Redefining Restoration

5 Issues Homeowners Encounter When Restoring Older Homes

The charm and aesthetic of older homes has drawn many buyers to consider restoration projects instead of new builds in recent years. However, the hidden issues and costs associated with these types of restorations can become overwhelming for buyers choosing to tackle this endeavor themselves.

While more cosmetic projects, like painting, are usually a task any amateur can accomplish, owners of older homes should be wary of some issues that require professional contractors. DIYers should be on the lookout for these five common problems when restoring their older homes.Common Problems With Older Home Restoration

Outdated Plumbing

New sink and bathroom installations are a normal undertaking when restoring older homes. However, the age and condition of the current plumbing needs to be assessed before new fixtures are put in place. Water spots on the ceiling and walls are major indicators of plumbing problems (and can also be a sign of a leaking roof). If ignored, bad plumbing can result in a flooded house and cause severe water damage. Homeowners should look for outward signs of outdated plumbing, but should also inquire about pipe material prior to purchase. Brass and copper piping can last 50 plus years, while steel usually only lasts 20 years.

Unsafe Electrical

Not only do older homes already contain far fewer outlets than a modern lifestyle demands, they can also harbor dangerous electrical wiring issues. Insulation that has worn away over the years can cause exposed electrical, which is not something inexperienced homeowners should attempt to fix themselves because the chance of electrical shock is high. If left ignored and unattended, the exposed electrical wires can spark a devastating fire or home power outage.

Toxic Materials

If the home was built prior to 1978, it is essential homeowners check for both asbestos and lead-based paint. Both can be extremely harmful and need to be removed to ensure the health of those living in the home. Asbestos can be found in insulation, floor tiles, and plaster. Due to the health-related risks of its removal, asbestos is now covered and contained with specific materials instead of being extracted from the home. Lead-based paint is crucial to be aware of, but can be covered with several coats of regular paint. Be careful of ingesting paint dust or flakes by wearing painting masks and keep children away from the affected areas until properly covered!

Mold Damage

Mold can present anything from a very minor inconvenience to a huge, costly endeavor. Visible mold on walls, floors, and cabinets should be inspected properly. It is typical for an aging house to have cosmetic mildew damage over time which can be fixed through normal demolition and restoration. Extensive mold damage, on the other hand, will halt a restoration timeline and requires professional removal. The health risks involved with ignoring black mold are not worth saving time or money.

Foundation and Structural Issues

Slight foundational cracks are common in older homes and are usually a quick and inexpensive fix. However, major structural issues require immediate attention. Before buying a home that has visible foundation damage, doors and windows that don’t close or latch properly, or uneven floors, homeowners should have a contractor assess the extent and cost of foundational issues. Factor in foundation problems into a restoration project sooner than later, as it can put all other work put into the home at risk.

Despite all of these common issues, restoring an old home is not all doom and gloom. Restoration projects are growing in popularity in Indianapolis, and for good reason! Preserving classic details and architecture creates a unique space for homeowners and upholds the character of historic neighborhoods. Contact us today and we can provide you the help you need to plan and execute the restoration of your dream home!

Getting Your Home Summer Ready

Who’s ready for summer? Whether you’re grilling out or relaxing inside, make sure your home is as ready as you are for warm weather recreation. We’ve got a list of DIY tips to get started.

 Exterior Home Improvement

Cleaning Gutters Made Easy

This essential chore is often ignored, but keeping your gutters clean offers several advantages – it keeps your siding in great shape, protects your lawn and landscaping, and prevents your home from suffering (potentially thousands of dollars worth of) water damage.

The reason many folks fail to clean their gutters is simple – they make the job too hard. Do this instead:

  1. Use a quality, extendable ladder – and watch out for power lines!
  2. Grab a gutter scoop or a toy beach shovel to scrape out debris.
  3. Drop debris onto a tarp below instead of the bare grass.
  4. Rinse out your gutters and downspouts with a garden hose.

Boom, you’re done! If you don’t mind spending the extra money, check your home improvement store for speciality hose attachments that reach up to your gutters without the need for a ladder. You can also invest in quality gutter guards to help keep things free from leaves and other debris.

Power Wash Your Deck

You may not own one, but renting a power washer is a worthwhile investment each spring – especially if you have a deck. Keeping all that wood clean will add years to your deck’s life. When using a power washer, always remember to protect your feet and eyes from those powerful water jets. Remove all items such as furniture and plants from your deck. When spraying, use a fan nozzle if possible, and set the washer on its lowest usable water pressure setting. Keep an eye on the wood … if it starts to splinter or the fibers begin to erode, you’re either spraying too close and/or using too much pressure. Spray in gentle, even motions and keep an eye on the color of the wood – lighter means cleaner.

When you’re all done, consider refinishing the wood with a good all-weather sealer and stain. Also, while you still have the washer, give your outdoor furniture and even your home’s siding and walkways a good spray down, too!

Keep Mosquitoes Away

What’s the most annoying way to kill a backyard barbeque? No, we’re not talking about your nosy neighbors. We mean mosquitoes. These whiny bloodsuckers have been around for millions of years – far longer than us – but we can’t get rid of them fast enough. If you don’t want to cover your family and pets with bug spray, try this simple DIY citronella candle recipe instead. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Glass jars
  • Wicks
  • Soy wax
  • Citronella oil
  • Duct tape and scissors
  • Crayons (optional)

Start by collecting a few glass jars. Mason jars, pickle jars, pasta sauce jars – it doesn’t matter as long as they are rinsed and dried out. Next, you’ll want to cut the wicks to match the height of the jars, and securely tape them to the inside bottom of the jar. Add wax (typically sold in bars and flakes) to a pot or pan and gently warm until melted. Once the wax liquefies, add a few drops of citronella oil (we like to use three or four drops per cup of wax). Stir the mixture. At this point, you can toss in a few crayons if you wish to add color to your candles. Carefully pour the wax into your jars, making sure to keep the wick as centered as possible. Let your candles cool and dry, then snip the tops of the wicks about an inch above the surface of the wax. Take outside, light, and enjoy a pest-free evening on your freshly cleaned deck!

We’ve Got Your Back All Year Long

The folks at Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis raise a glass to a fun summer. But, if scary weather should strike, we’re here to help. Learn more about our many disaster restoration services and home improvement solutions. Also, be sure to check out our blog archives for lots more tips to protect your family and your home from Mother Nature.


2017 Home Improvement Trends

Spring is just around the corner and it’s time to restore your home with the most current and up-to-date home improvements. So far in 2017, the new-and-improved home consists of low maintenance, energy-efficient, green-friendly utilities for enhancing everyday life. Are you looking for the latest trends in improving your home? Below we have three ways to modernize your home with the most time-saving, innovative home improvement technologies.

2017 Home Improvement Trends

Effectively Efficient

The world has formed into an accelerated, fast-moving society focused on efficiency, productivity and progression. Now, advancing technologies are enforcing these norms as automation takes over regular human activity. Recently, home improvement trends have centered around automatic, application-based technologies that are controlled by a smartphone or assistant database. For example, Google Home and Amazon Echo are both hands-free speakers that are controlled by your voice to complete specific tasks or actions. These actions include playing music, reporting news and controlling your home’s features such as lights, a thermostat and other electronics.

Going Green

Efficiency and “green” technology go hand-in-hand. Technological advances are centered around becoming energy efficient and eco-friendly, falling into the “green” category. All advances in society are focused on being “right” for the environment. Home improvement trends have transitioned to solar power and producing energy through alternate sources. For example, LED lighting lasts longer and uses less energy than normal fluorescent lights. Many technologies are also ran by solar energy or are attached to solar panels to produce energy in other channels.

Low-Maintenance Living

On top of being eco-friendly and efficient, living a low-maintenance lifestyle is another recent societal norm. Technological advances focus on efficient but low-maintenance, “green” products, implying as little human interaction and effort as possible. These changes are happening within recent home improvements. Home offices are no longer in the office sitting and instead, are in the living room for “working from home” purposes, laundry rooms are becoming the largest room in the house to include as much space as possible, and storage units in homes are becoming larger and more compact. All of which makes life easier, for less maintenance and effort for everyday actions.

Now that spring is almost here, be sure to monitor the latest home improvement trends to keep your home innovative and modern. Whether you’re goal is to add energy-efficient home applications, include green-friendly technologies or incorporate a low-maintenance living style to your home, Van Rooy Restoration can help with all restoration, remodeling, or renovation needs. Call the pros at Van Rooy today and stay on top of 2017’s home improvement trends!


Easy DIY Projects to Get Your Home Ready For the Holidays

With the holiday season upon us, it’s time again to tackle those necessary autumn home improvement tasks. These seasonal preemptive DIY projects are important not only for curb appeal and your incoming guests; they can also help you find issues around your home before they turn into bigger problems.

holiday home

Clean Your Driveway and Sidewalk

Before your guests arrive, give them something safe to walk on as they enter your home. Start by moving your vehicles and any other items from your driveway and sidewalk. Rake or blow away leaves and other debris (remember to keep that stuff out of the storm drain!). Hose down the concrete and go at it with a hard-bristled broom or scrub brush. If you want an even deeper clean, use a concrete cleaner. These are often sold as concentrated solutions, so you’ll want to dilute with water and apply with a tank sprayer. Cover the area with cleaner, scrub again, and rinse off with the hose. Your driveway and sidewalk will look as good as the day they were poured.

Check for Indoor Leaks by Going Outside

Besides more stress, houseguests mean more showers, more sinks running, and more toilets flushing. Make sure your home’s plumbing system is prepared for the increased water demand. Before you gear up to check every faucet, fixture, and inch of line, wait! There’s an easier way to find water leaks. Do this instead:

  1. Turn off all water-using devices inside and outside your home.

  2. Locate your water meter. It’s typically in your front yard near the sidewalk, a few feet from the road.

  3. Remove the meter cover. Be careful, as all sorts of critters call meter boxes home. The lid is also heavy.

  4. Identify the flow indicator. It is usually a small red triangle or silver wheel on the meter.

  5. If the flow indicator is spinning at all, and you’re sure no water is on in or outside your home, chances are you have a leak.

Although some leaks, like a running toilet or dripping faucet, are easy to spot, many more leaks are hidden and hard to diagnose. Call a licensed plumber for help.

Frying a Turkey? Plan Ahead!

Fried turkey is one of our absolute favorites. The only problem … it’s also incredibly dangerous to make. It is estimated that thousands of house fires, tens of millions of dollars in property damage, and many injuries and even deaths occur each year due to turkey fryer accidents. Some simple tips will help keep you, your family, and your home safe.

When frying a turkey, it’s important to stay a safe distance from your house. Set up your fryer on a level, non-flammable surface (like your freshly-cleaned driveway). No decks! Use only fully thawed, dry turkey – NEVER put a frozen bird in the hot oil. Constantly monitor the oil temperature, and always remember to use oven mitts and other protective items when handling the pot and lid. And remember … accidents can happen even to the most careful person, so be prepared. Have a dry-powder fire extinguisher ready at all times. We don’t have to remind you that water and boiling oil don’t mix, right?

Need to spruce up the exterior of your Indianapolis area house, or have another project you need to finish before your holiday guests arrive? Give the home improvement and restoration pros at Van Rooy a call today! While we can’t help you deal with your in-laws, we can make sure your property is a safe and comfortable place to call home.

Happy holidays from your friends at Van Rooy Restoration.

End of Summer Home Improvement Checklist

Firing up the grill or cooling down in the pool … your favorite summer activities are coming to an end.

We’re not trying to be buzzkills here (we love autumn, too!), but with fall right around the corner, there are a few things you should be doing around the house to get it ready for cooler weather.


Patio/Deck Furniture

It’s a good idea to start thinking about ways and places to store your outdoor accessories in the off season. Hit patio furniture with a hose and wipe down with a soft cloth to remove bugs, cobwebs, and other summer gunk. If you have fabric cushions, follow tag instructions for proper cleaning.

After your final cookout of the year, clean and degrease your grill. Remove any leftover charcoal briquettes and half-empty propane tanks. Use a proper oil to lubricate moving parts and protect metal. Cover accordingly, and, if possible, move to the garage or shed.


Do you park your car in the garage? If your answer is “no,” you’re not alone. Nearly a third of all homeowners leave their vehicles in the driveway. Why? They simply have too much stuff in there. Late summer is the perfect time to take a hard look at all your junk, er, mementos, and decide what stays and what goes. Sell on Craigslist. Have a garage sale. Donate to a local organization. Throw it away. Whatever it takes, organize your things and carve out some space.


Don’t have one? Make one. A mudroom doesn’t even have to be a whole room – any entryway will do. With colder weather comes sleet, slush, snow, water, and all kinds of crud. And, who wants a drop of any of that anywhere else in their home?

All good mudrooms have a few key pieces. Add a standing or wall-mounted coat rack. A bench with built-in shelving allows for convenient putting on and off of shoes and boots, as well as storing keys and similar items. Finally, no matter the type of flooring, make sure your entryway has a big strong rug or mat that’s designed to get dirty.

What Else?

Use late August and early September as an excuse to get a few more home improvement projects checked off your list. Painting a room is a big task, made easier now that the weather’s not as hot or humid. Cranking up the thermostat likely hasn’t crossed your mind in months, but having your home’s heating system inspected and tuned up this time of year will help you beat the crowds once the mercury starts to drop. And, what about that roof of yours? Here in Indiana, we’re all but guaranteed to get at least one big dump of snow every winter, so make sure your roof is in good shape. Catching small problems now will protect you from major damage later. We also know an Indianapolis area roofing expert that does great work.

We hope your dog days of summer are definitely something to wag about, and you pack it in before autumn arrives. To learn more about seasonal home renovations and other timely home improvement topics, explore our website and get in touch with us today!

Home Improvements – DIY or Call the Pros?

For many homeowners, summer’s the ideal time to tackle those home improvement projects that have been building up over the past several months. Some, like swapping out a damaged shingle, are relatively simple. Others, like replacing an entire roof, require a bit more than a toolbox to solve.

So, which projects are perfect do-it-yourselfers, and which ones are best left to the professionals? We’ve written a handy little article to help you decide.


When to Do It Yourself

There’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to home improvements: the cheaper the project and the younger the homeowner, the more likely it’s a DIY job. While you might not be a plumber by trade, chances are you can stop a running toilet or clear a clogged tub, even if you have to spend a few minutes on Google or YouTube before rolling up your sleeves. Likewise, a good ladder and a few standard hand tools are all a confident homeowner often needs to fix loose siding or a sagging section of gutter.

Now, speaking of confidence, please realize that confidence doesn’t always mean cocky. We love that the whole DIY trend continues to spread, thanks in part to the many home improvement reality shows on television, blogs and social media, and more. However, before diving into a new project, we encourage you to take a hard, honest look at a few things: do you have the time and patience to complete the tasks at hand? Do you have all the right tools and resources? And, most importantly, do you have the skills? As Americans, we take pride in getting stuff done, and getting it done ourselves. That’s awesome! But, the old saying “measure twice and cut once” is more than a simple suggestion; it’s a home improvement rule to live by. So, before you tear down a wall, ask yourself a big question: Do I know what I’m doing?

Also, we sure hope that wasn’t a load-bearing wall…

When to Hire a Home Pro

If you answered “no,” or even gave a delayed “yes” to the project self-assessment above, you’re more than likely better off hiring a professional to improve your home. DIY projects are notorious for taking longer, costing more, and being harder than expected to complete. And, it’s not uncommon for a homeowner to unknowingly (or knowingly, in some cases) cut corners or do something wrong that ends up causing an even bigger, more expensive problem than the original. Therefore, you can save time, money, and a heck of a lot of stress by doing a bit of homework and hiring a qualified expert.

A few things to ask when comparing contractors:

  • Check local licensure and insurance information
  • Insist on a list of customer references
  • Get all pricing information in writing and up front
  • Get all warranty/guarantee information in writing and up front
  • Read, review, and understand your contract. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if something is confusing or doesn’t feel right!

Be wary of so-called “Craigslist contractors” and folks who go door-to-door or otherwise solicit for work. These fly-by-night crews are rarely qualified or even experienced in the work they advertise, and some are outright scammers who use fake licensing and steal money without doing any of the things they promise. It really pays to do your research before saying yes to anything. We can’t stress this enough. Just like you, we hear about these crooks all too often in the news, and they give our highly regulated and honest industry a bad name.

Your Trusted Local Name in Home Improvement & Restoration

At Van Rooy Restoration, we understand that it can be tough to ask for help. After all, your home is your castle and you are the king or queen! Just remember this – when it comes to those important summer home improvements, you’re not admitting defeat or even swallowing your pride when you call in the pros. We are always on your side and are here to serve you, and we’re committed to helping make your castle as strong, sound, and attractive as possible.

Learn more about the many home improvement and restoration services, and contact us today to get started.