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 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...

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...

February 25, 2019

When you start counting the baths, cooking, indoor plants, wet laundry, the dog’s water dish, the rain-soaked  dog, wet jackets and hats, and on and on you’ll quickly get the idea that there is a mini-climate in your house and it needs to be dealt with or you’ll get visited by the mold fairy!

Your heated house is constantly changing these sources of water into air-borne vapor and will allow them to change back into water where a cold surface meets the warm, moisture-laden air, like a toilet tank or window pane.

The trick is to control the “incoming” sources of this moisture and balance the rest with vented fans and other types of ventilation. When you do this, your comfort goes up and the excessive moisture on the thermal windows goes away.

Humidity in the house should be 45 percent to 55 percent. This creates comfort and livability year around. In excess, it is bad for the house.

One of the questions that we are often asked this time of year is “Why do I have moisture inside my thermal-pa...

February 10, 2019

Energy costs are high this time of year, so in recent weeks we’ve been talking about ways to stay comfortable and keep the costs down in your home. In this blog we’ll talk about the cost of running some things – like portable heaters – and also how you can get rebates for a variety of energy-saving measures.

SPACE HEATERS CAN ADD UP

In a cold snap like we’ve been having, many people opt to use an electric space heater to keep the temperature in part of the house a little more comfortable. However, depending on how much it is used, that can turn into a costly addition.

Recently we talked with Dan Kinnaman, energy adviser at the Grays Harbor PUD, who said that most space heaters switched on high use 1,500 watts of electricity. With our current cost of electricity at 8.73 cents per kilowatt/hour, if that heater was on for an entire day it would cost $3.14. Now that’s not too bad if there is a two-day need to make things more comfortable in your home, but if a space heater is used for an enti...

October 2, 2018

The yellow, orange and red leaves are the signal to begin your fall home maintenance chores. This is the season to put away the accoutrements of summer and prepare to hunker down for winter.

Here is an autumn “To Do” list from us here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor in Aberdeen to get you started.

  • Check windows and doors for cracked or crumbling caulk. Invest in a 35-year paintable caulk so you don’t have to do this chore again soon. Take a wet finger to smooth the caulk lines.

  • Take the last opportunity of decent weather – if it comes – to scrub mold off your home’s exterior. 

  • 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 working order. Consider converting to LED lighting.

  • Change the self-cl...

September 23, 2018

Have you put away your summer toys and barbecue yet? We may still have some nice days ahead, so it may be a little early for that, but it is certainly the time to begin all those chores that tighten up your house for the wind and rain of fall and cold of winter.

CLEAN GUTTERS, PAINT HOUSE

If you happened to miss last week’s column it doesn’t mean you’re off the hook for last week’s to do list!

So we’ll review those points before we move on.

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.

If you don’t have gutter guards to keep out debris or your gutters themselves need to be secured tightly to your house, this is also a great time to take care of those issues.

Lastly, we mentioned that any grass, tree or shrub that is touching th...

September 15, 2018

After a long, dry, gorgeous summer here, this week’s rain brought us back to the reality that fall is on its way.

And as every schoolchild knows, that means falling leaves! Likely you have already noticed them in the streets, your yard and maybe even your gutters!

TALKING ABOUT GUTTERS

As we’ve said many a time, you want to have your gutters and downspouts undamaged and clear of debris so that they can capture the rain from your roof and convey it to the ground. But the gutters and downspouts can’t do their job properly when they’re damaged, leaking, missing or blocked with leaves or needles.

While more leaves will be coming soon, grab a sunny moment and check your gutters now, scooping out any debris. You will likely have to do this chore again this fall, but it’s a worthwhile endeavor now, potentially saving you from rainwater running down the side of your home and creating moisture issues.  (Remember safety first and use a ladder stand off to make sure your ladder is more stable.)

While...

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...

Spring is a great time of year to begin your home fix-up or remodeling project. If you need to hire a contractor to complete your project, you’ll want to get on their schedule as soon as possible.

  

Once the decision is made to add that garage, remodel the kitchen, replace the deck, or put on a new roof, most folks want to jump in and get ’er done. Unfortunately and too often, they jump in without a written plan or the management tools to assure success.

  

We respectfully submit the following advice about reducing risk by using written scopes of work, hiring legitimate contractors, and using written contracts.

WHOM YOU HIRE MATTERS

Grays Harbor has plenty of solid, talented and trustworthy builders. However, we do hear evidence of some who are neither trustworthy, nor competent. If you hire the wrong person or company you can risk losing your money-even twice, precious construction time, and sometimes even your house when things go wrong.

ALWAYS HIRE LICENSED, BONDED INSURED

...

Although recent flurries of snow might not agree, it’s still true: Spring is on the way.

  

Now that March is here, we’re just weeks away from spring’s official start. And, with the unpredictability of weather this time of year, we thought we’d give you some things to consider adding to your To Do list, because you never know when you might have the perfect weather presented to you. It’s best to be ready.

   

Last week we gave you our list of inside chores to tackle.

  

Today we’re giving you some for an outside checklist.

  

Soon, we will pass along the Clean-up dates for a free trip to the LeMay transfer station that is offered to many communities in our county.

 OUTSIDE CHECKLIST

  • Wash the outside siding and trim of the house with 30 Second cleaner. Follow directions. We loan pump sprayers and long handle brushes for this job.

  • Wash the outside of all your windows. Use a gallon of hot water and a half cup of suds-free ammonia. Rinse very well with the hose.

    ...
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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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