NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor contributes to the community conversation on housing issues through a weekly column in the Daily World titled "Nailing it Down."

 

 Since 1999, the "Nailing it Down"articles have been published in the Daily World and other countywide weekly newspapers. NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County has collaborated with local newspapers, elected officials and local experts to publish articles covering hundreds of topics.

 

 

Nailing It Down

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November 6, 2019

Perhaps moisture doesn’t sound like your home’s worst enemy – but take it from us, it most likely is!

Over the years in our work at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, we have inspected and directed the rehabilitation of hundreds of moisture-damaged homes. From the foundation to the roof, our inspections overwhelmingly identify improper ventilation as the main source of expensive problems to the homes in this county.

Today we’re answering some questions related to moisture problems. See if any of these apply to you and your home!

Q.  When I use my dryer, I notice that the windows often fog up on the inside and the whole room seems a little muggy. What causes this and should I be concerned?

A.  You should be very concerned about any condition that creates moisture inside your home. Extra moisture from doing laundry is one of the worst!

In this situation, you will find lots of lint, too. Most likely the dryer is either not properly vented to the exterior, has a blocked vent or has holes in the ven...

November 1, 2019

The worst predator attacking the integrity of our homes is trapped moisture. We talked about it in our last blog, concentrating on what to do from the ground up. Today we will take you beyond the foundation to explain more ways to identify and attack this wet, silent enemy.

The exterior siding protects your home from nature’s fury, just as your clothes protect you. When properly installed and maintained, the siding materials used on your home are generally durable and long lasting.

However, bad paint, sunlight, damaged siding, poor caulking and rusted flashing in addition to moisture build-up can damage your house!

Do not fear: good ventilation and timely maintenance are our best offensive weapons.

HOW TO FIGHT MOISTURE

Here’s what you want to see as indicators that your home is well protected:

  • A great paint job   

  • Good doors, windows and trim

  • Good gutters and downspouts with splash blocks, to convey the water away from the foundation

  • Black plastic ground cloth i...

October 24, 2019

When the rains start coming down, it’s easy to think of the wet weather outside as an enemy. However, when it comes to your home, it’s actually the moisture that is silently trapped inside that has the worst effect.

In our last blog we talked about what owners can do to prepare their homes for windy weather. In this blog, we’re reminding you about best practices to avoid trapped moisture.

In Grays Harbor, with our tendency to be outdoorsy people, moisture has many ways to get inside our houses. Think – boots, umbrellas, clam gear, hunting jackets – even our pets will carry it inside.

Many normal activities of life, such as cooking, bathing, and doing laundry, create moisture inside our homes. To exacerbate the situation in the fall and winter, we tend to have the windows closed trapping that moisture inside.

It may not seem like a big deal, but over the years in our work here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor, trapped moisture is the most damaging issue we see inside homes.

There are the obv...

October 14, 2019

Do you remember the devastating winter storms of 2007?  Can it really already be 12 years ago? For many of us on the Twin Harbors, those days of hurricane-force gusts and howling winds are still fresh in our memories. If you’ll recall, most of the Harbor was without power for five days or longer and wind and rain damage was widespread throughout the coast!

More recently, the 2015 storm brought a river in the sky – 11 inches of water in 24 hours. It included flooding and slides due to the inability to drain or convey this volume of water out of our streets and city storm water systems.

Already this year, crews are prepping for winter rains. As weather patterns change, we hope that we won’t have to endure such devastation again, but actively preparing for major weather events – having our homes prepared; streets, storm drains and pumps ready – is just smart living. We all have an overlapping civic responsibility to be involved in this effort. Here are a few things you can do.

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CHECK OUTSIDE...

October 8, 2019

Well, here we are already into October! The bite in the air – not to mention the mercury in the thermometer – lets us know that winter is on its way.

We’ve been talking recently about various kinds of heating appliances. Last week we gave a plug for ductless heat pumps – a newer kind of heating unit that has so many benefits. It is our most recommended heating unit.

Regardless of what type of primary heating you have in your home, most houses around here have at least one fireplace. Typically fireplaces are used most often for ambiance, a secondary heat source or as back up when the power goes out. Regardless how often you use yours, it’s prudent to ensure that it’s ready for the cold weather coming.

In fact, giving the entire roof a once-over soon is a great idea. So, examine your roof for lose or missing shingles as well as moss or other vegetation. In addition, look closely at the metal flashings and fascia and barge boards to make sure they are intact and secure.

Remember, as important...

September 30, 2019

Last week we talked about a variety of other heating devices that we tend to use in the Pacific Northwest and how to check them out now for efficiency and safety concerns before the heating season kicks in.

There’s nothing like cooler weather – and the first heating bill of the season – to get one thinking about alternatives.

Today we’re going to talk about the benefits of one of our favorite heating system – the ductless heat pump.

CHEAP ALTERNATIVE FOR HEAT

In this climate, a regular outside heat pump and inside air handler furnace is often an efficient way to heat a house. The technology of a heat pump basically recovers any heat from outside air and transfers it via a closed-loop refrigerant gas to the inside air handler – furnace inside your house. The air handler blows circulating air through a radiator coil that was heated by the gas and that is what is delivered through the house in your ducts.

In the summer, it will do the reverse – drying out the indoor air and pulling the heat ou...

September 23, 2019

The experts are predicting a wet and cold winter this year. So, we thought this was the perfect time to remind you of what kinds of maintenance your heating system might need. For some, what follows are easy checks, for others it may involve calling a handy man. Either way, ensuring a safely heated house for the winter is a good idea!

HOME HEATING FIRE PREVENTION

Various aspects of heating a home are some of the leading causes of home fire deaths, but a few simple safety tips can make all the difference.

Half of home heating fires occur during the months of December, January and February. So, now is an especially good time to address any concerns. Here are some heating safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment such as a fireplace, furnace, wood stove or portable space heater.

  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters.

  • Have a qualified professional install s...

September 16, 2019

In just a few days the official start of autumn begins. Often this is the most beautiful time of year here on the Harbor. It’s also the time of year we look ahead to preparing ourselves for the coming rain and cold weather.

We here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor have a few autumn chores listed today. Some can wait a couple of weeks and others you might want to put on your “To Do” list for this weekend.

We’re not yet including all the ones related to falling leaves, because so far, we’re not seeing that here. Do a few of these chores now and enjoy any last sunny days.

  • Take the opportunity of decent weather to scrub mold off your home’s exterior. 

  • Prepare to protect under-house or exposed water pipes with pipe sleeves or insulation.

  • Check the dryer’s vent flapper and screen for lint build-up. Does the flapper door work properly? This can be a secret passage for critters!

  • Check all outside lights. With days getting darker earlier, it’s a safety issue to have them in work...

September 9, 2019

Have you ever wondered how to really get your sliding window tracks clean?  Even with their dirt and dead flies, they are often one of the most overlooked areas inside our homes. Well, this is a great time of year to clean them – and we’ll tell you exactly what to do, later in the column.

But before we get to that, let’s review our last blog’s End of Summer To Do list. (It’s a little like school, even if you missed last week’s blog you’re not off the hook for the assignment.)

REVIEWING LAST WEEK

Last week we mentioned once again how a good paint job is important for your house’s siding and keeping the water, mold and mildew out! Also, we reiterated that even if you don’t paint your house this year, a scrub with 30 Second cleaner and a good rinse will get the grime off and actually help your current paint job last.

We also stressed ladder safety in the same breath as what to do if you don’t have gutter guards to keep out debris or your gutters themselves need to be secured tightly to your h...

September 4, 2019

School bells have begun ringing in many districts already this week – and will be ringing after Labor Day in the rest of Grays Harbor. Even when you’re an adult it can feel like summer is the shortest season of the year.

However, it isn’t really autumn yet and we should have plenty of summer-like weather in the next few weeks. So, while it’s not quite time for our annual autumn chore To Do list, today we will give you an idea of the fixes and finishes for your house that are important to tackle this time of year.

A LITTLE PRUNING GOES A LONG WAY

While we don’t claim to be plant experts, from time to time we talk about plants, trees and gardening as it intersects with your house.

Although we know that fall isn’t the best time to prune many plants, you still may want to consider some trimming back for your house’s sake. The plants we are concerned about are shrubs or trees that either pose a potential threat to your house in a storm or that are touching your house.

DEAL WITH DANGEROUS LIMBS N...

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