13 Jan 2020

Don’t Let Your Yard Rot!

As spring approaches, an important question to ask yourself as a homeowner is: how well can your yard handle excess water? Having proper drainage can save your landscaping though the months of melting snow in winter and endless spring showers.

How can excess water cause damage?

Without effective drainage, all of the money, time, and effort put into your landscaping could go to waste. As snow melts and rain falls, erosion can wreak havoc. Erosion can quite literally wash away soil and landscaping. Beyond looking unappealing above the surface, erosion can cause your home’s foundation to shift. If your property is flat or has flat areas, excess water, called standing water, can pool and cause a number of issues. Standing water can drown grass and plants. Too much moisture in the soil can also cause plant roots to grow fungus and mold. Puddles of standing water become breeding ground for insects such as mosquitos and can cause discolored patches in your lawn.

Here at G&R Contracting, we offer four types of drainage. Before any decisions are made, we assess your yard to figure out which type of drainage would be most helpful.

Sub-Surface Drainage, also known as the “French Drain”, is an underground system that redirects water to a designated area.

Surface Drainage is just like it sounds – above ground. Slopes are created in the land to redistribute water.

Downspout Drainage consists of underground pipes that carry away rainfall as it exits home gutters.

Lastly, Foundation Drainage runs along the outer side of the foundation wall to avoid water from seeping into the foundation.

If your home doesn’t have a drainage system, contact us today to discuss which option would be best for you.

27 Sep 2019

Freezin’ Season – Winterization

As Virginians, we are lucky to live in an area that experiences the beauty of all four seasons.  However, the intense sunshine and snow do leave us with a few more responsibilities than other, one-season states.  One important winter step that many people forget is winterizing irrigation systems. With Virginia’s common below-freezing temperatures, making sure your irrigation system is prepared for the cold is crucial to save you from severe damage and repairs.

What Is Winterization?

Winterizing irrigation systems is a precautionary procedure that removes excess water from vulnerable pipes.  The process is time consuming and detailed, which is why it is best done by irrigation maintenance professionals.

Save Money

Your irrigation system is an important investment.  Winterizing these systems will save you large amounts of money in the long run.  Any bit of water left in irrigation pipes can freeze and expand during the winter, causing pipes to crack.  The cost of repairing these systems is far greater than the cost of winterizing.

Avoid Wasting Time and Landscaping

When irrigation system pipes burst, homeowners usually don’t realize there is a problem until well into spring.  Once they find the issue, it can take weeks for system repairs to take place.  By this time, much landscaping can be lost due to the lack of irrigation and, often, the process of repairing the system can wreak havoc on your yard, too.  Having your irrigation system winterized can save you time and save your yard.

Protect Tap Water

Another reason why you should winterize your irrigation system is to protect your home’s tap water. The backflow prevention device is an important piece of your irrigation system which prevents contaminants, such as fertilizer, pesticides, and animal waste, from entering your home’s water pipes.  This piece of the system is above ground and exposed to the elements and is, therefore, even more at risk of freezing.

G&R Contracting offers winterization treatments so you can sit back, relax, and enjoy the changing seasons worry-free.  Sign up before November 1stto receive 20% off ($60).  Freezin‘ season is on its way, don’t wait to sign up!

22 Jan 2019

5 Advantages to Hardscaping in Winter

Your outdoor living space might be the last thing on your mind now that it’s freezing outside, but winter is actually the perfect time to start planning your next hardscaping project. If you call G&R Contracting today, you’ll be ready to enjoy a new patio or outdoor kitchen before your flowers start to bloom. Here are the top 5 reasons to tackle your hardscaping projects in the winter:

1. Lower Costs

The cost of hardscaping materials is driven by supply and demand. Since contractors are busiest during spring and summer, the demand for building materials drops significantly during the colder months. Getting started on your hardscaping project now could save you a bundle!

2. Less Wait Time

Everyone wants a beautiful backyard in the summer, so that’s when we’re the busiest! If you wait until it warms up to call a contractor, you might have to get in line. We will be able to set up your initial consultation and start your project much more quickly if you call G&R Contracting today.

3. More Time to Plan

Getting started in winter means you will not be rushed during the planning and design phases of your project. With so many beautiful options available, you’ll be glad to have the extra time to choose the perfect design and materials for your new outdoor living space.

4. Faster Completion

Hardscaping in the winter speeds up the process from start to finish. We are quicker to meet with you, quicker to order materials and quicker to break ground on site. We aren’t as busy when it’s cold outside, so we can focus more of our attention on you, your project and getting it done faster.

5. Ready for Spring!

Spring and summer should be spent making memories, not rushing to finish that project you’ve been putting off. If you call us now, you’ll get to enjoy your new outdoor living space all season long. You’ll be entertaining guests and hosting parties before your neighbors even plan their first cookout!

18 Apr 2018

3 Important Maintenance Items for Spring

The days are growing longer and warmer. Spring is here! It’s the season for cleaning, home improvement projects, and cleaning and repairs. While you were still getting used to losing that extra hour of sleep, we were busy putting together maintenance tips for your home.

Remember, you can always check out our annual maintenance checklist for a quick guide to once a year projects. For more detailed instructions, keep it right here. Don’t delay! Take a look at this list and note what things you need to do this spring season.

1. Check on your Trees

Ensuring your trees are healthy and well rooted can prevent a lot of future hassles and insurance claims. Believe us, having a tree fall on the house is not a fun experience. Here are a few steps you can take to making sure that your trees are healthy and ready for another season of shade.

01 Junk on the trunk

Taking a look at your tree’s base is often a good indication of health. There are a couple things to watch out for. First, pay attention to decay or rot. A rotting tree trunk is usually a good sign that the tree has seen better days. Next, consider the amount of mushrooms or conks on the tree. Usually there isn’t a problem, but when combined with other issues, it’s a tell-tale sign of a dead tree.

02 Brown Collar

A tree’s collar is where the trunk and roots meet the soil surface. Pull back the grass and take a good look at the collar. Notice any bark that might be missing or falling off, as this could be a bad sign. Finally, consider large cracks that could allude to structural weakness.

03 It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its a tree branch!

Sometimes, all it takes is looking up. Is your tree overly barren when it should be sprouting? Are there tree limbs falling into your yard? Those are usually bad signs.

If you’re noticing any or a combination of these things, call your local arborist and have them run an inspection on the trees in your yard. They’ll let you know if the trees need to be removed or if you’re safe.

2. Cleaning your Gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to ruined flower beds, saturated foundations and water damage to your siding or even interior. All of this can be prevented by making sure that your gutters are clean and well maintained. Realistically, you should clean your gutters twice a year and after every big storm.

01 Hardware

We recommend wearing long sleeves and gloves. Often times when you’re dealing with metal, sharp edges can get the better of your skin. Above all else, protect yourself. Here are a few things that you might need to pick up to get the job done:

  • Gutter Scoops
  • High Pressure hose
  • Extendable Ladder
  • Tarp or plastic bag (optional)

02 Doing the Deed

If you’re trying to spare your lawn, be sure to have your plastic bag or tarp ready to capture the gunk you’re about to pull out. Stabilize your ladder, and put on your gloves. Once you’re up on the ladder, make sure you’re at a comfortable height, but can still see and reach the gutters. Using your gutter scoop, scrape out any debris and throw it down to the ground, or into your trash bag. Make sure you get dirt, sticks, leaves, and debris out of the gutter to allow water to flow along, down, and away from your home.

03 Clean Up

Once your gutters are cleaned out, take your hose and flush out any remaining dirt. Keep careful watch on the flow of the water, making sure that you can trace the water down and away from your home.

Remember to stay safe. If climbing ladders isn’t your thing, call a local contractor to do the job for you. Chances are, they can offer any repairs or improvements that you may not have an eye for.

3. Check for Pests

Once the days begin to warm up, be on the lookout for bees, ants, and other pests. Squirrels can be dangerous if they’re getting into your house. Raccoons can become aggressive and can lead to disease because of their fondness for trash. Bird droppings can cause serious damage to roofs and automobiles. So before any of these issues become a problem, nip it in the bud and contact your local pest control professional.

An especially dangerous pest for the spring time are termites. Termites are incredibly difficult to spot if you have other little issues in your home. If you aren’t sure, be sure to hire a pest control professional to inspect the home. Look for these 3 warnings signs if you think you have termites.

01 Discarded Wings

Termites have wings that they use to fly around from one colony to another. Once they’ve landed and establish a new colony, they shed their wings. What’s more, they will shed their wings in a single file line as the new termites enter their colony. You’re looking for a row or a line of small wings.

02 Mud Tubes

Termites need to live in very humid environment. The further North they get, the more likely they are to build mud tubes near foundations. This gives the termites a highway that’s humid enough to maneuver around your home. Mud tubes are pencil sized shafts (almost like small roots) that run up and down your foundation. A good way to identify if you have termites is to break the middle of one of those tubes. If termites pour out, that’s probably a bad sign. If they don’t, check back in a week or so to see if that tube has been rebuilt.

03 Wood Damage

Termites feed on wood and in the process, it weakens the structure of the wood; this is dangerous in homes for obvious reasons. It can be hard to spot because it’s often behind your wall. Look for small holes in your drywall, or wood damage outside, under, or above your home. If you think you might have termites, its best to take care of it as soon as possible. Termites cause billions of structural damage each year. Don’t be another victim.

Notable Mentions

Don’t consider this an exhaustive list, but we’ve compiled a few other things to check around your house when Spring rolls around. Be sure to inspect and replace if needed your…

  • Smoke Alarm
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Windows and Doors
  • Garage Doors
  • Dryer Vent

Additionally, it might be beneficial for you to contact a local professional and get them to inspect a few other big items around the house:

  • HVAC

Your heating and air conditioning unit needs regular maintenance. Be sure to replace your air filters regularly and get a professional to perform a system diagnostic at the turn of the season.

  • Mold and Mildew

With the wet season comes mold and mildew, especially around basements, attics, and other areas where water collects. Remember that mold and mildew can be the source of really nasty illnesses. Be on the lookout for this around the house.

  • Roof inspection

Snow, sleet and heavy rains can cause a number on your roof. Remember that most roof jobs come with substantial warranties. Don’t be afraid to keep an eye on the roof and call your roofer if you think something could be wrong.

(804) 360-2686