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

DIY Home Repairs

There are a lot of common home repairs out there that people often think only professionals can handle. Before calling up a professional and spending your money, take a look at our list of easy-to-fix DIY home repairs.

Clean faucet aerator

Water not coming out the way it’s supposed to? Your faucet’s aerator screen may be dirty or clogged. You don’t need a professional to clean out the screen. Make sure the sink’s drain plug is closed, then use a rag to screw the aerator open.

Unclog toilet

Nothing worse than a clogged toilet that you can’t unclog with the plunger. Before you grab the snake, grab some dish soap. Pour in about half a cup of liquid dish soap and let it sit. The soap will help everything slide through much easier when you flush[1].

Cover-up ceiling stain

Water stains on the ceiling can be tough to hide without painting the whole ceiling. If the stain is isolated, you can use a spray on product, Upshot by Kilz. This works by matching an aged ceiling and sprays vertically. This way you can just stand and spray up. Just make sure to cover up the walls with plastic and put a cloth on the floor.

You can also try to bleach water stains to reduce how prominent the stains look. Just make a bleach solution with water. Spray the spot and wait a few days for it to fade.

Loose shower head/pipe

Got an unsteady shower head or wobbly pipe? Easy fix, all you need is some expanding foam.

Sticky lock

Are your keys sticking in the lock? Don’t give up on it yet. You can fix it with a pencil. You can rub pencil graphite on the teeth of the key. When you insert the key it will distribute the coating on the lock. This will help the key glide much more smoothly.

Squeaky Door

A door that’s sticking or squeaking, when opened or closed, can be very annoying. An easy less messy way to get rid of the squeak is some petroleum jelly. Just rub some on the hinges and that should help with the squeak.

Do you have other DIY home repair tricks up your sleeve? Share them with us in the comments!

[1] https://www.familyhandyman.com/smart-homeowner/diy-home-improvement/10-minute-house-repair-and-home-maintenance-tips/view-all/

Winter Home Survival Guide

Winter is finally here and snow is not too far away. Check out these tips to make sure your home pulls through the winter in one piece.

Gutter Cleaning

Ideally, your gutters should be cleaned out in the fall to avoid debris overflow. Before the first heavy snow hits it important to clean debris out of your gutters. When the snow melts it needs to go somewhere. A clean gutter allows the melted snow to flow easily. If your gutter is filled with debris, you risk melted snow and water running behind the gutters and leaking into your walls. Water leaking into your walls can lead to mold growth.

Proper Snow removal

Heavy snow can be overwhelming for a roof, especially when it piles on after many snow storms. It is only logical to try and remove some of that burden by getting rid of some of the snow yourself. However, when removing snow off your roof, it has to be done correctly or else you risk damaging your roof or possibly even hurting yourself.

You want to invest in a snow rake for this, they’re available in most hardware stores. When removing snow, take off a few inches at a time[1]. Don’t dive straight into trying to scrape the roof clean in one go. Remove icicles from the edge of the roof and make sure your gutters are clean. Avoid stepping on the roof if you can. If going on the roof can’t be avoided, hire a professional or always have another person with you as you work.

Attic Insulation to prevent Ice Dams

Before the winter hits its peak make sure your attic is properly insulated. You want it to be comfortable but you don’t want your attic getting too warm either. A really warm attic causes snow to melt at high points on your roof and freezing back up as icicles and ice dams. Ice dams can block your gutters and cause water damage to your home. If your attic is getting warm enough to melt snow in freezing temperatures then you’re probably losing heat and money. It’s important to have a professional take a look at your attic if this is the case.

These are just a few of many ways you can make sure your house makes it through the winter in one piece.

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

[1] https://www.mass.gov/service-details/roof-collapse-and-snow-removal-safety-information

Home Improvement Projects You Shouldn’t Do Yourself

Everyone loves DIY, sometimes it’s in an effort to save money, sometimes it’s to add a personal touch to home improvement projects. As great as DIYs are, there are some projects you just shouldn’t do yourself. It might cost a bit more to hire a contractor but entrusting your project to professional is a good idea for these projects.

Plumbing Work

Small leaks can turn into big problems when it comes to plumbing. Unless you have the skill set to do it yourself, don’t DIY plumbing projects. Play it on the safe side and hire a professional. The financial risk is not worth it.

Replacing Your Roof

It might be tempting to want to install your new roof yourself but it’s harder than it looks. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. There is a potential for damage to the roof, your home, or even yourself as working on roofs can be dangerous. Attempting patchwork repairs can also lead to bigger problems down the way. To avoid having to spend more money, later on, hire a professional the first time around to make sure everything is done the right way.  DIY roof replacement or repair can also potentially void any warranties you have on your roof.

Knocking Down a Wall

If you’re a fan of home improvement shows it might seem really easy to just knock a wall down to expand a room. However, taking a sledgehammer to your wall may have unforeseen consequences. The wall you plan on taking down maybe a load bearing wall. You risk causing structural damage to your home. It is important that you leave this to a professional who knows what to look for before knocking down any walls.

Replacing your Windows

As tempting as it may be, this is one project you don’t want to DIY. Installing a window requires specialized knowledge, skills, and tools. Unless you’re trained in window installation, attempting to do it yourself might just cost you more in the long run. Doing it wrong means spending more than you initially would have in order to fix your mistakes.

At the end of the day, if it requires a permit, you should probably hire a professional. If you have a project you are thinking of doing such as replacing your windows or roof, click to schedule a consultation here.

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.

5 Home Prep Tips for the Fall

Chilly days and falling leaves are right around the corner. The last few weeks of summer are the perfect time to get your home ready for fall.

Here are some ways to get your home ready for the fall.

Furnace and Boiler Prep

Colder days means a need for warmer temps indoors. The weeks leading up to fall are a perfect time to make sure your furnace or boiler are ready to go. To be on the safe side, have your furnace inspected professionally for peace of mind. Replace the filters so your furnace runs efficiently. An efficient furnace during the fall and winter save you money on heating costs.

Fireplace & Chimney Prep

If you have a fireplace now is the time to clean it out. A clean and prepped fireplace and chimney helps to avoid chimney fires. Preparing your fireplace ensures that it runs effectively and works well throughout the fall and winter. There are professionals available for chimney cleaning. Get a professional so you can ensure it is done right. Enjoy family time around the fireplace with peace of mind.

Clean Gutters

Before the leaves start falling, clean out what debris you currently have in your gutters. This will help minimize gutter clogging. Be sure to keep up a regular gutter cleaning schedule during the fall. Don’t feel like cleaning your gutter all the time during the fall? Invest in a gutter guard. This will keep debris and leaves out of your gutter, reducing how much cleaning you actually have to do.

Rearrange tool-shed

Put away the lawn mower, hedge trimmers, and other summer tools. Set out the necessary tools and equipment for fall. Set out your leaf blower, rake, broom, etc. Having these things out and arranged for easy access makes your life easier in the fall. You won’t have to go digging and searching when it’s time to rake the leaves or sweep the yard.

Get a Home Energy Inspection

Finally, get a home energy inspection to make sure you’re not losing energy. Leaks and drafts make it hard to efficiently heat your home. To keep your home comfortable without draining your wallet, get an inspection. A home energy inspector usually checks the attic insulation, windows, doors and more to make sure your home is as efficient as possible.

Check these off your list and you’re closer to having your home ready for the fall season. Are there other things you do to get your home ready each fall? Let us know in the comments.

Signs it is Time for a New Front Door

Your front door is not only there to look good but to also provide safety for your family. Unfortunately, doors don’t last forever. After a while, they need to be replaced in order to keep providing security and curb appeal. How can you tell when it’s time to replace your main entry door?

Here are some indications that it’s time for a new door.

Hard to close and open

If you have to apply elbow grease in order to open or close your front door, it’s time for a replacement. Your home’s main entry door should open easily and close just as easily. Difficulty opening or closing might result in the expansion of the door material. This is more likely to happen if the door is made of wood or metal. With humidity, wood absorbs moisture and then expands. Difficulty opening might also be because of a problem with the hinges or the door frame.

Worse for Wear

Has your door lost its curb appeal? Doors play an important role in adding to your home’s curb appeal. Dents, scratches, rotting frames and chipped edges lose that curb appeal. An ugly door affects your home’s look. Chips and scratches also leave room for the door to absorb moisture which can lead to rotting.

Drafts

A good door is properly sealed to avoid drafts and leaks that can cost you in energy savings. Do you have to stuff a rag or towel under your door to keep the cold out in the winter? Then it’s time for a new door. If sunlight is streaming in under, over or on the sides of your front door, it might be time for a replacement. Bad seals cause drafts. Drafty doors make it harder to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

Does your front door check all three of the boxes? We can help with a quality and elegant door. Get a free estimate on our Stylelite Main Entry Doors. Secure, beautiful and quality doors.

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