A Guide to Protecting Your Home from Wildfires

Protect home from wildfires

A Guide to Protecting Your Home from Wildfires

In the face of increasing wildfire threats, safeguarding your home becomes paramount. Here’s a comprehensive guide to protecting your home from wildfires.

  • Create Defensible Space: Clear live and dead vegetation (leaves, etc.), fire-wood pile, and other combustible materials a significant radius away from your home. This includes under your deck.
  • Fire-Resistant Landscaping: Opt for fire-resistant plants and materials in your landscaping.
  • Wood fences should also be taken into consideration, they can act as a fuse leading fire directly to your house. There have been observations in suburban areas with no vegetation (desert), that fires traveled home to home burning entire neighborhoods. Wrought iron and vinyl fencing are a few options to consider.
  • Roof and Gutter Maintenance: Regularly clean roofs and gutters, as leaves and debris can ignite easily. Consider using fire-resistant materials when replacing or renovating your roof.
  • Fire-Resistant Building Materials: Construct or renovate your home with fire-resistant materials. This includes siding (James Hardie Siding), windows, and decks. Hardened materials can provide an added layer of defense, check out what CalFire has to say.
  • Embrace Smart Design: Ensure that your house design incorporates fire-resistant features. This includes enclosed eaves, spark arresters on chimneys, and tempered glass windows.
  • These choices can act as a barrier against approaching flames and flying embers. Embers is the real threat of wildfires.

Prepare an Emergency Kit and Plan:

Remember, preparation is the key to facing wildfire threats. By implementing these measures, you’re not just protecting your home; you’re contributing to the safety of your entire community. Stay vigilant, stay safe.

  • Assemble a comprehensive emergency kit containing essentials like water, non-perishable food, medications, important documents, and a first aid kit. Be ready to evacuate at short notice.
  • Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on wildfire alerts and warnings. Sign up for emergency notifications and have a reliable weather radio to receive timely information.
  • Evacuation Plan: Develop a clear evacuation plan for your family. Identify escape routes, establish meeting points, and ensure everyone is familiar with the plan.
  • Secure Utilities: Install spark arresters on chimneys and stovepipes. Additionally, create a safety zone around propane tanks and other flammable materials.
  • Community Collaboration: Work with your neighbors to create a united front against wildfires. Collaborative efforts can enhance overall community resilience and help protect your homes from wildfires.
Protect home from wildfire

Constructing Homes with Wildfire Resilience:

Constructing a home with wildfire protection in mind requires a holistic approach. By integrating these considerations into your building plans, you not only enhance the safety of your property but also contribute to the overall resilience of your community. Build wisely, build resiliently.

  • Site Selection: Choose your home’s location wisely. Opt for sites with lower wildfire risk, away from dense vegetation. Consider the prevailing winds and the potential path of a wildfire.
  • Defensible Space Planning: Integrate defensible space into your construction plan. This involves clearing vegetation and creating a buffer zone around your home, reducing the risk of embers igniting nearby foliage, thereby protecting your home from wildfire risk.
  • Fire-Resistant Materials: Select building materials with high fire resistance. This includes fire-resistant siding (e.g. James Hardi Siding), roofing, and decks. Class A roofing materials are particularly effective in slowing down the spread of flames.
  • Enclosed Eaves and Soffits: Design your home with enclosed eaves and soffits to prevent wind-blown embers from infiltrating vulnerable areas. This simple design feature can significantly enhance your home’s resistance to wildfires.
  • Tempered Glass Windows: Invest in tempered glass windows, which are less likely to shatter in extreme heat. This can prevent embers from entering your home and igniting combustible materials inside.
  • Ventilation Considerations: Design a ventilation system that minimizes the risk of ember intrusion. Install spark arresters on vents and consider using fine mesh screens to block embers.
  • Access for Emergency Vehicles: Ensure that your property allows for easy access by emergency vehicles. Construct driveways and access roads wide enough to accommodate firefighting equipment.
  • Fire-Resistant Landscaping Design: Collaborate with a landscape architect to design a fire-resistant landscape plan. This includes using fire-resistant plants, creating defensible zones, and strategically placing hardscape elements.
  • Water Sources and Irrigation: Install adequate water sources around your property, such as hydrants, ponds, or tanks. Implement an irrigation system to keep vegetation hydrated and create a moisture barrier.
  • Building Codes Compliance: Familiarize yourself with local building codes and regulations related to wildfire-prone areas. Compliance ensures that your home meets the necessary safety standards.

Here’s a video of a burn test that was done with Insurance Institute for Home and Business Safety and CalFire. We built the mock houses for this event and watched our work go up in smoke. Here is the link: https://youtu.be/dZilwnegZhQ

We would gladly assist you in some of these areas of protecting your home against wildfires. Contact us at (916) 821-7002 or online today to discuss your project needs.

rental renovation

Renovating a Rental Property – Which Home Renovations Will Be Best For My Rental Property?

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If you own both a residential home and a separate rental property, you know that renovating your rental property and it’s maintenance can impact the value of your properties. While both property types need regular maintenance and renovation, some differences exist between which renovations will increase a rental property’s value and those on your wish list for your home.

Many rental property renovations, upgrades, and maintenance projects will increase your rental property value, but you should avoid turning your rental property into your dream home. Those upgrades and trends might appeal to you, but the money spent on these upgrades will be reflected in something other than the increased property value.

Unlike a personal residence, a profitable rental property should be maintained and renovated based on what tenants and future property owners might want. Consideration of changes that will last the test of time should also be taken. 

Therefore, we’ve compiled some top renovations to boost your rental property values – without breaking your bank account!

Which Home Renovations Will Be Best For My Rental Property?

Here are three renovation ideas that will please your renters and bring value to your rental property:

  • Adding another bedroom is one of the fastest ways to boost your rental property’s value; it sounds expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Many rental properties have a “bonus room” that isn’t considered a bedroom simply because it doesn’t have a closet. Or, if your rental property has an especially large bedroom, consider dividing it into two smaller ones.
  • A minor kitchen or bathroom remodel is among the highest-ROI renovations you can take on as a property owner. In the long run, it recoups many costs and adds value to your eventual resale value.
  • If your property has old carpet or dated linoleum, it might be worth a quick update — ideally to something more timeless and durable. Doing so can make your home more photogenic – for listing pictures – and more marketable. Your best bets are vinyl, hardwood, or laminate, though it depends on your home’s style, location, and budget.

Which Renovation Services Do I Offer?

We pride ourselves on the quality of our work and our communication through the process of renovating your property. When it comes to your project, working with a team of experienced professionals you can trust is vital. 

Contact us at (916) 821-7002 or online today to discuss your rental property renovation.

Mold vs. Mildew

Mold and mildew

Mold vs. Mildew: “What’s the Difference?”

Mold and mildew are fungi that develop due to excessive, unchecked moisture. Both mold and mildew start as tiny spores that often require a similar environment to flourish, making them easy to confuse. However, mold and mildew shouldn’t be treated the same. It’s important to understand the differences in appearance and health effects to prevent more significant issues from taking root in your property.

Identifying Mold vs. Mildew

Though the term is often used interchangeably with mold, mildew refers to specific types of fungus, including some types of mold. Both are considered fungi that require water, oxygen, and food to live and survive. They grow in multiple temperatures and environments, with some strains thriving at higher temperatures. According to the EPA, mold can spread on any organic matter, including clothing, leather and paper, as well as ceilings, walls and floors. Mildew often appears on shower walls and windowsills, but can also grow on plants, paper or cloth.

Mold and mildew differ in appearance and possible health risks. Mildew has a gray, white or light brown color and generally rests flat on the surface of a moist area. It has a powdery appearance that may have a distinct, foul odor. Mold has a fuzzy, raised appearance and in unaired areas has a strong, musty smell. It often appears in darker shades of black, green and red. Mold and mildew can appear on damp surfaces as soon as 24 to 48 hours. Mildew typically appears first as small dots and grows in an outward pattern, but it remains on the surface. Mold, however, can quickly grow inward and upwards, eating into walls, ceilings and other surfaces causing substantial property damage.

Health Effects

Although mildew can cause minor respiratory problems like coughing fits, it is not as invasive or troublesome as mold. Mold can produce allergens that can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks or produce potent toxins and/or irritants. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis (lung inflammation) has also been linked to mold exposure. People with the greatest risk of health effects from mold exposures are the elderly, the very young and expectant mothers, as well as individuals with mold allergies, asthma and other chronic respiratory ailments.

Mold vs. Mildew


  • Fuzzy, raised appearance
  • Darker shades of black, green or red
  • Often confused for dirt
  • Produces allergens that can trigger allergic reactions and asthma attacks
  • Produces potent toxins and/or irritants


  • White/gray appearance in early stages
  • Turns brown
  • Flat, powdery
  • Small dots
  • Causes minor respiratory issues

Tips to Prevent Mold and Mildew

Controlling moisture levels is the best way to prevent mold and mildew growth. Moisture meters can help detect moisture hotspots in ceilings, floors and walls. Mildew is a surface fungus that can be cleaned with a disinfectant cleaner, bleach and a scrub brush. Mold is often a sign of a larger issue that may require professional treatment. Unlike mildew that grows on the surface, mold penetrates the objects it lives on and eats away at their cellular integrity. It’s best to invest in prevention up front to help control mold and mildew instead of scrambling to remediate them.

The following actions can help prevent mold and mildew growth:

  • Keeping humidity levels low, between 30-50%
  • Using dehumidifiers, fans and opening windows, especially during humid months
  • Fixing leaky roofs, windows and pipes
  • Ventilating bathrooms, laundry rooms, kitchens, basements and other damp areas
  • Drying water-damaged areas within 24 – 48 hours
  • Regularly inspecting building exterior for signs of leaks and other issues like cracked masonry, window frames and deteriorating flashing

Testing for Mold and Mildew

Research by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests that finding and correcting sources of dampness is often more effective at preventing health problems than counting indoor microbes. NIOSH developed a tool to help assess damp building areas and prioritize the remediation of problem areas. However, there are some simple ways to tell if a stain is dirt or a sign of a bigger mold problem:

  • It has a strong, musty smell
  • A drop of bleach lightens its color within 1-2 minutes
  • It’s growing on warping, cracking or peeling material
  • A source of moisture without much light is nearby

Cleaning Mold and Mildew

Before cleaning mold and mildew, always wear respiratory protectionchemically-resistant gloves and eye protection.

Removing Mildew

  1. Don PPE and clean the area with bleach, mild detergent or a household cleaner.
  2. Scrub with a disposable brush, sponge or rag until the mildew is gone.
  3. Dispose of contaminated PPE.

Removing Mold

If you find small concentrations of mold on easy-to-clean surfaces like windows, tubs, tiles and sinks, it can usually be cleaned with disinfectants or a bleach and water solution. Larger areas of mold may require professional remediation.

  1. Protect yourself: don proper PPE.
  2. Remove or dispose of all damp or damaged materials:Start by removing anything that can be easily thrown away, such as wet wallpaper, rotted drywall, wood and fabrics.
  3. Mist with clean water: When cleaning mold and mildew, use a squirt bottle to mist the remaining area with clean water to help prevent the spores from being released into the air.
  4. Clean with soapy water, bleach solution or disinfectants: Mold can be effectively cleaned from hard surfaces using mild detergents, disinfectants or a bleach solution.
  5. Scrub mold away: Use a scrub brush or sponge to clean the mold. Frequently change the water and use fresh sponges. Old water can redeposit mold or mildew spores back in the same area.
  6. Thoroughly dry area: Whether you’re cleaning mold or mildew, it’s crucial to thoroughly dry the area for at least 48 hours. Use fansdehumidifiers and carpet extractors to help remove moisture. The site must be completely dry before using again. Otherwise, the mold or mildew will continue to spread.

Hiring a Specialist

According to the EPA, if you discover mold growing on drywall, studs, subflooring or your HVAC system in an area greater than 10 square feet, it’s best to hire a professional mold removal service. Improperly treating severe infestations can cause cross-contamination to other sites.