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Removing Stains from Your Home

Removing Stains from Your Home

Stains can come from just about anything and, unfortunately, they can force their way into our lives with something as simple as a sauce spill. When addressed right away, many potential stains can be treated right away. However, there are some options in certain settings that allow you to treat discolorations that have been in your home for years!

Carpet

Dirty pets and kids, red sauces, wine spills, and an endless list of other things could all be causes of stains on your carpet. Some stains build up as dirt over time through general use, where some appear after an event like a spill or a muddy dog running inside. How can you get your carpet looking clean again?

If a spill just happened, it’s best to address the accident right away before a stain has time to set in. To do so, treat the area with a stain remover and follow the provided instructions. If you don’t have a stain remover, these simple mixtures could help get the mess cleaned up.

Some of these solutions also work for older stains, so if you’re having a hard time getting an old discoloration out of the carpet, give one of these a try.

  • Salt and Vinegar: Mix 2 tablespoons of salt into 1/2 cup of white vinegar and let the salt dissolve. Apply the mixture, wait for it to dry, then vacuum it up!
  • Vinegar and Cornstarch: This works well for old stains and dirt that has been ground into the carpet for a long period of time. Make a paste that includes 1 tablespoon of vinegar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch. Let this mixture sit for 2 days on the discolored area, then remove it with a vacuum or a rag.
  • Vinegar, Laundry Detergent, and Water: This mixture works well for paint spills and juice stains! Use 1 1/2 teaspoons of vinegar, two cups of water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of laundry detergent. Let it sit for a couple of hours, then clean it up!

Popcorn Ceiling

Popcorn ceiling is known to catch all kinds of dirt and can easily turn yellow from smoke or water damage. It’s best not to paint over popcorn ceiling because this makes it incredibly challenging and expensive to remove if you or a future resident ever decides to take it off. However, painting is also the easiest solution to cover up stains if you don’t mind the popcorn texture.

If you do decide to clean the stains, however, here’s how!

  • Use some bleach. Mixing 5 parts water with one part bleach to help any yellowed colors return to their original white. Just make sure the ceiling is not too wet! This could cause the texture to dissolve.
  • Rid of the grease. If you have any popcorn textures in your kitchen, there’s a high chance it has gathered a lot of grease and may be discoloring your white ceiling. Use a damp rag (again, be sure it isn’t too wet) to collect any grease then if there is still a stain, use the method above after the ceiling has completely dried. A dryer sheet that is warm and slightly damp can also pick up grease quickly.

Smells

Other than visible stains, there are also stains that could leave a smell like pets or smoke from fire damage or past and current smokers. Luckily, while it may take some time, smells can be gotten rid of!

Wipe down walls, floors, furniture, and the ceiling with rag that has been dampened with vinegar. You could also try and let everything happen passively. Simply open a window (to get rid of the smell temporarily) or set out a few bowls that are filled with charcoal or baking soda to absorb the smells on a more permanent level. You could even sprinkle some baking soda throughout your carpet to absorb the smell. Afterwards, just vacuum it up!

Another great way to clean up your home is with a professional carpet cleaning! Learn more on the Valley Restoration website.

Fall Cleaning: Keep Your Gutters intact!

Fall Cleaning: Keep Your Gutters intact!

With fall approaching, it’s important to know how you can keep your home intact. Cleaning out the gutters on your roof is one of the many ways to keep your home in good condition as the seasons change.

Why do you need to clean your rain gutters?

During autumn, leaves can easily clog up your gutter system. This doesn’t even include all the other debris that has built up throughout the year. When these places get clogged, they can cause some serious problems. For example:

  • They could fall. When leaves and other debris back up rain gutters, any water is held there instead of draining away. When winter comes along and freezes the water, your gutters may pull away from your home and fall to the ground. This could result in a lot more effort and money in order to restore the system!
  • Water may spill over. Water could spill over the sides of the gutters, making the entire rain system completely useless. This could cause staining to the exterior of your home as well as foundation cracks.
  • It could cause rot. A backed-up gutter system could cause a lot of mold and wood rot. This is especially problematic with wooden walls.

How to clean your rain gutters

If you wish to clean your rain gutters yourself, you may find the following tips useful:

  • Get a tarp or some trash bags ready. Climbing up and down the ladder is asking for trouble. Set up a tarp below you to catch the debris you clear so that it is easier to contain and throw away. Another option is to simply stuff all the debris into a few trash bags as you work, then toss them to the ground.
  • Use the right tools. Simple tools like a spatula, a gardening trowel, or even something like a toy shovel can make all the difference! Once everything is loosened, spray out anything extra that you didn’t physically remove with a hose. This will also let you make sure everything drains properly.

Safety

It’s important to be safe while you work! While clearing out debris, be sure to follow a few easy steps to help you avoid any injuries.

  • Wear some gloves. Your home’s gutters could have sharp edges or sharp objects lodged inside all the debris, so be sure to wear protective gloves to avoid any cuts.
  • Wear safety goggles. Digging up debris could cause some to fly at your face. Keep your eyes safe with safety goggles.
  • Check your ladder. Make sure it’s in working condition and check for any rusty steps. A nasty fall is the last thing you need!
  • Remember that you’re high up. If you have the supplies and know-how to use them, a tether or harness could protect you from serious fall damage. Either way, be cautious and watch your step as you are clearing out the leaves and debris.
  • Accept help. If someone offers to help you with cleaning your rain gutters, accept! It’s always best to have someone with you, even if it’s just so they can watch your back or fetch any tools (or refreshments) you may need while up there.
For other home care, restoration, and construction tips, keep reading the Valley Restoration blog!
Why Should you get Your HVAC Ducts Cleaned?

Why Should you get Your HVAC Ducts Cleaned?

How to Know if You Need to Clean

Unless your air ducts are visibly filthy, it may be hard to detect a dirty air duct without inspecting it. If your air ducts are in need of cleaning, you may experience:

  • Higher level of allergy symptoms: If you find yourself sneezing, itching your eyes, or experiencing other allergy-related symptoms on a more regular basis, it may be because of a dirty HVAC system. When it gets dirty, the dust and grime inside blows out, gets into your air, then gets cycled back through the system.
  • Increased mold: Especially when in humid environments, mold could be an issue. In general, if you believe mold could be in any of your home’s ventilation systems, make sure to get them cleaned as soon as possible.
  • Pests: Any signs of pests or vermin in your home may mean you need to get the air ducts cleaned.
  • Dirt: Sometimes, the need for cleaning is obvious when dirt and grime starts to build up in any visible areas of your home. It could be seen on the ceiling or walls around the vents or on the vents themselves.
  • Air Filter: HVAC systems often have an air filter attached. If this filter is covered in dust, dirt, and grime, it should be replaced your ventilation system should be cleaned.

Why You Should Clean the Ducts

No matter the season, not cleaning your HVAC system and air ducts can have a huge impact on your health and quality of living.

  • Indoor air quality: Dirty ducts means dirty air. As stated above, grime in your ventilation system can cause debris to blow out into your home.
  • Allergies: Some people have found their allergies decrease significantly after a duct cleaning.
  • Expenses: You can actually save money by cleaning out your AC or swamp cooler (also known as evaporator cooler) ducts! Air can flow better when the pathways are clear and the system will not have to be repaired as often. Also, your bills may decrease because less air and energy is being used.
  • Mold: Dirty ducts are known to collect moisture, meaning mold may become an issue.
  • Pests: Some people have noticed a higher level of bugs and vermin when their air ducts are filled with debris. If this is an issue, get your home’s system cleared out.

If you are unable or unwilling to clean the air duct system on your own, contact the professionals here at Valley Restoration and Construction! Learn more on our web page: https://valleydrc.com/carpet-cleaning-hvac-duct-cleaning/

Finding Issues with Your Home’s Foundation

Finding Issues with Your Home’s Foundation

The foundation of a home or building is meant to provide structural support. It keeps the structure’s walls, flooring, roof, windows, doors, and firmly in place. When parts of the foundation begin to sink or develop large cracks, it can affect all of these places throughout your home. Here’s how you can know if there is an issue!

Signs of a Foundation Problem

The foundation may cause signs of excessive wear and tear in many different places in your home.

  • Doors and windows aren’t closing or opening properly. You may notice your doors or windows either aren’t closing all the way or are failing to stay closed. On the other hand, they may be almost impossible to open. In any of these cases, it’s possible that the window and door framing have shifted as the foundation has shifted.
  • You can see gaps. Gaps may be visible around doors (particularly exterior ones) or windows. They may not be correctly aligned. Similarly, cabinets, countertops, or baseboards may be visibly pulling away from the walls and creating a gap.
  • Your floor is no longer flat. Sometimes, foundations are pushed upwards by soil and cause an upheaval of soil and concrete under your floor. This is a major example of foundation changes that can affect not just the flooring, but walls, windows, and doors as well. You may notice that certain places on your floor have bubbled, sagged, or taken on a wavy appearance.
  • You have noticed cracks and fractures. The walls, floors, or ceiling may start to create cracks along their surfaces. Bricks, concrete, and chimneys may see similar signs as they break apart due to foundational shifts.

What causes these problems with the foundation?

The foundation of your home is meant to protect the structure from the constantly changing soil beneath it. However, after a while, even this base starts to be affected by the earth’s shifting.

  • Water: Just like any other part of a building, there are always going to be small cracks in the foundation that, by themselves, have no effect on the home. However, when water gets into these cracks, it will begin to erode the material. Places like Colorado where it gets quite cold see the most problems of this kind because when the water fills the cracks, it can also freeze and expand. This further breaks down the foundation material.
  • Wet and dry soil: When there is a lot of moisture in the soil, it will swell and put pressure on the base of your home. However, when the soil dries at a quick pace, the soil will contract and your home will settle into the ground. When the soil later expands again due to moisture, the materials supporting your house may begin to break down again.
  • Movement of Land: Even the smallest of earthquakes or general shifting earth can move the foundation around and cause problems.

Although there isn’t much you can do about the natural shifting of the earth affecting the foundation from the outside, you can help preserve your foundation from the inside! Remember that water is the main cause of foundation problems. That’s why when it floods, you’ll want to take care of it quickly and effectively. Valley Restoration can help when it comes to restoring water damage! Learn more about our services by calling 970-964-4437.

How to Clean or Remove Popcorn Ceilings

How to Clean or Remove Popcorn Ceilings

Popcorn ceilings are an out of date trend not only because of their appearance, but also because of the level of maintenance they require. People usually remove this texture not only because it is out of date, but also because of how dirty it can become. However, they can be a pain to remove from older homes.

How can I clean my popcorn ceiling?

The rough textures catches grease, cobwebs, cigarette smoke, and other grime which will cause the once white paint to turn slightly yellow. Here are some methods of cleaning:

  • Remove stains with a bit of bleach. Mixing a lot of water with a little bleach (a bleach to water ratio of 1 to 5) can help slightly yellowed paint to be restored back to white. Make sure it doesn’t get too wet, though, because the popcorn texture will dissolve. If the stain doesn’t come out, another option is to simply repaint.
  • Clean up loose particles. Cobwebs, dust, and small particles can get lodged throughout the popcorn texture. One of the best ways to remove them is to vacuum them up with a wet/dry vac or other vacuum hose.
  • Get rid of grease! Popcorn textures in the kitchen gather a lot of grease. Use a damp cloth (again, not too wet if you don’t want the texture to dissolve) to wipe up any grease. A warm, damp dryer sheet also gets kitchen grease up quickly!

Before you start cleaning with any liquids, test the mixture on a portion of the ceiling before moving on to the rest of the house.

How can I remove the popcorn texture entirely?

If you don’t want to deal with constant cleaning and repainting, it’s best to get rid of it. Here are the steps to take:

  1. Prep the room you’ll be working in. When you start to scrape, debris from the ceiling will get everywhere. To avoid a massive mess, set down trash bags or tarps to cover all floors and furniture.
  2. Work in sections. This will keep you more organized as you work and the process will go by a lot quicker.
  3. Use water then scrape. The popcorn texture will dissolve best if is is wet. After the section is thoroughly soaked, you can scrape it off.
  4. Retexture and paint. Get a newer, more modern texture stamped on and then paint.

Before you start working with any drywall or texturing, make sure to get your home checked for asbestos! It’s an incredibly dangerous mineral used in homes that were built any time before the 1980’s. If you disturb any materials that contain asbestos, the fibres of the mineral could lodge in your lungs and cause a lot of issues. Call Valley Restoration and Construction to get your home checked today!

What You Need to do After a House Fire

What You Need to do After a House Fire

After a house fire, there are several steps you need to take to stay safe and recover your belongings.

Take care of insurance.

  • Contact your insurance company. Most insurance policies cover disasters such as fires and fire damage. Get a hold of your insurance to know what your options for recovery are.
  • Get a fire report. Fire reports are public documents that detail all of the more specific things that took place during the fire. It helps fire departments and your insurance company will want a copy.
  • Make a list of items you lost. Your insurance can better help you cover what you lost if you have a list of damaged or destroyed items. Save the receipts for any new items you buy so you can prove the damaged possessions as lost for your taxes and insurance.
  • No insurance? If you don’t have any insurance, there are plenty of other organizations that are still able to help you. Salvation Army, Red Cross, and religious or public organizations are all there to help.

Find a place to stay.

It’s unsafe to go back into your damaged home, so you will need to find a place to stay with friends of family while your home and belongings are restored.

Look over your finances and other documents.

Sadly, even though you are unable to live in your home, you will often have to continue to make payments on the property. Talk to the lender for your mortgage and find out what options are available.

You will also want to consider credit cards you lost in the fire. Report any losses to your credit card company.

As far as burnt money goes, try to handle it as little as possible. Put any damaged bills baggies or plastic wrap to try and preserve it. If the bills are only slightly damaged, you can replace it at your closest Federal Reserve Bank or the Treasury.

Check for any lost documents and take the necessary steps to replace them. These may include:

  • Driver’s License
  • Insurance policies
  • Automobile Registration
  • Life certificates (birth, marriage, death, citizenship papers, as well as wills)
  • Passports
  • Discharge papers from the military
  • Medicare cards or social security cards
  • Important warranties
  • Medical records
  • Tax records

No matter what, wait to enter your home until you know it’s safe. The fire department or other authority will let you know when it is okay to enter again. If you’re property has caught fire at any point, Valley Restoration and Construction offers fire restoration services to help! Contact us at 970-964-4437 to get started.