By Sean Barron
Most Mahoning Valley residents likely are thrilled that Mother Nature has provided them with an earlier-than-usual taste of spring, but this time of year also can mean heavy, prolonged rains.
And that can set the stage for mold, structural damage and other basement problems.
Nevertheless, this also is the time to take preventive measures before today’s minor leaks and mildew become tomorrow’s expensive repairs, Julie Cross says.
“We educate them on what’s going on and how to prevent those things from happening,” said Cross, a showroom manager with Akron-based Basement Care Inc., who explained Saturday that a musty smell, a small amount of water in the walls and a powdery residue can be precursors for larger issues. “They should get it while it’s little.”
Cross is among the more than 100 local and regional vendors who are part of the 26th annual Mahoning Valley Home Show at McMenamy’s Restaurant and Banquet Center, 325 Youngstown-Warren Road (U.S. Route 422).
The show offers do-it-yourselfers and others a variety of merchandise, tips, designs, technologies and ideas for home-improvement, repairs and projects. Also in the mix are home-repair and cooking demonstrations.
The three-day gathering, which kicked off Friday, continues from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at McMenamy’s.
Cross noted that her business offers free estimates; inspects and diagnoses common basement problems such as cracking walls, water damage, moisture and mold. Some people can develop allergy symptoms, fever, shortness of breath and other health problems by unwittingly being exposed to mold spores, she said, adding that children and the elderly often are especially susceptible.
A handful of other cost-effective measures homeowners can take are sealing cracks, unplugging devices, insulating their homes and planting trees and shrubs. Adding to the savings is having energy-efficient windows, said Rich Begalla, general manager and co-owner of Canfield-based Window Depot USA of Youngstown.
“We focus on the word ‘value.’ We bring the overall best combination of quality and service for the cost,” Begalla said, adding that the local business’s windows are made in North Jackson and that Window Depot focuses mainly on residential customers.
In 2014, Window Depot, which opened in the area five years ago and is one of the show’s sponsors, received a “Most Efficient” designation from the U.S. Department of Energy. Less than 5 percent of such businesses have earned that distinction, Begalla said.
Saturday’s unusually warm weather brought out many attendees who received ideas and recommendations on everything from waterproofing basements, duct cleaning, plumbing, protecting gutters and taking care of septic systems.
Merchandise for sale includes patio enclosures and furniture, hot tubs, leaf filters for gutters, doors, cabinets, siding, heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and cooling systems and flooring.
Those who wish to replace a drab and dull floor surface with something more colorful and eye-catching probably found Nature Stone Flooring helpful.
The 25-year-old Bedford, Ohio, company offers numerous granite, quartz, marble, traditional and specialized stones with catchy names such as blackberry, tornado gray, chocolate chunks, eggplant and almond.
In addition to allowing consumers to take home many ideas and incentives for replacing a roof, adding bright furniture to a back deck, installing a new shower or performing landscaping work, the Mahoning Valley Home Show offers a friendly atmosphere for attendees to share ideas and learn from one another, said Dominic Baragona, event promoter.
“We want them to feel spring,” Baragona said. “We would like them to just come away with ideas on their own homes, whether they hire someone or do it themselves.”