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Challenges When Hiring a Contractor

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 27 March, 2017

 

Oftentimes, home renovation and home improvement projects can be too large and difficult or complicated for you to take on all by yourself. In these cases, it is often a good idea to hire a contractor to do the work for you. However, hiring the right contractor can sometimes be a bit of a challenge. While there are many great contractors out there who will surely do the work you need at a price you can afford, others could leave you with too big a bill, subpar work, and/or legal problems, if you fail to vet them correctly. Here are a few things to watch out for:

 

Make Sure Your Contractor Is Licensed and Insured

Two of the most important things you can do from the moment you begin considering hiring a certain contractor is to get ahold of their license number and proof that they are insured. If they are unlicensed, the work they are doing could technically be illegal. If they are uninsured, any potential accidents or mistakes on the job could end up coming out of your wallet.

 

Do Your Homework

Understanding how the contracting process works is key to your satisfaction as a customer. Be sure to understand steps like negotiating a contract (remembering to compare prices and offers between companies) and to figure out which specialties your contractor works in--as well as what they might not be capable of doing themselves--before you make any final decisions or payments.

 

Be Clear About What You Want

Being direct and clear with your subcontractor about your needs is one of the most important keys to staying happy while the work is being done, and receiving an end product that is up to your standards. This means not only letting the contractors know what kind of work needs to be done, but also giving them guidelines as to what they can and cannot do during the process. If you need them to come and go at certain times of the day, there is likely a contractor who will accommodate those wishes, as long as you express them--and are willing to pay for what you get.

 

Understand Your Own Part in the Process

While the point of hiring a contractor is obviously to take work off of your shoulders and pass it to someone with more experience, there are still quite a few things that you might have to do in order to make sure the process goes smoothly. This typically includes accommodating the workers in your house and meeting regularly with those in charge.

7 Signs That a House is a Good Fixer-Upper

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 20 March, 2017

 

Many people are attracted by the idea of a fixer upper home. It is true that this type of work can be extremely rewarding, especially to those who approach it with the right mindset. A house that has been remodeled can feel almost like a house you built with your own hands from the ground up--something that is truly yours. However, when looking for a fixer upper home, there are a few important things that must be kept in mind. Here are some signs that a house is a good fixer-upper.

 

  1. The House is In A Good Neighborhood. Buying a home in a neighborhood in which the ultimate price of the home after renovation will be significantly higher or lower than the rest of the houses in the neighborhood is generally a bad idea. Instead, try to find a house whose price after fixing-up will be more or less the same as all of the surrounding houses, to get your money’s worth.
  2. The House’s Problems Are Mostly Cosmetic. Buying a house whose problems go below the surface can sometimes be dangerous. A house with bad structure or foundation can be difficult to renovate well, and many experts would advise that such houses simply be torn down and replaced instead of renovated. Instead, find a house whose problems are simple and more or less easy to fix -- issues such as a manageable mold infestation are a good example of this. After all, with the help of products such as RMR Solution’s Botanical Mold cleaner, mold infestations can be managed easier than ever before.
  3. Many of the Problems Are Ones That You Can Fix Yourself. On the same note, a house that is going to require an enormous amount of contracting might not right for you. While a contractor can be helpful and is often unavoidable for more complex redesigning and remodeling, try not to bite off more than you can chew.
  4. It’s Within Your Budget. Get an estimate of the house’s worth and the price of renovating it before you buy. If the remodeling is going to cost you too much, or the original price of the house is too high, look for something less expensive instead.
  5. It’s In Good Enough Shape To Live In, At Least Most of the Time. As long as you don’t mind living with a little of the inevitable disorder that goes with renovating a home, living in the place you are renovating can save you a lot of time and money, as well as give you constant access to the project for when ideas spring up.
  6. You Think You Can Make It Your Own. Renovating a home is like making a work of art. Buy a home that you think you can really make your own. If you find the layout or location or the specific type of work that the house requires boring, move on. You deserve a house that inspires you.
  7. The Design Is Comfortable and Attractive. The house you go for should ultimately be comfortable and livable, whether you are planning to live there or sell it. If it seems to have any unfixable problems in terms of this that are not easily fixable, you might be wasting your time fixing it up.

 

Looking for mold removal products to help you on a fixer upper project? Visit RMR Solutions today for a wide variety of useful products!

Mold: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 13 March, 2017

 

Is mold always bad? Are there any positive uses for mold? Can mold have an impact on your physical appearance? Find the answers to these questions and more in this article!

 

The Good

Mold actually has a number of constructive uses. These include:

  • Mold is used to help create several important medicines, most famously penicillin, the first antibiotic, which has saved well over 200 million lives and counting. Lovastatin, a drug that helps lower bad cholesterol, is also made with mold. Other mold-based medicines include anti-cancer drugs, psychotropic drugs, immunosuppressants, and even drugs intended to fight fungal infections.
  • No, we’re not talking about sculpture molds -- or even artists who make mold a subject of their work. There are actually a handful of artists who not only invite mold into their presence, but routinely work with it to create works of art. A few examples of this, (with pictures, for the curious,) include:
    • Klaus Pichler, an Austrian born artist works with and produces images of molding food in order to bring attention to waste and food shortages.
    • Seung-Hwan Oh, a South Korean artist, produces photographs on film destroyed by mold. Oh was inspired by the problem movie producers have with mold in fim.
    • Daniel Del Nero, who creates mold-covered architecture in various states of decay. Del Nero was fascinated by the process of entropy on buildings and man-made structures.
  • Although mold can oftentimes be poisonous or even deadly in many of its forms, there are other types of mold that are actually edible. (And, realize it or not, you have probably consumed these types of mold at some point or another in your life.) For example, many types of cheese, such as Vacherin and Blue Cheese, contain high quantities of mold. Alcoholic beverages, yogurt, and a number of other popular foods also contain at least quantity of mold.

 

The Bad

Mold might be a creative muse for artists and a necessity for chefs and doctors, but it is anything but a positive presence in your homes, businesses, cars, churches, or buildings of any sort. Mold is, at best, a nuisance when it grows around people and their habitats. The presence of mold in a home or workplace can cause a myriad of problems, not the least of which being illness and property damage.

 

The Ugly

Mold exposure can cause a variety of skin issues ranging from small rashes to serious allergic reactions. So in addition to the medical concern that mold presence should create, you may also wish to think about your own appearance when considering whether that small mold problem you discovered warrants treatment. (Pro tip: it definitely needs treatment. The longer mold is left alone, the more it can grow, and the larger of a problem it will become.) Bottom line: if the threat of property damage and respiratory issues aren’t enough to spur you to action, hopefully protecting your skin and your appearance is!

 

 

Looking to treat a mold problem?

RMR Solutions has the tools that you need in order to rid your home, property, or place of business. Visit us online today to learn about powerful and innovative mold products such as RMR’s Botanical Mold Cleaner and Treatment.

 

 

An Ounce of Prevention

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 06 March, 2017

 

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is to say that taking preventative action against an issue takes a lot less effort and is much more effective than waiting for the issue to fully manifest, and then trying to fix it. This is the case with many things, and mold is no exception. Continue reading to learn why mold prevention is so important, how this goal can be achieved, and what you should do if you discover that mold has already taken a foothold in your home.

 

The effects of mold

Mold is damaging to your home and your body. Mild effects of mold can range from sneezing, congestion, and coughing to rashes. But some people will suffer more extreme symptoms like a compromised immune system, fever, and even various lungs diseases. Long-term exposure to mold can cause long-term damage, which is part of the reason why rapid responses to mold trouble are so important.

 

As for your house and your property, mold can destroy walls, important documents, and furniture, which will all then need to be replaced. Mold damage becomes more difficult to remove the longer it has had to take hold, and after a certain point contracting professional help may become necessary. Smaller problems, on the other hand, can oftentimes be mitigated with a bit of determination and the right mold removal products.

 

How to prevent mold

The key to controlling mold is controlling moisture in your home. Leaking pipes and leaks in the roof should be fixed immediately, bathrooms should have proper ventilation, and dehumidifiers can also help to keep the air dry. Be conscious of weird smells in the house, as they could be caused by mold. Each time your clean your home, you should keep an eye out for potential mold growths, which tend to arise in difficult to spot places such as in basements and attics. Kitchens and bathrooms also tend to experience disproportionately high amounts of mold problems because of all the moisture that gets released while cooking, showering, etc.

 

How to remove mold

Some mold may be inevitable, especially if you live in an older house. If the mold is widespread, you may need to call a professional. Mold on hard surfaces can often just be scrubbed away with water and a household cleaner. A mild bleach solution may even be temporarily effective. However, in order to kill recurrent mold, especially in surfaces that are more porous such as on walls, ceilings, or floors, a powerful mold removal solution such as RMR’s Botanical Treatment will be necessary.

 

If you really want to make sure that the mold is gone, there are products made specifically to kill mold and remove any leftover stains. RMR offers a diverse selection of these products that ensures that you the homeowner will have everything you need to knick your mold problem in the bud. Visit our online store today to view our full selection, along with photos, product descriptions, pricing, and much more!

 

5 Ways to Improve and Maintain Your Home’s Value Over Time

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 28 February, 2017

 

Maintaining and even increasing the value of your home are forms of future planning. Maybe you’re not looking to sell your home right now, but in a few years you may be, and you want to be sure you get a good price for it. Not to mention that keeping your home nice is good for your family and your neighborhood. Here are ways to maintain and improve your home’s value over time.

1. Remodel

Doing the occasional remodeling is a great way to improve the value of your home. Fixing up important locations like the kitchen, the bathrooms and the master bedroom all give your home more value both in the eyes of your family and potential buyers. Making sure light fixtures and plumbing are up-to-date will make your home much more sellable, especially if it's an older home. If you don’t have the means with which to do big remodeling products, a new coat of paint on the walls can do wonders.

2. Adding On

Adding on a room whether it be a bedroom, a sunroom, or a deck will increase the square footage of your home, and therefore the value. Of course, this addition to your home will need to be done right. Bigger is better, but if you cut corners, the extra space won’t matter.

3. Get involved

If you want to increase the value you of your home, you need to increase the value of your neighborhood. Get involved in your community by going to school board meetings, volunteering, joining the neighborhood watch-- whatever your passion may be. Keeping your neighborhood safe, beautiful, and active will increase the value of all homes in it, and make everyone happy.

4. Maintain

Like a fine wine, houses gain value with age--so long as they are maintained. It’s important to fix problem with your home as you encounter them. Keep a fresh coat of paint on the house, take care of leaks, and kill mold before it becomes a real problem. An old house in good shape is a very sought-after thing in the current housing market. Everyone wants a little piece of history.

5. The Outdoors are important

The appearance of the outside of your house is just as important as the inside appearance of your house. Keeping your lawn trimmed, the grass green, and removing dead leaves are just a few simple things you can do. You can also try planting a garden to give your home a friendly, fresh, and healthy look. It’s important that you don’t allow bigger issues like dead trees, dying bushes, and tunneling animals to go unchecked before trying to sell your home. No one wants a yard full of dead plants and gopher tunnels.

 

Got Mold Problems?

As we mentioned earlier, damage to your home caused by factors such as mold can really cut into the value of your biggest asset, which is why treating such problems immediately is so important. Here at RMR Solutions, we offer a variety of products designed with homeowners like you in mind. Check out our site and browse powerful mold removal products such as the RMR 86 Mold Stain Remover.

7 Tips For Cleaning and Organizing Your Home

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 20 February, 2017

 

Keeping your house clean can help you relax, stay focused and healthy, and can give you peace of mind. Here are seven easy things you can do to stay on top and to keep your home clean and organized.

 

  1. Make your bed. This seems simple enough and might not even be worth it if you're just going to get right back in it again. However, you would be amazed at how much of a difference it can make just by simply making your bed. Not only does a made bed look nice, it also triggers good habits for the rest of the day.
  2. Hands In Hands Out” is a phrase used in a lot of restaurants and retailers which simply means every time you leave a room you should be carrying something. For example, if you leave your living room, make sure you take all of your dishes with you. Putting everything in its place right away will make cleaning a much easier job.
  3. Tidy for 15 minutes every day. All it takes is 15 minutes a day to keep on top of the mess. If you can set a timer and dedicate a quarter hour to picking everything off the floor and clearing surfaces, then things like spring cleaning will take no time at all. Your house will always be prepared for visitors and you will feel more relaxed.
  4. Declutter first, then clean. If your house is messy you might want to get to cleaning right away. However, if you have a bunch of junk and you won’t be able to see things like dirt and mold that really need your attention. Get rid of anything you don't need by throwing it away or giving it to charity.
  5. Keep cleaning supplies in one place. When it comes time to cleaning your bathrooms and kitchen, it could take much longer if you’re running around the house trying to find all of your cleaning supplies. Keeping it all in one place will make cleaning quicker and easier. Try keeping a bucket cleaning supplies dedicated to each room for even faster cleaning.
  6. Check for mold. Now that your place is organized and decluttered, it will be much easier to will be to detect mold early and prevent damage from spreading. The later you catch mold, the harder it will be to get rid of it.
  7. Never leave a job half done. On a related note, no cleaning job, (mold-related or not) should ever be left half done. Although attacking problems piece by piece may be tempting, it tends to be a very inefficient way of getting work done, and can sometimes give problems the time they need to spiral out of control.

 

Is getting rid of mold on your cleaning agenda?

Don’t delay! Visit RMR Solutions online today to browse from our wide selection of powerful mold removal products, such as the

8 Ways To Control Asthma Symptoms

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 20 February, 2017

Ways to control Asthma

People who suffer from asthma need to keep extra vigilant when it comes to keeping your environment free from irritants and your body healthy and strong. Here are some tips to help keep your symptoms at bay and help you stay in control.

 

 

  1. Track your symptoms. Keep a daily journal noting when your symptoms are at their worst and when they’re at your best. Take note of where you are and what you’re doing so that you can become more familiar with your triggers and can be better equipped to prevent future attacks.
  2. Wash your pillows. Most people think about washing their sheets and blankets but they don't rarely about their pillows. Dust mites, bacteria, and mold can accumulate causing your lungs to become irritated while you sleep. Wash and dry your pillows according to the care label to keep them fresh and you breathing more easily.
  3. Keep on top of dust Common allergens such as dust mites can irritate the lungs and trigger asthma symptoms. Keeping your house as dust-free as possible can ease breathing difficulties. Be sure to dust surfaces and vacuum carpets which can harbor large amounts of dust.
  4. Exercise regularly. Yoga, swimming, and other exercises that focus on deep breathing will help the muscles that surround your lungs to strengthen and can boost your immune system making future flare-ups rarer.
  5. Take your medication as prescribed by a doctor. This may seem like a no-brainer but when you feel like you’re not experiencing any asthma symptoms, it's tempting to skip out on the medication. It’s important to continue to take your medicine according to the directions given to you by your doctor even when it doesn’t feel like you need it.
  6. Stay away from cigarettes and cigarette smoke. Cigarette smoke can not only irritate the lungs, it can reduce the effectiveness of your medication. If you have asthma do not smoke and try to avoid secondhand smoke wherever possible.
  7. Check for mold The presence of mold in the house can lead to mold spores in the air which can cause asthma symptoms to worsen over time. Catching mold early can save you a lot of trouble in the long run can ease asthma symptoms.
  8. Pay attention to the details of the forecast. When checking the weather, most people are attent to the basics: what will the temperature, humidity, chance of precipitation, etc. What they don’t always pay attention to are factors such as pollen count and smog index, which are two factors that can have an enormous impact on asthma. It is also worth noting that a long dry spell can also increase the amount of potentially triggering allergens and pollutants in the air. By checking the forecast -- and limiting your time outside during potentially dangerous days -- you can limit your asthma symptoms.

 

Looking to take control of your mold problem and improve your asthma symptoms? RMR Solutions can help. Check out our wide selection of mold treatment problems -- and don’t forget to pick up our featured product, the RMR Botanical Mold Cleaner.

Common Household Items Susceptible to Mold

Posted by Angela Ostroff on 30 January, 2017

When most people imagine the possibility of a mold infestation in their home, their minds tend to go immediately toward an infestation of the actual house itself. They imagine fungal growths eating away at their wallpaper, creeping along walls and ceilings, or blooming up in the dark, damp corners of the house.

 

This fear of mold attacking the home itself is certainly logical: after all, widespread mold infestations are one of the most serious health and safety concerns to arise in many people’s homes. No one want to have to deal with the sight, smell, and danger of a mold growth that has worked its way into the very fibers of their home!

 

What homeowners should not forget, however, is that all organic matter can potentially play host to a mold infestation. This means, for example, that even if you are lucky enough to avoid a mold problem in your basement, attic, kitchen, or bathroom, mold could still take hold through various household items that are made of organic matter.

 

Of course, these two problems are oftentimes interrelated. If you ensure that your home does not offer ideal conditions for mold growth, then both your house itself and your possessions will be less prone to an infestation. Likewise, if you do experience a mold problem in either of these regards, treating it quickly is the best way to ensure that the mold does not continue to spread. (Note: if you need to treat a mold problem in your home, RMR’s Botanical Cleaner and Treatment can do the trick!)

 

Here are a few household items that are particularly susceptible to mold trouble.

 

Wood. From coffee tables to cutting boards and even jigsaw puzzles -- our homes are filled with wood products. Unfortunately, wood’s organic makeup and porous surfaces make it an ideal host for mold. The best way to prevent such problems is to never let these items stay wet for an extended period of time: always use coasters, dry your cutting board, etc.

 

Cardboard. Often used for storage, cardboard poses a threat for mold growth for many of the same reasons that wood does. Though cardboard is not often exposed directly to water in the way that many wooden items are, it does absorb moisture very well, which is why keeping cardboard out of high-humidity areas is important.

 

Food. Keeping the fridge clean and ventilating the kitchen are the best ways of ensuring that no food is ruined and no people are accidentally sickened by eating mold-tainted bread, fruits, vegetables, etc.

 

Medication. Keeping medications sealed is crucial: moldy medicine can be ineffective or even poisonous.

 

Paper. That classic “old book smell” that we all love is actually caused by a very complex set of chemical breakdowns that occur with book materials over the year -- but it is often tinged with a small amount of mold. In small quantities, this can be charming, but if the mold gets out of hand it can ruin the paper and even risk triggering an asthma or allergy attack for the next person who opens it! Many documents, photographs, and other valuable keepsakes are made of paper (or paper-like) materials, which is why keeping these items in low-humidity areas is so important.

 

Visit RMR Solutions online to learn more about best practices for treating and preventing mold.

The Perfect Storm

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 23 January, 2017

Oftentimes, mold arises due to unforeseen circumstances that homeowners and renters can do little to prevent. Just as often, however, the residents of a home or apartment make common mistakes that allow mold to really gain a foothold. And the most common scenario involves some combination of the two possibilities.

 

Perhaps the best way to avoid such mistakes is to understand what they look like in practice. That's why, in this article, we're going to present what we'll call ‘the perfect storm.’ As you might imagine, this is a hypothesis scenario in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Although such a situation may seem unlikely, it is actually surprisingly common just how many homeowners ignore multiple warning signs of a severe mold infestation -- or even contribute to their own existing mold troubles. Read on with care: the odds are actually very good that you are committing at least one of the mistakes you will soon learn about.

 

Step one: negligent oversight. Regardless of how large or how small your living space may be, there are bound to be a few places that you don’t view with regularity in your daily routine. Examples may include your basement, your crawlspace, your attic, or even the space under the sink. In order to prevent mold infestations, however, it is important to perform periodic checks of your home in order to preempt potential problems.

 

Step two: a moisture problem arises. Mold cannot grow without a source of moisture -- which is why controlling moisture is the best strategy to prevent mold infestations. But, all too often, a moisture source does arise, perhaps in the form of a dripping pipe, or condensation on the attic window, or even simply from a humid climate.

 

Step three: a catastrophic event. In extreme cases, mold can be the result of a major problem such as flooding from a leaky roof or a broken pipe. If your home is damaged by water, mold will grow unless action is taken to stop it.

 

Step four: failure to ventilate. Moisture in the home can be remediated a little with regular ventilation. Homes that experience mold problems often tend to lack ventilation, either due to a lack of windows or to the owner’s own negligence.

 

Step five: a mold problem develops...and is ignored. By the time you can smell that distinctive musty odor of mold, the odds are good that a large quantity of mold has grown. (Whether visible or not.) If you do see mold, the odds are also good that there is a large amount of hidden growth as well. As soon as you detect mold, action should be taken to remediate it. The longer mold is left unchecked, the more it will spread, and the more difficult, costly, and time-consuming it will become to remediate.

 

Step six: inadequate cleaning procedures employed. In order to stop mold in its tracks, powerful cleaning products such as RMR Solution’s Botanical Cleaner and Treatment are needed. Although lesser products can temporarily remove the appearance of mold, fungal spores are very resilient, and are bound to return unless treated with the most effective of products. Visit RMR Solutions online today to learn more.

Mold Q&As

Posted by Bearly Marketing on 16 January, 2017

We’ll be the first to admit: mold isn’t exactly the most exciting thing in the world to learn about. For this reason, many renters and homeowners know very little about this pesky problem when it first strikes their place of living. If you’re looking for a quick crash course in mold, you’ve come to the right place. This Q&A should help get you up to speed. 

 

Q: What is mold and how does it occur?

A: Mold is a fungus that feeds off of organic matter and can occur anywhere moisture is present. High levels of moisture in a given area tend to be a warning sign that mold could occur: this is why mold is so prevalent in basements, attics, kitchens, and bathrooms.

 

Q: Is mold toxic?

A: Certain molds produce substances called mycotoxins, which are indeed poisonous to humans and animals. These molds, the most common of which is Stachybotrys chartarum (black mold) can cause neurological problems and even death if the exposure is extended and intense. It is worth noting, however, that even non toxic molds can cause and/or trigger wide array of potential health issues such as asthma, allergies, anxiety, and cold-like symptoms.

 

Q: Do I need to worry about mold in my home?

A: As scary as that last paragraph might have sounded, the answer is actually...it depends. The truth is that virtually every indoor structure in the world has at least some mold spores, and as long as this mold is kept at bay there is no risk to people or property. However, if you can see or smell mold, the odds are good that the problem has reached a level that warrants remediation. Likewise, if you notice symptoms that could be indicative of mold (such as allergies that get worse indoors) then a thorough mold search is probably in order.

 

Q: What should I do if I discover mold?

A: As mentioned above, mold infestations that have reached the point of being easily seen or smelled likely warrant action. Search carefully to discover the full extent of the mold, and look for the source of moisture as well: cutting off this moisture source will be key to preventing more mold growth in the future. The mold itself will also need to be treated: we will address that in the following question.

 

Q: Can I handle a mold infestation by myself?

A: Absolutely! Excepting the most widespread and unmanageable of infestations, mold can generally be removed by a non-professional as long as that person has the right tools. If you are interested in DIY mold removal, we encourage you to visit the RMR Solutions store today to view great products such as the RMR Solutions Botanical Mold Cleaner and the RMR 86 Mold Stain Remover. Depending on the severity of the problem, you may wish to check out our full selection to find useful items such as foggers, respirators, solution sprayers and more. And should you have any questions, feel free to reach out us. Good luck!

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