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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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...

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,...

October 14, 2018

Today is the last day of this year’s national Fire Prevention Week.

Sadly, the statistics show that if you have a reported fire in your home nowadays, you are more likely to die than you were in 1980!   We have all got to do what we can to change that trend, starting with our own homes.

Last week we gave some tips from the National Fire Protection Agency on how to prevent home fires dealing with heating appliances. This week we want to spring from there, giving some more detail on fire safety as well as including some basic maintenance tips for you depending on what kind of heating device you use.


While most fireplaces aren’t equipped to truly heat a home, we’re including them because they have important maintenance needs. Also, sometimes they are used as alternative heat sources when the power goes out.

This is the time to examine your chimney. If you haven’t taken a peek at it yet (or hired someone else to) consider checking that off of your To Do list pron...

October 8, 2018

Fire prevention week is Oct. 7-13 this year.

Unfortunately, we in Grays Harbor are all too aware of the destruction of fire. Fresh in our minds and hearts is the devastating blaze June 9 that destroyed the Aberdeen Museum, as well as the offices for Coastal Community Action Program and the Aberdeen Senior Center, all housed in the massive 1922 Armory Building.

And, most of us also remember the nearby destruction of the 1909 Weatherwax building on the Aberdeen High School campus in January of 2002.

The City of Aberdeen also had overwhelming fires in 1887, 1889, and again on Oct. 16, 1903.

Nearby in Seattle, in 1889, a devastating conflagration wiped out the entire business district of that booming young city.


However, it was the Great Chicago that burned on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9 of 1871 that is the inspiration for the annual national weeklong emphasis on fire prevention each October.

In that blaze, more than 250 people were killed, and some 10,000 left homeless as the...

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710 E. Market Street 
Aberdeen, WA 98520

1-866-533-7828 toll-free
360-533-7828 phone 
360-533-7851 fax

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