Frequently Asked Remodeling Questions

Q:  What type of construction does MSI do?
A:  MSI creates custom residential remodels, addition and commercial in-fills in central New Jersey.
Q:  Can MSI help with design ideas?
A:  Yes. We can design many projects in-house and will certainly work with your architect for any larger projects. We know that your Hunterdon County home may have some history and we are able to keep the original feel of the house with a remodel.
Q:  What size moulding should I use?
A:  When dealing with mouldings, Crown for instance, choose whatever size you think will look good in a room and multiply the size by two. Moulding tends to make a room seem bigger.
Q:  Could I have a larger door or window in a particular area of my home?
A:  More times than not it is possible to install a larger door or window. A few common alterations need to take place – usually in just a couple of days.
Q:  Are we limited to standard shower bases?
A:  We are able to construct shower bases to just about any size or shape to fit your bathroom. We can even install a heated shower base.
Q:  What product should I use for my deck surface?
A:  There are many options. Keep in mind that some cedar products cost the same as simple treated lumber. Hardwoods are slightly more expensive but require less maintenance and hold up better to weather and traffic. Man made materials require almost no maintenance and some cost less than hardwoods.
Q:  I would love raised panels but aren’t they too expensive?
A:  There is a product called MDF Profiles that can be routered on 4'x8’ sheets to look like raised panels for about half the cost.


Frequently Asked Building Repair / Maintenance Questions

Q:  What is ice damming and how do I stop it?
A:  Ice damming is a result of snow and ice melting on the roof over the living space of the house and freezing on the roof over the eaves. Proper roof ventilation, adequate attic insulation and the installation of ice and water shield along the lower 4'-6’ of the roof line will minimize the chances of ice damming. Many homes in New Jersey are easily susceptible to ice damming.
Q:  The trim on my house is not that old, why is it rotting out already?
A:  Frequently, in an effort to save money, bare or primed pine trim is installed without being painted on all sides and edges, and only the exposed face receives a coat of paint. All exterior wood trim or paneling should be sealed or painted on all sides and edges prior to installation to prevent absorption. Another alternative to pine trim is PVC or urethane trim. If wood is desired, cedar makes a better choice as it is more resistant to insect and water damage.
Q:  The tiles on my bathroom floor are loose – why?
A:  Tiles usually come loose for 2 reasons: 1) a water leak causing damage to the sub-floor. Or 2) insufficient support or too thin of a sub-floor. We recommend a minimum of 1 ¼” of sub-floor and underlayment under any tile floor. Routine caulking can also minimize leaks.
Q:  I painted over some old water damage and the stain came back. Is it still leaking?
A:  Not necessarily. Water stains must be primed with an oil based stain blocker. Latex primers and paints will let the stain bleed through over time.
Q:  Woodpeckers are damaging my house. I must have termites, carpenter ants or bees.
A:  Not always true. Woodpeckers do go after insects and can cause extensive damage. However, sometimes they can cause damage searching for insects when none are present. I have seen extensive woodpecker damage to urethane trim. The reverse also applies: just because you can’t see them does not mean you don’t have termite or ant problems. Ants and termites usually avoid cedar and don’t eat vinyl. The sheathing and framing of a house can be damaged by insects with no apparent damage on the outside. Indications are staining on interior walls, soft spots on walls or sagging/collapsing walls, if severe.


Frequently Asked Plumbing Questions

Q:  Should I remove my exterior hose during winter?
A:  Yes, leaving a hose on an outside hosebib will not allow water to drain and thus will freeze. This could potentially cause a broken pipe in your home.
Q:  How often should I have my septic pumped?
A:  An average family of four should have their septic pumped every 3 to 4 years. Adding “Bio-Clean” enzyme can extend the life of your septic system and reduce “pump outs” as well.   Call us to talk about Bio-Clean.
Q:  How often should I change my furnace filter?
A:  If you are using inexpensive “blue” filters, then change it once per month during winter. If you are using pleated filters, see recommended intervals on packaging. Install an American Standard AccuClean filter and change just once per season.
Q:  Should I turn off my washing machine water valves after every wash?
A:  Yes, by doing so you have less of a chance of a flood by a hose breaking and less strain on internal washing machine parts. We can install easy to operate lever valves and FloodCheck hoses with a 20-year warranty to make sure you never have a flood.
Q:  Is it a good idea to shut off water to my whole house when going away?
A:  Absolutely! You will have less of a chance of a water catastrophe if a leak should develop. This way only what is in the pipes will leak out.
Q:  How long does a water heater last?
A:  It all depends on the condition of your water. Most heaters will service you for at least five years. Between five and ten years careful watching and annual maintenance is necessary. Once a heater is over ten years old you are on borrowed time, plus it might make sense to go to more energy efficient equipment to save energy costs.


Frequently Asked Water Testing Questions

Q:  Why should I test my water?
A:  The presence of pathogens and chemicals in our drinking water can lead to health problems, including gastrointestinal illness, reproductive problems and neurological disorders. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and people who immune systems are compromised because of AIDS, chemotherapy or transplant medications may be especially sysceptible to illness from certain contaminants.
Q:  How often should I test my water?
A:  The Hunterdon County Department of Health and the New Jersey DEP recommends that homeowners usings a well for drinking water should have the well(s) tested once a year to ensure it is free from harmful bacteria.
Q:  Should my water be tested for more than bacteria?
A:  Additional testing of nitrate, arsenic and volatile organic compounds are also recommended.
Q:  How long is a water test good for?
A:  Water test results for bacteria and nitrates are valid for six months; all other parameters are valid for one year.
Q:  What are the sources of ground water contamination?

Cause for contamination include:
Septic Tanks
Fertilization & Pesticides
Industrial Pollutants & Waste
Landfills & Dumps
Household Water
Leaking Underground Tanks and Piping
Sources from Nature (Arsenic)
Lead Poisoning 

Updated: March 25, 2019 9:32 am