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Mike joined the Cowleys team in 2016. He is part of our construction/home improvement crew, which includes crawl space encapsulation, TAP insulation, mold treatmentl, and other home improvement services. Mike is comfortable working in tight challenging work areas whether it’s installing insulation an attic or mucking around in a dark, damp, spider-infested crawl space, he loves to get into the thick of things. Mike dives head first into a job, doing whatever to takes to make sure the project is done right the first time.
Mike joined Cowleys with a strong background in the construction trades, and over a decade of experience. He was seeking consistent, predictable year-round work, and Cowleys was a welcome alternative to the project-by-project construction trades where there is both a steady stream of work, and a variety of projects where you’re always learning something new.
Mike is one of those good-natured people who goes with the flow. No matter how challenging the day has been, and no matter how dirty he gets, He always manages to have a warm smile and a good laugh.
In Mike’s spare time, he has been renovating his own house. Even though he often is doing even more construction work on his time off, this is a labor of love because he’s doing it for his family. He also makes sure to carve out quality time to spend with his wife and kids.
To keep the air quality of your home healthy, prevent damage to your attic and roof, and keep your HVAC system running cost-efficiently, it’s important to maintain an air barrier between the living space of the home and the attic. Simply put, everything works better when attic air is kept out of the house and house air is kept out of the attic. Why? Let’s start with keeping attic air where it belongs. If you’ve ever ventured into the attic, especially during the warmer months, you know that attic air can be outright nasty. It often contains dust particles and other contaminants — contaminants that can cause health problems for the home’s occupants. The less attic air that enters your home’s living spaces, the better.
Just as important, we want to keep living space air out of the attic. Living space air can can be filled with water vapor. When that air is exposed to colder attic temperatures, the vapor gas condenses into water droplets that can potentially cause roof rot and mold growth (unfortunately, mold is an all-too-common attic contaminant). Living space air naturally tries to move up into the attic, especially in the winter, because of the “stack effect.” Heated air rises and expands. As air heats up, its molecules are pushed farther away, making it lighter (that’s why hot air balloons float). The air pushes upward against the attic floor. If there is a way for the air to find its way in, it will. Air leakage into the attic stresses your HVAC system, increasing your heating and cooling bills. There are a number of possible sources of air leaks, but attic hatches are at the top of the list. More often than not, attic hatches are unsealed and have gaps that allow for unwanted air movement. There is an easy solution for this: Attic stairway covers.
The homeowner mentioned to us that he was concerned that his attic hatch was causing significant air leakage. We had the perfect product: the Hatchmaster Attic Stairway Cover. This lightweight, durable cover secures around the perimeter of the attic hatch frame. It’s made of double-bubble reflective insulation, has a 15 R-Value, and a heavy-duty zipper to open and close.
This house in Pennington had a piece of fascia that had blown off during a recent storm. The fascia is the vertical finishing edge that caps the end of the rafters.When we arrived at the home and inspected the needed repair, the missing fascia board reminded me of a missing tooth. To me, the gap in the fascia made the home look sad.
The Cowleys home improvement crew did its own version of a “dental implant” and replaced the missing piece. After we were done, the house looked as good as new and, even better, the homeowner was all smiles when admiring the completed job!
A homeowner in Manchester Township, NJ, was having a problem with rodents accessing the crawl space area of the home. Pest view crawl spaces as prime real estate. They are dark, usually damp and humid, private, and often, there are gaps around the home’s foundation for pests to find their way inside. Once inside the home, rodents and other pests can use wall voids to travel throughout the home, more often than not, making their way to the kitchen to forage for food.
The homeowner diligently attempted to seal up all of the potential entry points around the home’s perimeter, but mice were still getting in. He determined that the crawl space access door was not fully sealed, but he did not know how to address the problem, and contacted Cowleys. Our crawl space repair and improvement division had the perfect solution: A customized Everlast door cover with weatherstripping applied on the back of the door. With this installation, the homeowner had a crawl space door on his foundation that would stand up to the worst weather conditions and provide a rodent-proof seal.
These covers are custom installed to provide a perfect seal to any crawl space opening. They can be installed against wood framing or masonry, work exceptionally well, and look great, blending in perfectly with the home’s foundation. These doors are made of a hard durable plastic that stand up to the worst weather. Unlike wooden or metal doors they can’t rot, warp, crack, or rust. They are also maintenance-free and never need to be painted. Also, even though these covers form a tight seal over the crawl space access, they are super-easy to open should you or a repair person need to get in. All you need to do is twist a few easy-to-grip knobs, and the door comes right off.
This homeowner could not have been more pleased.
These homeowners in Allentown, NJ had a partial basement foundation, that is, part of the first floor living space was built over a basement while the remainder was built over a crawl space. Partial basements can also be split between a basement and partial slab on grade. We often find partial basements with homes that have an addition built onto the original structure, but homes are also built with a partial basement to save on some construction costs. It is more expensive to excavate and construct a full basement than it is to build a crawl space or lay down a concrete slab.
With this home’s partial basement the homeowner’s wanted a sturdy, permanent, more aesthetically pleasing solution to separate these two foundation areas. They periodically had problems with insects, mice, and other pests in the basement area that were getting inside their home through the crawl space. In residential construction, crawl spaces are often considered to be the “black sheep” of a home. They often cause a lot of problems for the rest of the home, including pest infestations, water and moisture issues, and mold growth. Since crawl spaces are rarely visited, these “out of sight, out of mind” problems can fester for years before they become serious enough for a homeowner to take notice.
The homeowners contacted Cowleys since we have a specialized division dedicated to waterproofing and encapsulating problem crawl spaces, and they thought we could help. And they were right! We came out to inspect the home, and recommended a quick, cost-effective solution that would work perfectly. We replaced the hardware cloth (which wasn’t really even a barrier at all between the two areas) with a customized Everlast door. These Everlast covers are usually installed on the outdoor entry point into the crawl space to completely block outside air and moisture from entering the crawl space. However, it worked perfectly here to separate the two sections of this home’s foundation. Made with a hard durable plastic, these doors can be installed against wood framing or masonry. They stand up to the worst weather conditions, and are completely maintenance-free. They are made out of a material that is impervious to water and any outdoor elements, so they will rot, warp, or crack and, unlike wood, they never need to be painted. From our experience, they are virtually indestructible.
For these homeowners, this door did just the trick. They were pleased with our solution to their problem and our quick installation. The homeowners thanked us, and my partner and I were off to help our next customer!
A Cowleys wildlife control team was dispatched to a home in New Egypt. This homeowner had a family of raccoons that had nested in his attic, apparently for quite a long time.
Fortunately, there was no longer an active infestation — the raccoons were long gone. However, the attic was a toxic mess from all their urine and droppings. While the pungent odor of animal waste wafting through your house is a problem, the real concern is the health hazard.
Cowleys wildlife control technicians are trained not only in trapping and excluding wildlife from homes and commercial buildings, but also in safely sanitizing and deodorizing those areas that have been infested.
Recently, homeowners in Lawrence Township, NJ in Mercer County contacted Cowleys to upgrade their dirty, dusty crawl space. Crawl spaces are perhaps the most ignored areas of a home. They can also be fraught with problems that can affect the living spaces above. Dirty crawl space air circulates throughout the home, so even if you don’t see what’s going on down there, the crawl space in a very real way is visiting you on a daily basis. Crawl spaces are also notorious for high indoor humidity levels, for mold growth, and their damp, dark environment attracts insects. Many homeowners deal with pungent smells and poor indoor air quality because of problem crawl spaces.
This homeowner was bothered that there was a filthy area right below their first floor and decided it was time to do something about it. Cowleys has an experienced contractor crew that can improve crawl spaces in a variety of ways, up to and including the installation of a full CleanSpace encapsulation system. Crawl space encapsulation seals off the outdoor elements that can trigger all sorts of problems. Even if you don’t see puddles of water in your crawl space, ground soil is naturally saturated with water. By definition, any crawl space with a soil floor is damp and filled with moisture most of the time.
For this homeowner, we installed thick mold-resistant drainage matting to create a barrier between crawlspace and floor, a primary entry point of unwanted groundwater. We wrapped the walls with SilverGlo wall insulation, an Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS) product coated in a mold-resistant aluminum and put protective warping on the crawl space pillars as well. Finally, we put in a heavy-duty 20-mil CleanSpace vapor barrier. Our vapor barrier is much thicker and sturdier than a regular liner, and we mechanically fasten it to the walls. When, on occasion, you or a repair person need to access your crawl space, the barrier will not pull off or tear.
Once we completed the installation, these homeowners now benefitted from a home with a clean, improved crawl space. This home improvement will make their home more comfortable for the family, improve the indoor air quality, and reduce the risk of crawl space mold growth. For these homeowner, an added benefit was that their crawl space could now be used as a much-needed clean and dry storage area.
A Forked River homeowner wanted to improve his crawl space with a better alternative than traditional vapor barriers. For better or worse, crawl spaces are a chronic problem for homeowners when it comes to water, moisture, and mold issues. Many homeowners in New Jersey, especially those from the Jersey Shore who live near large bodies of water, are often faced with crawl space issues. This Forked River homeowner, like many homeowners who live in towns near the Barnegat Bay, was no exception.
For this homeowner, we installed a full “CleanSpace” Encapsulation System. “Cleanspacing” transforms chronically wet, damp crawl spaces into clean, dry areas that keeps away water and moisture.
This Dayton homeowner had a colony, or cloud, of bats in her attic, leaving a toxic mess of guano and urine throughout. The first part of the job was to remove the insulation that was destroyed by bat guano and urine. After the removal, we vacuumed, sanitized, and deodorized the entire attic until all remnants of a bat infestation were gone.
For this attic, we blew in 10" of fresh new TAP insulation. Because of its excellent thermal capabilities, TAP insulation helps reduce heating and cooling bills. Ten inches of TAP insulation has a 40 R-value — more than enough for the high and low temperatures that we expect in New Jersey.
These Beachwood homeowners had a colony, or cloud, of bats nesting in their attic for quite a while. Although there was no longer an active bat infestation. the bats left behind a toxic mess of guano (bat droppings).
After the clean-up, we replaced the attic insulation. Cowleys is more than a pest control service. We also provide a variety of home improvement services, including installing insulation. Cowleys are a licensed dealer and installer of TAP Pest Control Insulation. Based on its specs, this insulation is one of the best insulation products on the market. TAP, which stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control, offers superior thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties as well as third component that is missing from most insulation products — a pest control component. The paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people, but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites.
For this attic, we blew in 10" of fresh new TAP insulation. Because of its excellent thermal capabilities, TAP insulation helps homeowners make a significant dent in their heating and cooling bills. Ten inches of TAP insulation has a 40 R-value. This translates a well-insulated attic, more than enough for the high and low temperatures that we can expect in New Jersey. A higher R-value increases the efficiency of the HVAC system by keeping the home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, and with TAP, a homeowner will see noticeable savings on their utility bills.
This crawl space is located extremely close to the Barnegat Bay in Toms River, NJ and was constantly having water and moisture issue. Now they have a clean and energy efficient crawl space that can even be used as additional storage space!
A Toms River homeowner, who lives near the Barnegat Bay, was plagued with a chronically wet crawl space. Due to the high water table, his crawl space had at least an inch of standing water throughout the year due to groundwater seepage. Fortunately, Crawl Space Solutions by Cowleys was call in to save the day.
This Toms River homeowner contracted with Cowleys for a full Clean Space install. An important part of the encapsulation process is installing a special Everlast vent cover. These covers, which can be installed against wood framing or masonry, close off outside air and moisture from entering the crawl space through the exterior vents. These covers not only work well, but, as shown in the pictures, are aesthetically pleasing. Made with a hard durable plastic, they stand up to the worst weather conditions, and, unlike wood vents, these covers are completely maintenance free. They never rot, warp, or crack and they never need to be painted. Even though these vent covers completely seal the vents from the outdoor elements, they are easy to open if you need to access your crawl space to have repairs done or for storage (another benefit of encapsulation — a clean, dry area for storage!). To open these vent covers, all you need to do is twist a few knobs, and you’re in! The attached pictures show the outside of the crawl space of this Toms River home before and after one of these vent covers was installed.
Recently, a homeowner in Freehold, NJ, found himself with both a bird and squirrel infestation in his attic. It’s more common that you would think having different wildlife infesting a home at the same time. An entry point that’s good enough for one animal is often good enough for others. Our nuisance wildlife technicians had already come in to trap the squirrels. Once all the wildlife was removed, they located and sealed up the entry points that allowed the invading wildlife access to the attic.
Then it was our turn. A two-man crew from the Cowleys contractor division was called in to handle the aftermath of this infestation. Unfortunately, once birds or other wildlife take up residence in the attic, there is often more is involved than the animal eviction and sealing the entry points to prevent a re-infestation. Once inside, these animals often cause a significant amount of property damage. As the squirrels and birds did to this home, they turned the attic into a bona fide health hazard by leaving behind a mess of dangerous waste materials. These droppings can contain all types of disease-transmitting pathogens that can trigger serious chronic respiratory diseases and other health issues. Once animal droppings are dried out or disturbed, waste particles can become airborne, traveling throughout the entire home. “Dirty” air filled with microscopic particles from animal waste (or mold for that matter) deposited in a nonliving areas of the home like attics and crawl spaces circulates everywhere throughout the living areas of the home, endangering the home’s occupants.
Our job was to clean up this mess and make sure that the the attic was made safe and looked as good as new. After an attic wildlife infestation, the insulation is often ruined. Insulation not only acts like a sponge for wildlife waste, but also makes for excellent nesting material. Fist, we safely removed all of the damaged and waste-contaminated insulation from the attic. Next, we thoroughly hepa-vacuumed, sanitized, and deodorized the entire attic. We not only remove the dangerous waste, but just as important, we remove the lingering smells and remnants of the infestation. It is important to wipe out the wildlife scent markers so that more wildlife is not attracted into the home.
Finally, as a licensed installer of TAP Insulation, we replaced the ruined insulation with our own. TAP stands for the three key properties of this insulation: Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control. TAP is blown-in cellulose insulation that, unlike fiberglass batts and blankets, blown-in insulation effectively covers every attic corner, nook, and cranny, providing complete insulation coverage. We blew in a full 12’ of TAP. This insulation offers top-notch thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties. Also, this homeowner was pleasantly surprised to learn that TAP insulation, unlike regular insulation, has a pest control component. Its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people (and wildlife), but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites. The old batt insulation had an R-value (thermal resistance) of 30. Now, with TAP, the insulation was boosted up to an R-value of 42. With a more energy-efficient attic, this this homeowner will save on future heating and cooling costs.
As you can see from the photos, after completion of this job, the attic looked brand new. Although this wildlife infestation was one big unexpected headache for this homeowner, he appreciated that, when we were done, he was left with a better attic.
A Cowleys installation crew was sent to an Island Heights residence to repair the damage caused by bats that had been living in his attic.
Fortunately, there was no longer an active bat infestation, andr the homeowner repaired the soffit to prevent the bats from returning.
We replaced the contaminated insulation with 12" of blown-in fresh, new TAP insulation, more than enough R-value for a well-insulated attic ready for the coldest weather here in New Jersey.
Cowleys is licensed to install TAP Pest Control Insulation. TAP, which stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control, offers superior thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties as well as a pest control component. This insulation acts as an insect barrier because its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution harmless to people, but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites. Over time, TAP insulation pays for itself through savings on heating and cooling bills. Once we completed our clean-up and installed the new insulation, this Island Heights homeowner had an attic that looked brand new, completely free of wildlife odors and dangerous droppings.
This homeowner in Howell, NJ had burnt out THREE store bought dehumidifiers. Finally, he said that enough was enough, and he contacted Cowleys to install a commercial-grade SaniDry Sedona dehumidifier that we set-up to drain directly into the sump pump. This fully automatic dehumidifier, which is specifically designed to work in crawl spaces and basements, is maintenance-free with no water pan to empty or worry about overflowing.
Proper dehumidification is essential to prevent mold growth in damp, dark basements and crawl spaces. Mold will thrive if the moisture content in the air is too high. You need a leaky pipe, a flood, or some other major water intrusion for mold to form. High indoor humidity is plenty to trigger dangerous mold growth.
This particular dehumidifier, with the capacity to remove 100 pints per day of water out of the air and moves over 300 cubic feet per minute of dry air around your crawl space or basemen will keep your basement or crawl space below 55% relative humidity. With low humidity levels, mold can’t grow and, as an added benefit, dust mites will die off. We avoid thinking about these distasteful things, but dust mite fecal matter is the primary cause of indoor allergies.
By producing clean, dry, and healthy air this dehumidifier improves a home’s indoor air quality, prevents mold growth, and reduces those stinky musty smells that often develop in damp areas of the home.
Homeowners in Howell, NJ, were having ongoing issues with feral cats and raccoons gaining entry to their crawl space. They contacted Cowleys for a solution knowing that we had a specialized crawl space repair and improvement division that handles all types of crawl space issues from sump pump installations to full crawl space encapsulation. A two-person team was sent out to assess the problem and find the best solution. We had the perfect solution: installing a customized Everlast door. With this installation, the homeowner had a crawl space door that would address his immediate concern by sealing his crawl space from rodents and wildlife. Also, these doors stand up to the worst weather conditions, blocking water and moisture from entering the crawl space where it can cause mold and other problems.
These Everlast covers are specifically made for crawl spaces and can be installed against wood framing or masonry. They work exceptionally well, and have great aesthetics, blending in perfectly with the home’s foundation. Made of a hard durable plastic, Everlast doors truly live up to their name. They stand up to the worst weather, and unlike wooden or metal doors, they don’t rot, warp, crack, or rust, are maintenance-free, and never need to be painted. Also, even though these covers form a tight seal over the crawl space access, they are super-easy to open. Just twist a few easy-to-grip knobs, and the door comes right off.
The homeowners were quite pleased that we were able to offer them a quick, cost-effective, permanent solution to their crawl space wildlife issues.
For this Highland Park, NJ homeowner, we installed an Everlast door for crawl space access. These vent covers prevent outside air and moisture from entering the crawl space through the exterior vents. They can be installed against wood framing or masonry. they also work exceptionally well, and are aesthetically pleasing. Made with a hard durable plastic, they stand up to the harsh winter weather conditions we see at the Shore. Unlike wood vents, these covers are completely maintenance free — they don’t rot, warp, or crack and they don’t need to be painted.
Our home improvement specialists love them! We have been using them now for years, and from our experience, they hold up to anything and are virtually indestructible. Also, even though these vent covers completely seal the vents from the outdoor elements, they are easy to open should you need to access your crawl space. All you need to do is twist a few easy-to-grip knobs, and you’re in!
A commercial facility in Piscataway used extensively by the public was having issues with pigeons nesting on a ledge above its elevators. The pigeons were causing problems because of their prodigious droppings in an enclosed area. Pigeons are one of the most common nuisance birds that we deal with regularly. Unfortunately, pigeons have no fear of being in close proximity to people, and their populations have exploded in cities and other high density areas where they enjoy a virtually unlimited food supply. Unfortunately, nuisance birds are like bad evicted tenants. They shuffle from building to building, and when they are “evicted” from one location with deterrent devices, they become someone else’s problem.
The situation here was unacceptable. Having pigeons circulating around in such an enclosed area was visually unappealing, noisy, bad smelling, as well as a potential health hazard from their toxic droppings. Something needed to be done, and done fast! A crew from Bird Solutions By Cowleys was called out to keep these nuisance birds from perching in the elevator area.
BirdSlide completely protects ledges against pigeons, swallows, and all other nuisance birds. It’s called BirdSlide for good reason. These angled barriers completely block ledges. Birds can’t grip them, and they slide right off. Birds, unlike kids, don’t find slides much fun. After trying to land a few times unsuccessfully, they get frustrated and look for another less hostile location.
BirdSlide works on any overhang-type structure where pigeons and other birds tend to congregate including ledges, eaves, angle irons, I-Beams, and most L-shaped ledges. Made from UV-stabilized polycarbonate, this deterrent is long-lasting and, best of all, it’s unobtrusive. After it is installed, it look like it’s part of the building. BirdSlide can even be color-matched to the building, if necessary for aesthetic reasons, in areas of high visibility. The product comes in grey or beige, but can be painted to match any color.
This homeowner in Sayreville contacted Cowleys to resolve a raccoon infestation in their attic. The raccoons were nesting right above the dining room, and even chewed through the wiring connecting the chandelier. One of our wildlife technicians performed an exclusion, which is locating, repairing, and sealing the wildlife entry points. He also cleaned up the droppings, which are a bio-hazard, containing disease-transmitting microorganisms. Homeowners should not come into contact or even breathe the air in a small enclosed space where there are droppings since they can contaminate the air. To safely clean wildlife droppings, you must wear a respirator and use proper protective equipment.
Raccoons are large, aggressive animals that can easily weigh up to 20 pounds. Their clawing and waste materials, as these homeowners found out, can cause extensive attic damage, including destroyed insulation. After the wildlife was taken care of, a Cowleys installation crew arrived soon thereafter to repair the attic and make it as good as new. We first removed the contaminated insulation, then sanitized and deodorized the entire attic to remove all traces and smells of a raccoon infestation. it is important to thoroughly clean the attic not only to remove dangerous pathogens, but also to remove the smells and remnants of the infestation, which can be an attractant to other raccoons and wildlife.
Finally, we installed brand new R30 fiberglass batt insulation, the same type of insulation that the customer had prior to the infestation. Cowleys recommends blown-in cellulose insulation for a variety of reasons, and most customers ask us to install our TAP Pest Control Insulation. Its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is a barrier for many insects, including ants, beetles, and termites, stopping them dead in their tracks. Also, cellulose insulation has excellent thermal properties and, because it is blown in rather than cut to size, this type of insulation ensures that all areas of the attic are actually covered, even the smallest nooks and crannies.
However, some homeowners still prefer traditional fiberglass batt insulation, and Cowleys is happy to install that type of insulation as well. This homeowner decided to go with what product he knew from his own experience.
These homeowners in Edison, NJ had with a squirrel infestation in their attic. A team from our nuisance wildlife division handled the trapping and relocating of the trespassing critters, and also sealed up their entry point. However, as often happens, the nesting wildlife made a mess of the attic. There were toxic droppings all about. When these droppings dry out or are otherwise disturbed, particles can become airborne and circulate throughout the home. If breathed in, these microscopic spores can trigger serious respiratory diseases. In addition, as often happens, the sponge-like attic insulation becomes contaminated from animal waste.
A two-man crew from Cowleys contractor division was called in to deal with the aftermath. As part of the clean-up, we carefully removed the contaminated insulation, used a powerful HEPA-vacuum to clean up the droppings left behind, and finally sanitized and deodorized the entire attic. After a wildlife infestation, it is essential to remove all signs and indications that there was once wildlife activity in the attic. Otherwise, the attic can become an attractant for insects and other wildlife that pick up on the lingering smells, and if you’ve ever dealt with one of these infestations, those smells are pungent! Also, an attic must be properly cleaned after a wildlife infestation to ensure the health of the home’s occupants.
Finally, after everything was cleaned up, we installed approximately 10” of our blown-in TAP insulation. TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control, which are the three key components that make this insulation such a great homeowner investment. This product offers superior thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties. The ten inches of TAP that we installed for this homeowner translates into a 40 R-value, more than enough thermal resistance (insulating power) to deal with the temperature extremes that come with living in New Jersey. Because a higher R-value increases the efficiency of the HVAC system, these homeowners will save on their cooling and heating bills. This insulation offers a pest control component, a benefit not available with most other insulation products. Its paper fibers are treated with a borate solution that is harmless to people, pets, and other animals, but lethal to many insects including ants, beetles, and termites.
These homeowners in Allenwood, NJ had recently purchased their home and wanted to better insulate their attic. Good attic insulation slows the rate of heat transfer. It is important both in the summer and the winter. During the winter, attic insulation helps stop the flow of heat out of the home, and during the summer, it shows the movement of heat into the home. This not only makes the home more comfortable, but also helps your HVAC system work more efficiently and effectively, saving substantial money on your utility bills. Insulation is one of those home investments that easily pays for itself over time.
There was nothing wrong with this home’s existing insulation. The problem was that there just wasn’t enough of it. Cowleys had the perfect solution: We came in and installed a 5" cap of our TAP insulation right on top of their existing insulation. Our TAP Pest Control Insulation is an environmentally safe, ENERGY STAR designated, UL classified, fire retardant loose-fill cellulose insulation. It’s made primarily from ground-up newspaper. TAP stands for Thermal, Acoustical, and Pest Control. This insulation offers superior thermal and acoustical (sound-deadening) properties as well as a proven method of pest control. The paper fibers are treated with a borate solution, which, while harmless to people, is lethal to certain insects including ants, beetles, and termites.
Two members of Cowleys home improvement crew were dispatched to a home in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, to help a homeowner who had a few pieces of aluminum trim blow off during a recent storm. Your home’s siding and trim are an essential barrier to protect the underlying fascia from the harsh outdoor elements (wind, rain, and snow). If not repaired, fascia damage could lead to wood rot and a weakening of the underlying structures eventually causing the soffit to collapse. Exposing your home’s underlying building materials can also lead to other problems such as mold formation and wildlife entry. Wildlife like squirrels and raccoons often take advantage of structural weaknesses in a home to gain entry. Homes kept in good repair are less prone to wildlife infestations.
We replaced the missing aluminum trim with new white high performance exterior cellular PVC trim that we custom bent to fit her home. This material is tough stuff! It won’t rot, cup, split, twist, or warp and pests like carpenter bees (not to mention woodpeckers that peck away looking for carpenter bee larvae) can’t bore holes into it. As you can see by the photos, our installed trim blended in perfectly with the house. You could not even tell that any repairs had been made after we were done. The homeowner was relieved that the trim was replaced, it looked great, and most importantly, her home was protected from the outdoor elements as we head into the harsh days of winter.
A homeowner in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ, had a few ridge cap shingles blow off in a storm. Virtually any steep-sloped roof has a ridge at the top of the roof where the different sides of the roof meet. Also. roof designs commonly have sloped ridges (hips) where roof planes meet at an angle. These ridges and hips the highest stress areas of your roof. We use ridge cap shingles to provide a complete watershedding system on your roof. These shingles are an extra strong barrier at this crucial juncture where rainfall first hits your shingles. Should these shingles go AWOL, it does not take long for rain or melting snow to start causing roof leaks and all sorts of property damage from water entry into your home. Also, these missing shingles are an “open house” sign for all sorts of critters that looking for a warm, protected place like your attic to escape the harsh outdoor elements.
For this home improvement project, we replaced the missing shingles. We then installed Ridge-Guards over the ridge vents to give extra assurance to the homeowner that similar roof problems would not happen again. Just as ridge cap shingles are crucial to a home’s roofing system, so are ridge vents. These vents allow damp, warm air to escape from the attic. By doing so, they increase your homes energy efficiency and protect asphalt shingles from overheating and warping in the summer. Unfortunately, ridge vents can be a vulnerable “weak spot” in a roof. They are often exploited by wildlife, especially squirrels, raccoons, and bats, to gain entry into the attic, and they can be the source of roof leaks as well. With Ridge-Guards installed over the ridge vents, this homeowner now has an effective permanent solution to ward off these types of ridge vent problems.
This Brielle, NJ homeowner had a raccoon enter the attic through the soffit. The soffit is the underside of the roof overhang. It is commonly made out of aluminum or vinyl and has passive vents providing much-needed ventilation and air circulation to the attic and expelling the rising heat, which causes all sorts of problems both during the summer and the winter. Unfortunately, soffits, especially if they are damaged, are a favorite access point for wildlife to enter your attic. Raccoons and squirrels are innately able to find and exploit the weak points into a home, and soffits are at the top of the list of favorite entry points.
Cowleys wildlife technicians had already come in to trap the raccoon, and immediately afterwards installed a temporary patch to seal the area. However, the homeowner wanted a more aesthetically pleasing repair. Cowleys has a home improvement division that, among other things, has an experienced crew that repairs damages caused by wildlife, termites, and other insects. The homeowner was quite pleased with our repair of his home, and so were we!
This residential customer in Brielle, NJ, had used Cowleys to help him deal with crawl space flooding caused by Superstorm Sandy, the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season. At that time. the homeowner contracted Cowleys to remove his moldy insulation and install an encapsulation system. Crawl space encapsulation transforms damp vented crawlspaces that are often fraught with mold and pest issues into clean, dry, attractive and energy efficient spaces.
This heart of our encapsulation system is a super durable 20 mil thick polyethylene vapor barrier that blocks moisture, outside air, and pests from getting into your crawl space. We also use other crawl space products as necessary, such as vent covers, drainage matting, and commercial-grade dehumidifiers.
Following this encapsulation, the homeowner no longer had water or moisture issues in his crawl space. According to him, his crawl space was now as dry as a bone. However, at the time, he elected to not replace the moldy water-damaged insulation that we removed. Not surprisingly, for a few winter seasons, he had cold floors above the crawl space. He decided this was no longer tolerable, and he called us back to install some good insulation.
We recommended JM ComfortTerm insulation, a Formaldehyde-free fiberglass insulation with R-values up to R-30 (12” thickness). Its batts and rolls are wrapped in plastic for less dust kick-up during installation and also has a vapor-retarder plastic facing. Now, with the crawl space insulation job completed, this home will be more comfortable, and this thermal envelope will help with the home’s indoor air quality and dramatically improve the home’s energy efficiency.
The Cowleys home improvement crew was sent to a home in Colts Neck to remodel the homeowner’s outdoor access to his crawl space. His old crawl space entry was cumbersome to open and close, and even worse, it provided virtually no protection from the outdoor elements. Whenever it rained, the current crawl space access allowed a stream of water to rush inside. The homeowner was concerned about standing water in the basement and the problems it could cause, and rightly so. Standing water in the crawl space is an open invitation for mold growth and is an attractant for mosquitoes, other insects, and all sorts of wildlife.
We wanted a crawl space access that was easy to use, blocked rainwater from entering, and provided protection from the outdoor elements. To meet these objectives, we replaced the entry cover with one of our Everlast doors. These Everlast vent covers completely block outside air and moisture from entering the crawl space. They can be installed against wood framing or masonry, work exceptionally well, and are aesthetically pleasing. Made with a hard durable plastic, they stand up to the worst weather conditions, and are completely maintenance free. They should never rot, warp, or crack and they never need to be painted. From out experience, they are virtually indestructible. Also, if you or a repair person needs crawl space access, they are easy to open. All you need to do is twist a few easy-to-grip knobs, and you’re in!
Given this homeowner’s water issues, we wanted to have a second barrier to prevent water entry. We decided to install a product manufactured by the Bilco Company, which makes a variety of USA-made specialized doors and other specialty access products for the building industry, including the StakWEL window well.
What’s a window well? And why would Cowleys want to install a window well around a crawl space door? Glad you asked!
Most basements have windows, especially finished basements since it’s nice to have some natural lighting and a way to let in outdoor air. Windows installed in basements that are mostly below-grade require window wells — those semi-circular “dig-outs” you find on the basement window’s exterior. This well needs to be supported by some materials or it will eventually collapse.
Window wells help prevent water penetration around the window framing and window damage (Basement windows are prone to damage since they are at or near ground level.). Window wells also allow for emergency egress out of the basement. This is important because most local building codes require basement windows to provide emergency egress, in which case, the well needs a built-in steps or ladder. Window wells should also have covers to keep out leaves and debris and help prevent water and snow from collecting inside the well.
We decided to install a window well around this crawl space door for many of the same reasons that a homeowner would want to install one around their basement window. This homeowner was having a serious water intrusion problem whenever it rained. The safest course of action was to give him a second barrier in addition to the Everlast door, and the StakWEL window well fit the bill perfectly. It’s is made out of a tough corrosion-resistant high density polyethylene, and it’s modular, which greatly simplified installation. As a bonus, these wells have a grip-step design so you don’t have to have the agility of a mountain climber to enter and exit the crawl space access area. The window well also has an optional cover for extra protection against the elements.
After we were done, the remodel of this crawl space access looked great, and we are confident that his water issues will finally be over. The homeowner was quite pleased, and he said that he’d let us know after the first heavy rain how his crawl space was holding up. We expect to here nothing but good news!
These Sea Girt homeowners had a wildlife infestation in their attic. They had an exclusion done by our nuisance wildlife team who blocked all of the potential entry points into the attic. Unfortunately, although the wildlife was gone and could not re-enter, the homeowners were left with destroyed attic insulation and a toxic mess of animal droppings. The homeowners contracted with Cowleys insulation team to clean and sanitize the attic and install new insulation.
A homeowner in Belmar, NJ was having issues with wildlife entering the void above the soffit. Soffits are the horizontal boards that fit under the eaves of the roof. They protect the area underneath a roof’s overhang from rain and snow which, if left unprotected, could cause the beams to rot, become vulnerable to mold growth, and attract insects and wildlife. Also, soffits are often vented in order to help air to circulate in the attic. Separate from a home’s soffits are the fascia boards, which cover the front of the soffit. The fascia gives a roof’s edge a finished look and serves as a mount for the home’s gutter system which funnels rain and snow run-off off the roof and away from the home’s foundation. Since soffits and fascia are exposed to the elements, they will often start to decay if not maintained. All too often, we see wildlife, especially squirrels and raccoons, exploiting weaknesses in a home’s structure. Often, they’ll rip their way through damaged fascia boards, soffits, or roofing shingles, to gain access inside the attic.
This home’s soffits were in poor shape. Much of it was falling and left unsecured, leaving it wide open for wildlife to enter — which they did! The only good news for this Belmar homeowner was that the soffit wasn’t connected to the attic, so the wildlife simply nested in the void above and did not gain access inside the home. Once wildlife enters the attic, damage can be extensive. Usually, if the infestation is not quickly resolved, the insulation is destroyed and the whole area becomes a toxic mess from all the wildlife droppings.
The Cowleys home improvement crew was called in. We removed the damaged soffits, cleaned out all of the built-up nesting debris, and then replaced the soffits with high-performance PVC trim boards. This material won’t rot, cup, split, twist, or warp. The new soffits looked great and blended in with the house. Now, with this home improvement, this homeowner will not have any further issues with wildlife exploiting weakened and damaged soffits in order to gain access to the void above to use as their private nesting home for their offspring.
This Woodbridge homeowner had a mouse infestation in her basement. We set up a baiting system, and, fortunately, there was no indication that there was still an active infestation. However, mice and other rodents are messy home intruders, and they left behind a toxic mess of fecal pellets and urine stains. We completed a thorough clean-up of the basement, sanitizing and deodorizing the area.
After completing the cleanup, we returned to remove unsightly stains left my the mice. Mice not only leave urine stains, but they also leave behind runway tracks (rub marks). Mice have poor eyesight, and they facilitate movement by hugging walls as the travel. The mice memorize these routes and rarely stray, enabling them to run rapidly along a path, even in the dark. Over time, they leave a faint, dark trail of body oil and dirt.
We also replaced a rotted piece of fascia under the rear slider that was an entry point for the mice. For long-term rodent control, it is critical to exclude them by blocking all of the known entry points.
The homeowner could not have been more pleased. She was happy to have her basement back with no more “reminders” that there once was a rodent infestation down below.
I was recently dispatched to a home in Holmdel, NJ to treat the damage caused by woodpeckers following a carpenter bee infestation. Carpenter bees are large bees that will bore holes into wood in order to lay their eggs. This boring not only causes damage to the wood through unsightly holes, but also allows water to seep into the wood, causing wood rot.
This homeowner had old wooden fascia boards near his roofline. Carpenter bees had laid eggs in the fascia. Woodpeckers then came along and tore up the facia in order to reach the larvae. Woodpeckers love carpenter bee larvae! It’s fairly common to see woodpecker damage following a carpenter bee infestation — and woodpeckers can do a lot more destruction to homes and other wooden structures in a much shorter time frame than insects can do.
To deter the woodpeckers from causing any more damage, we installed aluminum fascia over the wood. These birds have no interest in trying to peck their way through aluminum.
A homeowner in Holmdel, NJ was having issues with carpenter bees infesting the wood fascia boards in his house. Carpenter bees, large, shiny black bees, are destructive wood-boring insects. The female bee burrows into the wood to lay her eggs while the male hovers around nearby to protect the queen from any predators or other males. The tell-tail sign of a carpenter bee infestation is sawdust, commonly known as sass, collecting below the holes where the bees have bored into the wood. As this homeowner found out, besides the drilling damage from carpenter bees, the larvae attract noisy woodpeckers that drill holes along the bee homes to reach and feed on the larvae. Woodpecker activity results in long trenches and holes along the wood. Needless to say, after the cumulative effect of carpenter bee and woodpecker activity, a home can suffer quite a bit of damage. The damage is more than unsightly. The holes can allow water seepage into the wood, weakening it and causing wood rot which it, turn, can lead to other insect and even wildlife infestations. Squirrels and raccoons commonly exploit weaknesses in a home’s structure, especially damaged fascia boards, soffits, or roofing shingles, to gain access inside the attic.
These carpenter bees were persistent. After a few treatments, the bees and the woodpeckers would return. A permanent solution was needed to prevent these re-infestations, and Cowleys home improvement crew was called in. To repair the damage, we removed the damaged wood fascia and replaced it with a high-performance exterior cellular PVC trim. This material won’t rot, cup, split, twist, or warp, and carpenter bees, or woodpeckers for that matter, can’t drill into it. The new fascia looked great and blended in with the house. The homeowner was relieved that the carpenter bee infestation was gone, and he no longer had to listen to noisy woodpeckers chipping away on his home.