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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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.)


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...

It’s amazing what a little inspiration and perspiration can do! Take a drive to downtown Hoquiam to see how volunteer efforts have beautified this city.

Thanks to some community-minded volunteers, the core of Hoquiam is getting spruced up with tidied parks, repainted signs and lots of planters full of bright flowers. And, the newly formed Hoquiam Beautification Committee says there’s more to come!

“We saw good things happening in Aberdeen with their committee and thought it would be nice to work the same sort of magic and spruce up things in Hoquiam,” said Sue Varland, one of the Hoquiam Beautification Committee’s many volunteers.

After Hoquiam City Council member Mary Stinchfield planted the idea of a volunteer group similar to the effort led through the Aberdeen Revitalization Movement’s Bloom Team --  organized by volunteers Bette Worth and Bobbi McCracken – a call went out to form a similar group in Hoquiam.  

In fact, the group consulted with McCracken. “She told us not to reinve...

April 30, 2019

Do you dig gardening? Perhaps your spring and summer “To Do” list includes installing a fence or building a shed. As you begin to put together those projects lists, pause just a moment to consider if any of your tasks include digging.

Whether you are considering something big like building a new deck or patio or constructing a new garage or shed, or smaller projects like installing a mailbox, fixing a fence or even just digging a hole to plant a tree or transplant a shrub, it’s possible you are required to call 811, the CALL BEFORE YOU DIG service.

Not only is it the prudent thing to do – it is the law!

Water, sewer, gas, oil, cable, TV, telephone, and electricity are among the utilities that may be underground on your property. None of which you want to disturb! Digging into one of those utilities could turn your little project into a major headache!


We think 811, isn’t just easy to remember, it is also appropriate that it is the designated phone number to ca...

March 12, 2019

Is buying a fixer upper house right for you? It’s no secret that you can get more house for your dollar in Grays Harbor than nearly anywhere else in the state! Hoquiam was recently listed as the fifth most affordable city!

Interest rates are still low, too which may help you to consider buying a house!

The down side is that inventory of “for sale” properties is currently low, giving sellers a potential advantage. That fact might entice some buyers who wouldn’t normally consider a less expensive “fixer upper,” to do so.  Frankly, not all “fixer uppers” are created equal; nor are all new homeowners equipped to be fixer-uppers!

How do you know which repairs you can handle? How can you tell the difference between a diamond in the rough and a money-pit? We hope to shed some light on the topic today.


Did you know that sellers and realtors are required to inform a potential buyer of any “material facts” they know about a property? This would include any information that could...

It’s been ages since we’ve talked about the importance of building inspectors. So today is the day!  And you can’t talk about building inspectors without mentioning the importance of building codes!


Codes were created because public safety is a top priority for government agencies. Building any structure in a uniform manner assures you, as well as future owners or contractors working on it, that certain conditions will exist. Building up to today’s code may even help lower your insurance rates.

One of the earliest known building codes was simple. If the house you built fell down and killed the homeowner, you were killed. Simple! Today’s codes are a little more complex and can seem about as ever changing as the tax laws!  That is one of the areas where your local building official can really help you.


Some people think of building officials as adversarial and hard-to-please – so many rules and so little tolerance for creative building pr...

February 18, 2019

Heat pumps. They are something we’ve mentioned a lot over the years. In particular, we’ve mentioned the ductless heat pump the last few years as a good choice for steady, inexpensive heat in our climate for a relatively small investment. Today we’re going to sing their praises again. If you have an older house that is in need of a new heating system, make sure to keep reading! 


In this climate, a heat pump is an efficient way to heat and cool a house. The technology of a heat pump basically recovers heat from outside air and transfers it to inside your house. Fans circulate air past coils outside to capture the heat. Then it goes via a high pressure closed-loop refrigerant line to a coil inside the house where another fan circulates air past the inside coil which is heated by the gas.

In the summer, it will do the reverse –pulling the heat out of the inside air then blowing it off at the outside heat pump. The returning refrigerant gas cools the coil and is circulated...

October 20, 2018

Did you know that even if they “test” well each month, you should replace each smoke alarm in your home after it is 10 years old? Yes, you could be diligent about adding new batteries and testing your alarms, but after 10 years, the alarms may no longer work properly – even if they test correctly when you push the button!

We wanted to bring that to your attention today, as well as other tips about smoke alarms in your home.

In addition, in the second half of this blog, we will address special fire concerns for those who live in manufactured homes. We have a lot to cover, so let’s get going!


Working smoke alarms save lives in many, many home fires. In fact, about three out of five fire deaths occur in homes with either no smoke alarms or with alarms that are not working.

Here are some safety tips from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Install smoke alarms in each bedroom. They should also be installed outside each sleeping area and on each level of a home,...

August 7, 2018

Ahh, the long, sunny days of summer! Just as the summer weather is perfect for outdoor activities, freedom and vacations; it’s also the best time in the Pacific Northwest – especially near the coast – to get out your paint brushes for painting or staining the exterior of your house.

Around here, most houses need a fresh paint job every five to nine years. Is this the year for your house?

As we’ve recently mentioned, an annual quick wash and rinse can increase the longevity of your paint job. So, if this isn’t the year to repaint your house at least consider washing it.

When it comes to painting, whether you decide to do it yourself or hire someone, it’s good for you to know some tips for a good paint job.

In last week’s column, we took you through all the important details of prepping the house. This week we’re focusing on the actual painting.


After you’ve carefully scraped, washed, primed and caulked, it’s time to open up that can of paint!

Just like it’s not ideal to...

Most folks aren’t thrilled at the prospect of painting their house. But typically it’s the tedious prep work before painting that is the most dreaded chore.

Monotonous as it is, properly preparing your house for paint is critical to the look and longevity of your paint job.

We mentioned last week that most houses in this climate need to be painted about every five to nine years. When was the last time you took a good look at your paint job?

Remember, a good scrub, may be all some houses need to be spruced up! But, if the paint is peeling or cracking, it’s time to gather your gear and tackle the prep work before painting your house.

Or, gather up our gear. Yep, you heard that right. We have paint prep equipment available for loan free of charge, no power washer though.

We believe that having well-painted, well protected houses, helps our community in several ways. So, if you’d like to borrow some equipment – such as scrapers, putty knives, wire brushes, caulk guns, two gallon pump sprayers f...

Decks in our coastal climate need frequent attention and care.

A few weeks ago we talked about the importance of deck safety – ensuring that your deck is securely fastened to the house and that the top deck boards, wooden beams and posts are still solid and sound.

A local building official or contractor can help you determine if yours needs repair or replacement. (Go to the NeighborWorks website at to see our May 19 column on deck safety for more information.)

Once you are certain your deck is secure to hold family and friends for upcoming festivities from graduation parties to Father’s Day to the 4th of July celebrations, your focus can change to improving your deck’s appearance.

Whether it is built from pressure-treated wood or some sort of Trex–like manufactured materials, it will likely need some attention annually to look its best and last for a long time.


For those who opened their pocketbooks a little wider when building or replacing their deck and purchased...

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710 E. Market Street 
Aberdeen, WA 98520

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360-533-7828 phone 
360-533-7851 fax

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