How to Paint the Exterior of Your Home

Tips for Applying Exterior House Paint

Painting the outside of your home is a big task, but it is a project that will pay off when you choose the right color and pick the best paint for the job. After you’ve selected a color, follow these helpful tips to paint the exterior of your home.

Plan for the Weather

Check the weather and pick a good day to start your painting project. Exterior house painting is best done on a moderately warm and overcast day. It’s not a good idea to start painting outside in the middle of summer, winter, or during rainy seasons. The paint may not adhere as well and you won’t get the best results from your work.

Choose Quality Paint for the Exterior of a Home

If you’re hoping to keep costs down, you may consider choosing a less expensive paint option, but it’s important to use a high-quality product for the exterior of your home. Talk to the paint specialist at your local home improvement store. He or she can offer advice on the best product for your job. Quality paint is more expensive, but you’ll get the best results when you purchase the best paint and the best tools.

Clean the Siding

Paint will not adhere well to dirty and uneven surfaces. Thoroughly clean the siding and trim before applying paint. A pressure washer can make quick work of this step. Remove all mud, dirt, mildew, and algae. Allow it to dry completely before applying paint. If the old paint is peeling away, use a scraper to remove it for the best results. Afterward, sand the siding to prepare it for paint application.

Use Exterior Primer Before You Paint Your Home

After preparing your house for paint, start with a coat of primer before applying your color. Some paint manufacturers offer exterior paint and primer in one product to make this task easier. Primer gives you a solid base and covers stains. It helps the paint go on smoothly and better adhere to the siding.

Paint Top to Bottom

For the best results, start working at the top and make your way to the bottom. Painting this way gives you more control over the paint application and can help you see streaks so you can touch up areas as you go. Apply the paint with the best quality rollers and brushes.

Painting a house is a big job. When tackling this endeavor on your own, keep these tips in mind. If the task seems too big, you can hire a professional crew to complete the work. They’re experienced and have the tools to do a great job that will add value to your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment for our services.

5 Home Maintenance Chores You Shouldn’t Ignore

Some home maintenance tasks help your home look more attractive and your home’s condition won’t suffer if you forget to do them. Others are directly related to the functionality of the home and your family’s health and safety. Here are 5 home maintenance chores you shouldn’t ignore. Schedule these tasks on your calendar to complete regularly.

 

Clean the Gutters

Gutter cleaning is one of the most important home maintenance tasks. Clogged gutters can cause water damage to many areas of the house. Backlogged rainwater in the gutters can seep under shingles and saturate roofing boards. Water that spills out of the gutters and collects by the foundation can damage the siding and seep into the basement or crawlspace. Clean the gutters at least twice a year. If you have a wooded lot, install gutter guards to help keep debris out of your gutters.

Change the HVAC Filter

The air filter in the HVAC system removes particulates from conditioned air before sending it through the air ducts and into the home. When the air filter is full of dust and debris, it can no longer filter air properly.

Your HVAC system will work harder to push air through a dirty filter, lowering its efficiency. It will also send dirty air back into the home instead of capturing pollutants. Change your HVAC filter according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Some manufacturers recommend every 30 days and some recommend only twice a year. If someone in your home has allergies, invest in HEPA filters for the best filtration.

Home Maintenance Chores for the Driveway

Sealing the driveway helps preserve its surface and protect it from holes and cracks. Since this maintenance doesn’t need to be completed very often, it’s easy to forget about sealing your driveway.  Experts recommend applying a sealant coat about once every three years. Prep the driveway first by pressure washing it before sealing it.

Home Maintenance Chores for the Deck

The most common decking material is pressure-treated wood. While this type of wood is treated to protect it from insect infestations, it still needs to be maintained year after year. Snow and rain take a toll on the deck which ages the surface and loosens the connections. A pressure-treated deck should be sanded, stained, and sealed every year. Remove and replace nails and screws that are protruding and secure any loose railings.

Grease the Garage Door

Even an automatic garage door needs its movable parts lubricated to keep it opening and closing smoothly. Buy a product specifically made for greasing a garage door and apply it to the hinges and rollers once per year.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

Add Value to Your Home With These 5 Projects

As the New Year approaches, it’s a perfect time to think about how you can add value to your home. In this article, we’ve compiled some projects proven to increase your home’s value, some of which can be done inside over the colder winter months. Read on for just a few ideas on how to improve your property.

Replace the Front Door to Add Value to Your Home

Is your home older and the front door has seen better days? Consider investing in a new insulated steel front door. A new front door will not only improve your home’s energy efficiency all year long, but it will also enhance security. Paint the new door a bold color that complements your home’s style and be prepared for a great transformation of your entryway.

Add Insulation

Believe it or not, adding insulation provides a great return on investment. Over the years, insulation deteriorates and makes it difficult for your home to maintain a comfortable temperature. Simply adding insulation to your attic will help your family stay warmer in cold weather and cooler during the summer months.

While you’re at it, seal up any drafts around doors and windows with caulk or weatherstripping. These winterizing tasks will not just add value to your home, you’ll also see lower utility bills and your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep your family comfortable.

Garage Door Replacement

While garage doors are not the first thing on people’s minds, they are an important access point to your home and also affect your curb appeal. If you have an old garage door, replace it with a newer model to add value to your home. A new garage door will look great from the curb, be more secure, and will better insulate your garage.

Paint the Interior to Add Value to Your Home

Interior painting is a great project for the winter months. A new coat of paint will completely freshen up your home and give a room a whole new look. If you can’t remember the last time you painted, it’s likely time to refresh your space. Choose light-colored neutrals to update and open up a room. Instead of using paint for color, opt for vibrant accent colors in your pillows, rugs, and other decor. The neutral palette will make your home feel clean, modern, and fresh.

Work on Your Curb Appeal

Now is a good time to start planning for your outdoor curb appeal projects once the weather warms up. Along with replacing the front door and garage door, also consider other ways you can make your home more appealing. Give your lawn furniture a fresh coat of paint, pressure wash the siding, walkways, and deck, and add an outdoor rug, comfortable seating, and seasonal plants to add value to your home.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule our services.

5 Ways To Make Your Home More Efficient

Your Home Could Be More Environmentally-Friendly

If your home is more than 10 years old, there are likely some things you can do to make it more environmentally-friendly. Using technology and changing your habits will increase your home’s efficiency and reduce your utility bills.  Some of the ways to make your home more efficient are simple while others take some work and financial investment.

Make Your Home More Efficient with a Programmable Thermostat

One of the easiest ways to make your home more efficient is by installing a programmable thermostat. A new thermostat can be set to automatically adjust the temperature in your home based on your schedule. Programming the thermostat reduces energy usage and make your home more energy-efficient.

Add Some Insulation to Improve Efficiency

Much of a home’s heat loss is through the attic. Adding more insulation will help cut down on energy usage because climate-controlled air will stay inside your home. Installing insulation in the attic can be done by a homeowner with proper protective gear or you can hire a professional.

If you ever remodel any rooms in your home, check the insulation in your walls. Older homes are notorious for having no insulation between the studs. Adding some will improve your use of energy.

Air-Dry Your Clothes

This might not be possible during all seasons, but air-drying your clothes saves energy. Drying your clothes on an old-fashioned clothesline during the warmer months leaves them smelling fresh. It will also help your home stay cooler and will reduce your electric bill.

Replace Your Light Bulbs

In the past few years, advancements in lighting technology have made efficient bulbs less expensive. CFL and LED light bulbs use a fraction of the energy that older incandescent bulbs do. While the bulbs cost more, they also last much longer and you’ll see your energy bill go down.

Change Your HVAC Filter to Make Your Home More Efficient

Changing out the filter for your HVAC system is another easy way to make your home more efficient. These filters trap particles that would otherwise circulate throughout your home. Over time, the particles clog the filter and block the airflow of your system.

Regularly changing the filter helps the system to run more efficiently and you’ll save money and energy at the same time. Refer to your owner’s manual to find out how often to change the filter.

There are many ways to make your home more energy-efficient. These are just a few of the easiest. Follow these tips to reduce your environmental impact and help you save money over time.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment for our services

Easy Ways to Make Your Deck Safer

Summertime is here and pleasant weather means spending more time outdoors with family and friends. Prepare for cookouts and lounging on the backyard deck by tackling a bit of maintenance ahead of time. Here are a few easy ways to make your deck safer.

Maintain Materials to Make Your Deck Safer

Your deck will need regular maintenance to keep it attractive and structurally sound. Check the railings to make sure they are sturdy and can support the weight of someone leaning on them. Inspect decking for any rotting or warped boards and replace any damaged wood. Reinstall fasteners that have worked themselves out of the materials. Sand rough spots and re-seal the wood to prepare it for another season.

Inspect for Termites

Termites and other wood-destroying insects can wreak havoc on the structural supports and other parts of a wooden deck. Look for soft spots in the wood, small holes, and piles of insect droppings, also called “frass.” Wood-destroying insects can compromise the safety of your deck and home, so call a professional if you think you have a problem.

Make Your Deck Safer with a Shaded Area

The summer sun will heat up decking materials and make surfaces too hot for bare feet or pets’ paws. To keep kids, pets, and older family members more comfortable in the heat, install an awning, use a sun sail, set up a patio umbrella, or plant a tree nearby. Creating a shady area on the deck provides a cooler place for pets to nap and friends to enjoy the outdoors.

Safe Grilling and Storage

The backyard deck is a popular place to set up for grilling burgers, hot dogs, and veggies. Take care when using the grill on the deck. Make sure the grill is level and is on a heat-resistant mat to protect the decking boards. Teach children and pets to stay several feet away from the grill at all times. When the grill is not in use, keep it covered and store all cooking utensils and fuel out of the reach of children.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to customers in Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

ur Deck Safer

Keep Your Fireplace Safe This Winter

Before lighting your fireplace this season, make sure it is in good shape. If it’s been a year or more since you last used your fireplace, it’s important to take steps to keep your fireplace safe. From regular maintenance to a deep-cleaning, preparing your fireplace for use will help protect your family from fire hazards this winter.

How to Keep Your Fireplace Safe

As the temperatures dip, make sure your fireplace is safe to use before building your first fire of the year. Use the following tips to keep your fireplace safe:

Schedule Annual Inspections

The first step you should take to keep your fireplace safe is to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. Every year, your chimney should be properly inspected and thoroughly cleaned by a professional. A chimney sweep will clear out any animal nests and creosote buildup that would otherwise be a fire hazard.

Monitor for Damage and Cracks

As you work to keep your fireplace safe, remember to check for cracks inside your fireplace. If you notice any damage or problems with the masonry, call a professional mason before using your fireplace. If you’re considering doing it yourself, experts warn against repairing firebrick with conventional mortar as this won’t withstand the higher temperatures that your fireplace produces.

Keep Your Fireplace Safe by Checking the Damper and Chimney Cap

Another way to keep your fireplace safe is to check the fireplace damper and the chimney cap. The damper seals your fireplace when it isn’t in use, but should always be open when a fire is burning. Make sure it’s functioning properly before lighting the first fire of the year.

A properly working chimney cap keeps bats, squirrels, birds, and other animals from nesting in the chimney. Without a chimney cap, moisture, debris, and pests can make their way into your home.

Cut Nearby Tree Limbs

When lighting the fireplace, keep in mind that everything outside that’s close to the chimney is a potential fire hazard. Make sure to trim or remove any branches that are overhanging your chimney. With the area free and clear of foliage and tree limbs, your chimney cap will function properly and the airflow from the chimney won’t be restricted.

Use the Fireplace for Short-Duration Fires

Though fireplaces are a great way to keep the family warm during the winter, pay attention to how long you’re using the fireplace. Make sure you’re not using the fireplace as a furnace but as a supplemental heat source. The fireplace is meant to make your home warmer and it shouldn’t be used for fires that last more than a few hours.

Monitor the length of your fires and never leave a fire unattended. If you leave the house or go to sleep for the night, extinguish the fire to keep your family and home safe.

Empty Ashes Frequently to Keep Your Fireplace Safe

Ashes in your firebox are a fire hazard as long as they’re still burning. These ashes can remain hot for up to 3 days, so it’s essential to make sure they’ve cooled completely before vacuuming or sweeping them up. When disposing of your ashes, scoop them into a metal bucket to transport them to the compost or your garden.

Fireplaces make for cozy winter nights at home. Make sure your family stays safe while using the fireplace this season by following the tips above.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to customers in northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule our services.

5 Clues That You Have Mold in the Home

Mold can cause health symptoms and aggravate already-existing respiratory conditions. Mold growth is not always obvious; it can spread unseen behind walls or beneath carpeting. Whether you own your house or rent, watch out for these signs of mold in the home.

Bubbling Paint is a Clue That You Have Mold in the Home

If the paint on your walls is bubbling and peeling off, you may have mold within the wall. This is more common in damp areas like bathrooms, basements, and around windows or doors. Moisture buildup causes bubbling paint, which often means mold is there. Covering the damage with another coat of paint won’t solve the underlying problem. It’s likely that the new coat will bubble also, and you’ll have wasted time and effort. Have the area tested for mold and treat any mold that is found before repainting the room.

A Persistent Cough

If anyone in your family has a persistent cough that is not due to a cold or seasonal allergy, it may be caused by mold. Allergy symptoms that improve upon leaving the home are a good indication that the allergen is indoors. Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to coughing as a result of exposure. Consult an allergy specialist to perform testing to determine if mold could be the culprit.

Soft Spots in Your Floor

Soft spots under your flooring are a sign of structural damage, but they can also indicate a mold problem. In most cases, the damage is the result of floor supports that have rotted out due to water damage. This leaves you with two concerns: an unstable floor and a mold problem. Access the floor from below, if possible, to see what is causing the damage and how far it has progressed. Hire a home inspector for a professional opinion.

Your Home Has Flooded in the Past

This is perhaps one of the most common causes of a mold problem in residential properties. If you have had a major leak or flooding, you almost certainly developed mold in the home. If mold growth wasn’t handled properly in the initial cleanup, you may still be dealing with the consequences.

Musty Odors are Clues That You Have Mold in the Home

The musty, moldy smell is caused by a chemical produced by mold and mildew that is released into the air. It is not enough to cover the odor with air fresheners or household cleaners. Find the source of the smell and eliminate the mold causing it.

Mold tests are available if you suspect mold in your home. For best results, hire a professional to perform the test. You’ll get more accurate results with a trained mold inspector. If you confirm mold is present, take steps to remedy the problem as soon as possible. Remove mold from your home to protect your family’s health and your investment.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspection services, including mold inspections, to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to request an appointment.

4 Signs of Termites in the Home

 

Termites are a destructive pest found throughout the U.S. They can cause thousands of dollars in damage before you even know they are there. Look for signs of termites before the infestation becomes severe. Here are four things to watch for.

Visible Damage is Among the First Signs of Termites

Termites are known for eating wood, but they will eat paper and cardboard as well. This includes the paper backing on drywall, so one of the early signs of termites could be chipped or peeling paint. You may dismiss this damage as just a sign of an aging home, but with a little investigation, you might find that the paper backing was eaten by termites.

Signs of Termites Found in a Home Inspection

Termites tend to stay out of view by building their tunnels in the dark and isolated parts of your home. This is why so many infestations go unnoticed until they’re severe.

A WDI inspector will examine crawlspaces, foundations, basements, and other remote locations to find signs of termites. The inspector’s report will identify probable sites of termite problems based on these observations.

Swarming Adult Termites

The one exception to the private nature of termites is their spring swarming. Winged adult termites will emerge to look for a location to begin a new colony.

Because most people don’t think of termites as winged, these swarms are often a surprising sign. It is important to know what type of insects you are seeing. Winged ants are very similar to winged termites, so learn the differences and you’ll know which of these you are dealing with.

Mud Tunnels are Signs of Termites

Termites stay inside wood for a good reason, because they need dark, moist places to survive. One of the easiest signs of termites to detect is the mud tunnels they build on foundations and basement walls. The termites construct dirt tubes from one source of wood to another so that their bodies will not dry out as they look for food. These tubes are a sure sign of an infestation, so call a WDI inspector to investigate further if you see them.

By the time door frames are crumbling or paint is falling off the walls, the damage from termites is already extensive. Home inspections help catch termite infestations early. This gives homeowners a chance to take action and minimize damage.

Premier Home Inspection Services provides termite inspections to Northern New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

It is common for older homes in New Jersey and other states to have underground fuel storage tanks on the property. Many of these tanks are in place even if they are no longer in use. If you’re shopping for a house, an underground oil tank on the property may pose a risk if it hasn’t been properly decommissioned.

Usually, the only way to find out if a property has an underground tank is to have a trained professional perform a fuel storage tank search. In some cases, however, there may be visible signs that an oil tank is buried. These signs might include:

  • A vent cap or fill valve sticking out of the ground
  • Oil lines coming out of the basement
  • Stains visible near the furnace

If you are purchasing a new home, ask the sellers agent or current homeowner for information about fuel storage tanks on the property. If you find out that an underground oil tank is present, find out if and how it was decommissioned.

Decommissioning an Unused Tank

If the underground oil tank is no longer in use, it should be decommissioned. There are a couple of ways to safely close a tank.

  • Remove the tank from the property. This is the recommended method, though more expensive than leaving it in place.
  • Empty, clean, and fill the tank with concrete or other material to prevent collapse.

If an oil tank has been decommissioned properly, having an underground fuel tank is relatively risk-free, though some lenders will not finance a home with an underground tank. A home inspector who specializes in oil tank location can help you determine the status of the tank.

An Active Underground Oil Tank

There are some liabilities that come along with a home that is heated from oil stored in an underground tank. Fuel leaks are a serious problem that damages property and contaminates the soil. A leak will affect the resale value of the property and can result in fines. Oil tank insurance is available in some states, but the safest option is to remove the tank and establish a different heating source for the home.

Premier Home Inspection Services offers home inspections and oil tank scans in New Jersey. Contact us to schedule an appointment.