Imagine moving into a new home you just built and your kids or pets or someone runs right into the wall. Not very hard, but then you can notice that the wall is pressed in. This does happen more often than you would think.
Most homeowners don’t think about getting an inspection for a new construction home.
That’s why when I get asked the question, should I get an inspection done on a new construction home? My answer is 100% absolutely yes. And in this post I am going to share the reasons why.
Here are the 3 reasons why...
Municipalities Check for the Minimum Building Codes
First, one of the reasons that I recommend getting an inspection on a new construction home is because each municipality has their own inspectors that perform inspections from the city’s building codes.
These city codes are often the minimum standards. While the city inspector might be doing their best, they also might miss some of the finer details that a third-party home inspector would catch when they inspect a new construction home.
Third Party Inspections Helps to Find Deficiencies
The third party inspector’s job is to not only make sure the building code items are completed appropriately, but also to look for other deficiencies in the home.
Depending on what stage of new construction you hire your inspector, they may look closely at the pre-pour items such as site prep, forms, steel reinforcement, plumbing rough in. Or, at the pre-sheetrock phase, they’ll look at the framing structure, the sheathing, the flashing around the windows, electrical rough-in, and roof.
They are trained experts and can spot if insulation wasn't put in appropriately or thick enough. Or, if the shingles are raised and that could lead to water leaks.
So, it's very important to have a third party be objective to find those things so the builder can fix them before you move into your home.
Living in Leander doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from Austin City Limits! The City of Leander rests in the peaceful outskirts of Austin, and is home to hill country views and small town charm. Ranked one of the fastest growing suburbs of Austin, it is still nestled off the beaten path for that quiet country feel.
If you’re like one of many who has made the move to Leander, or you're considering making the move, and you still want/need easy access into Austin, the Leander Metro Station just might be the answer you’re looking for! While traffic isn’t always miserable with the convenient toll road access running through Leander, it can certainly get expensive. And let’s be honest - rush hour is anything but rushed once you get into Austin’s city limits. The Leander Metro Station is a Park & Ride facility boasting over 600 free parking spaces, and offers two types of mass transit as solutions to get you in and out of Austin with less stress and less expense - MetroExpress and MetroRail.
MetroExpress is a bus service designed for busy commuters to take you from Leander into downtown Austin. With comfy seating and free wifi, you can get a head start on your work day, or stream that latest tv series you’ve been meaning to catch up on! MetroExpress uses the toll lanes to get in and out of Austin, so to bypass most traffic, which is every commuter’s expectation [now imagine how relaxed you’d feel as you pass all those drivers stuck in the MoPac parking lot, rightfully refusing to pay the toll lane premium during rush hours].
The MetroRail is Capital Metro’s train solution to mass transit. This 32-mile track can get you from Leander to North Austin to downtown Austin without ever having to worry about any kind of potential traffic delays. Like the MetroExpress, you’ll have access to free wifi on board, and there are additional bus stops to transfer to at most of the MetroRail stations.
Day passes for both methods of travel cost $7, and Capital Metro offers a free app to purchase your fare, and to plan your trip. Visit capmetro.org for more details, including how Capital Metro is practicing safety protocols in response to COVID-19.
Welcome to Leander Station!
Practicing a socially distanced Kiss and Ride drop off!
Mass transit enables me to spend my drive time focusing on my clients instead of travelling.
Looking forward to helping you navigate your real estate needs!
In North American we have window screens, so we can throw open our windows and enjoy the fresh air. Where we live in central Texas however, we do have screen but never really open our windows as it is either to hot or to cold! Personally, we have removed ours to give a cleaner look to the exterior of our home but if you do use your screens and want to identify what you have and how to remove / install them then this is for you.
So! let us look at what type of screen you have first. There are a few different types of screen and a few different ways on how they are fitted. Let us look at the most common.
If the frame is covering the screen from the exterior these are going to come out from the side. We have found the best way to get these out is Dynamite!! (only kidding slightly) Being careful not to bend the screen push either to the left or to the right (usually right if they have been installed currently) This will then expose the edge of the screen allowing you to get your finger into the gap and pull it towards you slightly then pull out in the opposite direction. If you cannot get your finger in, make sure you have a paint can opener handy the small lip will hook onto the screen giving you leverage to pull towards you.
If the frame is not covering the screen, push upwards with your thumb on the top of the screen, it should feel springy and when pushed expose the bottom of the screen allowing you to get either a finger or paint can opener under the screen allowing you to pull towards you then down to get it out of the well it is sitting in. These are generally the easiest screens to remove and replace. If you are dealing with an upstairs window and do not want to climb on ladders, simply open the window from inside, pull up on the two tabs, push out from the window and then pull down. Please be careful not to overextend! We do not want any accidents!
The last bug screen we will discuss here is perhaps the biggest pain in the ass the one than can be taken out from the inside only. Now! If you have a full screen internally this is not a half screen and will be discussed next. These half screens must be removed internally, step one, if you look at the top of the bottom window you will see two sliding tabs.
(Note no window screens were harmed during the writing of this blog!)
Lastly if you have a full screen on the inside of your window then you will probably have a double hung window. To remove these screens loo to the side and you will see clips around four two on either side, just unlatch then using the two at the bottom pull out towards you and the screen should come away easily.
Remember with A+ window cleaning, we remove, inspect, clean and replace all screens with any window cleaning we undertake. Please feel free to call with any questions. Keep an eye open for our next blog on screen maintenance.
Hazards of mold and algae. Mold? Algae? What’s the difference? Most times, the unsightly stuff on your roof is algae. Algae is pretty much benign. It thrives in humid areas of the country and loves to park itself where there are asphalt roof shingles. Most shingles in the Cedar Park/Leander area are asphalt. Algae will not harm your roof, but does not add natural beauty to your home. Mold is a whole other scenario. Black mold is a big problem here in the Cedar Park/Leander area. It appears on stonework, roofs and inside the home where there is a warm, moist environment. Mold can be a health threat. Allergies, watery eyes, headache, sore throat, sneezing and coughing can all be symptoms of a mold problem. Usually, the roof shows the first signs of mold. This is not a situation calling for a DIY solution. Leave this to the pros who have the expertise, experience, equipment and needed chemicals to do the job with care and as little interruption to the homeowner as possible. Check your roof today for signs of any problems.
How to clean mold and algae from concrete. Mold and algae. Ugly stuff on your concrete patio and driveway. Cracks in your pavers or bricks sprouting little growths? You can take care of these problems safely and without harsh chemicals with items you probably have in your home. The only thing you need to offer are time and energy. You will need:
Mix the borax and vinegar in a cup of warm water and put the mixture in a spray bottle. Hose down the area to be cleaned. Spray the solution on a manageable section - do a little at a time – and let the solution soak in as much as needed to saturate the area. Then, scrub. Suggest using protective gloves. Keep wetting your brush and keep scrubbing until the entire area needing cleaning has been done. It is work but the results will be well worth it. Now rinse thoroughly using the “Power” nozzle attachment on your hose. Try to do your job when the sun will dry off your work area when you finish.
Other methods to remove mold, algae, etc., from concrete, flagstone and stone walkways, cement driveways would involve using mold and algae removers available at better hardware stores and big box home improvement stores. If you choose to use these products, be sure to carefully follow all directions. There are spray away mold and algae remover products on the market that will take care of these problems. As with any commercial product, wear protective gear. Even if a product claims to be “Safe,” take care near plants and gardens, covering them with a protective cover and taking care not to overspray. However, if your landscape rocks are in need of cleaning, there are ways to remove mold and algae from rocks in a garden. A little dish detergent in a bucket of water, generously applied and then give the rocks a good scrubbing with a stiff brush to remove any surface dirt. You can also use a pressure washer (On lowest setting) and spray rocks with just plain water. If you want to add a cleaner to the water, find one that is biodegradable. However, with a pressure washer, take care not to chip the rocks. Another method is, mix a solution of one part bleach to one part water and put in a spray bottle. Spray the solution on the rocks. If you accidentally overspray onto plants or vegetation, rinse visible foliage and soak the soil with 3” of water to saturate and disperse any bleach in the mix. If needed, scrub again after three or four days to finish up any missed spots and water again.
Removing mold and algae from stonework. Here in the Cedar Park/Leander area, our majority stone is limestone. Care must be taken not to chip this soft, porous, but beautiful stone. Soft washing to the rescue here. Pressure washing is to be avoided as too much “Pressure” could easily damage limestone. Our local, unsightly black mold can quickly ruin the appearance of a home’s stone siding. This is a big job that some may want to tackle as a DIY project. However, we strongly recommend leaving this task to the pros. Supplies and equipment needed, various chemical mixes and uses of each can be overwhelming to a homeowner and quite costly. Technique to do this job properly only comes with experience.
How to clean mold and algae from vinyl siding. Yes. Vinyl siding can be hit by black mold and algae from rainwater and condensation. A solution of bleach or vinegar will handle the problem. 30% vinegar to 70% water or 20% bleach to 80% water. Then scrub with a soft bristle brush. These same mixes can be used in a pressure washer or the preferred low pressure pump sprayer. A pressure washer might be quicker but if water gets behind the siding it could cause any exposed wood to rot. Take care not to get the liquid under the siding. Cover any nearby plants and shrubs to protect them from any overspray. Also, make sure any outside electrical connections are “Off” and covered.
For information on how we can help you with this and get your home looking amazing again, give us a call or contact us online.
It comes around every year… Spring Cleaning. Where to start. Indoors? Outdoors? The weather is getting nicer, so let’s get started. Roof? Gutters and downspouts? Stone surfaces? Windows? Screen repair? Driveway? Patio? Fence?
Decisions. Decisions. Let’s start at the top, the roof and gutters. Mold, mildew, spores on the roof and yucky stuff in the gutters……and all that equipment needed to do the job. To say nothing of the dangers of ladder and roof work. There is an easy solution to this dirty and dangerous task. A+ Window Cleaning Services. They have the expertise and equipment to get this job done quickly and safely. Gutters and downspouts can be done at the same time as the roof. Clogged downspouts and gutters can cause water to back up under shingles leading to water damage. Cleaning them out will prevent this.
Stone surfaces showing signs of black mold? Mildew? A+ Window Cleaning Services will soft wash your stonework to remove all traces of mold, mildew and algae and bring it back to its beautiful original color. We do soft washing to clean and protect the soft stone surfaces we have here in Texas. We carefully cover your plants and shrubs to protect them from any overspray.
A+ Window Cleaning Services does windows, inside and out. Sills are cleaned along with the frames and window tracks. Screens are removed, washed and replaced. If screens need repair, We can do that as well.
Driveway and patio looking like it’s time for a cleaning? Pressure Washing can return these surfaces to their original beauty and sealing will help to preserve. This can be done quickly and with a minimum of interruption to the homeowner.
Fences need to be cared for. Has your fence turned gray, blackened sections showing mold, mildew, algae? Texas weather can quickly discolor your fence. Hot Summers can dry out the wood and the unseen UV rays can wreak havoc on your fence. A+ Window Cleaning Services can clean, stain and seal your fence using tarps where needed to protect plants and lawn. There will be a variety of stain colors for you to choose from to bring your fence back to prime appearance. These processes will protect your fence from discoloring and will give protection from heat and UV rays. Your fence can look beautiful once again
The holidays are almost here. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years will be here before we know it. A time for friends and family. Get out the good china. Iron that special tablecloth. Put those new towels in the guest bathroom. Plan those special menus. So much to do.
But, is your home ready for these important days? A+ Window Cleaning Services is ready to help home owners in Cedar Park, Leander, Austin, Georgetown and Liberty Hill.
Are your windows looking “Filmy” from the outside? Finger marks and dog nose smudges on the inside? Windowsills need cleaning? Window channels need some attention? Hard water stains need removal? A+ Window Cleaning Services can handle all your home’s inside and outside glass needs – windows, mirrors, glass shower doors, can be brought back to their shiny, crystal clear condition quickly and with a minimum of intrusion on your lifestyle. Do your windows have screens? A+ Window Cleaning Services can clean, repair or replace your screens as needed.
Does your home have a stone exterior? Sections of the stone turning black? Mold is at work here. Soft washing will remove this unsightly stuff quickly and bring your beautiful stone work back to the beauty expected of a stone exterior.
Driveway and patio looking dirty? A power washing will thoroughly clean off dirt and algae to bring these areas back to a pristine look. Also, A+ Window Cleaning Services will take care of any needed cleaning of patio furniture. Has your wooden fence turned grey? Discolored? We also have the equipment needed to clean and care for your wood fence and return it to prime appearance.
Family or friends staying over for a “Long weekend” will probably have some laundry needing to be done. Has your dryer vent been cleaned lately? Dryer vent clogging is a leading cause of home fires. A+ Window Cleaning Services can thoroughly clean your dryer vent tube from the back of the dryer to the outside vent. This is not a do it yourself project. A thorough, professional vent cleaning will eliminate any potential hazard, let your dryer run more efficiently, dry items more quickly and use less energy.
Let’s not forget the top of your home, the roof. Cleaning/soft washing (Low pressure) can get rid of unsightly mold and moss and vastly improve the appearance of your roof. This can be a hazardous job so it is best left to the professionals who have the proper equipment and are used to using ladders, being up on a roof, etc. We can also handle the very dirty job of cleaning and servicing your gutters.
We would be pleased to assist in any way to help get your home ready for the holidays. Please go to our website www.apluswcs.com to read our blogs and see photos of our work. The photos of window cleaning, pressure washing and dryer vent cleaning have videos – just click on the picture.
Read our reviews to see what customers say about our services. We are proud of our five star status.
Contact us by phone at (512) 535-4308 or text us at (512) 318-8877 to schedule a service, or receive a free estimate. Please contact us as early as possible to schedule since we are going into a very busy season.
From our Family to yours have a Happy and safe holiday season..
Is your beautiful fence turning grey? Covered with mildew? Mold? Algae?
Time for a good cleaning. Soft and or pressure washing?
To get started, Cover/protect your plants and shrubs from damage by covering with a plastic tarp and cover the tarp with an absorbable second layer of protection (Old sheets) to prevent any of the cleaning liquid(s) from soaking through. Additional needed supplies are a large bucket, Chlorine bleach, garden hose with sprayer attachment, mild soap, stiff bristle brush. Protective eyewear rubber gloves and long sleeves are highly recommended. Safety first. Spray your cleaning mixture onto the fence then scrub down the fence giving extra elbow grease to areas heavily discolored. Once you’ve eliminated the stains, follow up with a thorough spraying down of the fence. Let fence dry. Once dry, check carefully for any damage, loose screws/nails and sandpaper any rough spots. This would be a good time to seal/stain your fence which we will discuss in a future blog.
Another cleaning method is soft washing your fence. (High) pressure washing can damage your fence. Low pressure only. Cover and protect plants and shrubs – and yourself – as above. Chemicals to do this job may be used in place of vinegar and are available at any supply store. TSP, Tri Sodium Phosphate is a commonly used chemical, but take extra care when using or mixing with bleach. Extra care should be taken, no matter which chemical is used and don’t forget to wear protective eyewear, gloves and be sure to cover any exposed skin. A TSP and bleach pre -mixed solution can be purchased, along with renting a sprayer. Renting a sprayer will save you the time and effort of doing the fence by hand. When applying the cleaner, be sure the fence is dry and remember, LOW pressure. Once the fence is sprayed, let the cleaner “Work” for a few minutes. Them scrub down the fence giving extra attention to the badly discolored areas. Rinse fence thoroughly with plain water using your garden hose.
Switch out your absorb-able materials (Sheets) covering your plastic drop cloths as they become saturated. You don’t want runoff from the cleaning liquids getting near your vegetation. Remember, chlorine bleach, TSP etc., are chemicals. Please be careful.
Fence cleaning is a time consuming, messy job. Why not let the pros do it for you? They have all the needed materials, the know how and most importantly, the experience to care for your fence no matter what the age or condition of your wood fence. A+ Window Cleaning Services can clean your fence quickly and efficiently to make it look like new. 512 535 4308
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An often overlooked but very important part of home maintenance is keeping gutters and downspouts clean and free of debris. This is a dirty and potentially dangerous undertaking. First, we’ll cover the cleaning aspect of this task and then the safety measures that should be taken.
Cleaning is a pretty straightforward job. Get on a ladder and (Wearing gloves) clean out all the slime, muddy mildew, leaves and whatever else you discover in the gutters. While on the ladder, check all the gutter connectors going into the fascia. If any of these connecting spikes have worked loose, or the hole in the fascia has rotted out, time to repair/replace. You want to make sure your gutter is securely fastened to the fascia wherever it is connected. Check the gutter for any holes or rusted out areas. Older gutters that rust can be a recurring problem. You can go to the trouble of chipping, caulking, sanding, priming and painting the rusted sections. However, odds are that rust will show up in other areas of the older gutters. Best to look into replacing them with more modern gutters of aluminum or vinyl. A gutter must function properly to protect your home. Gutter, downspout and splash blocks work as a team to keep water away from your home’s foundation. Periodically, check for signs of mold, water damage and mildew. Look for fascia wood rot and water not draining properly. Keep your “Gutter team” running as they should. You can rent a pressure washer to clean gutters. You should be “OK” if you have made sure that your gutters are 100% correctly and securely attached to the fascia. Take care not to damage any of the shingles. The key word here is “Pressure.” Use just enough pressure to do the job. Now your gutter is clean, your downspouts are running clear and your splash blocks are properly placed and facing away from your home.
Safety. We must always be mindful of safety. Safety first should always be uppermost in our minds. Gutter cleaning can be dangerous. To start, always wear gloves, protective eyewear and wear a pair of good rubber soled shoes. Gloves will protect from contact with debris in the gutter that could be a carrier of bacteria. Also, insects could be nesting in your gutters. The necessity of eyewear is self-explanatory. Proper footwear is a must when climbing ladders. Ladder rungs will get wet and slippery, so take necessary precautions. You want a safe, strong ladder, preferably one with a shelf to hold a bucket to put the gutter debris in. Make sure you place the ladder at a safe angle in relation to the roof. Do NOT try to reach too far when cleaning out the gutter to avoid another trip down and up the ladder. NEVER try to “Hop” the ladder over to the next section to be cleaned. A very dangerous practice. If there are electrical lines coming into your home close to where you are working, be doubly careful.
If you plan to tackle this job yourself, please be careful. However, there is an option out there that will alleviate you of this dirty, dangerous chore. Let the pros do the work. They have the latest equipment to do the job quickly, thoroughly and with minimum interference with your daily schedule. They will clean and inspect your gutters and downspouts and check your roof while up on the ladder. There are special gutter cleaning tools and accessories the pros use that would be very costly for a homeowner to purchase.
A+ Window Cleaning Services can handle all your gutter cleaning needs along with interior and exterior window and glass cleaning, roof cleaning, fence cleaning, soft washing, dryer vent cleaning, hard water stain removal, pressure washing and mold removal to clean your home’s stone surfaces.
Contact A+ Window Cleaning Services at (512) 535-4308. To view before and after pictures and see videos of A+ Window Cleaning Services, go to the website at www.apluswcs.com
Nearly everyone has cleaned out the little lint screen in their dryer. Cleaning the small lint screen in your dryer is a good practice, but does not clear the duct running from your home to the outside. Over time, this plastic or foil tube can become clogged with accumulated lint and pet hair or over time, bend or crimp causing an unseen clog. This clogging of this tube can lead to a build up of hot air which, if enough heat builds up, could ignite the accumulated lint. Dryer fires are all too common today. A thorough vent cleaning will help prevent this.
Both electric and gas dryers benefit from a professional vent cleaning. Keeping the vent of a gas dryer clean and venting properly has the added benefit of preventing carbon monoxide from escaping from a clogged vent and leaking back into the home.
If clothes are taking longer to dry, the problem is usually a clogged duct which slows venting to the outdoors. The dryer needs to run longer, putting extra wear on the unit and using more energy. The screen at the outside exhaust port can also clog affecting the function of the dryer. A clean dryer vent helps your dryer perform more efficiently. Clothes will dry more quickly and help control utility costs.
Is this a “Do it yourself” project? Not really. Aside from the dangers of climbing a ladder to reach a second story dryer vent cover, you would need the following supplies:
Let the pros do the ladder climbing. They will safely remove the outside dryer vent cover and thoroughly vacuum out all lint and debris from the vent tube using the proper equipment. Your dryer will run more efficiently giving it longer life, saving on energy, safe indoor air quality and the elimination of conditions leading to a dryer fire.
Here in Texas, most roofs are asphalt shingles. Soft washing, also known as low pressure washing is used for roof cleaning. No (High) pressure washing here. Soft washing will get the chemicals into all needed areas of the roof and allow the chemicals to do their job. Soft washing is a must as is careful scrubbing, if needed, to prevent loosening of the mineral granules from the shingles. Your roof protects your home from the elements and needs care just like the rest of your home. Black mold and harmful bacteria can grow and eat away at shingles, eventually damaging the roof.
According to a recent article in The American window Cleaning magazine, “Roofing shingles typically consist of three parts: fiberglass sheets, petroleum adhesive, and ceramic or stone aggregate. The most important portion of the roofing shingle is the aggregate, which protects the rest of the system from degradation caused by both weather and UV rays.
Over the past 30 years, shingle manufacturers have significantly reduced the amount of asphalt in shingles, adding other ingredients instead, such as limestone. Gloeocapsa Magma feast on limestone, which is why roof algae has become such a widespread problem. Left untreated, the algae literally eats away at the roof until the only option left is roof replacement, which typically costs several thousands of dollars.
Additionally, shingle granules are designed to help deflect UV rays and heat away from the roof’s surface. When the granules have deteriorated or are covered in algae, the attic get hotter and electric bills rise.”
What’s the Solution?
“The good news is that in many cases, a good cleaning using the proper techniques can eliminate the algae, prolong the roof’s life, and potentially lower electric bills. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommends that shingles be cleaned using non-pressure, chemical methods. Using too high of pressure may remove the algae, but it can also remove granules from the shingles, which again will degrade the roof’s lifespan. In fact, using high pressure often voids any roofing manufacturer’s warranty.
Finally, in addition to killing the destructive algae from roofs, a clean roof is much more attractive than a dirty roof. A clean roof instantly increases a home’s curb appeal, and in turn, is one of the most cost-effective improvements a home or building owner can make.”
So, after clearing away any roof debris, soft washing with proper equipment and using appropriate chemicals will kill harmful bacteria and clean your roof of mold without damage to the shingles. After the application of cleaning products, the roof is left to dry, then rinsed with clean water. If mold or algae is heavily imbedded in your shingles, a gentle scrubbing should do the job, being careful not to loosen the mineral granules on the shingles. After the roof dries and has been rinsed. if needed, the soft washing process is repeated. The last step in the cleaning process is a thorough rinsing .
Plants and shrubs near the work site can be protected from chemicals dripping off the roof by being treated with a special liquid protectant or, watered and covered with a tarp.
Anyone doing this job must be safety conscious for all concerned at all times. Safety equipment will be used 100% of the time.