Warmer weather means greener weather for homeowners across the U.S. Lawns go from sparse to lush to overgrown as grass tangles with weeds for supremacy, flowers bloom in garden lots and pots, and trees and shrubs fill out to the point where they demand pruning. But none of this can happen without water — which is why rain water harvesting just might prove your secret weapon in the battle for a beautiful home.
Mowing the lawn or weeding the garden is nobody’s idea of fun, but they make all the difference between being the envy of the neighborhood and receiving nasty letters from your homeowners’ association. Raking up those piles of cut grass can be a hassle too, but it’s important — not only for aesthetic reasons, but also because fleas and ticks love to breed in them. While you’re huffing and puffing away at these activities, think about the exercise . . .
“Water, water everywhere,” begins the famous quote — and there is indeed water everywhere, in the form of rain. But whether your part of the country receives regular downpours or just the occasional treasured trickle, you can get the most of that atmospheric bounty through the simple technique of rain water harvesting. Let’s look at why you should bother — and how to get started.
Benefits of Rain Water Harvesting
You may be thinking, “Why do I want to collect rain water? I can get all the water I need out of my tap.” That’s true, you can — but you’ll pay for it. Think about the volume of water you use every day for everything from washing the car to washing the dog, from watering the plants to watering yourself in the shower. All those gallons can either come from the water company for a price, or you can grab them . . .
Whether you plan on moving into a new house or making the transition from owning to renting, you want to make sure you get top dollar for your current residence. In many cases, that means investing in necessary home improvements that will boost the property’s sale value — including improvements to your roof. Let’s examine how and why new roofing can make all the difference between a fast-lucrative home sale and a slow, ultimately disappointing one.
The term “curb appeal” applies far beyond eye-level impressions. Your home’s exterior must look as fresh, new, and well cared-for as possible, both in the listing photo and in real life. Of course you’re probably already thinking about the basics of exterior home staging, such as mowing the lawn, revitalizing the flowers in the window boxes, and applying a bright, cheery new coat of paint to the porch. But have you scrutinized your roof . . .
Keeping your gutters clean can help you get many more years of life out them. But like most other household choices, it can also prove hazardous if you do it wrong — and not doing it at all can actually be hazardous to your home as well. Here are three things to keep in mind when cleaning those gutters.
1. Your Life Depends on Your Ladder
The greatest danger in gutter cleaning stems from inadequate ladders and improper ladder usage. Use a fiberglass or aluminum ladder, since wooden ladders can deteriorate over time. Have a second person on hand to steady the ladder and watch out for your safety. Keep one hand and both feet on the ladder for maximum stability. If uneven soil seems to be unbalancing the ladder, try placing a sturdy, flat board underneath it.
[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="200"] You’ll be glad . . .
It seems like such a good idea. Your roof obviously needs work, you happen to have a free weekend, the weather is reasonably nice, and you own a ladder. But before you climb up onto that roof for some “simple” do-it-yourself repairs, you really should just step away from the bottom rung of the ladder and contact the most skilled, experienced professional you can find. Let’s look at some of the disasters you can sidestep by hiring the right roofer for the job.
If you think hiring a professional roofer is too rich for your blood, wait until you see the medical bill you could receive after falling off the roof in a misguided home-brew repair attempt. Injuries are a very real danger on just about any kind of roofing job, even for skilled professionals. In fact, it’s considered one of the most physically risky jobs out there, with a . . .
Spring is all about renewal, from the welcome sound of birds chirping to the reappearance of leaves on the trees. It’s also a sign that it’s time to renew your roof following the ravages of winter storms and ice assaults. But should that renewal include a full-scale replacement, or can you get away with simple repairs? Let’s take a closer look at the issue of springtime re-roofing.
Winter Weather Leads to Spring Surprises
It’s not surprising that so many homeowners ride out the winter before addressing a roof repair. The do-it-yourselfers have no desire to climb up onto an icy roof and work in frigid temperatures, while the formation of solid ice dams can make gutter repair all but impossible.
Unfortunately, any little problems in your roof, such as pinhole leaks in the flashing or roof sheathing, are only likely to grow worse with continued exposure to winter weather, while the weight of . . .
There are plenty of good reasons you might want to replace the windows in your home, from keeping moisture out to lowering your energy. But there are also plenty of good reasons why you might not want to assume this task yourself, no matter how much of a “do-it-yourselfer” you happen to be. Let’s look at just a few of the reasons you’re better off scheduling a professional window evaluation and replacement instead.
Professionals Recognize Trouble Signs
If your windows are failing to control your interior climate or block the massage of moisture, then it’s possible that other structures in the home have been compromised as well. For instance, water doesn’t just create obvious rot in wooden window frames — it can also leak into the surrounding drywall, causing an invisible health hazard from mold growth. (Poor thermal performance that leads to frost formation is a common culprit.) An expert can spot these problems and recommend . . .
Many of the most beautiful things in nature can have a dangerous side, and icicles are no exception. Those glittering shafts make a pretty picture in the sunlight, but things can get ugly in a hurry when they start causing injuries and other problems. Let’s take a look at the risks presented by these hardened chunks of frozen runoff — and what you can do about it.
A Natural Threat
Icicles are spawned by ice collected on tree limbs roofs, gutters, and other suspended objects. Sunlight shining down on the ice can raise its temperature just enough to initiate melting. Water rolls down the surface and begins dripping from it. But the temperature in the open air is still below freezing, so without the extra thermal energy from concentrated sun exposure the water re-freezes in mid-drip. The result is an elongated cone of ice with a sharp, pointed end. The right conditions . . .
It has been a brutal winter filled with snow, ice and frigid temperatures. Every week there is a new storm threatening more snow and ice. This weather is the perfect combination for the formation of ice dams, frozen gutters and dangerous icicles. It seems like the unofficial word of this winter is- ice dam. You hear it everywhere you go throughout Rhode Island and Massachusetts. But, what is an ice dam?
Ice Dams are caused by the ice buildup on the edge of your roof. Because of this buildup, the water from the melting snow and ice cannot flow freely off of your home’s roof and into the gutters and downspouts. With nowhere for the water to go, it begins backing up behind the icy buildup and eventually into your home.
Water stains on your ceiling or walls, a leaking roof or wet insulation are telltale signs . . .
For some reason, leaves, twigs, and other debris simply love to wash down your roof and collect in your gutters, along with the water those gutters are intended to catch. Having a clogged-up gutter is pretty much like having no gutter at all. The obvious solution to this problem is to cover your gutters with something that will keep this garbage out. But what kind of gutter cover should you choose — and how do you know whether it will fit?
Fortunately for anyone who has to purchase and install gutter covers without the benefit of professional guidance, the vast majority of gutters come in one of two sizes. Unless you have a particularly esoteric roof design, chances are that your gutters are either 5 inches wide or 6 inches wide. A tape measure will clear that question up for you in a matter of seconds. (Don’t be too surprised, . . .