Show Notes: Mold, Trees and More – On the House

Show Notes: Mold, Trees and More

By on July 15, 2016

If your weekend is free, how about doing some much need home and tree care? This week we have help for home and more.



Helicopter House Hunting Is Sweeping LA’s Luxury Market

L.A. traffic has never been less of a joke.

Or at least for the special class of house buyers whose brokers cough up thousands of dollars arranging tours via helicopter.

House hunting from a bird’s eye view is the latest buzz in luxury real estate, according to the Wall Street Journal. It is probably not a shocker that a major incubator for this perk is the City of Angels, where nice properties are often blocked by congested freeways and sky-high gates.

“We can go really, really close — you can literally see people laying out on their decks,” Lindsay Galbraith, a Sotheby’s International Realty agent based in West Hollywood, told the Journal.

Using mapping software, most brokers coordinate with third-party pilots to schedule these aerial tours. They pay up to $800 per hour for each session, reserved for their most elite clients.

“We don’t do it for just anyone — they have to be very well-qualified,” Gwen Banta, an L.A. luxury broker told the Journal.

Agencies like Heli-Realtors, based in L.A., have built their business on the sole premise of helicopter viewing sessions.

And the charms of a view from above seem to be effective. Elena Berman, an artist and wellness consultant, listed her $3.2 million San Fernando Valley home after a demo viewing with John Mowatt, a real estate agent and pilot who co-founded Heli-Realtors.

The only downside to these airborne tours is possible bad weather. Dramamine may or may not be included


Got Mold?

Mold, like any other part of nature, has its place in the environment.

Outdoors, it breaks down dead materials, but indoors, mold can pose a danger to the health of a home’s inhabitants. Getting rid of mold completely in a household environment is nearly impossible. Reducing an existing mold infestation to the point where it no longer poses a danger, as well as avoiding outbreaks of new mold, is possible. You can complete the removal process successfully using a methodical DIY approach.

Locate the existing mold in your home through a thorough search of all areas of the property. Begin your search in moisture-rich areas where the mold is most likely to grow, like bathrooms, kitchens and the basement, attics and crawl spaces and the air conditioner.

Sniff as you search, trying to detect musty odors. Concentrate on any areas where water damage has occurred or where there’s been flooding. Look for any area containing black or white spots on walls, ceilings or floors. These slightly fuzzy-looking spots are usually signs of mold growth.

Measure the moldy area. An area more than 10 square feet in size will need professional cleaning; less than 10 feet, and you can clean it yourself.

Seal the area that you’ll be cleaning to prevent mold spores from traveling from room to room. Cover air vents with plastic sheeting, securing it in place with duct tape, and open windows in the room.

Move furniture in the cleaning area to a room without mold in it. Place moldy items such as papers or books into a plastic trash bag for disposal. Bag all moldy fabrics for later cleaning. If your old furniture are already infested by molds, you may opt for an old office furniture removal service.

Wear safety goggles, nonporous gloves and an OSHA-approved particle mask when cleaning.

Wash the moldy surface with a warm water detergent solution, containing 1 cup detergent and 1 gallon water, using a sponge. Allow the surface to air dry and then wash it again using a bleach solution of 1/4-cup bleach added to 1 gallon of water. Do not dry the surface to allow the bleach time to disinfect. Wait 20 minutes after the bleach wash and then repeat. Wait another 20 minutes and wash a third time with bleach. After 20 more minutes, wash the surface with a borate-based detergent solution consisting of 1 cup detergent to 1 gallon of water. The borate detergent wash prevents a reoccurrence of the mold. Do not rinse the borate detergent from the surface.

Use normal cleaning methods to give the remainder of the room a thorough cleaning. Wash the carpet and mop floors in the area. 

Clean moldy fabrics in the laundry as per normal before returning them to the room. Wash the surface of the furniture removed from the room using a detergent-based warm wash for hard-surfaced items and a fabric cleaner for fabric-covered furnishings.

Remove the cause of the mold, repairing any water damage or leaks. Control the humidity levels of humid homes by installing insulation that prevents the buildup of moisture within your home.

Check the areas of infestation regularly after cleaning. If mold returns, check behind the walls for hidden mold infestation. Call a professional to handle mold within the walls.


Use Kitty Litter To Dispose Of Old Paint 

This hack is cheap and elegant solution to all that leftover latex paint. 

This hack using kitty litter is a godsend that will allow you to get rid of at least half of that mess quickly. Here’s how it works:

Collect all the cans of leftover latex (water-based) paint. (Latex is most commonly used on indoor projects, and it accounts for the majority of what accumulate in most households.) If the can is less than half full, stir in kitty litter until it absorbs the paint to the consistency of crumbly cookie dough and set it aside. The paint and kitty litter will bond and form a solid — and at that point it can be thrown into the regular trash. In this form, the paint will break down slowly, rather than leaching into the groundwater.

If the can only has a tiny bit of paint in it, you can just leave it open to dry, and then throw the can away.

If the cans are full or nearly full, you could still divide them into smaller containers and use the kitty-litter trick, but a better solution is to find a paint recycling center in your community. Typically, these facilities will sort, strain and reformulate the paint for reuse. It requires a little more effort on your part, but it’s clearly more environmentally friendly.

Note: All of the above apply only to latex paints. In most communities, oil-based paints and solvents such as turpentine need to be delivered to hazardous waste sites. You can find the closest one by checking with your public utilities provider.


Houzz Remodeling Survey

How Much Does a Remodel Cost, and How Long Does It Take?

 The 2016 Houzz & Home survey asked 120,000 Houzzers about their renovation projects. Here’s what they said

Spending is on the rise for kitchen and bathroom renovation projects, according to the fifth annual Houzz & Home survey of more than 120,000 respondents in the U.S. Overall renovation activity remains high, with more than half of homeowners on Houzz renovating their homes in 2015.

Key findings include:

  • Renovation Motivations: The desire to stay put is the primary motivation for renovating vs. buying a “perfect” home, trumping financial considerations
  • Top Activity Drivers: Recent home buyers are a key driver of renovation activity, with new home purchases inspiring more than a quarter of renovations
  • Budget? What Budget? Nearly one-third of homeowners take on a remodeling project without setting a budget – the same share exceeds an established budget

Renovation spending also correlated with age (and presumably savings): Homeowners 55 and older spent an average of $73,300, those 35 to 54 years old spent an average of $52,100, and those ages 25 to 34 spent an average of just $24,500.


Summer Tree Care And Maintenance 

What you can do now to make sure your trees are healthy throughout the summer:

Check your trees for damage that may have occurred due to recent storms and cable, brace or remove weak limbs to prepare for severe weather.

Check mulch rings to see if additional material needs to be added. If the mulch is less than 2 inches thick, grass growing through it may become troublesome. Enlarge mulch rings whenever possible.

Monitor for insects and diseases. Check your trees and shrubs regularly for any sign of pest activity.

If our summer weather is dry, be sure to deeply water your trees and shrubs when necessary. Water is critical during leaf and shoot development.

Avoid using herbicides beneath trees that warn against such use on the label. The same herbicides that kill dandelions can hurt trees if they are not applied properly.


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