Examine your Windows Before Cold Weather Hits
Last week we talked about home maintenance and repair items for the end of summer. We still have a few more suggestions for you – and the good news is there are certainly at least a few sunny days ahead!
You’ll be able to rest just a little easier watching the Seahawks in your recliner knowing that the end-of-summer chores are complete!
REVIEWING LAST WEEK
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 the siding or roof of your house needs to be cut back so it’s at least one-foot from any structure.
And of course, if you see any dangerous limbs or unstable trees taking care of that now before the fall storms hit is the prudent thing to do.
CAULKING KEEPS MOISTURE OUT
While we talked about painting last week, we didn’t talk about caulking. So we can’t pass by the opportunity to do that today.
Sun (UV light) damages caulk. A good caulk job should be hidden from the sun and elements by paint or flashing whenever possible. So, if the caulk around windows and doors looks like it’s weathered, it’s time to start fresh. Of course – the optimal time to do this is before you paint. But if your inspection shows that new caulk is needed, don’t delay and then paint over it when cured.
For starters, take a sharp tool which will cut out the old caulk and remove it to sound wood or metal. Caulking over existing caulk not only doesn’t look as nice but it can also inadvertently trap moisture behind it.
Once the affected section of caulk is removed, carefully apply new caulk. Use a wet finger or smoothing tool to seal the edges in tightly…less is more and covered is best.
LOOKING AT YOUR WINDOWS
It’s not just fresh caulk or even clean window panes that make a house feel fresh, a scrubbed up, bug-free window track is also a sign of a window that will drain properly through the irrigation channels hidden inside and under the track.
I’m sure you know what we’re talking about. The grime, dirt, specks of mold and families of flies that quickly accumulate in the tracks of your windows are simply gross. Even if you are someone who is diligent about cleaning them, it’s typically hard to get them truly clean. Plus you may not have realized how much it can help to have the irrigation channel hidden under the window track clean. If it is clean it will prevent moisture from seeping into your window frames and siding.
So, here’s how you do it: First open your vinyl or aluminum openable window all the way. Then lift the moving portion of the window completely out. Now you can take a putty knife and pop out the lower track so that it exposes the window frame. Yes, it does come out. Just lift the movable portion and clean. (Take note of how it was sitting in the window frame first so you’ll know which end to put where when you put it back together!)
Now, just clean the part you removed and also clean and dry the area underneath the track. When the underneath and the track itself are clean and bug free, just place the window track back in, followed by the window.
CHECK FOR Z FLASHINGS AT WINDOW
While you are inspecting your windows, take a look from a different angle and go outside.
Most homes built in the last 50 years have something called Z flashings or head flash which is located on top of the trim board for your windows.
The Z flashing diverts water away from the top of your window. Yes, your windows still show raindrops; however with Z flashing the majority of the water is directed away from the top of your window. This helps prevent leaks and the trouble they create for siding, trim and window frames, etc.
However, not all homes have Z flashing above their windows. The better older homes back in the day had a sloped head trim board to do this job.
If your windows are leaking and don’t seem to have flashing, take a trip to your local hardware store and talk to the folks there about how to install some. Or, it’s a good project for a licensed professional to install them.
WE LOAN OUT PAINTING EQUIPMENT
Just to remind you, we loan out painting equipment donated by COSMO Mill free of charge. Give us a call if you’d like to borrow one of the painting prep kits. Sorry no power washer or ladders but we do have ladder standoff brackets that increase the safety of an extension ladder when you are at the top and all stretched out scraping and painting just a little further!
While we’ve been talking about “routine” maintenance for your home, next week we will give some pointers on what you need to do to have you and your house ready for disaster.
Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks® of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is the executive director. This is a non-profit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing for all residents of Grays Harbor County.
Do you have questions about home repair, renting, remodeling or becoming a homeowner? Like us on Facebook! Call us at 533-7828, write us or visit us at 710 E. Market St. in Aberdeen.