Articles on home repairs due to damaged stumps, and renovations by restumping from Black & White House Raising service in Brisbane, Sunshine and Gold Coasts.

Top Five Steps To Finding The Right House Raising Company For You

Most people are under the impression that only the old-style Queenslander houses are the variety that can be raised, but this is a misconception. In actual fact, most residential houses can be raised, especially if you have the right company to do the work. The reasons for people wanting to raise their houses are varied, but it will usually be because they either want to make more space, there are foundation problems or water damage that requires urgent attention, or both. Here are five steps to finding the right contractor for you.

Assess the Work

Your first step is to decide what you actually want to get done. This means making a detailed list of what work you need to have completed, as well as how you are going to go about doing it. Depending on the work that you are having done, there may be some contractors who can handle the majority of the work, or you may need to bring in various contractors from different fields.

Research Companies

Doing your research is going to assist you with getting a good look at who is available in your area and what they are able to do. During your research, you might want to consider how much experience the company has had with the type of work that you need done. Usually a company that has been in the business for a long period of time, will not only have the best equipment but will also be able to put you in touch with other contractors that you may need. Be sure to make some calls to get as much information as possible about each company before you make your decision. Then narrow it down to a list of two or three, so that you can get a couple of quotes in order to make comparisons.

Get a Free Quote

Organise with the companies on your shortlist for them to come and give you a quote. Companies that have been in the business for a while, such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, will generally offer a free quote. This will usually involve an initial phone call and then someone from the company visiting your home to assess the work and providing you with a quote.

Can They Work within Your Timeframe?

Another part of choosing the correct company is by assessing when you want the work done and whether the company can fit in within your timeframe. There may be a waiting list or your first choice of company may not be available when you want the work done, which means you could change your dates to suit them, or find a company that can accommodate your needs.

Book a Company and Start Preparing Your Home

Once you have made your choice your house raising company will provide you with a checklist of what needs to be done to prepare. Follow their instructions to ensure that there are not issues when the work is being done.

How To Restore Your Old Home

Restoring an old house is one of the greatest projects a person can undertake. It will be both time consuming, and a delightful project to which you can devote your attention. So, make sure that you do take the time to enjoy the process as you create the home of your dreams.

Assess the Current Situation

The first step is going to be the planning phase, of course. This means getting an assessment of what needs to be done – what condition the house is in, how much needs to be thrown out and how much can still be used. It is economical to use as much of the materials as you can rather than buying everything new, which would not make sense, since you are working with an old home to begin with.

You might decide to stay with the existing design or completely overhaul it and create more space for yourself, such as raising it and putting in another level. Once you have assessed the situation, and spoken with the professionals who are going to help you get there, you should end up with a figure of how much it is going to cost. Be mindful that there may be permits that are needed, which must be factored into your costs.

Do the Big Work First

Once you have your plan, start with the big work first. If you are having your home raised, or getting the foundations repaired, this is the time to do it, before you do any of the smaller work. If you are replacing the roof, doors, windows or structural parts of the house, this needs to come before renovating the bathrooms and kitchen, plumbing, painting and landscaping. If you aren’t sure about how to raise your house, give the team at Black and White Houseraising and Restumping a call.

Clear Away the Rubbish

When all the big work is done, you can clear away whatever you don’t need anymore and have your house as you want it to be, minus a few bells and whistles. It is good to hire a skip or shipping container to relocate all of the rubbish to where it needs to go, which will save you money eventually.

Renovate the Bathrooms and Kitchen

After all the rest is done, now you can do the fun part of choosing new fixtures for the bathroom, tiling, installing the new kitchen and taking care of all the other bits and pieces. You would not want to do any of this work before doing the major work, because you may just be wasting time if something needs changing after the fact.

Plumbing and Landscaping

When you have everything where you want it to be and you are almost finished, you will likely need to have the plumbing done by a professional plumber to ensure that all the pipes connect up together where they are supposed to join. Then once that’s done, you can landscape the garden and create a space where you can sit outside and enjoy looking at your beautiful house!

Home Renovation: When To Call In The Professionals

When embarking on a home renovation project it makes sense to do as much of the work yourself, to save some of the money you would be paying on labour. When it comes to painting, carpentry, landscaping and jobs, where there is not too much chance of making a mistake, go right ahead and save yourself some money by doing them yourself. But keep in mind that there are some jobs that you really cannot do yourself, so for these you will need to bring in a professional that has both the safety training necessary and the equipment to do the job properly.

Electrical and Plumbing

Dealing with the potential of possible electrocution as well as the risk of flooding or other unpleasant experiences is a big reason to seek professional assistance with handling any of this work. In addition to the safety concerns, if something did go wrong, your insurance company would be looking for a way out of paying you the money to cover costs, so you will need someone with a licence to make the report. With these two points in mind, the risk of something going wrong is not worth the money that you could save by doing it yourself.

House Re-levelling

If you have noticed cracks in the walls or uneven flooring, it is an indication that something underneath is not how it should be and usually this points to an issue with its structural integrity. If those two words have got your attention then that’s good, because this is a safety concern, and there’s a good chance that your house is going to need to be relevelled at a foundation level. The work will need to be carried out by a re-levelling expert, who has been specially trained to do the work.

House Raising

The idea of creating space underneath your house is an excellent choice, and if you are going to renovate, you may as well make the most of the exercise. One job that you will find very difficult to do on your own is raising your house. As with house re-levelling, the foundations of your home need to be prepared in a very specific way to ensure that the house that is resting on them does not move or start to sag in places. For this work, choosing an experienced professional is paramount, because the safety of yourself and your family is at stake. For a quote on getting your house raising job done right, contact Black and White Houseraising and Restumping.

House Raising: Do We Need To Change Everything?

For many people, the idea that you could even lift a house up and move it somewhere else sounds like something from a science fiction movie, so it is understandable to wonder about what is involved. It is a great idea to ask as many questions as you need to, so that you are clear about what is happening and how it will change things for you.

At Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, we receive many questions about the process, as well as what actually happens during the raising or moving, so we welcome any questions that can make it clearer for you. This question is a particularly good one, and definitely worth taking a look at it.

The Choice is Yours

In short, the answer to whether you need to change everything is a big “no”. The decision is completely yours, as to how much is changed during the renovation of your home, and how much remains the same. During the actual raising of the house, everything is done very specifically, slowly and carefully, which means that nothing inside the house is damaged or even moved in the process. Everything inside the house will be exactly the same as it was, only the house itself will be placed either higher or moved somewhere completely different, depending on your plans for the house.

What Will Change?

Depending on what your plans are for the house and its surrounding areas, things may change a lot or not much at all. What will change is the complete underside of your house because there will be more space than you had before. This may mean that you create extra rooms for your house downstairs, which may call for a new internal staircase, but that is totally up to you, and this will usually happen after we have finished our work. Electrical and other wiring as well as water pipes will be relocated out of the way during the raising/moving of the house, but these are reconnected and adjustments made following the work being carried out.

The process of raising a house means that you will have a lot more space than you ever had before, which could completely transform your life. As you can imagine, it is a big undertaking and we encourage you to ask as many questions as you need to, as well as providing us with your plans for the house in order to give us as much information as possible.

Timber Stumps VS Concrete Stumps: Which One Is Better For Your Home?

Which is better? Timber stumps or concrete stumps? This question comes up every time someone is looking to restump a house, and it isn’t one that can be answered easily. This is because there is no clear cut, black and white answer. There are many different variables that contribute to how either concrete or timber stumps perform, so let us take a look at those and go from there.

Why Stumps Sink

The main issue that comes into play with houses that sit on stumps is that the stumps will sink, which affects the distribution of the houses weight, which, in turn, leads to the house not balancing properly on its foundations. The fact is that both types of stumps will sink, but for different reasons, so it is important to look at the soil quality around the area as well as the rest of the foundations and how they have been built. Some locations will benefit from using a different type of stump, so there is no definitive answer except to assess the situation on a case by case basis.

Termites and Dry Rot

When it comes to wooden stumps, your worst enemy is going to be termites and other borers. As they bore, they push the dirt up into the middle of the stump, which affects the distribution of the weight. This, in turn, causes issues with the structural integrity of the foundations being able to hold the house in place and it may start to sink in some places, causing a lot of damage along the way. Dry rot is another issue that is common with wooden stumps, with overexposure to moisture causing irreparable damage. Most of the timber we use in stumps nowadays is treated with CCA (Copper Chrome Arsenic), which usually helps with these problems, but the stumps need to be replaced every ten years or so.

Soil Quality

One thing that will also affect wooden stumps is the quality of the soil in which they are being placed, and whether the structure has been adequately fortified. Some areas that have black soil will be prone to sinking so this needs to be taken into account during the planning and preparation stages to ensure that all necessary precautions have been taken.

Cracking and Reinforcement

With cement stumps, your main issue is going to be with cracking. In the past we needed to use old crushed concrete for making the stumps but these days, we are able to use other recycled materials, which allows us to produce stronger quality concrete stumps. If you are using concrete stumps, it is important to ensure that the steel reinforcing rods are not rusted, otherwise this can cause problems as well by putting too much pressure on the stumps.

The best way to ensure that you get the right stumps that tick all the boxes for you, is to talk to an expert and get the best advice you can – give us a call today at Black and White Houseraising and Restumping.

Why Should You Start Treating Your Timber With Copper Chrome Arsenate?

Copper Chrome Arsenate has been used throughout the world since 1933, and is a substance that is well known for its ability to protect wood from insect and fungal infestations. Due to the toxic compounds that are used in this treatment, it is the best thing on the market for ensuring that timber remains as strong as it can be – able to stand the tests of pests, weather and time.

Stop Insects in Their Tracks

While steel foundations are being used more frequently during recent years, the majority of houses are still built using timber foundation materials for frames, walls, beams and stumps. Lucky for us, Australia has excellent hardwood timber available to use for building houses. This is a strong, durable material, which will last for many years, but if not treated adequately, timber can fall prey to insects that can dramatically affect its strength over time. Wood boring insects such as termites and their cousins can cause a lot of damage, which can reduce the strength of wood and cause expensive damage to your foundations.

Prevent Fungal Infections

While timber is an extremely strong material, if exposed to moisture regularly, over time it can take on fungal infections that will break down its strength and cause it to rot. Often this cannot be seen until it is too late, and the rot has set in, which will mean the timber needs to be replaced a lot sooner than it should be if it had been treated with a good chemical treatment such as CCA.

Prolong the Life of Your Timber

The only thing worse than building a house with untreated timber and worrying about the risk of having wood boring pests and moisture driven fungus move in, is if you actually did build it with untreated timber, and they did move in! It would mean you paying for costly repairs to either remove or repair the problem areas, and most likely replace a lot of the untreated timber with timber that is treated. Not only does CCA protect against these nasty visitors, but it also helps to prolong the life of the timber against weathering that may occur if it is in exposed areas of your home.

Possible Risks

Because CCA contains Arsenic, it does have risks involved in its use. As arsenic fumes can be ingested or inhaled, people must use caution when either working with the wood, or using it for children’s play equipment. Burning CCA treated timber is also ill-advised due to the risk of inhaling fumes as the wood burns. For more information about CCA treated timber and why it is the right choice for your house, talk to one of our experts at Black and White Houseraising and Restumping.

How To Find Out If Your House Is Built With Quality Materials

There’s a lot going on in a house; there are many different parts, some seen and some unseen. Sometimes, if the developer or person who built it tended to cut corners, there may be elements that need to be replaced or that are not functioning as well as they could. If some of the materials that were used are not of the best quality, this could affect the way the rest of the house is holding up, literally. The best way to check if your house is built with quality materials is to look physically at every part of it to see for yourself.

But this is not always easy for you to do on your own.

Because there are often parts of the house that you may not be able to access, they may require a professional to do an inspection to ascertain what materials the house is made from, and whether they are in need of repair or replacement. Knowledge of the different materials available and what to look for, will give you a good indication about how well the materials are performing. This will also give you an idea about their longevity. Companies such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping specialise in knowing what is happening underneath the surface of houses, and it is important to have the right equipment to do the work that is required.

Check the Foundations

Foundational materials are often hidden underneath the house, so we usually have no idea what is happening with them until something goes wrong or we hire a professional to check the area. If quality materials have been used for the foundations, you will be able to see evidence of it in both the exterior and interior walls of the house. Poor quality materials that have caused foundation issues will produce cracks in these walls. Uneven floors are another indication that there may be a problem with the foundation materials too.

When it comes to foundations, the appropriate and quality materials are essential, because anything less will mean you could jeopardise your home and your family’s safety. Depending on the environment surrounding your home and the changing elements it is exposed to, various materials will be needed for different circumstances. A good builder will employ professionals to do the work, which means that they will use quality materials suited to each individual job.

Worst Case Scenarios For How Flooding Damages Your Home

If flood events were all fun and games, riding wheelie bins through the neighbourhood and taking your dinghy to the corner shop, life would be all roses. Unfortunately, damage to homes during flood events costs Australians more than 300 million dollars every year, which is a lot of milky bars by anyone’s guess. Nobody wants to experience a flood event, especially not when it involves one’s home and all of their worldly goods.

 

They say that being prepared for the worst is the best way to avoid it happening, so knowing what areas may be affected by flooding could assist you with planning to rebuild, or refurbishing a dwelling.

 

Weakening of Structural Elements

 

Since the foundations of your house have such an important job to do, this is the area that you least want to experience the effects of flood damage. Weakening of structural elements such as your house stumps and flooring are the most likely areas to be affected by flood water, which, if left for any length of time, can severely impair their strength and longevity. Usually wooden stumps will last around 10 years before needing to be replaced but exposure to moisture, especially of the magnitude of flood waters could require them to be replaced sooner.

Damage to Electrical Elements of the House

 

Another area that can be extremely dangerous is if there is damage to the electrical system of the house. Live wires can cause the house area to become a liability and sufficient inspection and precautions should be followed before re-entering the home after a flood or weather event that may have compromised the elements. If the electrical elements of your house are too close to the ground, the likelihood of experiencing this problem is greater than if your house is raised high enough to allow for all electrical wiring to be well above the level of possible flood waters. Speak to Black and White Houseraising and Restumping about the recommended positioning for electrical wiring if you are in doubt or if you are considering raising your home to prevent flood damage.

 

Contaminated Drinking Water

 

On any given day, wherever your house may be situated, there are a lot of different fluids in the vicinity from local businesses, as well as other houses and sewerage. In the event of heavy flooding, there is a high chance that some of these contaminants will sink into groundwater where they could be flushed anywhere, including into your drinking water supply.

How to Protect Your House Stumps From Pests

The stumps of your house are a crucial part of its foundations, which means that taking measures to ensure they are protected from pests is of great importance for home owners. Pests such as termites and other borers can do a lot of damage to your foundation stumps, before you are even aware that they are residents in your home. The key to ensuring that they do not set up camp and bring in their relatives to make your life a living nightmare, involves eliminating their access to food, water and shelter.

Remove Food Sources

Termites eat wood, while many borers make their homes in wood, so removing any dead wood that you have lying around in your yard is the first step to removing their food source. Have rotten stumps removed from the garden, and keep firewood off the ground and stored far away from the house. Ensure that the soil under your house is at least six inches away from supporting beams and stumps.

Prevent Moisture

Pests love moisture, and they will thrive in any moist environment, so keeping these crucial areas of your home as dry as possible will prevent your worst nightmare from moving in to your home. Leaking pipes and taps need to be repaired as soon as possible to prevent damp from getting into wooded areas of the home. Plants, bushes and trees should be positioned away from the house where they do not allow moist areas around the house; otherwise, this will invite pests. If you do find areas where there is moisture or damp in parts of the house, these need to be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Adequate ventilation will also ensure that moisture does not build up in these areas.

Make Regular Inspections

Most house stumps are treated to prevent pests, but over long periods of time the treatment can become less effective and they may show signs of infestation, or weathering from the elements. They should be checked regularly to ensure that they do not need to be changed. Full pest inspections every six months, followed by a regular pest control routine, will assist in keeping your home free from creepy crawlies that want to eat your foundations.

If you suspect that your house stumps may already be under attack, contact our experts at Black & White Houseraising & Restumping for an inspection and advice on how best to fix the situation.

What Is Copper Chrome Arsenate (Cca) Timber Treatment?

Wood is an organic matter and, as such, it tends to break down over time due to being attacked by insects and fungus. To prevent this from occurring wood is treated with different timber treatments, but the most effective has proven to be the treatment with a copper chrome arsenate preservative.

This preservative has been used worldwide since the 1930s for many different purposes, but there have been concerns about the risks involved with arsenic leaching out of the timber, and it is not used as widely today because of this. For the use of house stumps by companies such as Black and White Houseraising and Restumping, this is a very effective timber treatment since usually the underside of the house is not frequented often by many people, so the risks associated are minimal.

What it Does

The components of this timber treatment include the chemicals copper, chromium and arsenic. The copper and arsenic are an effective preventative measure to protect the timber from insect and fungal attack. The chrome is added to hold the copper and arsenic into the wood to prevent it from leaching out. Wood that has been treated with the CCA timber treatment is usually identifiable because of its green hue.

Risks

The main risk associated with the use of the CCA timber treatment is the component of arsenic, which has been shown to leach out in small amounts over time, and can be swallowed or inhaled if the wood is burnt. It is for this reason that wood that has been treated with the CCA treatment will not be used for building children’s play equipment, patios, garden furniture, domestic decking, handrails, outdoor seating or picnic tables.

Risk Reduction

If you have been cutting or sanding wood that has been treated with the CCA treatment, clothing should be washed separately. CCA treated items should not be burnt in any wood fire as this could cause the arsenic to leach into the air where it could be inhaled, causing long-term damage to the human body. CCA treated wood should be disposed of through your local council or can be put into your regular garbage bin in small amounts. It should not be left unattended where it could be picked up by someone that is not aware of the risks involved. CCA treated timber should not be used for animal cages or any similar purpose that might involve it being chewed by animals.