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

the blog

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December 10, 2019

With Thanksgiving falling later this year and December well underway, we hope we’re not too late with this warning: Don’t blow your household budget at Christmas! Even if you did spend your wad during the Black Friday sales, take a deep breath now and assess your financial situation.

Generosity is great! However, if you give at the detriment of your financial stability, in the end that’s no gift to anyone! We see it time and again the negative affects of overspending at Christmas. It leads to unpaid mortgages, rents, heating bills, credit card bills and car loans come January. That’s why we want to encourage everyone to be wise with their money and to also shop locally whenever possible.

While shopping online is quick and easy, going to local stores and sellers can provide unique gifts and often superior customer service! Think creative and local!

For instance, what about buying someone a gift certificate to a local restaurant? Someone else on your list might appreciate a service such as...

December 6, 2019

Many households on Grays Harbor got a skiff of snow over the Thanksgiving weekend. White or not outside, the mercury has definitely dipped and even if it’s not officially winter yet, it sure feels like it!

We’re not sure what’s in store for the next few weeks and months, but there’s nothing like a cold snap to focus our attention on making homes more weather resistant!

It’s not too late to make yourself more comfortable and your house tighter in this cold. Here are some common questions for cold-proofing your house.

Q. Can I close my foundation vents to prevent heat loss?

A.  Yes. Are you surprised? We’re strong advocates of ventilating your house to keep moisture at bay.  However, we do recommend closing your foundation vents as long as the temperature remains below freezing. It will keep the house more comfortable and save on your heating bill. (Just make sure to open them up again when the weather gets a bit warmer!)

 Q. Can my pipes freeze when the temperature is at or below 32 deg...

December 3, 2019

For much of the celebrations from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the kitchen takes center stage. We want you to enjoy your holidays keeping you, your loved ones and your house safe! That’s why we want you to take just a minute to consider what steps you can take to do so.

USE CAUTION BY THE STOVE

The very things we love about the holidays – lots of people, special foods, decorations, hub bub and maybe even some bubbly – can combine to make a house fire a possibility.

So, for starters, whenever you cook – be it Christmas cookies with the grandkids or your Thanksgiving turkey, always make sure you roll up your sleeves and tuck in loose clothing.

Also, always stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen, even for a short time, turn the stove off or get some help to monitor whatever is cooking.

If you are simmering, baking or roasting, check the food regularly, remain in the home while the food is cooking and use a timer to help remind you w...

December 1, 2019

Don’t you love how cities and towns can transform with a few sparkling lights this time of year?

The Downtown Aberdeen Association is busily preparing for Winterfest, Dec. 7 and 8. And, the folks in Montesano are industriously lighting their homes and businesses in preparation for Montesano’s Festival of Lights, Dec. 13-15.

Those festivals and beautifully lit buildings make things merry and bright and give pride to our communities.

This year, when the hardworking folks from the Hoquiam Beautification Committee looked into storage to examine their holiday decorations, what they found was in “pretty sad shape,” said Lynn Ogren, organizer.

“The wreaths, candy canes and lanterns are some 20 years old and are dirty and missing lights,” Lynn said.

The Beautification Committee, which is responsible for some amazing transformations of Hoquiam this summer by weeding and planting flower beds, creating new planters and updating signs and gardens, also wants to make the city sparkle in the winter.

“We l...

November 11, 2019

With the beautiful fall weather we’ve had lately, it’s hard to think of stormy winter weather on its way. But, if history is any indication – and it is – we will most likely be coping with various storms this winter.

We’re reminding you now of how to get prepared because for most of us, the holiday season starts to take over our To Do lists at this time of year. But now that your summer gear is safely stowed away, before you begin the decorating, shopping, baking, entertaining and celebrating that occurs over the holiday season, take just a minute to assess what your plans and provisions are for storms and power outages.

BE PREPARED FOR POWER OUTAGES

If you are like most, sometimes during summer, the neatly packed box or bag of disaster items gets relocated, or items from it are taken out for minor “emergencies.”  Now is the time to find it and take a quick inventory. If you don’t have such a box or bag, the time is now to prepare for a possible disaster – especially for power outages.

The...

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...

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