Attend to your home’s exterior during last days of summer

  • Fri Sep 11th, 2020 3:45pm
  • Life

We likely will have plenty of summer weather in the next few weeks, but we want to give you an idea of the fixes and finishes for your house that are important to tackle this time of year.

For example, the end of summer, with its semi-long days and warm temperatures, is 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.

If you’ve painted within the past 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 — which, if left alone, can feed on your paint and wooden siding, compromising the integrity of your home and inviting moisture to enter.

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-water solution with a pump sprayer 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 away from the next section. Working the lower walls of a two-story house first works best as the cleaner is intended to be applied with a pump sprayer on dry siding surfaces. The job is very fast. Rinse off any affected shrubs or plants.

Gutter talk

While you are washing or painting your house and the ladder is out, this is also a good time to inspect your gutters.

Before starting, think ladder safety first! 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 they won’t sink into the soil. If you are using any kind of extension-type ladder, use a ladder stand-off at the top of the ladder. (You can even borrow one from us.)

Now check to make sure your gutters are securely connected to the house. Sometimes the fasteners lose their hold and need to be moved over and resecured with a larger or longer fastener.

Second, we recommend screens for your gutter. It’s one surefire way to get a lot less leaves piling up in the gutters, which causes plugging, overflowing and more ladder trips to clean them out. There is a better way!

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 roofing and the other is held in place by tucking, gravity or screws at the outer edge of the gutter.

Deal with dangerous limbs

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. Grays Harbor PUD may be able to help around overhead lines.

Also, it is well known that floodwaters and high winds 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! Depending on the size and type of tree you are dealing with, its removal or pruning might require an expert.

Plants shouldn’t touch 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 the growth of mold and mildew, which will begin consuming your painted siding.

We recommend that all foliage of any kind be a good 6 to 12 inches from touching the house. Air circulation is crucial.

Dave Murnen and Pat Beaty are construction specialists at NeighborWorks of Grays Harbor County, where Murnen is executive director. This is a nonprofit organization committed to creating safe and affordable housing opportunities for all residents of Grays Harbor County. Contact us with questions about the ductless heat pump program, home repair, housing counseling for renters and landlords, or home buying. Call 360-533-7828, listen to the extension picks that will best help you and leave a callback name and number. Due to COVID-19, our office is not currently open to visitors, but we will call you back.