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Assess your house to create 'to do' list

So far 2020 has been an interesting year, to say the least!

While many things about our day-to-day life with the coronavirus are out of our control, when it comes to your house, you have the power to start and complete many chores and projects now that will make an immediate improvement ahead of summer, and may even lengthen the life of your home.

Take a good look at winter’s impact

The cold, rain and wind of fall and winter – as well as UV light all year around – can do a number on your house. So, take one of our brighter days to take an assessment of what needs to go on your “to do” list for this spring and summer.

As we mentioned last week, homes in this climate need to be repainted about every five to seven years depending on the type of paint used, the quality of the prep work, the type and condition of your siding and trim, maintenance cleaning and how close you live to the salt water, among other things.

We recommend annually treating the whole house with 30 Second cleaner from a garden-type pump sprayer, a light scrubbing with soft brush on a pole and a good flood-hose rinse. Be sure to follow directions. This annual project is very fast and can greatly increase the time between paint jobs. It will make nearly any painted or vinyl-sided house look bright and instantly improves your neighborhood in a hurry.

And by the way, NeighborWorks has paint prep tools, long handle cleaning brushes and pump sprayers to loan from a generous grant gifted by our local COSMO Mill in Cosmopolis.

Maybe it’s not time to paint the whole house, but it is time for some touchups. After a good whole house cleaning, scrape or otherwise prep any area that’s peeling so you have a nice, smooth surface, then wait for a dry day to apply primer to the bare spots and blend a little paint for the touchup. You may have to do more than a touch-up if the UV light has changed the original color.

Remember that paint isn’t just an aesthetic touch to your house, it is its “raincoat” against the elements and proper upkeep will prolong the life of your siding and therefore your home.

Check your windows

While you’re examining the paint job, it’s a good time to take a look at the windows. If they’re cracked or broken, put them at the top of your “To Do” list.

Did the winter storms loosen or chip away at the caulking or window glazing? If so, now’s the time to make those repairs to weatherproof your home.

In addition, ripped screens invite insects, spiders and bees. You can buy screen material yourself to make inexpensive replacements to your screens. Are the screens green with mold? Remove them and wash them with 30 Second cleaner or a concoction of bleach, water and dish soap, but rinse well.

Remember while checking out windows or cleaning or painting your house, make sure to put safety first. Always use a ladder standoff. If you don’t have one, you can borrow a ladder standoff from us. (Just e-mail Dave at to make arrangements.) In addition, Harbor Tool Rental carries proper ladders and paint sprayers (360-533-6363).

More Outside Chores

Here are a few more chores that you may want to start tackling now to get your house ready for summer.

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

  • Look for missing or damaged siding or trim. Repair and replace missing pieces and protect your exterior with paint to avoid moisture, rot and insect problems.

  • Examine your roof. Are there any missing shingles or damaged sections? Take notes to plan your summer projects.

  • Clean gutters of any leaves, branches, needles or gunk from winter’s storms. Make sure downspouts with splash blocks convey the water away from the foundation.

  • Open any foundation vents you closed. During a cold spell, it’s okay to close or board up foundations vents for a few days. However, it is critical for the health of your house to open those vents come spring. Also, check the plastic ground cover under the house to be sure it is intact and secure.

  • Make sure that soil and bark don’t touch untreated wood framing or siding. Having soil and bark at least 6 inches from your house discourages rot and bug infestation.

  • Take a critical look at your overall property. Create “use someday soon” project piles and “throw out” piles. Make a plan to finish the project piles, then donate or properly dispose of the throw away pile. To donate building materials consider the Habitat Restore in Hoquiam and Earthwise in Aberdeen.

Home Buyer Education

Are you planning to buy a house soon? If so, get educated first for $50 through eHome America. The certificate will get you the best chance for a great interest rate! We here at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor can help too with housing and credit counseling at no-cost.

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