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home buying

Pressure Washing 101

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

Weekend warriors around the country have noticed one thing in common since March 2020: Regardless of business restrictions, one group that has stayed consistently busy (and perhaps even surged in demand) is home improvement. While Americans have more time at home to assess and enhance their surroundings, hardware stores have become the place to go as homeowners flock with mile long honey-do lists.

In case your list has run low or you’re looking for a way to make your home’s curb appeal shine even brighter, pressure washing is an excellent way to deep clean your home. Pressure washers utilize high-pressure water measured in pounds per square inch (psi) to remove tough stains from a variety of surfaces. They are available for sale and rent in both gas and electric, portable and stationary models. Once you find the pressure washer that’s right for you, familiarize yourself with the settings and safety operating instructions, as this is a significant piece of machinery.

When you’re ready to get started, here are a few ideas of projects you can accomplish at home with a pressure washer:

  • Blast years’ worth of dirt from your driveway in record time using a pressure washer. Whether you own or rent the equipment, be sure to read the safety manual and follow the proper operating procedures and precautions. Sweep the driveway and sidewalk before you start to remove surface-level debris that may become airborne. Hold down the spray handle and sweep back and forth in broad, overlapping strokes from one side of the concrete to the other. Your neighbors (and potential buyers) are sure to be impressed!

Pro Tip: Use the same method for your patio to stop tracking dirt inside the house!

  • Give your home a face lift with a good wash. While elbow grease is helpful, pressure washing can eliminate dirt, mildew, and grime from your home’s exterior in much less time. Whether your home is finished with brick, wood, aluminum, stucco or steel, pressure washing on a yearly basis is a great idea to keep it looking new! Before you begin, read the manual carefully to ensure you follow the settings for your home’s exterior, and then use a top-down method to wash away the gunk. While you’re at it, be sure to pressure wash your windows.

Pro Tip: If you are pressure washing in preparation for paint, be sure to give the home at least two days to thoroughly dry before you begin.

  • Refinish your fence. We all know good fences make good neighbors, but after taking a daily beating from the sun, wind, and rain, even the sturdiest of fences can look a little run down. Use detergent, medium pressure, and a sweeping fan pattern to restore your fence with a pressure washer. After two days, you can seal or paint your fence for the ultimate DIY makeover.

Pro Tip: Pressure wash your fence once a year to keep it looking new (annual painting not required!).

As we continue to spend more time at home, it’s great to cherish and take care of the spaces we love. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @BarfieldHomeInspection for more home maintenance tips from the company that’s been telling it like it is since 2003. Stay safe and happy washing!

Fortify Your Home’s Foundation

By | Home Maintenance Tips, Seasonal Home Maintenance | No Comments

Often overlooked, your home’s foundation is its structural anchor. A good foundation keeps your home stable and level. Although far from the prettiest attribute of any home, foundation cracks are in fact quite common. From new construction to older homes, many exteriors show these signs of wear. Luckily, many vertical foundation cracks can be easily repaired, and some can even be prevented!

As Randy explained in our “Under the Roof” video series, foundation cracks that show up on your home’s floor commonly appear as the surface dries. However, you should contact us if you notice cracks larger than 1/8 of an inch wide or cracks that offset. Foundation experts may also need to shim a home to level the foundation to meet industry standards.

Like so many other home maintenance and improvement projects, keeping your home’s foundation dry is key. Moisture is your home’s consummate enemy. Here are a few ways you can keep your foundation dry and prevent exterior cracks:

  • Clean your gutters. If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times. Full gutters spill over, creating pools of water adjacent to the foundation.
  • Refill spring soil. Take advantage of Texas spring, and fill in any low areas washed away by heavy rains with compacted soil. This will insulate your foundation and help to cradle it while absorbing moisture.
  • Monitor your moisture. While getting too wet can be a problem, drying out is also dangerous for your foundation. Especially as we enter summer, keep an eye on the weather, your lawn and sprinkler system to ensure your yard isn’t getting too much or too little water.
  • Act fast. As with many things, if you notice a foundation crack, contact the experts before the situation worsens. When addressed promptly, many cracks can be assessed and fixed inexpensively without further damage. Your home inspector or foundation expert can also make suggestions about your home and landscaping to prevent future problems.

While foundations are not a one-size-fits-all problem area, these are some of the biggest trends we see out in the field. If you need someone to take a look at your home, we’ve been telling it like it is since 2003 and we’d be happy to take a look. Just give us a call at 512-350-0123.

For more home buying, selling and maintenance tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Stay safe, dry and healthy out there, Central Texas!

Spring forward to sell your home

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Daylight saving time kicks off this weekend, and although we aren’t excited about the loss of precious sleep, we are looking gratefully forward to longer days, bright sunshine and warm Texas spring weather. While you’re busy checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, this is also a great time for sellers in Austin’s competitive real estate market to ready their home for buyers. Although it’s still a bit early to plant flowers, here are a few tips to spring forward in your home sale:

  • A clean, sparkling home will invite buyers and direct attention to all the right spaces. Start by cleaning your windows, inside and out, and wash your blinds to make an instant eye-opening difference. While you’re poking around the eyes of your home, be sure to inspect the weather stripping and caulking, which may be in need of repair.
  • Showcase the exterior of your home by mowing the lawn. A fresh cut will help remove leaves and other debris, leaving your yard clean and fresh. This is also a great time to cut back hedges around your home to maximize bright sunshine indoors. Visit the Central Texas Gardener for specific tips and tricks that can help boost your home’s curb appeal this spring.
  • Lower your gaze and take a long, hard look at your floors. The appearance of your floors can leave a lasting impression on prospective buyers, and you want to be sure it’s the right one! Start by vacuuming and mopping, but consider a professional cleaning or refinishing if needed.

In Austin’s hot market, buyers need to be as amply prepared as sellers. Here are a few tips for those looking to move into a new home this spring:

  • Know your credit score and budget. Our friends in the mortgage lending business will tell you this is a crucial part of the process. If you need help finding a lender, give us a call – we know excellent professionals who would be delighted to help you along your home-buying journey. Be sure to factor in closing costs, property taxes and insurance.
  • Once you are committed to buying in the upcoming months, contact your lender to get preapproved for a mortgage loan. While this is not a commitment or rate guarantee, getting preapproved will speed up the process down the road (which could give you the edge in a competitive market!).
  • Know who you want to work with. The right real estate agent and mortgage lender can make the process much less stressful and more enjoyable. Be sure to work with individuals who understand your needs, wants and priorities. When you’re ready to purchase a home and need an inspector you can trust, call Randy Barfield and the Barfield Home Inspection team. We’ve been telling it like it is since 2003 and would love to help you into the home of your dreams.

For more home buying, selling, maintenance and inspection tips, follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tune into our new podcast “Under the Roof with Randy Barfield,” now streaming on Spotify and Stitcher!