintenance on the fireplace and chimney system. Annual cleaning of the fireplace and chimney will help to avoid creosote buildup, carbon monoxide, and avoids a house fire. Millions of dollars in fire damage can be avoided and human lives can be saved by performing annual maintenance and repair tasks. Inspect the fireplace for cracks and repair damaged mortar joints. Repair cracks, missing mortar, loose bricks, and broken mortar joints. Inspect the damper, flue, and vents. A poorly operating flue can lead to soot and creosote buildup and noxious fumes.

Chimney maintenance and repair tips:

Approximately 61 house fires in the U.S., on a daily basis, begin with a dirty or poorly maintained chimney. When the creosote buildup in a chimney reaches a ¼ inch or more buildup, have it cleaned. Monitor the chimney’s mortar joints for cracks. This is where deterioration begins, water damage occurs, and mold can grow. Water damage begins with cracks inside and outside of the chimney near the crown, cap, and chimney flashing. From the top down into the chimney water and moisture damage continues. Use mortar mix and a pointing trowel to repair chimney cracks. Better yet, hired a trained professional tuckpointer to repair and seal the cracks. Ensure that chimney flashing gaps are sealed and replace damaged flashing, caps, crowns, and vents. Water mixing with creosote buildup becomes acidic and causes rusting of the damper and speeds up the deterioration of the brick and mortar within the chimney and fireplace. Remove bird and squirrel nests from the chimney cap. Make sure there is a mesh cover, or chimney cap, and keep it clear of nests, leaves, and debris. A chimney cap prevents rodents from entering the home, keeps out moisture, and protects the roof from burning embers and starting a house fire. Be safe and perform annual fireplace and chimney maintenance.

Vinyl Fencing: A Great Choice

Narrowing down the options to select one type of fence material can be a challenge. A great benefit of vinyl fencing is minimal maintenance. Using soap and water and spraying the fence with a garden hose is the quickest way to clean dirt and grim off of a vinyl fence. Vinyl fence material is flexible, sturdy, durable, and said to be stronger than wood and it doesn’t warp. There is no wood rot and it holds up to harsh weather. It is an affordable fence material. It is easy to install and maintain. Vinyl fence material is affordable, versatile, and available in a several popular styles and colors. There are more colors than you might imagine, such as white, tan, black, brown, gray, taupe, putty, and even colors that look like stained wood such as walnut, oak, cherry, and more. Depending upon the chosen design and style of vinyl fence, due to the interlocking pieces, the slats and parts quickly fit together.

A vinyl fence is a great alternative to other classic fence materials such as wood and ornamental metal fences. Most fence companies have a wide variety to choose from. Vinyl fence material is available in a variety of different styles, from privacy-type, picket fences, to ornamental and post-and-rail style fences. You can purchase panels that come in various styles and colors. Of course, you can purchase the gates and hardware that go with the fence material. Vinyl fences don’t need frequent maintenance; however, they are paintable. Even with inclement weather conditions, vinyl fences hold their color and don’t fade like wood. Another great benefit is that they are mold resistant and termites are not a problem. Go green with vinyl which is an environmentally friendly recyclable material. It’s possible to buy fence material that was made from previously used vinyl materials. Ask your fence company if they use recycled materials.

Make a Smart Fencing Investment

Most vinyl fence manufacturers provide a lifetime or a limited warranty on their fence products. Strength and durability are two of the best features of vinyl fences. They don’t suffer the problems of wood or metal fences such as rust and wood rot. Rodents and bugs don’t affect vinyl fences. They won’t look grayed out and dull looking like wood. They don’t rust like metal fences. You can purchase short or tall panels of vinyl fence material. They look attractive and secure and are suitable for most fence applications. Check in-store and online for examples of vinyl fence material and do some research before making your decision to purchase a vinyl fence system. The return on investment far outweighs the cost of installing a vinyl fence system.

Explore All Options

Before you purchase fence material, explore the many available options. A lifetime-limited warranty that accompanies most vinyl fence products is an appealing benefit. The above-mentioned are just a few of the benefits of vinyl fencing. Vinyl fences are long lasting, strong, and easy to maintain. In addition, vinyl fences are available in many styles, colors, and dimensions. If you need a fence for your garden, to enclose the backyard pool, or to protect your property, vinyl fence material is an affordable and attractive option.