School bells have begun ringing in many districts already this week – and will be ringing after Labor Day in the rest of Grays Harbor. Even when you’re an adult it can feel like summer is the shortest season of the year.
However, it isn’t really autumn yet and we should have plenty of summer-like weather in the next few weeks. So, while it’s not quite time for our annual autumn chore To Do list, today we will give you an idea of the fixes and finishes for your house that are important to tackle this time of year.
A LITTLE PRUNING GOES A LONG WAY
While we don’t claim to be plant experts, from time to time we talk about plants, trees and gardening as it intersects with your house.
Although we know that fall isn’t the best time to prune many plants, you still may want to consider some trimming back for your house’s sake. The plants we are concerned about are shrubs or trees that either pose a potential threat to your house in a storm or that are touching your house.
DEAL WITH DANGEROUS LIMBS NOW
Your trees have been growing the last few months. When was the last time you took a good look at them to see if they might pose a danger in one of our classic, soon-coming Grays Harbor storms?
Beautiful limbs too close to power lines, your house, garage, shop or other structures become an ugly nightmare if they come crashing down in a storm.
Also, it is well known, flood waters and wind storms can topple a whole tree – particularly an older one, a rotted one, a sick one or one with shallow roots. So, take a look at your situation. Is there any part of any tree that could threaten your house if the weather turns wild? It may seem like a hassle, but it is so much easier to deal with it now. Remember safety first! So, depending on the size and type of tree you are dealing with, its removal or pruning might require an expert.
PLANTS TOUCHING THE SIDING
Even if you don’t have any potentially dangerous trees, do you have any trees, shrubs – even flowers and grass – that have contact with your siding, deck or any part of your house?
Just having plants touching the house encourages – once again – the growth of mold and mildew, which will begin consuming your painted siding. We recommend that all foliage of any kind be a good six to twelve inches from touching the house. Air circulation is crucial.
PRIORITIES FOR SUMMER’S END
The end of summer with its semi-long days and often warm temperatures can be a great time to paint. Yes we are talking about painting once again! Having your house painted and caulked truly is one of the best “insurance policies” you can have to keep rot, mold and deterioration at bay.
However if you’ve painted in the last few years and the house is looking good, don’t jump ahead to the next section yet! A good annual wash with 30-Second cleaner and a hose will still make a difference.
Ever notice how quickly grime can accumulate on vinyl siding? Guess what? That same dirt, grime and mold is also likely covering your wooden exterior. And that dirt begins to harbor vegetation and mold that if left alone can feed on your paint and wooden siding, compromising the integrity of your home and inviting moisture to enter.
For that reason alone, it’s worth it to wash your house. Besides, you’ll be surprised at the marked difference in appearance a good scrub can make. (You don’t realize how dirty it is until you clean it up.)
A good house washing doesn’t need to take long – especially if you make it a two-person job. One of you applies the 30 Second Cleaner with water solution and scrubs lightly with a boat brush on a pole, while the other comes along behind – about, well, 30 seconds later – and flood-rinses it off away from the next section. Working the lower walls of a two story house works best as the cleaner is intended to be pump sprayer applied on dry siding surfaces. The job is very fast. Rinse off any affected shrubs or plants.
If you don’t particularly like to paint, all the more reason to give your house regular scrubs – it will extend the life of your paint job, saving you time, money and hassle!
TIME FOR SOME GUTTER TALK
So while you are washing or painting your house and the ladder is out, it is also a good time to inspect your gutters. And, frankly, if you are not planning to wash or paint your house it’s worth it to get the ladder out and inspect the gutters anyway.
Before starting, think ladder safety first! The safety begins with the legs of the ladder placed with stability in mind. If the ground is soft, put a piece of plywood underneath the legs to ensure one leg won’t sink into the soil. If you are using any kind of extension-type ladder, then always use a ladder stand-off at the top of the ladder. (You can even borrow one from us.) Then check to make sure your gutters are still securely connected to the roof. Sometimes the fasteners lose their hold and need to be moved over and re-secured or redone with a larger or longer fastener.
Secondly, we recommend screens for your gutter. It’s one sure-fire way to get a lot less leaves piling up in the gutters, which causes subsequent plugging and overflowing.
The screening, which is simply a metal or plastic mesh, can be bought at home improvement stores – just ask for gutter guards. Once you have it, install it so that one side is tucked under the edge of the roof and the other is held in place by gravity or screws at the outer edge of the gutter. (This keeps it in securely, but allows you to remove it when you want to clean out the dirt, grime and little stuff that slips through into the gutter and accumulates over time.)