Archive for June, 2013|Monthly archive page

Do You Have to Disclose That You Have a Large Dead Tree on Your Property When You Are Selling Your Home?/ Waterproofing With a Mastic Seal / Cleaning Wood Doors Without Damaging Them / Removing a Broken Key From a Lock

In Uncategorized on June 17, 2013 at 3:42 pm


I read your column awhile back when you talked about disclosing an underground storage tank. I was wondering if I needed to disclose the fact that an oak tree on my property, some forty or fifty feet tall, has been slowly dying of an illness? I plan to sell my home in the fall, where it would be less noticeable. I understand from a legal source that the buyer is responsible for inspecting anything that might be visible. Is this accurate advice?


I spoke to attorney Ann Howard. She is a specialist in real estate law. Ms. Howard tells me this is not a black and white situation, and believe me she sees all types of lawsuits for many different reasons. 

While I normally don’t like to side with attorneys, she and I agree you should never do anything that looks like or could look like a cover-up.

It boils down to time and money. Ms. Howard’s advice is to remove the tree. Honesty is the best policy. I’d add to her advice and get three estimates to remove the tree. Show them to a potential purchaser and give them credit toward the purchase. Let them deal with the removal and cleanup of the tree, this way they won’t be barking up the wrong one.


I have been thinking about sloping some soil away from the foundation of my house. I have no leaking problems currently, but have had in the past. I had B-Dry fix the problem a few years ago and have not had a leak since. Is it important to do wire brushing and waterproofing with a mastic seal if I am only going up about four-inches onto the block foundation with soil and if so, what is the reason for this?


Yes, it is important that you use a waterproofing mastic seal. If you don’t, the brick, block and mortar will absorb the moisture and will wick the water into the walls causing deterioration.

In addition, bricks that are constantly wet, could spall and disintegrate when it freezes.


How can I clean stained wood doors on a weekly basis without damaging the wood? Currently I have been using Murphy’s Oil Soap to remove dust, is there a better way to clean these doors?


For cleaning wood doors, using Murphy’s Oil Soap is an excellent choice. Oil soaps by their nature are perfect for cleaning wood surfaces since they leave a thin film of oil residue. That residue helps keep wood from drying out.

But every week? Get a life!  No one’s kids can be that dirty. If you’re doing it because they indeed are dirty, okay. But if it’s just dust, wiping them down with a dust mop, installing a better air filter and changing the air filter when needed should reduce some of that dust. If your doors are just stained and feel rough, they could collect dust. Why not sand them until they’re smooth?

Next, wipe them down with a dry rag and then clean them thoroughly using mineral spirits. When dry, wipe the doors down using a tack-cloth and re-stain if desired. I would wipe on a varnish finish coat. 

You may not have liked their music, but you will like your “Doors”.  


My son broke a key off in the lock of our car door. We have tried to use a magnet but it did not work. Do you have any suggestions that can help us get the other half of the key out?


This same thing happened to me, just this past summer. What matters worse was that the door was locked, so I couldn’t get in, and it started to rain. I was really upset since it was a convertible, and the top was down.

If you have a gentle touch, you can try digging the broken key out with a dental tool pick. Most dentists have lots of extra broken picks that are no longer useful on patients. If that doesn’t work, you can of course call a locksmith.

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Check Out Bissell’s New Deep Cleaners / Finding The Right Contractors For Leaky Foundation As Well As Remodeling Afterward

In Uncategorized on June 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Bissell’s New Deep Cleaners

It really seems like all the dirt and grime from this past winter got tracked in my house, which left my carpets pretty sad looking. So spring cleaning here I come!

Bissell’s new Deep Clean Premiere™ carpet cleaning machine couldn’t have come on the market at a better time.  This machine is very powerful. I couldn’t believe all the dirt it sucked out of the carpeting, leaving them clean and looking brand new again.

I especially liked that it had ten rows of dual rotating power brushes along with the new heating technology, which helped maintain the water temperature the entire time I cleaned. I also liked that the solution tank was larger so I didn’t have to make as many trips refilling it. The one thing I wished it would have had, was a sensor to alert me to when the solution was low or even gone and a longer power cord would have helped too for my larger rooms. Regardless, those small inconveniences are insignificant when you compare the Bissell Deep Clean Premiere™ to its competition.

This unit also came equipped with a hand-held cleaner with a long enough hose to spot clean the fabric on my furniture, too. The Deep Clean Premiere™ was a breeze to use and made cleaning the carpets so easy and actually fun! Now I can clean my own carpeting like a professional and not have to pay those “professional prices” any longer. It’s also nice to be able to clean my carpeting on a moment’s notice instead of having to wait for a scheduled appointment. In addition, Bissell made the Deep Clean Premiere™ very easy to clean when I was finished using it.

It has a manufacturers retail price of $199.00 and is available at Target, Wal-Mart as well as other major retailers. It is well worth the investment.

Bissell has also come out with the portable SpotClean™ machine for spot cleaning furniture, stairs, hard-to-reach areas, as well as the interior carpet and upholstery of my car. All the winter snow and sludge that was dragged into my car during the winter months made the interior look pretty sad, but Bissell helped to renew my car’s interior.

This machine is also convenient if you are a pet-owner, like myself. It comes in handy in a pinch when those unfortunate little “accidents” happen with our lovable furry friends.

It may be a smaller version of the Bissell DeepClean Premier™ but it does an amazing job at getting those smaller cleaning jobs tackled, too. It is a very convenient cleaning machine and retails for $99.99 and can also be found at major retail stores.


My mother, who is a widowed senior citizen, lives in Livonia and needs some foundation/leak work done on her basement. She also wants to remodel it as well but does not know to go about hiring the right company to do this work. She is worried about getting ripped off. What are some questions she can ask companied when interviewing them for such a job as this?


Have her call several basement waterproofing companies and get estimates. Verify all of them with the Better Business Bureau as well as discuss the eventual company she thinks she will use with the Livonia building inspector. See what the local inspector thinks of the company and if they have had any problems with them. Regardless, make sure the company has been in business for a while and that they will provide a long-term warranty.

As for remodeling the basement, have her check with friends as well as parishioners at church. See if any of them have a good contractor that they use and trust. That being said there is no guaranty that she still won’t get ripped off. Advise the company that you will eventually decide on that one she will be hiring her own private inspector to inspect the project as work progresses as well as before they g et their final draw.

Finally, have her and you as well, follow your instincts. I have found my instinct rarely fails me. If she is in doubt and has a funny or uncomfortable feeling about the salesman or the company move on regardless of their quote.

I hope this information is useful to her.

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