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House To Home Moving Blog

Cracked Patio Solutions

Why is my patio cracked?
The number one issue with outdoor patios is settling or sinking. When a patio settles, it typically does so in various sections and unevenly, which leads to unstable, wobbly surfaces. Cracks will also form as the weight of the concrete surface will no longer be supported evenly underneath. Leaving the patio or walkway in this condition will lead to stubbed toes, leaning furniture, and an overall undesirable place (especially with those unsightly cracks!).

How do I fix it?
So, what causes a patio to settle in the first place? Prior to the concrete being installed, the ground is prepared by compacting the earth underneath with heavy machinery. In most cases, this compacted surface will either be gravel or at least covered with a layer of gravel. These steps are taken to prevent the ground from settling under the weight of the patio installed above. However, sometimes settlement is inevitable due to weather conditions, namely rain water washing away the soil underneath. Also, sometimes the compacting is not done correctly or thoroughly enough.

Option 1: Replace the whole thing
The first way most homeowners think of to address their settling patio is to simply replace it. Seems simple enough, right?

But this method is not so simple. Replacing the entire patio will first require you to remove any furniture you may have on the surface, as well as any plants or landscaping which may be along the borders. Then you’re in for lots of labor, new materials, and foot traffic through your property. Even though it seems like the most obvious choice, replacing the whole patio is the most expensive and time consuming option on the table. So what else can you do?

Option 2: Resurface the top
If replacing the patio doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, resurfacing it might sound like a better option. However, resurfacing the patio’s top only hides the real issue. While cracks and furrows may now be out of sight, the initial problem of sinking and settling has left voids under the patio, and these holes will still exist. Severe voids will cause the patio slabs to rock from side to side, causing an annoying, and potentially dangerous, situation. Also, should the edge of your resurfaced patio be a part of a step, this step will now be higher, perhaps not meeting local codes and posing a hazard.

Option 3: Mudjacking
Mudjacking utilizes a mortar-based mixture which is injected into holes and cracks in the patio slab and pumped underneath the surface. The mixture fills all the voids and has enough force to raise uneven slabs to meet their neighbor, closing any cracks or holes. It then hardens, and prevents any further rocking or movement from occurring.

As mudjacking involves a mortar mix material, it does require a bit of labor and heavy material—so it’s not something you’d want to DIY. Mudjacking repairs may also be subject to erosion, as the material used is mortar based. The final, solid product underneath is also somewhat heavy, and its weight sometimes exacerbates the settling problem, leading to even more sinking in the future.

Option 3: Polymer slab lifting
The most recent advancement in patio repair is polymer slab lifting, which serves as an alternative to mudjacking that offers a lighter material and fewer followup problems. Similar to mudjacking, the polymer material (usually polyurethane) is injected into holes and cracks in the patio’s slabs, and then pumped underneath the surface of the patio, filling all voids and binding with the soil. As the material solidifies, it expands at a rapid rate, and so lifts the concrete surface to where it needs to be.

Unlike mortar mixtures, the material used in polymer slab lifting is surprisingly light, yet equally strong. The cleanup is also quick, as there is no excess, muddy material to have to wash away or clean with water. Once all the lifting is complete, all that’s left to do is a simple process of sealing cracks and adding the finishing touches to the patio’s newly filled and leveled surface.

Keep in mind, for patios composed of numerous smaller stones or pavers, mudjacking and polymer slab lifting will not always be applicable, as it is not possible to lift such small pieces uniformly. Different issues will call for different solutions, and so it is always advisable to call a local professional for large patios or walkways which may be facing settlement issues. Quotes should generally be free of charge, and you’ll then have a good idea of the time frame and cost involved for getting your space back into tip-top shape.

DIY Solutions for Winter Decorations

Indoor Christmas lights help pull a festive atmosphere into your home. Take a box of traditional outdoor lights and string them around your banister, or clump a cluster around a scented candle for a centerpiece.

Mason jar tea lights create a winter wonderland with little work. Coat mason jars with frosted spray paint and place tea lights inside—add some red ribbon or holly for flare.

Boxwood wreaths incorporate fresh greens into your decor without the mess or maintenance. Tie sprigs of boxwood to a wreath frame, and you can re-purpose it all year long with different accents.

Wax-dipped leaves are great scattered on a coffee table or strung up as a decorative garland. The next time you’re outside, pick up a few fall leaves, then simply dip them in melted wax and hang to dry.

Painting Your New Home

So, you’ve just moved to a new house or apartment and it’s time to redecorate it a little bit. But in order to do so, you’ll have to start with the basics, which means you’ll likely need to paint your new home. This step is a must when you move into a new space, no matter if it is rental of your own. You need to make it lovable, and enjoyable. You need to make it feel like home. So, let’s start!

How to paint your new home the right way?
You can look at this from two angles: interior and exterior. You don’t want to start a project that you can’t finish so it’s wise not to tackle more than you think you can handle at once. Many people don’t know how hard it can get, especially if you plan exterior painting work. And it can get quite pricey, so make sure you consider all angles before making your final decision.

A professional painter might seem like more expensive option, but is it really? Well, no. If you hire a professional to help you with this task you will actually save some money. How? A professional painter will do the job quickly and efficiently. Also, you will avoid making some common mistakes that can cost you a lot of money this way. And who doesn’t like that? Everybody does. So – call your house painter right away!

What’s the best time to paint my new home?
Well, the best time would be summer. And before you move in, if possible. This way, your house will be ready for you, and you will finish all other moving-related tasks faster. No one wants to paint their walls with boxes in the middle of the house. Or once you unpack. So, make sure you paint your new house right before you move in.

What about painting the interior after I move in?
Painting your walls after moving in isn’t as simple as when your new house is empty, but it certainly isn’t impossible. All you have to do is to protect your belongings in advance. This can be done with ease, so don’t worry. However, you will need to do it right. Protecting your items is of utmost importance. If you need to temporarily store your belongings, do it! Renting a storage unit for some time might seem a bit expensive, but damaging your belongings might be even more pricey.

How do I choose the right color?
Think about it… and then once more before you make your final decision. Choose your colors wisely because they’re going to be there for a while. So make sure you make the right call. Ask for other people’s advice and opinions. Your family and friends might have some good ideas, so make sure you listen to suggestions from those around you and stay open-minded about your options.

You can also go online and look for other people’s ideas and inspiration. Or you can even hire a designer to help you take care of this task. Whatever you do, make sure you think twice before you pick the final color palette.

Remember: white is the new black
If you like basic colors and tones, white is the right choice for you. It is simple. And clean. It fits every space and it really does look nice. At all times. You can easily fit it in any kind of design, and even if you choose to redecorate your whole new house – you can just add a detail here and there and keep the white on your walls.

Consider bright colors
If you are ready to stop playing it safe – it is time to paint your new house, and to choose some bright colors to do so. Play. Let your imagination decide what is going to happen next. Combine different colors. Enjoy your house painting project to the fullest!

Don’t ignore darker shades
If you aren’t a professional, or don’t really have some experience, we advise you to stay away from the darker tones. They can make your house seem depressing, and believe us – you don’t want this to happen. So, if you aren’t sure – stay away from such colors.

What about wallpaper?
We say yes to all the wallpaper! You don’t have to choose it for your whole new house, or even walls. You can play with it and get creative.

Properly Maintaining Your Dryer

You may know to clean out the lint trap after every load. But did you know that lint can build up in the giant dryer vent tube as well? Excess lint is flammable and creates blockages in the ventilation system, making your dryer work inefficiently. Fires relating to dryer vents are very real. According to the National Fire Protection Association, “dryers and washing machines were involved in one out of every 22 home structure fires reported to U.S. fire departments in 2006-2010.” The leading cause of these fires was the failure to clean the dryer.

Annually cleaning out your dryer vent is recommended, but if you do a lot of laundry, you may want to do this twice a year. It’s easy to clean this yourself with just a vacuum cleaner and a screwdriver. If you also have your washer and dryer regularly inspected, ask your appliance professional to clean the vent as well. Follow these tips for a successful cleaning.

  1. Always clean the lint trap after each load
  2. Pull out the dryer away from the wall
  3. Unplug the dryer
  4. Detach the vent hose
  5. Vacuum the lint out of the dryer
  6. Vacuum both ends of the vent tube
  7. Reattach vent
  8. Plug it back in and move everything back
  9. Do this annually

10 Affordable mini home makeovers pt.2

  1. A backsplach not only adds a dose of character to a kitchen, it also protects walls from splashes and spills. Beaded-board backsplashes, as well as tile backsplashes, are easy to install and can be done without the help of a professional. A beaded-board backsplash keeps this white kitchen fresh and livable.
  2. Trimwork and crown molding are jewelry for walls, doors, and windows. Whether you’re replacing old trim or starting fresh, you can transform a room with trim in a weekend. Give your home a complete look for less with affordable, off-the-rack moldings from a local home improvement center. For a classic, custom look, layer pieces of crown molding around entryways and ceilings.

  3. Give windows a custom look at a cheaper price using DIY window treatments. With a mini blind and midweight upholstery fabric, you can create a charming roman shade to block out sun and boost your color scheme.

  4. A landscaped walkway is a small way to deliver big personality and keep your home fresh, lively, and inviting. Create natural beauty and texture along your front walkway with an assortment of stout perennials.

  5. Start your morning routine on the right foot with the perfect shower experience. A handheld or sliding bar showerhead is easy to adjust for different heights, from tall adults to small children — and pets, too.

  6. An unused hutch, armoire, or bookcase can quickly transform into a beverage station with a little paint and creativity. Store bottles and beverage glasses on open shelves for easy access while entertaining. You can also free up shelf space by outfitting the underside of a shelf with hanging storage for wine glasses. Use drawers and cabinets below to store serving trays, utensils, and linens.

  7. Create a dedicated zone to serve as a central area for often-used games, movies, and media. Here, a media cabinet keeps family members from having to search for game-night accessories. Divided shelves and a combination of shallow baskets, bins, and photo organizers help the space stay organized. Tip: Face boxes and DVD spines outward so they are readable at a glance.

  8. Savor warmer seasons with a simple path that leads the way through your yard or garden. An understated path of irregular-shape flagstones creates a casual, welcoming atmosphere.

  9. Jump-start laundry day by streamlining your sorting ritual. A three-bag laundry sorter encourages organization as a daily routine. The open design with easy-to-read labels helps the whole family see where to place items, saving you time sorting clothes on washday. Small-space solution: Opt for laundry bags that can hang from over-the-door hooks rather than hampers that take up floor or shelf space.

  10. Regulating your home’s temperature is a breeze with a programmable thermostat, and it will save you in the neighborhood of $150 in utility bills each year if used correctly. A new thermostat will be mercury-free and more energy-efficient than an old manual thermostat and can be purchased at local home improvement centers.

    Bonus:
    Illuminate your deck stairs with low-voltage lighting that will provide long-lasting style and efficiency. Deck and outdoor lighting adds safety and beauty to alfresco spaces and allows you to enjoy time outside well past sunset.

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