Preparing your Deck for the Summer

It’s that time of the year again, time to start preparing your deck for the summer. As the weather warms up, and the days get longer, we all prep to spend some time outside. If you own a deck, it’s time to get it prepped and ready. Here are some things you can do to make your deck summer-ready.

Inspect Deck

First step in preparing your deck for summer is the initial inspection. After all the snow has melted, clear anything you stored on the deck. While running an inspection on the deck. Check to see what damage it’s accumulated over the winter. Make sure it is still structurally sound for usage.

Fix Up

After your initial check, if your deck isn’t structurally sound, hire a professional to fix it. If it is structurally sound but has some wear here and there, then those are usually some quick fixes that you can do on your own.

Wash up

Clear off any remaining items on the deck to prep it for cleaning. Depending on how dirty your deck looks, you can do a variety of cleaning methods. If your deck only has some debris, you can do with a light cleaning. Sweep off the debris, then give it a quick wash with a hose.

However, if your deck has grime caked on, you’re going to need a deep cleaning. Gently scrub with a sponge at the grime and hose it down. If needed use a power washer. Be sure to use a cleaner that won’t strip your sealant.

You want to wash your deck before it gets too warm outside. Washing it in the summer can stress the wood[1].

Staining and Sealing

Staining your deck is the final step in preparing your deck for the summer. Don’t stain or seal if you don’t need to. However, if the staining has been stripped or grime has seeped deeply, you might need to re-stain to restore luster to your deck. After staining, apply a sealant.

After all of that, your deck will be ready to be used. Get your grill ready, arrange the furniture, maybe add some lights and enjoy the summer on your deck.

[1] https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/simple-steps-to-get-your-deck-ready-season

How to Clean Your Window Screen

As the weather begins to warms up, it’s time for some spring cleaning. While cleaning, don’t forget about your window screens. Window screens can build up with a lot of dust and pollen over the months. A dirty window screen diminishes the clean look you want your windows to have.

Not sure where to begin when cleaning your screen? Here are some tips to help you along.

Remove Screen

First, remove the screen. It is easier to clean when removed than trying to clean it while it is installed. You can take them out one at a time to clean. If you prefer to take all the window screens out at the same time, make sure to label them so you know which one goes back where.

Vacuum and Dust Screen

You want to remove loose debris and dirt before soaking. Use a duster to remove dust. Using the soft brush attachment, vacuum both sides of the screens lightly.

Soak in Soapy Water

Mix some dish soap or liquid all-purpose clean with ½ a gallon of water. Soak your screens to dislodge grime that has built up over the months. Scrub gently with an old toothbrush or rug.

Rinse & Dry

Once you’ve removed all the dirt and grime out, rinse the screens down with a hose. Rinse thoroughly then let it dry. Make sure it’s dried completely before reinstalling. If you took all the screens out at the same time, the labels you made should help reinstall them properly.

Cleaning your window screens should always be a part of your spring maintenance routine. For more tips on DIY Home Improvement, check out our other blogs.

Pet-Friendly Home Remodeling

Home remodeling serves the purpose of making your home better and more comfortable for you and your family. If you’re a pet lover like us, you consider your pets a part of the family too. As a result, it’s only natural to consider remodeling ideas that will help make your home safe and comfortable for your pet.  Here are a few remodeling ideas that help make life easier for you and pet.

Bathing Station

Want to give your dog a bath a home instead of going to the groomers? A walk-in the shower will make it easier if you have a larger dog. Having a handheld showerhead will also make it easier to rinse off your dog. You can also have a bathing station installed outside, attached to your home for baths and rinse-offs on warmer days.

Pet Storage

Adding pet storage makes life easier for you too. It allows you to keep all your pet’s items in one location. Towels, clothes, leashes, toys and more can all be kept in here. You can build in various compartments to separate the various items. You can place the storage where it’s easily accessible. Additionally, you can have more than one in your home. You can have one near your home’s entrance for outdoor supplies. This will make it easier to just grab and go when taking your dog out.

Feeding Area

Keep food bowls out of the way by creating an area for it. You can create a space where food and water bowls can come out for meal times and then be concealed after meal time.  This helps keep bowls out of sight for a tidy space and you’ll be less likely to trip on bowls walking back and forth.

Enclosed Patio

Most pets like to catch some rays and enjoy a bit of fresh air. If you can’t trust your furry friend to run out and come back home, an enclosed patio or porch can come in handy. An enclosed patio allows them to perch and stretch around in the sun, it also allows you to enjoy your view all year round.

Ramps

Have an aging pet? As your pet ages it might be more difficult to navigate stairs. Building a ramp can help get up and down. They can also help your pet get up on the couch (if they are allowed), since jumping might be harder for them with age.

A comfortable and happy pet, helps keep you happy too.

Things to consider before you put up holiday lights

It is that time of the year again. Holiday cheer is in the air, it’s the prime time for holiday decorations. But before you hang anything, here are some things to keep in mind.

Invest in LED

While you’re out shopping for holiday lights, search for lights with LED bulbs. They cost a little more up front compared to traditional bulbs but they last longer and save you on your energy bill. LEDs usually have more bulbs on a string than incandescent and they’re also stringed closer together.

Buy the Right Amount

Only the buy as many lights as you will need. Plan ahead, figure out where you’re going to be putting lights. Measure the spaces you plan on putting up lights so you know exactly how many to buy. You don’t want to buy less than you need or too much. Measuring is also important because it lets you know just how many extension cables you need for outdoor lights. You ideally don’t want to plug the lights directly into the outlet.

Powering Up

When buying your lights be sure to differentiate between outdoor and indoor lights. Not all lights are meant to be outdoors. Outdoor lights burn hotter than indoor lights so be sure not to mix the two up. Use ground-fault circuit and closed outlets. Additionally, don’t overload extension cords and outlets. Link a few strings of lights together before plugging into an outlet.  To save energy, don’t leave your lights on all day. If possible invest in lights that come with a timer so you can set how long they stay on for.

Are there any other tips you use when stringing up your holiday lights? Leave them in the comments!

For more home improvement tips, check out our other blog posts!

10 Ways to Increase Your Home’s Value

  1. Paint

    – Improve your home’s value by painting the rooms in your house. It is cost efficient and a great DIY project for the whole family. Fresh paint helps your home look fresh and updated. Remember, neutral colors are typically more appealing.

  2. Make your home energy efficient

    – An energy efficient home is desirable to potential buyers. Improving your home’s energy efficiency also helps you save money.  It also helps make your home more comfortable for you and your family no matter what the weather is like outside.

  3. Plant a Tree

    – It might take a while to reach maturity but once fully grown a tree can help cut down your cooling costs in the summer[1]. When planted in the right place, a tree can also add to your home’s curb appeal.

  4. Improve air quality

    – Quality air in your home is great for your family’s health. You should update old carpets and other items that may be home to allergens and air contaminants. Not sure of your home’s air quality? Hire an inspector to test your home’s air quality and give you tips on how to improve it. Proper ventilation is also important for improving air quality.

  5. Landscape your yard

    – Adding shrubs and plants can improve your home’s curb appeal significantly. Green plants that require very little water and maintenance add more value. Keeping bushes trimmed and filing in patchy lawns are a good way to give your home a maintained look.

  6. Clean or replace siding

    – If you’re siding is looking old and dingy it’s time to clean them up. If your siding is broken or dented it might be time to replace. Give your home an updated look by cleaning or replacing your siding.

  7. Update kitchen appliances

    – Updated kitchen appliances add value to your home in the long run. Simple things like swapping out old microwaves and fridge for newer more efficient ones add big value to a home.

  8. Improve entrance

    – Your home’s entrance plays a big role in its curb appeal. It is one of the first things visitors see which is more the reason to give it a makeover. Update your front door to compliment your home’s exterior colors and architecture. Invest in an energy efficient front door to help with your energy savings.

  9. Replace windows

    – Replacing windows in your home increases your home’s comfort and value[2]. Getting rid of old windows will help reduce drafts in your house. It certainly contributes to your home’s curb appeal.

  10. Bathroom remodel

    – Simple to complete overhaul bathroom remodeling is a great investment for your home’s value. A refreshed look in the bathroom adds to the overall feel of your home. Simple things like updating wallpaper and old lighting fixtures can help brighten up your bathroom.

[1] https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/maintenance-and-repair/repairing/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value

[2] https://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/maintenance-and-repair/repairing/30-tips-for-increasing-your-homes-value

Picking the right color for your home

The color of your home’s exterior adds to your home’s personality and helps add to its curb appeal. When it comes to choosing the color for the exterior of your home there are three visual points to consider. The colors for the siding, door, and trim should complement each other. Before you choose which colors to paint, here are some things to consider.

Home Style

Choosing the right color for your home can depend on the style of your home. Your house’s style determines which parts of the house to accent. You can also get ideas for color schemes.  Your choice of colors can either highlight your home’s style or mute it.

Light vs. Dark color

There are advantages and disadvantages to picking certain colors for your home. Certain colors affect your home in ways that you might not necessarily think about so make sure to put a lot of time thinking of your color choice. Darker colors tend to make a house look smaller while lighter colors can give the illusion of a larger house. But if you are looking for a more dramatic look, you could use a darker color to accentuate the shadows.

Climate

The climate you live in plays a major role in which colors you choose to paint your home. Colors fade faster with intense sunlight. Brighter colors tend to work better than dark colors in sunny regions because it is more noticeable when the dark colors start to fade. On the other hand, darker color homes work well in colder regions.

Neighboring houses

When picking the color for your home, it is a good idea to take your neighbor’s homes into consideration.  You don’t want to pick a color that clashes with your neighbors. You want to stand out but at the same time, you don’t want to be an eyesore. You have to remember that the colors you choose for your home’s exterior have a visual impact on the surrounding landscape.

 

At the end of the day, you want your house to look welcoming. Pick the best colors to showcase your personality without clashing with the rest of the neighborhood.

Enhancing your Bay Windows

Bay windows look great both on the outside and on the inside. They add curb appeal to your home while letting in a lot of natural light. Bay windows help make a room look bigger, making cramped spaces feel less stifling. Depending on the style installed, your bay window might also provide a cozy nook where you can watch the world go by.

Once you have them installed, or if you already have some, here are some ways you can enhance the look of your bay windows.

Curtains and Blinds

Because bay windows are designed to be large and to let in a lot of light, they leave very little for privacy.  Installing curtains or blinds allows you to control how much light comes in and when. You can open them up during the day and close them at night, or close them during the day if it’s too bright. Curtains and blinds provide a great styling option to enhance the indoor and outdoor look of your bay window.

You can buy ready-made curtains specifically made for bay windows, or you can also get customized curtain poles for your bay windows to ensure the perfect fit. If you opt to go with blinds, use vertical blinds. These allow you to angle them for privacy. You can pair your blinds with curtains for a stylish look.

Window Seat

If your bay window has a big enough of a ledge it can be turned into a cozy nook. Add in some seat cushions, colorful fabric and you have yourself a stylish cozy nook. It creates an extra relaxation space in your home.  The perfect place to cuddle up with a book and hot chocolate on a snow day.

Other Décor Items

Bay window ledge not big enough for a relaxation nook? No worries. You can still decorate it so space doesn’t look empty. You can place indoor plants or even decorative vases on the ledge. If you have a cat who likes to curl up on the ledge, avoid putting any breakable items up there.

What are some ways you enhance the looks of your bay window?  Let us know in the comments below.

How to Clean Your Windows

No one likes looking at or through a dirty window. Sometimes cleaning your windows can be a hassle. Either the windows are too hard to open and it’s hard to reach places or they just streak with every attempt to clean them. Here are some helpful tips to make cleaning your windows easier.

Using right Tools

Using the right cleaning tools can be essential to properly clean your windows and avoiding streaks. Some people prefer to use a paper towel, others prefer to use a microfiber cloth.  Different things work for different people, whatever you use just make sure it doesn’t leave lint behind on the glass.

The most common tools used are a strip applicator to scrub the windows with cleaning solution. Follow up with a squeegee to wipe the window clean. Finish up with a damp cloth to wipe off excess water and drips to avoid streaks.

Using the right cleaning products

If you’re cleaning your window and it never seems to get clean, you might be using the wrong products. Vinegar has been praised for being good at cleaning windows without streaks[1]. A mixture of warm water and dish soap has been known to work as well. Sometimes Windex works just as well but you have to make sure you’re using the right tool as to not leave any streaks.

Clean on the Right day

Most people make the mistake of cleaning on a sunny day. We get it, the nicer the day the easier it is to get the motivation to clean. However, when you clean on a sunny day, the water and cleaner dry faster on your windows before you can wipe them away. Your windows will streak easier when cleaned on a hot sunny day. The best day to clean your windows is a cloudy day. Cloudy but not raining.

Clean everything

Sometime when cleaning we make the mistake of cleaning just the glass while ignoring the other parts of the window like the sills and sashes. Make sure to dust and vacuum the frame and sash if needed before you start washing.

Have some window tricks that have helped you clean your windows streak free? Share them with us in the comments!

[1] https://www.greatdayimprovements.com/cleaning-windows-with-vinegar.aspx

Outdoor Home Improvement Projects

As we approach warmer days, we’ll be spending more time outdoors. The snow has finally melted and it’s time to get your yard and the outside of your home looking fantastic. Springtime calls for outdoor home improvement projects for gorgeous curb appeal and a wonderful view for lounging in the sun.

There are many things you can do outside your home to improve how it looks and get it ready for summer barbeques and hangouts. Here are a few outdoor projects for the DIY home improvement guru and the weekend home improvement warriors. You can also always pay someone to do some of these for you if you don’t have the time or would rather leave it to a professional.

Clean out the yard

Now that the snow has melted off, it’s the perfect time to rake up leftover leaves from the fall, replant grass seeds in anticipation for a rainy spring, and get your yard in shape for the warmer days.

Clean siding

Once the yard is clean of debris, cleaning the walls of your home can help give it a vibrant look. Scrub and hose down the siding to get rid of any build up over the fall and winter. Fix cracks and broken pieces to give the outside of your house a good as the new look.

Plant wall

Liven up the walls of your backyard with a living fence. Create an espalier tree around your backyard fence or even against the house. It can add it some beautiful visual effects to your house, make a flower espalier for more color pop. You can also opt for a vertical garden, grow vegetables or succulents and hang them off the walls instead. Simple wooden box gardens that you can hang off your walls or fence with hooks or lean against the wall.

Outdoor string light

Liven up the backyard for evening hangouts and marshmallow roasts with outdoor lighting. They come in a varying range of colors, shapes, and lengths.  String them overhead in a pattern, wrap them around a tree or even wrap them around outdoor furniture.

Backyard accents

You can create your own accents for your backyard with concrete or clay. Add in beautiful colorful flower pots, or mold your own accents in the shape of flowers, circles or whatever you desire and lay them strategically around the garden or backyard for an artistic and manicured look.

These are just a few of many outdoor home improvement projects for your home this spring. Leave your comments with any other home improvement projects you love to add to your home.

For window replacement, reach out for a free no-obligation estimate on the energy efficient HR40 replacement windows.

Vinyl Siding Maintenance

Unlike wood, vinyl doesn’t rot but it does crack and puncture over time. Like every other part of your home, your vinyl siding requires basic care and maintenance to keep it looking good as new. Here are a few basic maintenance tips to help your vinyl siding last a long time.

Yearly clean up:

Make it a habit to clean your siding at least once a year. Spring or summer might be a great time to clean your siding since it’ll be warmer out.  Scrub the siding with a stiff-bristle brush or a sponge depending on how dirty it is. Use warm soapy water mixed with mild detergent, rinse off with a hose and let dry.  You can use a pressurized hose to get to the far-to-reach places to wash off grime and gunk that has built up over time.  If there are any plants or greenery near the house make sure to cover them with a tarp so they don’t get dirty soapy water on them.

Paint:

Vinyl color is in the entire material instead of the surface so it can’t really be peeled off. If you want to change the color of your siding without having to purchase new siding, you can just paint over them. Use 100% acrylic paint for best results. Unfortunately, paint is just on the surface so it will wear and peel over time and repainting will be required to keep that color looking fresh.

Avoid heavy objects:

Vinyl can get brittle and crack due to cold weather and extreme heat conditions. One benefit, however, is that vinyl doesn’t rot like wood or bend like aluminum.  To help it last longer, be careful about parking or leaning heavy equipment like lawn mowers or bikes against your siding. However, for damaged sections, repair and secure them properly.

In addition to these basic care tips, don’t forget to regularly inspect your siding to make sure it’s still in great shape and are not hiding moisture in the walls. If you’re looking to replace your siding all together, Peoples Products provides quality Stylelite Premium Siding. Get your free estimate here! We look forward to hearing from you. Let us know in the comments if there are other things you do to keep your vinyl siding looking good as new.