spring-cleaningAfter a long winter’s nap, your outdoor spaces require some special care and attention. During the coldest months, we gather indoors and our outdoor spaces often lie neglected under a blanket of snow. Now that spring is around the corner, it’s time to prepare your plan of attack.

 

Remove obvious debris from your yard.

The winter months can take a toll on the landscaping. Remove any obvious debris such as downed tree limbs, obviously dead plants, weeds, and built up thatch on the lawn. Taking this first important step will immediately brighten your outdoor space.

Get your lawn in order.

Once the ground has thawed, it’s time to get your lawn ready for spring to ensure a lush lawn come summer. Start with a deep raking to remove thatch build up. Consider reseeding areas that appear bare. Spring is also the perfect time to aerate the soil and apply fertilizer to maintain optimum nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorous levels.


dirty-windows-225x300

Get your windows squeaky clean.

Winter can leave some nasty residue on your home’s exterior windows. Start by opening the windows and using a handheld vacuum to remove dirt, dead bugs, and cobwebs from the window wells. Clean all storm windows inside and out. You should also remove the screens and give them a good rinse with the hose. If your windows are difficult to reach, hiring a professional window cleaner may be a good springtime investment.

 

Inspect and clean the gutters.

Depending on the type of gutters installed on your home, they can collect debris throughout the winter. Using a ladder, carefully inspect your gutters. Check for places where repairs may be needed. Remove any debris including wet leaves and sticks from the gutters to ensure they are working as intended.

Examine and repair outdoor structures.

Winter’s cold winds and wet conditions can wreak havoc on outdoor structures like fences, shutters, roofs, and mini-barns. Look for weak or damaged spots that should be repaired or replaced.

Power washing is your friend.

Pressure washing removes caked on dirt and mildew from outdoor structures. Rent a power washer and use it in a variety of ways. It can remove mildew from deck and porch structures, freshen concrete walks, and remove loose paint from fences in order to prepare them for new coats of stain or paint. A power washer can remove unwanted dirt from siding and even garbage cans. Beware though, not all siding is power washer safe and can be damaged by the high pressure spray. Check with the manufacturer for recommended cleaning methods first.


pressure-wash

A fresh coat of paint never hurt anyone.

A fresh coat of paint is a quick, easy, and inexpensive way to dress up your outdoor structures. Paint protects the underlying wood from the elements and will protect from mold and rot.

Get your patio party ready.

Once your deck is ready for the party, is everything else? Dust and clean any outdoor patio furniture. Replace faded or worn cushions with new, ensuring that they are made of special fabric for outdoor use to allow for fast drying and prevent mildew. Use a wire brush to clean your grill and remove caked on debris from last year’s parties.

With an organized plan, you can conquer your outdoor Spring Cleaning tasks in a just a few weekends, ensuring a long summer of sun and fun!

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References:

http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-hints-tips/cleaning-organizing/outdoor-cleaning-tips.htm#page=10; http://ext.homedepot.com/community/blog/10-outdoor-spring-cleaning-tips/

Photo Credit:

-Spring Cleaning

-Dirty Windows

-Pressure Wash

 

Posted in Outdoor Home Improvement, Weather | Leave a comment

 

Gutters aren’t just for decoration, nor are they optional. Did you know a rainstorm can exert around 1,000 pounds of pressure on a roof, but that rain gutters displace nearly 600 pounds of pressure? Gutters keep rainwater from hitting with its full force. But, they cannot work effectively if twigs, dirt, and leaves clog gutters. Gutters need to be kept clean and maintained three to four times a year.

What are the problems that sprout from a clogged gutter system? A clog doesn’t simply mean water is left standing stagnant in a gutter and attracting mosquitoes and collecting mold. Clogs can cause a host of other problems, including cracks in a home’s foundation.

Clogs Shorten the Life of a Gutter

Allowing twigs, leaves, and dirt to accumulate may cause your gutter to rust out or develop a hole. Without treating these holes as they appear, gutters may need to be replaced within five years. An aluminum gutter (a popular choice for home gutters), when properly cared for can last up to twenty years.

How much do I have to spend on sufficient gutters?

Hiring a professional to replace old gutters that are clogging with new, working gutters can vary widely, from $3 per square foot to more than $7 a square foot. Pricing can depend on the type of gutters installed. Copper can cost more than steel or aluminum. Not only will price vary, but size will vary as well. Five inch gutters are the residential norm, but homeowners should consider getting six inch commercial gutters. An extra inch of gutter may not increase the price too much and it may save homeowners the heartache of a gutter getting clogged and needing repair.

Why You Shouldn’t Treat a Clog Yourself

Is it better to buy a seamless gutter system versus regular roof guttering?

Clogs may be a bigger problem than they look because they cause hidden damage. But they are also dangerous because you may have to use a ladder to reach a clog safely. What if you cannot comfortably clean a clog from a ladder? And even if you can, who wants to be up on a ladder for hours at a time. It might be time to call a professional before a fall from a ladder sends you to the emergency room.

A professional has special equipment to clean a clog, such as special ladder extensions or a bucket lift that allows them to reach a roof gutter. Is it difficult to clean a clog? This may depend on roof pitch and shape. Generally, a standard ladder can reach first or second-story gutters. Single-story ranch homes may be easier for professionals to reach and clean because they are low-pitched. Cape-cod style homes may present the most challenges because their even eaves make the area more difficult to clean. They also tend to have steeper pitched roofs.

How expensive is it to have a pro clean your gutters? The cost of gutter cleaning can vary between $165 and $500, depending on size of the home, grade of roof, how many repairs must be made, and other factors.

A professional can easily repair warped guttering and perform cleaning on clogged guttering on a regular basis. It is best to have a professional check and recommend needed repairs to leaking sections or replacement of old gutters before clogs occur. It is better to be proactive and it may save many homeowners from expensive home repairs in the future.

Sources

Gutters.com

AJC.com

UrbachLetter.com

 

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The great Prussian military thinker Carl von Clausewitz stated, “the backbone of surprise is fusing speed with secrecy.” Bees are necessary insects that are a healthy part of our ecosystem but no homeowner wants them near their gutters. Work quickly and safely, and with a little element of surprise, in order to annihilate these intruders. Unlucky homeowners that suspect that they have bees in or around their gutters will have to use some strategy to locate and remove them.

Potential Bee Nesting Sites

Bees need shelter from the elements. They often build their nest under a roof. Some lurk behind fascia, inside gable vents and in the attic near the peak. Hives may also be under eaves, awnings and within the voids of walls.

Locate Them

You can always hire a specialist to take care of everything. If you’d like to go it alone, follow this plan to have the best chance of success.

Carefully watch the bees’ behavior to find their nest. Bees are diurnal and it is easier to locate the hive at the beginning of dusk or at late dawn. If the nest is on your house, your next steps must be carefully done to avoid getting stung as you hone in on them. Protect your arms and hands and be aware of your surroundings as you get close to the nest. If you are on a ladder at any point, remember not to react too quickly and to always maintain your balance.

Three Southern Yellowjackets (Vespula squamosa)

Removal Methods

Some removal methods require more than one application or attempt, depending on the tenacity of your squatters. Wear thick clothes, gloves, a face mask, hat and goggles when applying poison. Bees can swarm when disturbed, and the best time for approach is during the later evening, as they are inactive. If using a flashlight, cover the bulb with a red glaze as it will then go undetected. Sometimes, one application of pesticide or poison does not suffice, and you may need to repeat the application if activity continues.

If the hive is in the attic or on the roof, apply the poison into the crack where the bees have made their hive. Dusk is when all of the bees are within and will provide optimal effectiveness in eradicating the colony.

Monitor the activity moving forward. Caulk holes in the roof or between the roof and the house to prevent future problems.

If the hive is along the outside perimeter, shoot the nest with a long-range bee/wasp spray. Some sources suggest using a hose from a distance. After a few hours or a few days and noticing a lack of activity, you can burn the hive. Start a fire in a fire pit or similar container and carefully toss it in. Once finished, remove all evidence of the hive and all dead insects from the surrounding area.

Suggested solutions include Raid and Sevin (fine powder) and Borax (fine powder). Powders work when insects that get the dust on themselves carry the powder back to the hive. The powders may be slower but useful if the hive is in your siding or deep in a wall-space.

Precaution

With any removal efforts, there is a chance that you will be stung or that you may have to make a few attempts to remove the hive. It is important to recognize this danger, as well as the danger of being high on a ladder.

The clothing you should wear when dealing with bees is outlines above. In the event of a sting, the first thing to do is remain calm and balanced. Ask your pharmacist ahead of time for medication that will counteract the pain and swelling from a sting. And of course, if the situation feels serious, do not hesitate to call 911.

Best of luck in keeping bees as far from your house as possible!

Sources:

GetRidofThings.com

EHow.com

Mastershield.com

DoItYourself.com

http://cdn.omg-facts.com/2014/1/30/aa07b619f4a10020d9b283386e448563.jpg

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Three_Southern_Yellowjackets_(Vespula_squamosa).jpg

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While your mind is probably on the holidays, vacations, and preparing your interior home for the winter, there is more to winter prep than just that. Along with blocking leaks and wrapping pipes, the impending winter necessitates care for the outdoor home too.

Norwegian winter snow covering a plant

More than just storing patio furniture in the basement, outdoor winter care entails careful protection of plants growing around your yard. No one wants to put in the hard work over the spring and summer just to see it all ruined by the snow and freezing temperatures.

Protecting your garden starts with knowing how different plants are able to hold up against the bitter cold. Take a look at this map of United States growing zones to get a feel for what plants can or cannot stand the cold weather before allotting resources to preserve what’s growing in your yard.

Here’s a look at some techniques you can employ to help your shrubs survive the winter.

Preliminary Care

Before the snow starts falling in earnest, you have to give plants proper attention to boost their chances of outlasting winter. It all starts in the growing season. Give plants continuous water throughout fall before the ground freezes, and during intervals in the season where the ground thaws. This way, the frozen ground that comes late in the year has a smaller chance of drying a plant’s roots out. Water also helps to insulate the ground surrounding the roots.

Another measure you can take in the early stages of preparation is mulching. Acting like a covering on the colder days and nights of winter, a few inches of mulch covering the base of your perennials will keep their roots insulated.

Clearly these preliminary measures do you little good right now, but they’re something to consider next Spring and Summer as part of the full year cycle of plant care.

Creating Cover  

Sometimes the basic prep work isn’t enough. By the time sub-zero temperatures hit, you realize there’s more to be done to keep your shrubbery sheltered. The most effective way to help your plants endure the winter is to create a protective casing for your greenery. More so than frigid temperatures, the harsh winds of the winter can really harm plants in the yard. Even evergreens are susceptible to injury from a combination of the wintertime wind and sun.

To combat this, use any one of a wide variety of options to create a lasting barrier for the winter. The most common fix for smaller trees and shrubs is a burlap sack layer framed around the plant with stakes in the ground. Keeping the foliage untouched, the burlap provides a buffer between the plant and the elements. Other materials such as flannel sheets work as fine substitutes for burlap. For smaller plants, you can even use inverted pots or plastic storage items as covers. Even placing leaves, straw, or hay between the plant and the casing can provide a cushion of extra padding to insulate the plant. Encasing your plants gives them the best chance at holding off the potential of destruction in winter.

Aftermath 

While protective units can be crucial to keeping your plants alive during the long winter, just as important is knowing when to remove them. Whether it be the night after a freeze or at the end of the season, taking off the cover at the appropriate time is necessary so that moisture doesn’t build underneath it. This dampness could then freeze on the plant at night and damage it.

Tending to a garden all spring and summer takes hours of care and attention. You don’t want to see Mother Nature take her toll and ruin that effort in just a night’s work of ice and snow. By taking a couple of cautionary measures as the temperatures start dropping, you can save your yard from falling to the bitter cold of winter.

 

Photo Credit: 

By gcardinal from Norway (Norwegian winter snow) [CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

FarmerFredRant.blogspot.com

 

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The winter of 2013-2014 was one of the harshest ever recorded in terms of cold temperatures and snowfall totals. Unfortunately, meteorologists predict that this upcoming winter will be similar to last year’s. Let’s take a look at the ways in which it could be similar and also the ways in which it could be different.

While most of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States have had a relatively mild transition from Fall to Winter, this comfort zone won’t last much longer. The uncharacteristically high autumn temperatures aren’t necessarily a sign of things to come. They’ll give way to some very cold air and significant amounts of snow. Meteorologists predict that the northern Plains will have fluctuating temperatures throughout the winter with below average snowfall totals. The northeastern states outside of the Plains will likely once again have to deal with a significant amount of snow, ice, winds and cold temperatures.Thankfully, the worst of the winter weather won’t hit the Northeast until January and February. Residents of Northeastern states know that they’ll always have to endure snow, winds and frigid temperatures but the conditions are much easier to endure when they are limited to the last two months of the season.

Weather experts predict that snow and ice storms will once again impact some of the southern portion of the United States. These events will likely occur in the southern Plains and Tennessee Valley. Even Florida will experience some nasty winter weather. Overall, the south should expect a very wet winter.

While El Nino was significantly hyped about a decade ago, the pattern hasn’t made the headlines as frequently in recent years. Forecasters predict that an El Nino pattern will return this winter, yet it won’t be as strong as those in the past. Forecasters expect that it will create significant moisture in the Southwest of the country as well as the Southern Plains. If this pattern comes to fruition, parts of the Southwest and Southern Plains will likely experience more snowfall than is typical for the region. Specifically, parts of New Mexico (Albuquerque), western Oklahoma, Kansas and Northwestern Texas will endure above average snowfall as a result of the El Nino pattern.

Northern California and a portion of central California will continue to struggle through a drought. The same is true of the Northwestern states. They won’t see much of the moisture that is expected to impact the southern states this winter.

Another Polar Vortex?

Most Americans are curious about the possibility of another polar vortex. The same people who last Winter found themselves asking, “what is a polar vortex?” are now nervous about its chilly return. This system caused numerous winter days with temperatures below zero degrees last year. Unfortunately, the polar vortex will likely return in 2015, though it won’t cause as much havoc. Meteorologists expect that the polar vortex will emerge periodically, though it likely won’t have the same impact as last year.

When water meets -15 degree air.jpg
When water meets -15 degree air” by bradhoc – http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradhoc/11799104264/. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Pastelok, AccuWeather.com’s long range forecaster, provided these comments on the prospect of another polar vortex: “We’ll see that happening in mid-January into February…it’s not going to be the same type of situation as we saw last year, not as persistent.”This prediction is some much needed positive news for a country that was shell-shocked by last year’s incredibly cold temperatures that sometimes reached 20 degrees below zero. According to Pastelok, the intense polar vortex of last year will prove to be an anomaly. While temperatures could once again dip to those levels, they won’t do so as frequently as they did in January and February of 2014.

In terms of snowfall, it’s quite difficult to predict. Long-term forecasters expect that areas west of the I-95 corridor will experience higher than average snow totals. Along the I-95 corridor and to its east, there will be a series of “changeover systems” that will likely create some nasty wintry mixes with flurries and icy conditions. Weather experts have predicted that the Appalachians will experience higher than normal snow totals. Philadelphia will likely match its 68.9 inches of last year and New York City will also experience higher than normal snowfall.

Wherever you reside, be sure to prep your outdoor home for the winter and set yourself up for success during these colder temperatures!

Sources:

Accuweather.com Winter Forecast

Salon.com This Winter’s Polar Vortex

USAToday.com Winter Weather Forecast

Photo Sources:

http://pixabay.com/en/sweden-scenic-winter-snow-ice-180061/

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LeafGuard’s outdoor FAQ Series is here for one reason: to provide solutions for some of homeowners’ most recurring questions.

The What’s, Why’s, and How’s of the Outdoor Home can be a real obstacle in getting things done – but they don’t have to be. Read on to learn how to get things done.

  • How Many Acres Do I Need to Consider a Ride-On Mower?
  • When and How Do I Swap Out Storm Doors?
  • What Do I Need to Shovel a Path for in Winter?
  • What Are Irrigation Stones and How Do They Work?

1. How Many Acres on average for a push mower vs. ride-on mowers?

Between 1 and 2 acres is safe to make the switch to a ride-on mower.

Lawncare.org also points out that lawns with thick grass, or difficult weeds and brush, are more manageable with ride-on mowers.

You could even consider it with just one acre. Like the issue of gutters, opting for a higher quality mower is about how much your time is worth. Are you spending 2-3 hours every weekend pushing a mower? Might be time to crush it on the ride-on.

 

There’s always more to consider, though. Some lawns just aren’t conducive to ride-ons. Those include lawns with steep hills, or tight-knit corners and spaces. When it comes to getting in and out of tight spots, nothing will beat a push mower.

2. When and how do I swap out storm doors?

“When” is dependent on your region, but the Fall months of October or November would be a good place to start. If you’re near a body of water and experience wind or storms frequently, better to get it done sooner in the Fall.

How: This video from Andersen details how to switch out their doors. All doors will have some variation of the “retainer”, which is the piece that keeps the door in place while also allowing this change-out to happen.

The key: Be Gentle and thorough. Using force in getting the door or the retainer piece in and out could cause it permanent damage. Once that happens, the door will never fit in place.

3. Why do I need to shovel or snowplow a path for in the winter?

If you live in a state with regular snowfall, you know the pitfalls of shoveling or snow-blowing. You clear the way from your house to your car and make sure the car can get out, but it’s important to not overlook the path to your oil or gas line.

Why? Many companies won’t even bother if they don’t have a clear path to what they need. Fair or not, it’s not something you’d want to leave to chance.

 

4. What exactly are irrigation stones and do they work?

An irrigation stone is any solution that incorporates rocks or stones for drainage around your outdoor home.

How Do I Use Them?

There are a variety of uses – browse through this Pinterest collection for inspiration on what might work for your own home:

One such use is using rocks under a raised bed in order to improve drainage in soil, and to avoid root rot. SF Gate spells out this process in detail here.

Don’t see your nagging question on here? Submit your question in the comment section and we’ll be sure to feature it next time!

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Daylight savings time has come and gone, and Winter is around the corner. Though the cooler weather first felt like a nice break from those humid summer days, you’ll soon be waking up to frost on the lawn in the morning. Don’t get caught scrambling to fix up your home in cold temperatures or snowy weather. Follow these simple tips you can use now to prepare your home for when the unfavorable conditions strike.

1. Blocking Leaks

Probably the easiest way to save money on your heating bill, blocking small leaks on both the inside and outside of your home is a small project that pays big dividends. According to EarthWorks Group, an average American home has a total number of leaks that collectively make up a nine-square-foot hole.

Take a look around common areas where leaks occur: windows and doors, and near outlets. Throw some sweeps (you can even use rolled up towels for a cheaper alternative) under doors to close the space for drafts to leak through. Seal up the other spots around your windows by caulking them from the outside or using weather stripping.

2. Insulation

Another area to check when trying to prepare your home for the winter months is insulation. This is a job that doesn’t involve much, but will instantly make your home more energy efficient.

No matter where you live, you should shoot for a minimum of 12 inches of insulation in your attic. What’s the simple rule of thumb? If you can see the ceiling joists, you need more insulation covering, because those wooden pieces are usually 10-11 inches. Just make sure there is no paper backing on your insulation if you’re adding to spots with pre-existing coverage, as it will cause moisture problems. There are even eco-friendly options that don’t omit harmful chemicals and won’t irritate skin during installation.

3. Wrapping Pipes

Similar to installing insulation, but with more dire consequences if left unattended, wrapping pipes around the home is a painless and necessary preventive step you can take before cold weather sets in.

By wrapping your pipes with insulation, you cover two areas of safety and saving energy. First off, you reduce the likelihood that your pipes will freeze and burst – a disaster during the winter – by locating and covering pipes that are vulnerable.

Secondly, you can save money on your heating bill with insulated pipes. The water in the pipes will stay hotter, meaning less time running water waiting for it to heat up and less heat generation needed from the boiler. In actuality, you conserve water and heat, making your home cheaper and safer.

4. Storm Windows

As you can see, a big trend in preparing your home for cold weather is energy conservation, so your home stays warm in the most efficient way possible. You can increase energy efficiency in your home by around 45% with this tip: installing storm windows.

These go on the outside of your regular windows, and provide extra protection against the cold weather and adverse conditions. Of course, this method for conserving heat is a bit costly. As a temporary (yet very affordable and effective) fix, you could install one or two windows at a time and cover the rest of the spots with a plastic insulator kit.

5. Gutter Cleaning

A final task for your fall days before winter sets in, cleaning your gutters is a bit more time-consuming and tedious, but very worthwhile. This is one you’ll definitely want to plan out in advance, as it’s better to wait for most if not all of the leaves to fall so that you don’t have to perform this chore twice. Learn your region’s fall foliage projections in order to develop a good plan.

Clogged gutters are a huge problem in the winter because water will get backed up and freeze on your roof. The ice will create dams that prevent other water and snow from making it down the spout. This causes water damage as it starts seeping through the roof into your home. Avoid this by cleaning out the leaves and junk that sit in your gutters before freezing temperatures hit.

An even better way to avoid this problem is eliminating the need to clean gutters once and for all with a gutter system that won’t clog. In this system, you’ll never have to worry about that leaf buildup or water seepage. LeafGuard provides such a system and aims to help homeowners everywhere fortify their homes. Find the closest dealer to you today!

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The color change in the foliage has signaled that autumn and the cool weather are here to stay. The onset of fall means that soon enough, the chilly weather will cause the beautiful colors of red, orange, and yellow to become a mess waiting to be cleaned up across your yard.

What’s the most time-efficient and beneficial way to handle all of these leaves? First of all, you don’t want to miss the peak leaf fall period for your respective region – there’s nothing worse than cleaning the yard only to realize a few days later the trees had more in store for you. Stay updated with your area’s leaf fall situation with this tool from weather.com.

Once the trees are bare, you’ve got to make a move on leaf pickup. Everyone knows it’s a pain, but the risks associated with leaving your yard a mess are more serious than you might think. To prove those days cleaning the yard were worthwhile, we’ve got some creative, do-it-yourself ideas for how to enhance your home with simply the leaves off the ground. No matter your artistic experience, these simple projects are easy to put together to give your home a distinct seasonal appearance.

Picture Frames: Change up the usual lineup of photographs you have lined on your shelves with some festive additions. Possibly the simplest of ways to add some fall to your home, leaf fixtures are a sleek way to transform a living room. Collect some leaves from the yard, press them between the pages of a heavy book to flatten them out to place inside a picture frame, and you’re ready to make a new accent piece for a mantle or shelf.

Wreaths: Don’t wait for the winter holidays to break out ornamental wreaths. Give your home a harvest look with wreaths made from leaves and other plant-life of the season. All that’s needed is a hot-glue gun and a wicker base. Then, you can get creative with arranging the leaves, acorns, clippings, etc. in a visually unique way.


Vases: When people think of vases, they think of filling them with roses, tulips, or other vibrant flowers of the early gardening season. Why not mix it up to stay in theme with autumn by using smaller branches from a tree with changing leaves? A nice twist on a classic piece of nature décor, a vase with the dark red and orange colors of September and October quickly transition your home to a cool fall. You can even get creative with what you use for a vase – think bottles and other repurposed containers.

While playing in the newly fallen leaves is fun while it lasts, you’re going to have to clean them up at some point before the winter sets in. It only makes sense, then, that you find a way to put them to good use. In addition to using leaves for compost and other yard improvement, there are numerous ways to use leaves for aesthetic home enhancement. Rather than buying expensive pieces, stick to your home’s resources and create affordable options for decorating in season.

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Everyone knows the headache associated with clogged gutters. It’s a project for which you need to break out the ladder and spend hours clearing out the muck and leaves. Worst of all, you don’t know your gutters are clogged until it’s too late.

But those aren’t the real dangers associated with bad gutters. It’s time to rethink the impact gutters can have on saving – or ruining – other parts of your home.

When the gutter system is not doing its job, your house becomes more dangerous and damaged than it would first appear with just leaves clogged in a gutter. That is where it starts, but unfortunately not where it ends.

Here’s a brief overview of how things can go wrong when gutters aren’t doing their jobs.

Home Foundations

Gutters are the first line of defense against water damage for your home. The most crucial area of your home, the one that you need to be most mindful about, is the foundation. While a moderate amount of water is great for your lawn and gardens, an inordinate flow of water poses immediate problems. Soil can expand and put unwanted pressure on the walls of the foundation. Additionally, erosion from the excess water could change the ground composition and leave your foundation unstable.

This water buildup would most likely result from insufficient draining after the water leaves the downspout. Splash blocks are one easy way to make sure water is being carried far enough from the base of your home.

Put it this way: The cost to repair your home after foundation trouble is considerably more than the cost of upgrading your gutter system or taking the time to properly clean it.

Basement Water Problems

Gutter malfunction can also affect the interior of your home. Along with causing foundation problems, water that pools around the support of your home can potentially ruin your basement’s contents.

Mold, mildew, and dampness around cracks are indicators and consequences of water leakage. Gutters are implicated in these scenarios much like they are with foundation issues. Improper drainage creates an environment for runoff water to trickle into your home. From this point, your belongings and wall or floor finishes are at risk for getting wrecked.

It’s the raiders who are responsible for sacking a city, but the city walls are also at fault for not keeping them out. So it goes with gutters and water damage.

While filling cracks in the walls and augmenting the grading of the ground around your foundation are viable solutions, another option is fixing your gutters to prevent the water buildup. Again, functioning gutters are worth the time and money, especially compared to the problems you’ll face down the road if you ignore them.

Ceilings and Walls

Sometimes your gutter problems remain above your sight line. What about the water backup from rain and snow that pools in your gutters if they’re left clogged? While this is less likely to cause foundational problems to your home, it presents its own set of problems.

If water overflows from the gutters, it will either end up back on the roof or down the walls of your home. From here, water can leak through or create cracks in the ceilings and walls of your house. The possibility for structural damage then arises. As with the basement, mildew and mold can also grow in these spaces and present health risks like respiratory illness.

The work that gutters perform in keeping your house safe is indispensable. It extends beyond catching water from the roof to aiding in the effort to keep your home structurally sound. It only makes sense to take the role of gutters serious with how much they are implicated in the process of caring for your home. The investment in a gutter system that works pays off by keeping the most important parts of your home undamaged.

Posted in Home Foundations | Leave a comment

Hint: it doesn’t include un-clogging gutters

Cooler weather, leaves changing, and pumpkin-flavored everything. The signs are all there, and the fall season is in full swing. The warm summer days have faded and school is back in session. But Fall also presents us with a lot of unique opportunity for fun outdoor activities.

What does the fall season mean to you? Hopefully, it’s not hanging around the house doing chores every weekend. While it’s an ideal time to square away issues with your home before winter hits, no one wants to spend the fleeting weekends of enjoyable outdoor weather fixing up the home. That especially includes cleaning gutters.

We’ve got some classic fall activities that every family will have time to enjoy after gutter cleaning is no longer a chore to worry about.

Apple Picking 

A simple yet effective way to get the whole family out and moving, a stroll through a local apple orchard is an easy weekend activity. Kids love the chance to pick their own apples, which can later be turned into tasty autumn treats. Apple trees are normally ripe through October, but don’t just assume there will be any left to pick if you wait around too long! It’s a chance for some family fun and a little exercise in a uniquely Fall environment.

Football 

Whether it’s watching the games on Sunday afternoons or playing touch football with family and neighbors out in the yard, the game of football is on everyone’s mind when fall rolls around. It brings everyone together for some friendly competition and is another great way to get some exercise in the cooler weather. Who are you pulling for to take home the Super Bowl this year? More importantly, who’s going to catch that game-winning touchdown in your backyard?

Playing in the Leaves 

Who wants massive clumps of leaves stuck in the gutters when they could make for a fun kid’s plaything? Sure, it’s a chore to round them up when strewn around your yard, but why not make it more worthwhile and turn it into a fun time for everyone? Another way to get outside and stay active, everyone knows the childhood joy of jumping into a mountain of leaves.

Hay Rides, Corn Mazes, and More 

Fall activity is about getting outside before the cold weather really sets in and the winter sends us running for the indoors. And the uniquely fall activities go beyond the apple picking – anything on the farm should prove to be a good time! That includes pumpkin patches, hayrides, corn mazes, or even a German Oktoberfest.

Though it may feel like Fall has just arrived, it’s only a matter of time before we’re all bundled up in jackets and scarves. Take advantage of that extra time you would’ve needed for chores and spend it enjoying a couple of these activities!

 

Photo Credit: B., Field of Jacks,

Photo Credit: 6SN7, Untitled Panorama,

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