Home Improvements

D-I-Y Projects That B-O-O-S-T Your Home’s Value

Does your Marco Island home need a makeover? Is your Naples property begging for an update? Thinking of putting your house on the market this year? You don’t have to spend your life’s savings to make your home appealing to potential buyers. Complete these simple, inexpensive DIY projects instead. The upside? Buyers might pay more for your home afterward.

Want to make a big impression without spending thousands of dollars. These DIY projects not only impress potential buyers, but they also increase your home's value.

D-I-Y Projects That B-O-O-S-T Your Home’s Value

Bathroom

Bathroom overhauls can get expensive. But, you can make a huge change using less money with these simple DIY projects. Tear out the old vanity and install a new one. Big box stores sell these for less than $200 each. Change out the sink. Rip out the old, outdated, large mirror above the vanity. Replace it with a smaller framed mirror instead. Even something as simple as installing a new shower head, towel bar, and toilet paper holder turns a “ho-hum” bathroom into a modern beauty.

Kitchen

Kitchens help sell a Naples home. So, making sure that it’s up to date makes a lot of sense. But, if you don’t want to spend a lot of cents, consider these inexpensive DIY projects. Dark, wooden cabinets are “out”. White cabinets are “in”. If your cabinets are in good shape, paint them. Add new hardware (knobs, pulls, handles). If the old faucet has seen better days, replace it with a newer pull-down option. You’d be shocked at what a transformation you can make for just a couple hundred dollars.

Fixtures

Are your fixtures so last century? One of the great DIY projects that increase your home’s value is replacing them. Doorknobs get dull, dingy, and even break from continued use. For just $10 to $20 each, you can install brand new ones. Another update that many homeowners don’t think of is to replace your outlets. With modern technology, we always seem to be in need of charging up our batteries (smartphones, laptops, tablets, etc). But outlets may come at a premium in your household. Consider replacing the traditional outlet with one that includes a USB port or two. At $10 to $20 apiece, they make an awesome selling feature to today’s tech-savvy buyers. Instead of replacing every single one of your outlets, though, keep the cost down by installing one or two in the kitchen, living room, and each bedroom. These are the areas you would use them the most. And it still frees up the outlets for anything that needs a regular plug.

Lights

Finally, let’s talk lighting. Southwest Florida provides lots of natural light throughout the year. You want to let that light shine inside. A no-cost DIY project would be to just take down heavy drapes or add sheer fabric panels. Some light fixtures fade over time. If that has happened in your home, replace them. Double pane windows with a cracked seal may allow moisture inside. When this happens, mold and hard water deposits can create a film on the glass, making it difficult to see out of. Replace old windows with more energy efficient ones. This definitely adds value on several levels. New windows look better, they keep the elements outside of the house and they help lower your utility costs year-round.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Creating the Perfect Home Office Space

According to the New York Times, 43% of Americans worked from home at least part of the time in 2016. Experts predict that this could increase to 50% by 2020. Therefore, creating the perfect home office space becomes a priority for Naples and Marco Island homeowners. Here are a few key components you’ll need to set up your home office space and be as productive as possible throughout your workday.

Several elements come in to play when creating the perfect home office space for your Naples home. It must be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing in order to make it a place you want to work in.

Home Office Space Essentials

Dedicated Home Office Space

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First and foremost, you’ll need a dedicated space specifically used as a home office. One of the requirements necessary to utilize a home office deduction on your taxes is that you use the space exclusively for business and nothing more. For example, an office that doubles as a guest room might hinder your ability to deduct part of your household expenses for the home office. Consult your tax accountant or preparer if you have any questions about this.

Proper Lighting

If you’ve spent any time in a traditional office setting, you know how harsh overhead fluorescent lights can be on your eyes. Sometimes, you might need a stronger light source for particular projects. Other times, a softer light works just fine. Since this is your personal home office, you get to choose which light fixtures work best for your circumstances. Home improvement stores offer a wide variety of lighting choices. Discuss what you need with a sales associate to help determine which fixtures to install in your Naples home.

Comfortable Furnishings

Plan on working full-time from home? Even a few hours a day wreaks havoc on your body. Therefore, you need comfortable yet supportive furnishings for your home office. Test out several chairs. Make sure the desk can handle all the work you must complete. Include storage bins or other organizational tools to keep all of your supplies in order and available when you need them.

Technology Must-Haves

Since you’ll be working remotely from your Marco Island home office, you’re going to need a good internet connection. If you work in multiple windows at one time, you need a higher speed connection than browsing for recipes or checking your Facebook status require. Also, as technology develops, you might need to update your computer every couple of years to keep up. Consider using an ergonomic keyboard and mouse if you do a lot of typing every day. These help reduce the fatigue in your fingers and wrists.

Personalizing Your Space

Finally, you’re going to want to personalize your space. Just because it’s a home office doesn’t mean it has to be stuffy. Add pictures, artwork, and miscellaneous tchotchkes that mean something to you. Make this a space that you want to work in. Since you’re the only one there, you get to create whatever kind of a work environment you desire. Your only limitation is your imagination.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Why Choose Quartz Over Granite for Your Kitchen Renovation?

Granite has been a staple in many Naples and Marco Island homes for years now. In recent years, this beautiful high-end finish began to steadily lose popularity points to quartz. Why have builders, designers, and homeowners begun to choose quartz over granite for their kitchen renovation projects? More choices, easier maintenance, and a more eco-friendly option to name just a few.

When choosing countertops for a kitchen renovation, designers and builders alike have begun to move away from granite and embrace quartz.

Kitchen Renovation: Quartz vs Granite

More to Choose From

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In your kitchen renovation, quartz provides more options to choose from than granite. While it looks like stone, it can be engineered to match just about any color scheme. Whether you want a lighter material or a darker color, manufacturers can create any color you want. Natural granite, on the other hand, sticks predominantly to the white, gray or pink families.

Lower Maintenance

Another reason quartz rose to the top of the list with kitchen renovation is because it is so much easier to maintain than granite. Even the best chefs spill things in the kitchen (greasy food, juice, oil, wine). These all stain the porous surface of granite, ruining its beautiful design. Quartz handles these spills like a pro. Unlike granite, simple soap and water clean up quartz in a snap. It’s also scratch-resistant and won’t stain or discolor due to hot items being placed on it. Even so, you probably shouldn’t leave sizzling hot pans directly on quartz.

Costs Less Than Exotic Granite Slabs

While some granite actually costs less than engineered quartz, the more exotic granite slabs cost more. Large kitchen islands require a large slab of granite. This can be difficult to locate. In that case, you’ll need to find two slabs of granite similar in color and design. Otherwise, the whole island looks “off”. That means cutting the slabs to match each other. With quartz, the manufacturer creates the exact size, color, and design you want. No extra cost. No waste.

More Eco-Friendly

Finally, with your kitchen renovation, quartz tends to be more eco-friendly. Granite must be quarried and, sometimes, imported (depending on where you get it from). Stick with local quartz manufacturers to cut down on transportation. Also, check out salvage shops like Home & Salvage on Taylor in Naples. They might have quartz pieces you can utilize in your own kitchen renovation for a fraction of what granite costs.

Marco Island Christmas Tree Lighting

On a totally different note, if you missed the Christmas Tree Lighting festivities in Naples last week, it’s OK. The Marco Island Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony takes place this Saturday at Veterans Community Park. Just make sure you’re there before 6 pm so you don’t miss a moment of the fun. Besides, you don’t want to miss a visit from Santa, do you?

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Fall Home Maintenance Tasks to Complete Right Now

So, fall technically doesn’t begin for 12 more days. However, responsible Naples/Marco Island homeowners start getting their properties in shape for the change of seasons as soon as possible. Complete the following fall home maintenance tasks right now. Then, you’ll be ahead of the curve if you need a service call.

Save yourself the headache and expense of a larger problem by tackling these fall home maintenance tasks right now.

Fall Home Maintenance Tasks to Complete Right Now

Gutters

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We might not experience the bone-chilling cold here in the Naples/Marco Island area that other parts of the country feel. However, that doesn’t mean we should neglect cleaning out the gutters as part of our fall home maintenance tasks. Rain falls quite a bit here, as you know. In fact, our summers experience the most precipitation out of the entire year. Wind brings all sorts of foliage to our rooftops that can then settle into the gutters. If the gutters become clogged, water won’t drain properly from the roof. Pooling water creates a myriad of problems, from roof rips and tears to rot and leaks. The majority of these problems can be solved by simply clearing out your rain gutters routinely.

Fireplace

Another one of the fall home maintenance tasks to pay attention to right now is cleaning out your fireplace. We may still have a couple of months before you actually light a fire in your fireplace, however, you should make sure it is in proper working condition right now. Creosote builds up in the chimney, creating a fire hazard. Leave the cleaning to the pros. Experts recommend a good chimney sweep after every 50-70 fires. One professional cleaning per year (either early fall or in the spring) should be enough for more Naples/Marco Island homes.

Roof

Next item up on your fall home maintenance tasks list should be to inspect your roof. As I said before, wind brings all manner of things to the rooftop. It can also cause severe damage to tiles or other roofing materials. Repair or replace damaged areas as soon as possible. I highly recommend paying a roofing company to come out and look at your roof. Inspections typically cost about $100. But it could save you thousands of dollars down the road if a potential problem is spotted and resolved in its early stages.

Doors/Windows/Walls

When the weather starts to change, animals like to find warmer places to nest. Don’t allow them to lay claim to your Naples/Marco Island home. The final one of your fall home maintenance tasks to tackle right now is to walk around the perimeter of your home looking for small holes in the walls. Check the eaves as well as the foundation. Mice and other critters look for ways inside and they don’t need much of hole to do it either. Most mice fit through a whole the size of a dime. Even vents provide access points. Also, keep cold, wet weather out and warm temperatures in during the winter by sealing up doors and windows. Replace worn or cracked caulking or weather stripping. This helps reduce your energy usage and costs as well.

Complete these fall home maintenance tasks as soon as possible. Some might require the services of a professional. As the weather gets cooler, these professionals’ schedules fill up. Then, the consumer (you) gets charged more. Save yourself the headache and expense of a larger problem by tackling these chores right now.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos 

Reseal Your Driveway and Boost Your Curb Appeal

Want to boost your curb appeal? In the past, I’ve told you how to make your outdoor spaces more mobile-friendly. I even talked about specific colors trending for spring. This time, let’s turn to the front of your house…more specifically, your driveway. Do cracks and potholes make your driveway look shabby? With a little elbow grease, you can reseal your driveway without professional help and boost your curb appeal.

It's easier to reseal your driveway than you think. And it easily boosts the curb appeal of your Marco Island/Naples home.

How to Reseal Your Driveway

Check the Weather

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When you reseal your driveway, you’re going to need one full week of no rain and temperatures of 60F or above. While the latter isn’t a problem at the moment, we tend to experience the most rainfall between May and October in Marco Island and June through September in Naples. Check the weather forecast before you start your resealing project or you may end up having to do it again.

Clear the Way

You need a clean surface to reseal your driveway. Therefore, you’ll need to take the weed wacker to any growth around the sides and in between the cracks on your driveway. Sweep or blow away any grass clippings or dirt on the surface as well. Then, power wash the entire driveway using a back and forth motion. You’ll then need to allow it to dry completely or the sealant will not adhere to it. It typically takes about 48 hours to dry all the way through.

Take Care of the Cracks/Potholes

Put on a pair of rubber gloves and boots or old shoes you don’t mind messing up. Then, seal up the smaller cracks and potholes in your driveway’s surface with asphalt crack filler (available at most home improvement stores). This helps provide a smooth surface for the asphalt sealant to go over.

Create an Asphalt Perimeter

With a long-handled brush, use wet asphalt to mark the perimeter of where you’ll be laying down the asphalt when you reseal your driveway. This provides a guideline of where to quit spreading it. If the asphalt goes outside of that line, it could create an unsightly stain that is difficult to remove. Keep it off the grass and garage door.

Start Filling it In

After you created a perimeter, fill in the space with asphalt. Using a push-pull method, make sure your asphalt is evenly coated. Don’t work with any more than two to three gallons at a time. You’ll want it to be evenly distributed throughout.

Finishing Touches

At the end of the driveway, use a bristle brush to mark an asphalt border line when you reseal your driveway. This helps create a borderline between the driveway and the street. Finally, stay off the driveway for several days to allow it to set properly and thoroughly dry.

While it may sound like a lot of work to reseal your driveway, it really isn’t. Almost anybody can do it themselves and save a few dollars in the process. Talk to your local home improvement store associates if you have any questions. Good luck!

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Weekend Warrior Paint Project for Your Naples Home

Earlier this year, I discussed the beautiful paint color trends for spring. The included warm persimmons, pastel yellows, earthy turquoises, and lovely lilacs. These colors give your Naples home a pick-me-up over simple white walls. Even a brighter hue on your front door gives the entire facade a lift. Looking for another weekend warrior paint project for your Naples home? Why not paint interior doors and trim in something other than white?

Home in need of a little "oomph"? I have a weekend warrior paint project for your Naples home. Change the color of your interior doors & trim to add character to each room.

Weekend Warrior Paint Project – Interior Doors and Trim

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For many homeowners, it feels natural to paint the walls once you claim ownership of your house. It adds a bit of your own style to the place. However, we often overlook the trim and interior doors. This is unfortunate. You wouldn’t paint the exterior of your Naples home without also painting the trim, would you? And by concentrating on a small area like doors, window casings or trim, you can be more daring with color than you might want to be with a whole wall. Also, this is a simple weekend warrior paint project that won’t take up days or weeks of your time to complete. If you don’t like it, paint over it later. Here are a few current trends to consider using on your trim and doors.

Neutral Colors

With this weekend warrior paint project, neutral colors always remain timeless. When I say “neutral”, I don’t mean just sticking with creams or beiges (even though they are very pretty). Olive green and even gray colors provide the perfect neutral complement to most other colors in the room. They also look gorgeous against simple white walls.

Black

Black is the new white when it comes to trim. It works well with just about any color you use on the walls of your Naples home. It also creates a beautiful accent when used on closet and en-suite doors in the bedroom. And if you want to draw the eye to the spectacular view outside, trim your windows in a gorgeous black color inside.

Bold, Bright Colors

Want to spice things up? Paint your interior doors a bright hue. A bold turquoise door with trim in a matching color or black makes a statement without feeling overwhelming. Visit Postcards from the Ridge’s website for some incredible inspiration to use in your own home.

Monotone

So, it may sound odd to go with a monotone look when the whole point of this post was to change up your trim and doorway looks. However, using the same color for your interior doors and trim that you use on the walls and ceilings help make them virtually disappear. In turn, this makes small rooms feel much larger. Also, if your home includes several doors on either side of a hallway, using a monochromatic color scheme allows the doors to blend better into the walls.

Only have a couple of days to tackle some home improvement ideas? Create a whole new space with this weekend warrior paint project. Concentrate on changing up the color of your doors, trim and/or window casings. Time to complete and the cost of materials is minimal. But the difference can be extraordinary.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Current Home Remodeling Trends for Your Naples FL Property

Are you considering putting your Naples or Marco Island home on the market anytime soon? Or are you simply looking for a way to give your property a facelift? Look for inspiration in current home remodeling trends. While currently “trending”, these changes are classic enough that they will never actually go out of style.

Does your Naples home need a change? Thinking of putting your Marco Island house on the market? Utilize these current home remodeling trends to appeal to today's buyers.

Current Home Remodeling Trends

Eco-Friendly Materials

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We live in an ever-expanding eco-conscious world. More and more buyers look for homes that include eco-friendly materials in their construction. Current home remodeling trends utilize bamboo for floors and recycled glass for their counters or showers. Composite decking like Trex deck or CorrectDeck won’t rot or peel. High-performance low-E windows add another layer of insulation by reflecting the harsh sun glare and heat, maintaining a milder temperature inside. In the winter, they help keep warm air in and cold air out. Energy-efficient appliances like tankless water heaters, ceiling fans, and smart thermostats reduce energy usage as well as costs.

Using Wood Anywhere You Want

Why limit wood design strictly to your floors? Another one of the current home remodeling trends involves using wood on walls and ceilings, too. But we’re not talking about your grandparents’ wood-paneled walls here. Think about a reclaimed wood accent wall in the dining room. Or a wood covered ceiling in your family room, kitchen or your foyer. With the various grains, textures, and colors available, wood adds warmth to any room while bringing a calming natural element of the outdoors inside.

Open Concept Kitchen

No longer are kitchens completely separate from the rest of the home. Naples homeowners love to entertain. A good host interacts with their guests, even when serving up food. One of the other current home remodeling trends we see in today’s homes is the open concept kitchen. Tear down walls where necessary to create an open sight-line to your family or living room. Add cabinets that go all the way up to the ceiling. A nice large kitchen island invites guests to visit with you as you add the finishing touches to the evening’s meal. Also, forget granite. Quartz reigns supreme in today’s Naples homes. Its lighter color comes in a variety of patterns and fits in well with the coastal or resort themes that are so popular in the Marco Island/Naples area. For the more cost-conscious individual, check out these budget-friendly alternatives to create a “wow” factor in the kitchen.

Outdoor Living Space

Finally, we can’t overlook the outdoor living space. Beautiful weather means that we spend as much time indoors as we do outdoors. So the last of the current remodeling trends I’m going to talk about shouldn’t surprise you at all. Adding a fully functioning kitchen outdoors, complete with sink, grilling station, and drink fridge makes entertaining a snap. Add a media center and large outdoor fireplace to keep the party going into the cooler months. And don’t forget to keep in mind your more physically limited friends, family and, potentially, yourself down the road when creating an outdoor space everyone can enjoy.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Kitchen Updates That Won’t Break the Bank

Major impact with minimal expense. Isn’t that what we all want in a home makeover? Does your kitchen need a new look? Forget about tearing down walls and ripping up flooring. You can create a whole new look when you utilize these kitchen updates that won’t break the bank.

Kitchen updates don't have to break the bank when you utilize these simple ideas for your Marco Island/Naples home remodel.

Kitchen Updates That Won’t Break the Bank

Countertops

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When performing kitchen updates, many people choose to focus on their countertops. These take up a fair-sized portion of your kitchen’s overall appearance. The good news is that they can be fairly easy for just about anyone to change. Concrete counters are currently trending around the country right now, even in Naples homes. Achieve this look for less by putting up concrete forms around your existing countertops. Then, pour Level Quick Concrete directly on top of your tiled counters. Total cost? Just a couple hundred dollars. Or use paint to change the look of old wood or linoleum countertops. Scuff up the surface slightly with a medium-grade sandpaper, prime it, and then paint it the color you want. Don’t forget to seal it afterward. The same can be done with old tile counters. Talk to your local home improvement store for ideas on how to properly achieve your goal.

Floors

Another large area that shows its age in Marco Island homes is flooring. Decorative rugs help cover a multitude of sins. But, if you want to truly change your floor’s image, stencil a pattern directly onto the tiles. Royal Design Studios provides a wide variety of stencils to choose from as well as a handy step-by-step guide on how to stencil your tile floors yourself.

Cabinets

Paint plays a huge part in kitchen updates. This includes cabinets. Do dark cabinets make your kitchen feel more like a dungeon? Lighten them up with a fresh coat of paint. While time-consuming, painting cabinets yourself costs a very small amount of money. However, even hiring a pro to paint your cabinets costs much less than replacing them entirely. So, if you’re not up to the challenge or hassle of a DIY job, you’ll still save money by enlisting the help of a professional.

Also, adding or changing out the hardware on your cabinets and drawers totally transforms the look of your kitchen. The cost varies, though, depending on the type of hardware and the amount you use. Luckily, most home improvement stores provide a myriad of options to choose from. And, best of all, installation tends to be a breeze for most homeowners. Most of the time and effort involved in your kitchen’s hardware comes when trying to decide which designs to use.

Light Fixtures

Finally, let’s talk lighting. When updating your kitchen, you might be surprised at how much of a difference your light fixtures make. Add more lighting to brighten up a dull, dark kitchen. Take out unattractive fluorescent lights. Canned lights (which can be pricier) or pendant lights (which come in a wide variety of designs) provide a welcome transformation in a very short amount of time.

Looking to sell your Marco Island/Naples home soon? Or do you simply want to do a little home renovation? Utilize these smart, practical kitchen updates that won’t break the bank.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Creating an Outdoor Space Everyone Can Enjoy

As our population ages, more and more people begin looking at expanding their living area to accommodate people with mobility issues. Last year, the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability/UCED released their Disability Statistics Annual Report. In it, they reported that 12.8% of the American civilian population was disabled. Just over half of these (51%) fell into the 18 to 64 age group, with 41.4% in the 65+ age range. Therefore, it seems appropriate to make your living area as accommodating as possible for family, friends, and inhabitants. This includes creating an outdoor space that everyone can enjoy. But how do you do that? It’s easier than you may think.

Make your outdoor space accessible to all of your guests, including children and people with physical limitations by using these simple suggestions.

Making Your Outdoor Space More Mobile-Friendly

Ramps

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Sometimes, even one step provides an unwelcome obstacle for people with limited mobility. One way to make your home more mobile-friendly is by installing ramps. A slowly sloping walkway makes it easier for people with walkers or wheelchairs to maneuver around both the interior and exterior of your Naples home. While private homes aren’t required by law to be handicapped accessible, following official recommendations by the ADA helps you assess how your home fits these guidelines. Arch Daily provides a simple breakdown of making your home’s design more handicapped accessible.

Walkways

Speaking of walkways, your outdoor space should provide clear, wide pathways for everyone to move through. Yes, pavers, cobblestones, and mulch are pretty accents. However, they make it harder for anyone with a limited range of motion to navigate. This includes anyone on crutches or using a cane. Crushed limestone provides an attractive alternative that is also mobile-friendly. And don’t forget to keep weeds and brush trimmed back from all walkways. Rambunctious children fall prey to errant weeds as much as anyone else. It’s very easy to snag a foot or be hit in the face by overgrowth.

Gardens

Do you enjoy gardening? It’s a great way to stimulate your mind. Some studies show that gardening helps reduce dementia in seniors by as much as 36%. It’s also a wonderful way to teach children where their food comes from. And it looks pretty, too. But it wreaks havoc with your hands, knees, and back. One solution to this is to raise your gardens. Another is to plant vegetables or flowers using a trellis (peas, beans, star jasmine, and wisteria are great for this). Talk to your local garden center or home improvement store for tips on raising your gardens in your outdoor space.

Even if your physical health is excellent at the moment, that could change as you age. You may even know friends and family with physical limitations. A good Naples homeowner wants all their guests to enjoy themselves. With summer in full swing, that means many backyard barbecues. Make your outdoor space easy for all abilities to maneuver by concentrating on the three areas listed above.

Do you or someone you love have a physical limitation? What would you suggest Naples homeowners install to make it easier for guests with physical limitations to relax and enjoy themselves when visiting their home? Please share your ideas and stories in the comments below. Thank you.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos

Naples Homeowners: Identifying Potential Foundation Problems

Homes require maintenance to stay in tip-top shape. But, sometimes, repairs can be costly. Correcting foundation problems ranks high on the list of expensive fixes. However, identifying potential foundation problems early might save Naples homeowners thousands of dollars. While huge cracks quickly throw up red flags, foundation issues aren’t always so easy to spot.

Foundation problems can be some of the costliest to repair for Naples homeowners. Learn how to identify potential foundations early on.

Identifying Potential Foundation Problems

Doors and Windows

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Some squeaky doors and windows only need a squirt of WD-40 to work properly again. However, if you find it increasingly difficult to open or close them, this could be an indicator of a bigger problem. The same goes for gaps between the window frame and walls. As a foundation shifts, it distorts the alignment of your Naples home’s frame. Take care of these issues early to save big bucks later on.

Floors and Walls

Next, keep an eye out for floors or ceilings that sag or slant. Shifting weight puts more pressure on other areas of your home, creating sagging. You can use a level to see whether your floor is slanting or not. If the slant continues to increase over a period of time, call a pro in to check it out. Another indicator of a potential problem is a bowed wall. However, don’t mistake a large paint blister/bubble for bowing. That should also be addressed since it could be from heat or water damage. But it does not mean there’s a foundation problem. Have you noticed nails pulling away from the drywall? If this happens regularly, it could be due to foundation problems.

Smells

Musty, moldy smells may point to a plumbing problem. On the other hand, they can also signify a potential foundation issue. If you see mold or smell mildew, try to locate the source of the moisture right away. Check for leaks around the windows or other areas that might be letting moisture gather in the area.

Chimney

Finally, have you looked up at your chimney and thought that it appeared to be leaning slightly? That might be the beginning of a foundation issue. If your chimney moves too much, it could fall over and rip a hole in your roof. Or, worse yet, it could tumble down, raining bricks on unsuspecting people down below. As soon as you notice that your chimney is leaning to one side or the other, contact a specialist to come out right away.

Large cracks are the most obvious signs of potential foundation problems. Call a pro if you see any of the following around your Naples home:

  • Any crack more than 1/8″ wide,
  • Cracks that are narrow on one end and wide on the other,
  • Create a 45 degree angle or run horizontally,
  • Have any leaking water coming from it, or
  • Cracks that run in a “stair-step” pattern on the inside or outside of your home.

Michelle Thomas, Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Luxury Naples/Marco Island Homes & Condos