10 Fall Maintenance Tasks You Should Start in Summer

DIY experts say fall and spring are the two major home maintenance seasons, with the former being especially important – if you overlook your autumn maintenance tasks, you risk leaving your home vulnerable to the many problems that wild winter weather can bring. These problems can be very expensive to repair, to say nothing of the inconveniences they can cause.

The smart move is to get a jump on your fall maintenance during the summer, when the days are still long and the weather warm.

10 Fall Maintenance Tasks You Should Start in Summer by Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement

Get Started in Summer with These Essential Fall Home Maintenance Tasks

Here are 10 high-priority fall maintenance tasks you should start during the summertime:

  • Inspect your roof. Check your roof carefully for signs of wear and tear, like missing or damaged shingles. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing onto your roof, grab a pair of binoculars and use them to inspect all visible parts of your roof from a distance. Or call a roofer.
  • Service your furnace. Have a professional technician come in and perform seasonal heating system maintenance. Most home heating specialists aren’t busy in summer, meaning it should be easy to book an appointment. Your furnace will run more reliably and economically if it’s properly serviced, so this is an investment that can pay dividends.
  • Clean your chimney. If you’ve got a fireplace, now is the time to make sure the remnants of last winter’s fires are all cleared out. It’s also a good idea to get a head start on restocking your firewood, especially if you cut it yourself.
  • Insulate exposed pipes. Pipe bursts are one of the most feared wintertime home mishaps, as they are a nightmare to clean up after. A key way to avoid them is to insulate your exposed pipes so trapped water won’t freeze and cause a burst.
  • Prune your bushes and trees. Well-trimmed trees, shrubs and hedges don’t just look better – they also grow better in the long run. By pruning now, you’ll give them the advantage of continued health through the rest of the growing season and put them in great shape to come back strong next year.
  • Check your snow removal gear. Is your snow blower functioning properly? Are all your snow shovels in ship-shape and ready for another winter? Now is the time to find out.
  • Check your weatherstripping. Quality, properly applied weatherstripping adds a vital layer of protection around windows and doors, helping keep heat inside during the winter. Give yours an upgrade before fall arrives, since you never quite know when you’ll need to turn your heat on for the first time.
  • Clear your gutters. You’ll need to do this again in the late fall to clear out autumn’s remnants, but a preliminary cleaning effort now will make that task less time-consuming.
  • Measure your slope. If you haven’t done so in a while, check your property’s grade rate to make sure it is adequately sloped to guide water away from your home when the snow melts in springtime. Erosion can affect property grading over time, so if it’s been a few years, you’re better safe than sorry.
  • Check your detectors. Make sure your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order and have fresh batteries. During the winter, your windows are closed and your combustion appliances are on more often. That’s part of the reason it’s especially important to make sure your CO2 detector is functioning properly.

Take care of these tasks while the weather is still warm and sunny and your home will be in great shape heading toward winter.

If you need help preparing your home for winter, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience. Whether you need your furnace serviced, gutters repaired, or water damage handled, we’re here to help!

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

It is important to understand your rights and responsibilities when it comes to home insurance if you ever have to file a fire damage claim with your insurer.

A home fire is traumatic enough on its own. The last thing you want to be worried about is potential problems with your insurance company.

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

Fire Damage: 10 Tips for Filing Successful Insurance Claims

To help you avoid delays or disputes, here are ten proven tips curated from insurance industry professionals.

#1: Act fast to secure your property

Your insurance company will expect you to take reasonable action to safeguard your property from further possible damage. Ensure all fire embers and smoldered out, and if you have to leave your home, make sure all doors, windows and other possible entryways are secured.

#2: Create a list of everything that’s been damaged or destroyed

In addition to making this list, it’s also a good idea to document the damage with photographs. If possible, use these photos as part of a “before and after” presentation, and submit them with your claim.

#3: File your claim promptly

Once you’ve accounted for everyone in the home and you’ve reached a safe place and contacted the authorities, the next call you make should be to your insurance company. Don’t delay.

#4: Keep tabs on your expenses

You may be eligible for reimbursements for expenses incurred as the result of being displaced from your home. Hotels, restaurant meals, and emergency supplies typically qualify. Make sure to keep all receipts related to these expenses.

#5: Gather estimates

Contact reputable contractors and licensed repair and remediation professionals. Get estimates in writing and keep multiple copies so you can present them to your insurer when asked.

#6: Keep paying your insurance premiums

Now is not the time to risk having your home insurance lapse for non-payment of premiums. Make every effort to ensure your premiums are paid in full for the duration of the investigation and claims adjustment period.

#7: Ask for an advance

If you had to vacate the premises on short notice to evade the fire and you’re struggling to meet your day-to-day expenses, you can ask your insurance company for an advance. This advance will be subtracted from the final amount of your approved claim, so keep it to reasonable levels and allocate the funds wisely.

#8: Keep your claim open

Some insurance companies try to close fire damage claims as quickly as possible, especially if a fire has affected multiple properties in a localized area. However, this can lead you to settle for less than you deserve. You may have missed something in your haste that you might have discovered and been able to add to your claim if it was still open. Open your claim as soon as possible, and keep it open until you are certain that nothing has been overlooked.

#9: Contact a public adjuster

Public adjusters effectively serve as arbitrators between claimants and insurance companies. If you feel you aren’t being offered a fair settlement, contact a public adjuster to discuss your case.

#10: Don’t worry about future premiums

As long as your claim is legitimate and you haven’t made any attempt to defraud the insurance company, you probably won’t have to worry about your premiums going up or your insurance being cancelled. Your policy will remain in place, and your rates won’t rise if the fire wasn’t your fault.

If your insurance claim is contested or denied despite your best efforts and you believe the insurance company is not acting in good faith, you have options. Speak to an attorney specializing in residential insurance claims, or contact the office of your state’s insurance commissioner to access local resources.

If you need professional help handling fire or water damage repairs, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. Family owned/operated Charlottesville & Culpeper VA home renovation contractor with over 40 years of experience, we are experts at insurance restoration and offer 24/7 emergency service to our Virginia customers!.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote below

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Kitchen Remodel: Homeowners Guide to Countertop Choices

Kitchen renovations are among the most popular home improvement projects. In most homes, the kitchen is one of the busiest rooms, making it an obvious area of focus when the time comes to upgrade. Remodeling the kitchen is also a great way to boost the resale value of your home, and when it’s done with care, you can even generate a positive return on your investment in the form of appreciation.

If you’ve decided to remodel your kitchen, chances are you’re looking long and hard at your countertop options. A kitchen’s counters are one of its most visible elements, and you’ll need a good balance of beauty and practicality, while not breaking the bank. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the most popular options to help you narrow down your list of possibilities.

Kitchen Remodel: Homeowners Guide to Countertop Choices by Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement

Performance Characteristics of Popular Countertop Materials

It’s important to look beyond the surface when evaluating the various materials on the market. A certain option might look great, but it may not be the best fit from a performance standpoint.

Here’s the low-down on 10 popular countertop materials:

  • Bamboo. This environmentally friendly option looks great, especially when it’s new. However, moisture can warp it, making it a poor choice for use near sinks. It’s also easily damaged and stained, so you’ll have to take extra precautions to protect it.
  • Butcher block. Like bamboo, butcher block isn’t a great idea near sinks, as water can damage it. However, it is an economical option for larger areas, especially if you like the look of natural wood. It also has outstanding stain resistance characteristics.
  • Concrete. Excellent at resisting moisture, concrete is also very stain-resistant. However, heat can damage it, and it can also crack and chip easily. Expensive, but worth the investment if you take care of it.
  • Granite. This is one of the most popular options for a reason: granite is extremely versatile, and holds up very well under practically all usage conditions. It’s also available in a broad range of colors and patterns, making it easy to match with any design scheme.
  • Laminate. Be sure a cutting board and this economical option will never let you down. Knives will damage it, but otherwise, it holds up well against heat, stains, and moisture.
  • Limestone. If your counter is serving a more decorative than functional purpose, limestone is worth considering. However, it’s not the most practical option for everyday use and heavy wear and tear, as it scratches easily. Limestone does excel at resisting heat, though.
  • Marble. Another premium option, marble is fantastic as long as you’re careful not to chip or crack it…and it tends to chip quite easily, so proceed with caution.
  • Quartz. Designed to look like stone, quartz is a high-performing option with very few drawbacks. It’s easy to care for and maintain, and resists abrasions, chipping, heat, and moisture with ease.
  • Recycled glass. Another eco-friendly option, recycled glass is prone to chipping, but otherwise, it performs well and is a great way to add a colorful, vibrant feel to any kitchen.
  • Soapstone. While it can chip, scratch, and stain easily, soapstone is highly resistant to heat and looks dazzling, especially when it’s new.

Still not sure? A home renovation expert or professional contractor can help you sift through options and decide which style will work best for you.

Whether you need to upgrade your kitchen, add a bath or paint your interiors, call Mid-Atlantic Home Improvement. We are a family owned and operated Virginia home improvement contractor with over 40 years of experience in residential construction & home improvement.

Call (804) 647-0649 or (800) 852-4142 or Request Your Free Quote

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