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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Summertime is the time for so many home maintenance projects from cleaning your gutters and inspecting your roof to washing or painting your house.

While we’ve mentioned it in recent blogs, it’s been a while since we really concentrated on the importance of ladder safety. So here we go!

When working “up” not only does one need to have the proper equipment, but it’s also key to have the right know-how as well.

Ladder stand-off is a must

Whatever chore that takes you up on an extension ladder – gutter cleaning, roof inspecting, house painting – it opens you up to one of the most common causes of severe fall trauma. People tend to lean out too far to one side – to get that last little area without moving the ladder – which can make the ladder slide sideways and down you go!   

However, before talking about the dangers at the top of the ladder, we’d like to start at the beginning – the ground.

Safety begins with solid, level ground for each of the ladder’s legs. Sometimes you have to modify...

December 29, 2019

We hope you’ve enjoyed your Christmas celebrations and that you have some fun – and responsible – plans for Tuesday night and New Year’s Day. All of us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor wish you a safe, happy, healthy 2020!



Here are a few safety reminders for your New Year’s festivities:

  • If it still is up, go water that Christmas tree right now, (and plan on taking it down soon). Don’t plan on burning it. Instead, recycle it for safety’s sake.

  • Do you have candles as part of your party?  Keep a close eye on them. (New Year’s Day is the third most frequent day that residence fires are started by a candle.)

  • Hectic kitchens can be a concern. Keep handles of pots on the stove and counters turned in away from traffic and kids, along with electric cords attached to cookers and fry pans.

  • When the bubbly is flowing, judgment gets weaker, so plan ahead to have a safe environment.

  • Make sure as you move furniture to accommodate guests for yo...

December 23, 2019

Can it be that Christmas is already upon us again? To help you through both Christmas and New Year’s safely, we have a few more safety reminders to keep you, your loved ones and your home safe this holiday season.



As we’ve mentioned before, candles are high on the list of holiday house fire starters. Many firefighters recommend that you don’t use lit candles in your decorating at all. However, if you do use them, minimize their use and enjoy them with common sense.

For instance, make sure all candles are in stable holders. Ensure they are away from flammable materials such as curtains, decorations, your table’s centerpiece boughs and things like that.  It isn’t just adults that are intrigued with the candles; pets and little children are attracted to them like moths to a glowing light. Kids want to get close and then their little fingers play in the wax and then, the dog wants to play too spills the hot wax which catches fire! The...

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.


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...

With summer nearly upon us, this is a great time to make sure your deck is both safe and beautiful.


The first point of inspection should be the way the deck is fastened to the house. What you want to see is the hex-heads of bolts staggered along the deck’s rim joist, which is attached through the siding into the rim joist or framing of the house. If you only see nail heads, you will want to consult with your contractor or building official for a complete deck inspection. The installation of lags or bolts doesn’t have to be expensive, but there may be other things that need to be done.

For example, decks built closer to saltwater tend to have more problems and sooner. That salty air makes anything made of metal deteriorate more quickly. These can be metal saddles imbedded in the concrete pier blocks holding the support posts; joist clips holding each joist end and of course, nails. Even treated wood can fail, especially where the deck boards are nailed into each joist. T...

Not long ago we wrote about calling 811 at least two business days before digging more than a foot deep on your property to ensure you won’t run into any underground utilities. We did so because with this great spring weather, the gardening and home improvement projects are blossoming!

Today we’d like to draw your attention up -- to address a similar safety concern. We are talking about trees and powerlines and how the two don’t make a good pair.

Even if a tree never comes crashing through your house or interacts with your powerlines, it’s likely that you have been affected by a power outage at some time caused by a broken limb or felled tree somewhere along the powerline that serves you.

Todd Plato, the contract construction superintendent at the Grays Harbor Public Utility District (PUD), is the guy in the know when it comes to trees and power.

“A lot of our outages are tree-related, so we are constantly working to trim trees that encroach on our transmission and distribution lines,” Pla...

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 25, 2019

For most of us, like Dorothy said, “There’s no place like home.” However, as time goes by, the very place that has provided cozy comfort for years can become inaccessible or even hazardous, because our bodies and abilities can change as we age.

Lately we’ve been talking to lots of people about access ramps to their homes. That got us thinking that we were long overdue to write a column about safely aging in place.


Around here, the Aberdeen office of the Olympic Area Agency on Aging is a great first step to find out what programs, information and  resources might be available to help you or a loved one stay safely at home.

We talked with Kathy Jones, an information specialist there, about the various government programs available to help people stay in their homes as they age.

To get the details, it’s best to call the Olympic Area Agency on Aging yourself. The number is (360) 532-0520. However, we will give you a brief overview of what Kathy...

November 3, 2018

Who pays good money for something they hope to never use?  Well, we hope you do! 

We are talking about insurance. If you are a homeowner or a renter, having an insurance policy that is well suited to you and your life is of paramount importance to your future finances and well being, as well as to your current peace of mind.

It’s been a while since we’ve talked about insurance, but our recent columns on residential fires as well as the recent stormy, wet weather made us realize that it was time to tackle this topic again!

Thanks to Susan Gihlstrom, a broker at Dave Johnson Insurance in Aberdeen, for helping to clarify some of these issues.
We’ll start with a conversation about renters insurance for three reasons. 

First, we have a high percentage of renters in Grays Harbor County, especially in Aberdeen and Hoquiam, so this should apply to a good portion of our readers.

Second, many people who rent a home or apartment aren’t aware of their need f...

October 29, 2018

Are you an apartment dweller? Or do you enjoy an occasional stay in a hotel or motel? The theme for the last few blogs has been fire safety at home – but sometimes home is in an apartment and sometimes a hotel or motel becomes your home away from home. Wherever you live – even if it is just for a few days – it’s good to keep fire safety in mind.

Just like living in a typical stick-built house or a manufactured home, if you live in an apartment it’s critical to think through how you can prevent fire and respond to a fire alarm.

Here are some tips for apartment dwellers from the National Fire Protection Association:

  • Know the locations of all exit stairs from your floor. If the nearest one is blocked by fire or smoke, you may need to use another exit.

  • Know where the manual fire alarm boxes are in your building. (These are the alarm boxes on the wall with a pull bar.) Most are found within five feet of an exit door.

  • If there is a fire, pull the manual fire alarm box handle on yo...

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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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