The St. Martin Team - Westford MA Real Estate
Westford Massachusetts | 978-935-9500 |

Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/19/2020

Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

As homeowners, we can get fairly strategic about hiding the flaws in our home. We might move the sofa over a water stain on the hardwood or put a rug over a crack, tear or discoloration. While you'd never try to hide this stuff from potential homebuyers, it does keep it out of view when guests come over. And at least for a moment you too forget the damage is there.

But covering floor damage isn't always your best option. And knowing when to cover and when you resurface is vital to your home's health and happiness. 

When Not to Cover

Don't cover if:

  • Damage is in a location with significant foot traffic. In these cases, covering could cause a tripping hazard.
  • Spot smells bad. If that spot is a pet mistake or smells mildewy, then you may no longer smell it. But your house guests do, and a rug will just soak up the smell. Refinishing can remove layers of deep-set smells from your floor.
  • The floor is sinking or uneven. This might suggest a rotting baseboard, which needs to be replaced. It's pretty easy to replace baseboards. But you'd need to pull up a section of your floor to do so, which may require professional help.
  • In these scenarios, it's time to refinish the floor. Here's how it's done.

    How to Refinish a Hardwood Floor

    First, check to make sure your floor is refinishable. A faux wood floor can be convincing. If it's laminate, then you'll need to replace it. But the good news is that you may only have to replace sections if they still make the product.

    You can refinish:

  • Wood
  • Bamboo
  • Cork (but only a professional should attempt it)
  • Remove everything in the room, including items on the wall. Dust will get everywhere. It's easier to clean up if you have fewer surfaces to dust afterward.

    Next, rent an electric floor sander. They come in coarse, medium and fine. You need all three to do the job, starting with coarse then moving back to fine. Always put on your safety goggles when using a hand or electric sander.

    If you have any nicks to fill, use wood putty. Slather it over the area. Let it dry. Then sand with a hand sander using fine sandpaper.

    Remove the dust you produced while sanding with a dust filtered shop vacuum. But you'll find that doesn't get all of it. A wax-impregnated cheese cloth can pick up what remains.

    Now, apply at least two coats of your polyurethane, varnish or penetrating sealer. Let that final coat dry at least 24 hours before moving furniture back in.

    For more helpful home revitalization tips, follow our blog. 

    Categories: Uncategorized  

    Posted by St. Martin Team on 1/18/2018

    You may not think much about your hot water heater. Unless of course, your hot water heater ends up breaking down. Hot water is so important in our homes, yet we take this resource for granted. Hot water does a lot in our homes from clean our laundry to disinfect our dishes to heat up our showers. We use it without thinking about it.  

    If you neglect your hot water heater it can cause some costly damage to your home. Your basement could end up flooded. Pipes can burst. You can be without the use of hot water for days- even weeks- if you’re not vigilant about taking care of your hot water heater. 

    Once water is gushing from the source, the best course of action is to simply shut the water off to your home. Before you even get to that point there are some tell tale signs of damage to your hot water heater that can be detected before major issues arise. First, if you notice any type of water around your hot water heater, you should get it checked out. Don’t look at it as “no big deal.” Any type of moisture or water stains around the water heater itself are a sure sign that something isn’t right with the unit.

    As a homeowner, you should know just how old your hot water heater is. Usually, the installation date on the heater is noted somewhere along with the serial number. The typical hot water heater lasts about 9-11 years. If you live in an area with hard water, this number can vary.   

    The Cleanup

    Once the damage is done to your hot water heater you’ll likely have a large cleanup project on your hands. You’ll need to call water extraction services that will help dry out the area and clean up any baseboards that can become hazardous. Sometimes, these projects can get a bit bigger than you’d ever expect. After the water is pumped out, the cleanup has only just begun.  

    Why Hot Water Heaters Fail

    The minerals from water tend to build up (especially in the case of hard water) and cause the unit to rust out form the inside. While the inside of the tank contains glass, it does have metal pieces that can rust. You can replace certain parts of the hot water heater from time to time to keep it in good working order, the best prevention is to replace your water heater when the time is right. Don’t let the unit sit until way past its expiration date.

    Being The Homeowner

    As a homeowner, you probably wonder if something like a broken water heater were to happen if your insurance would cover the cost of the damage. The insurance will cover the cost of cleanup and repairs. The insurance will not cover the cost to replace the hot water heater or any labor costs. The only way the entire cost would be covered is if you have a home warranty. 

    A simple thing that you can get to help alleviate major damage to your home from a hot water heater is to get an alarm. This little device is inexpensive and will alert you when any water hits near the areas of the alarm. This could save you a lot of costly damage and repairs. The most important thing that you can do in your home to prevent major damage from a hot water heater is to stay vigilant and keep on top of maintenance and replacement timelines.           

    Categories: Uncategorized  

    Posted by St. Martin Team on 3/9/2017

    Most properly installed roofs have a useful life of greater than 20 years. Tile, slate, tin and copper roofs can last for decades longer before requiring replacement. The actual useful service of a roof is dependent on climate, snow load, material quality, design, proper installation and adequate roof maintenance.

    When purchasing a new home, always include a complete roof inspection; making your offer contingent on the condition of the roof. A roof replacement is a big investment. Inquire about the age of the roof; ask if it is still under warranty and if the warranty is transferable to a new owner. A licensed home inspector can evaluate the roof or you may contact a professional roofing contractor for a certified inspection.

    To safeguard against an unexpected financial expenditure, make sure that your homeowner's insurance coverage provides for the replacement cost of your roof in the event of a major storm, fire, food or devastating event. Read the small print when buying a homeowner's policy. Some plans only offer reimbursement of the depreciated value of the roof. In the case of an older roof, the coverage can be virtually nil.

    A leaking roof does not always mean the roof of your home needs replacement. Leaks can occur from leaking flashings or damage to shingles. A complete roof system failure is rare and is the result of faulty installation techniques, the improper choice of materials or a type of roof system installation that was inappropriate for the design of the home.

    If you are concerned that you may have damage, a leak or missing shingles, do not risk "life or limb" by crawling on the roof. The fastest and easiest way to examine your roof is with the use of a high-powered pair of binoculars. Check for cracked, warped or missing shingles and damaged flashings. Inside the home, look for discolored plasterboard, cracked paint, stains on the ceiling or peeling wallpaper; visual signs that the roof is compromised.

    Many times, problems with the home roof system are not discovered until substantial damage has occurred. A preventive annual roof inspection by a licensed and insured roofing company is the best way to avoid having a small problem turn into an expensive project. If you find indications of a roofing problem, call a professional roofing contractor for an evaluation of the damage.

    If your roof is compromised and a replacement is required, you have two options. Your roofing contractor will suggest either a complete replacement of the roof system or a re-cover of the existing roof. If you own an older home, check to see if the roof has been previously reroofed. Many city building codes only allow one reroofing before the roof must be completely replaced.

    The National Roof Association advises, "The price of a new roof system varies widely, depending on such things as the materials selected, contractor doing the work, home or building, location of the home or building, local labor rates and time of year. To get a good idea of price for your roof system, get three or four proposals from reputable contractors in your area. Keep in mind that price is only one factor, and it must be balanced with the quality of the materials and workmanship."

    If you are an experienced "do-it-yourself" homeowner, there are many remodeling and repair jobs around the home that you can readily accomplish without professional assistance. Repairing or replacing the roof isn't one of them. It's dangerous work requiring specialized equipment. A certified professional roofing contractor is experienced, licensed, bonded and has the equipment to do the job safely right. If you are tempted to tackle the job yourself, keep in mind that most homeowner's insurance policies will not cover damage from a compromised roof if a certified and licensed roofing contractor did not perform the work.