Although many of you may be still be recovering from the weekend’s parties, we are, as always, focused on our customers. That’s why we’ve knuckled down and thought about the things it would be best for our customers (and non-customers!) in the Inland Empire to do in 2012, and here’s our top five.
First of all, once your head clears from the champagne overdose, have a look at your 2012 budget for repairs and maintenance on your home, and see what you can afford. If possible, work in these five projects which will aid in the protection of your home and family in the coming year. And, if you don’t think you can tackle them alone, let us know. We are an experienced construction firm as well as a restoration company, which is what makes our work the best in the county.
1. Batten the Hatches: We’re not recommending that you put in a full security system, with cameras and motion sensors—that is, unless you can afford it. But if you can’t, there are many simple things that you can do to improve the security of your home that won’t break the bank. Some of these tips can help you save on your insurance premiums too! (But don’t tell your insurance company we told you that!)
Start by having a look at the shrubbery outside of your windows that are visible from the street. Either cut down or thin shrubs and bushes that would give intruders a place to hide, or replace them with something nice and thorny, like cacti, rosebushes, hawthorne, pyracantha or even “hardy orange”, which also produces fruit! These should stop would-be thieves from lurking under your windows.
Then look at your door and window locks on access points to your home, and see if they need replacing or reinforcing. If you can’t afford a high-end security system, there are still motion-detector outdoor lights that are budget-friendly that deter burglars, especially when installed outside of front and back doors.
Also look at securing doggie doors, or replacing the actual door if the doggie-door entrance is now unused. You can also add a metal screen or decorative wrought-iron gate to your front door, which will not just add curb appeal, it can also increase the value.
Check with your local post office to see if they will deliver to a mail slot built into your door, to replace your street-side mailbox. This will prevent identity thieves from getting checks and credit card numbers.
2. Think Green: No, we don’t mean recycle in the usual sense, but when you think of remodeling, don’t just go to the local Home Depot or lumberyard and start buying new materials. There are many architectural salvage places in Southern California, like Mrs. Beasley’s Antiques on Vine Street in Riverside. The store was established in 1971, so there are many a great find to be had. Look for decorative hardware, light fixtures, wood cabinets (made like they used to!), ornate crown moldings, real floorboards and plumbing fixtures.
3. Be Legit: Before you start adding on the new deck or garage, you’re probably aware that you’ll need to check with the city and get a permit—especially in places like Laguna Beach with their formidable Design Review Board. But what about electricity or plumbing upgrades? Changing out your water heater? Altering your driveway? Replacing shingles or changing the location of your sink or tub? That’s right, you need permits for all of those things. And before you think that the city will never know your toilet moved from one side of the bathroom to another, just wait until it floods and you need to claim on insurance…
4. Code Red: Was your home built before 2000? There were a lot of homes built in the Inland Empire in the 60s and 70s—and did you know that Riverside is one of the oldest cities in the county? It sprang up from land formerly of San Bernardino and San Diego counties, and was formed in 1853. Corona was incorporated in 1896, and even Lake Elsinore has been around since 1888, so the Inland Empire has homes built before the turn of the latest century. So why not bring your home up to code, especially if you have children? Here’s few that can not just save you money in the long run, it will also increase safety:
- Hard-wired smoke alarms in every bedroom and in the hallway outside of sleeping areas
- Ground-fault circuit interrupter receptacles in the bathrooms, kitchen, laundry room, garage and any other space where both water and electricity are available
- Powerful and water-efficient toilets to replace old, water-guzzling ones
- Larger, dual-pane, windows — with at least 3½ feet of open, removable area that will allow a firefighter and his air tank easy access
- Handrails on all staircases both internal and external
- A water heater expansion tank, which can prevent extra pressure and the possibility of an explosion
5. Rainy Day: When it rains in SoCal, and it does, it usually comes hard and fast. And that’s why we need to be prepared. Did you know that even a fairly new and sturdy roof can be penetrated by wind-driven rain? Many of us were affected by the windstorms that came through the Southland in November and December, and it’s likely that your roof is damaged without you even knowing.
Mold damage is three times more expensive to repair than water damage. And if the damage was done because of an earlier problem that wasn’t fixed, you may have a hard time claiming on insurance. Have a professional check your roof for leaks, especially if you have a contemporary-style home with a flat roof.
You should be able to carefully use a ladder to check skylights for caulking that has deteriorated, and replace it with polyurethane caulk—our recommendation, as it keeps the water out better than acrylic or latex. Clean out your gutters and make sure that you don’t have places where water can pool near your house walls, which can cause slab leaks and foundation damage.
Not sure if you want to attempt any of these projects? Has your roof been damaged by that rainstorm? Do you already have an existing leak or mold problem? Please call us right away so we can get your home cleaned up and safe for you and your family for 2012. Call now on 877-732-8471 for an estimate, or use the form on the right side of the page.
We wish you all a wonderful, prosperous and safe 2012! Happy New Year from all of us!