Recent Posts

Types of Foundations

3/10/2023 (Permalink)

A picture of at a construction site for a foundation. Foundation Types

3 Types of Foundations:

Pros and Cons

The foundation of a structure is the load bearing portion, typically built below ground.  This portion serves 3 purposes. 

  • Support the structure  
  • Keep out groundwater  
  • Function as a barrier to water and soil vapor 

But, when deciding on the foundation of your home, it’s important to know the pros and cons of each option. 

Slab Foundations: These are the most cost efficient as well as the most common of the choices. 

The process is simple, the slab starts with concrete footing poured 24 inches below projected finish grade. 

Then concrete blocks are placed on top of the footers, internal piping is placed, then rock filler is added, and four inches of concrete poured on top. The advantages of a slab foundation are that they are low maintenance and the least expensive option. 

The disadvantages are that there is a higher potential for expensive repairs because plumbing is placed below the slab. 

This means if there is a problem, the concrete would have to be broken to reach the issues at hand.  Another disadvantage is that a slab foundation has minimal protection from storms and bad weather. 

Crawl Space Foundations:

Homes with crawl space foundations are raised a few feet off the ground. 

As with slab foundations, footing is placed, and concrete blocks are placed to create the support for the walls. 

The advantages of a crawlspace foundation are the easy access for repairs to plumbing, electrical, piping, and ductwork. 

A second advantage is warmer floors.  Because the floor is elevated and the underlying space is conditioned, the floors tend to be much warmer than a concrete slab.

The disadvantages are that crawl spaces are prone to moisture. 

It is important to keep an eye on your crawlspace to ensure you have proper insulation and ventilation. 

Even with cutting edge vapor barriers there can still be potential for mold and fungi to grow due to increased moisture. 

A second disadvantage is there is, like with slab foundations, little to no protection from storm and weather. 

Basement Foundations: 

A basement is an eight-foot hole that ends in a concrete slab. 

In the past, basements were built with cinder blocks, but they were prone to structural failures and leaks over time. 

Nowadays, basements are built with poured concrete walls, which have improved the structural integrity on the foundation over time. 

The advantages of a basement foundation are the extended square footage, easy access for repairs, and storm protection. 

Having the additional space at a much lower cost per square foot than other parts of the house can create extra living space or entertainment. 

As with crawl space foundations, there is easy access for repairs. 

However, unlike slab and crawl space foundations, there is protection from storms and weather for you and the residents of the home.  The disadvantages of a basement foundation are increased costs. 

Because of the added materials, labor, and square footage, the costs on installation are the most time consuming and expensive. 

Another disadvantage is lack of natural light. 

Because the foundation is underground, there are no possible options for windows, unless you create a walkout. Ultimately, the decision on which foundation you choose is personal preference. 

There is no foundation type that “holds up” better than another.  However, if you do experience flooding or mold issues in your Morgantown home, give SERVPRO of Morgantown a call at 304-291-3434!!

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


Emergency Kits and Natural Disasters

12/19/2022 (Permalink)

A picture of Red Cross Emergency Kit Bags Emergency Kits and Natural Disasters

Natural disasters are unexpected and destructive. It is important to plan for the next natural disaster accordingly. You never know when a disaster can strike which is why it is important to prepare a kit for your home, work, and vehicle.

According to, you should have the following in your emergency kit: 

- One gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation

- At least a three-day supply of non-perishable food

- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and an NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert Flashlight

- First aid kit

- Extra batteries

-Whistle to signal for help

-Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place

-Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

-Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

-Manual can opener for food

-Local maps

-Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery.

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


Frostbite Signs and Symptoms

12/7/2022 (Permalink)

A cartoon picture of signs and protection of frostbite. Frostbite Signs and Symptoms

Frostbite Symptoms  Have you ever been exposed to freezing weather conditions and noticed your skin becoming very cold and red, and after that numb, hard, and pale? If you have, then you have experienced the first signs of frostbite! SERVPRO® of Morgantown responds to storm damage emergencies in and other cities in , and we want you to stay safe and healthy this winter season.  

Here is some information on frostbite and when to see a doctor from the Mayo Clinic:   

Signs and symptoms of frostbite include:    At first, cold skin and a prickling feeling    Numbness   

Red, white, bluish-white or grayish-yellow skin    Hard or waxy-looking skin   

Clumsiness due to joint and muscle stiffness   

Blistering after rewarming, in severe cases   

Seek medical attention for frostbite if you experience:  Signs and symptoms of superficial or deep frostbite  

Increased pain, swelling, redness or discharge in the area that was frostbitten  


New, unexplained symptoms    

Get emergency medical help if you suspect hypothermia, a condition in which your body loses heat faster than it can be produced. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia include:  

  • Intense shivering  
  • Slurred speech   
  • Drowsiness and loss of coordination  

Call Us!   

When your home or business has a storm damage emergency, SERVPRO® of Morgantown has a team of storm restoration technicians on call to serve you 24-hours a day. Call us at 304-291-3434. We’ll restore your storm damage in Morgantown, “Like it never even happened.  

SERVPRO of Morgantown is Independently Owned and Operated.

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


Fire Drills

11/4/2022 (Permalink)

A picture of location points during a fire. Fire Drills

Who else used to love fire drill days?! We all remember those days when fire drills happened in school! Most of us loved them because it was a time to get a small 20-minute break from our classes, unless you had to stand out in the blazing heat or freezing cold, right?!

Well did you know that fire drills are not just for schools, they should be practiced by businesses and even with your families in case of an emergency happening! There is nothing better than being prepared ahead of an emergency. It is crucial to the safety of all that everyone knows more than one way to exit your building or home. Important things to cover are a designated meeting spot (a safe distance from the structure where a headcount can be taken to inform first responders of anyone left in the building), and what to do should you not be able to have an escape route. 

Here at SERVPRO of Morgantown, we suggest that you regularly perform a “fire drill” so that the plan is understood and walked through. That your peers or family members know what to do and how to keep themselves and others safe.

If disaster should strike your home or business, know that SERVPRO of Morgantown is ready 24/7, 365. Call us at 304-291-3434 to help walk with you through the cleanup and repairs if an emergency happens in your home or commercial business. 

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


Precautions To Take Before A Fire

9/30/2022 (Permalink)

Fires start and spread quickly, especially with the flammable items that fill our homes. Do you want to be caught in a fire, unprepared? Take a close read of the points below. Go over them a few times because your pet's life may be at stake.

3 Precautions To Take Before A Fire:

Ensure your pet's bed isn’t near any items that are highly flammable. Household items like curtains or chemicals are dangerously fast to go up in flames. Keep your pet's bed(s) near easily escapable areas, such as the front or back doors (we know this might sound crazy in day to day) 

Place a leash near the front door. When a fire breaks out in your home every second is crucial. By placing their leash near the door you will know exactly where to go in the frantic moments. This saves more confusion when you’re outside, trying to keep your pets close to you. 

Train your pet(s) with basic (but vital) commands. It’s vitally important that your pet knows basic commands like “come”. This simple but effective step will also save time when leaving the house. It may also help you avoid having to search for your pet.  3 Simple Steps To Take After The Fire 

Place your pet on a leash. Not only will this help them feel secure, but pets commonly try to escape when they feel stressed. Having them on a leash will reduce the risk of them running away, or getting injured outside the house. 

Give your pet water. It’s likely your pet will become hot and dehydrated after being around a fire. Make sure they have access to drinking water once you have left the house. This will help stop them from becoming overheated.  

Make sure your pet is okay. Look and feel for any burns or injuries. It is recommended that you take your pet to a local vet for a general health assessment as soon as possible.

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols



9/23/2022 (Permalink)

No matter what business you work in, teamwork and proper ethics are essential to running a successful business. Here at SERVPRO of Morgantown, our team is fortunate to have a warm, yet effective working relationship with each other.

Considering we are an emergency business, it is imperative communication is clear between the office, field technicians and project managers. During a surge in business due to a disaster event, proper communication and execution allow our franchise to respond to more calls efficiently.

One of our greatest strengths here at SERVPRO of Morgantown is the camaraderie shared within our entire staff. The positive relationship amongst each other provides a pleasant working experience which is then passed on to our customers throughout the day.

Evidence of our work environment radiates throughout our business and the communities we serve; the office staff receives numerous compliments about our chief technicians on a regular basis. Visit our testimonial page to see what our customers say about SERVPRO of Morgantown in action!

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


Classes of Fire Damage

9/16/2022 (Permalink)

A picture of a living room wit smoke damage from a fire. Classes of Fire Damage

According to the NFPA, the number of fires your household can expect in an average lifetime is five. Any fire regardless of size will cause damage to your property. Fire damage is classified into six different classes and the type of fire damage can be classified in two ways. 

Six Types of Fire Damage:  

  • Fires are classified into six different classes. These classes are Class A, Class B, Class C, Class D, Class E, and Class F. 

Class A:

  • Involves flammable solids, plastics, paper, rubber, cloth, and wood 

Class B:

  • Damage is caused by flammable solids that became liquids and by liquids. Examples of these types of substances are gasoline, petrol, oil, plastics, and paints. Cooking oils and fats are excluded from this class.

Class C:

  • Involves flammable gasses such as hydrogen, natural gas, butane, and propane

Class D:

  • Damage is caused by combustible gasses such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium 

Class E:

  • This class is a combination of Class A and Class B but it involves electrical elements

Class F:

  • Damage is caused by cooking oils and fats. Cooking oils and fats are in their own class because the fire is usually hotter and more damage is caused.   

Fire extinguishers are not one size fits all. Make sure you read the label on your fire extinguisher to see what types of fires it can put out. Some fire extinguishers are water based which would not be safe to use on a Class E fire. Also, check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher to make sure it is still good to use in case of an emergency.  

Types of Fire Damage  

Most insurance companies use two classifications for fire damage. These categories are primary damage and secondary damage.   

Primary Damage:

  • Damage is caused by direct flames to the structure or to objects inside of the structure   

Secondary Damage:

  • Damage is caused by corrosive substances, smoke, and water from putting the fire out.
  • Secondary damage typically causes the most damage to the structure. This is because soot and smoke can work its way throughout the structure.  

If you experience a fire in your home, the first step you should take is to call the fire department. Your second step should be to reach out to your insurance agent. Your final step should be calling SERVPRO. All SERVPRO franchises are available 24/7 with highly trained restoration technicians. SERVPRO specializes in fire and water damage and will get your property looking “Like it never even happened”.

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


How Long Can Germs Live on Surfaces?

9/2/2022 (Permalink)


When germs are on the prowl, no place is safe. Buses, commuter trains, rental cars, and private vehicles transport both people and virulent bacteria. Retail establishments, health clubs, educational institutions, restaurants, hotel rooms, and even cruise ship cabins can shelter germs. Practically anything that you touch can expose you to viruses, putting your health at risk. According to the National Health Service, the lifespan of a germ varies depending on the type of germ and the surface that it is on. How long can bacteria live on surfaces? Below we explore a few common examples.

COLD GERMS The common cold is a frequent source of misery. A variety of viruses can trigger it, and like other viruses, cold germs tend to survive for more extended periods on hard, nonporous surfaces like desktops and handrails. On suitable indoor surfaces, cold germs can linger for days, but fortunately, they rarely remain infectious for more than 24 hours. Cold viruses can also thrive on the skin, but their survival time there is generally measured in mere minutes or hours.

INFLUENZA GERMS Viruses that cause influenza can survive in the air as droplets for hours and live on hard surfaces like phones and keyboards for up to 24 hours. Infectious flu viruses clinging to a tissue can last for about 15 minutes, but germs on the hands tend to fade quickly. Most will be only a minimal threat after five minutes. It may be a small window of time, but influenza germs don’t warn you of their presence and can make you very sick if you’re unlucky enough to encounter them when they’re infectious.

NOROVIRUS GERMS A highly contagious virus that triggers stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea in those unfortunate enough to catch it, a norovirus can spread through small droplets that travel through the air before settling on surfaces like elevator buttons, tabletops, and clothing. While they don’t thrive as successfully on porous materials like tissues and fabrics, noroviruses can survive on hard surfaces for days or weeks if the conditions are favorable.  

MRSA GERMS Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria, the culprits behind dangerous MRSA infections, are unfazed by many of the antibiotics that are effective in combating other staph infections. Like viruses, these germs tend to survive for shorter periods on porous surfaces than they do on nonporous ones, but they’re capable of living for days or weeks on surfaces if the circumstances are right.


Everyone has seen it. If you’ve worked in restaurants or other public venues, you may even have wielded it: the dreaded wet, gray rag. Habitually passed over tabletops between customers with a few desultory swipes, it is an inadequate weapon when it comes to eradicating germs. But what is required to disinfect a surface?


  • If you want to kill the germs lurking on a surface, you need to choose an appropriate disinfectant. You also have to apply it correctly. That means saturating the surface with enough of the germ-fighting chemical to get the job done and ensuring that there’s enough contact time (the time when the chemical is on the cover) to allow it to eliminate any germs present. Choosing a low-grade disinfectant or skimping on either saturation or contact time can compromise your germ-fighting efforts, so it’s vital that you select your products carefully and read and follow their directions.

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols



8/19/2022 (Permalink)

Certifications for a SERVPRO employee.

SERVPRO Professionals specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial property.

After a fire, smoke or water damage event, our staff is highly trained in property damage restoration. From initial and ongoing training at SERVPRO’s corporate training facility to regular IICRC-industry certification, rest assured our staff is equipped with the knowledge to restore your property.

Here are some certifications that our Professionals can receive are

  • ECTP - Employee Certification Training Program,
  • RRRP - Lead-Based Paint Activities and Renovation,
  • SRT - Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration Technician,
  • ASD - Applied Structural Drying Technician,
  • OSHA - 10-hour General and/or Construction Industry Training Program,
  • CCT - Carpet Cleaning Technician,
  • CRT - Color Repair Technician,
  • IICRC Certified Firm,
  • WRT - Water Damage Restoration Technician, and
  • OCT - Odor Control Technician.

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols


Cubicle Décor

8/12/2022 (Permalink)

A picture of a cubical all decorated. Cubicle Décor

You can tell a lot about a person by the way they decorate. What their tastes are, what objects are important to them, and even who is important to them. And a person’s personal cubicle is no exception to this. How you decorate your cubicle tells your coworkers a lot about you. So it’s important to make sure that message is a positive one. And we have a list of unique ideas that can help you courtesy of Homedit;

  • Add a lamp
  • Have fun with custom bookends
  • Designate a shelf for décor
  • Hang wallpaper
  • Bring in fresh flowers
  • Trim with washi tape
  • Throw in a throw pillow
  • Create eye-catching office supply storage
  • Choose a color scheme and go nuts
  • Choose a stylish tray to keep things organized
  • Hang framed art
  • Incorporate colorful accessories
  • Hang some favorite photos
  • Use a pegboard

Whether you use these ideas or come up with your own, make sure you make your desk the best it can possibly be. The average person spends a third of their life at work. So you must make sure that your workspace, your cubicle, has the kind of inviting and homey style that only you can give to a space. So give it a try and have fun decorating.

As always, if disaster strikes, SERVPRO of Morgantown are always here for you. 

Tracie "Dusty" Nichols