Tag Archives: DIY

Gutter Cleaning Tips That Can Save Your Life

If more building owners and facilities managers knew the proper way to clean out their roof gutters, there would be fewer injuries and deaths and far less property damage.

Fall is the season when gutters are cleaned out in preparation for the rainy or snowy season ahead.

If the rainwater doesn’t flow properly through the gutter and downspout system, costly repairs can add up from rainwater damage or freezing.

It’s time to clean out those clogged gutters, and to do it safely.

There are a variety of gutter cleaning tips that can bring sanity into this tedious task.

Eight Gutter Cleaning Tips

1.   Let someone know you are cleaning your gutters

2.   Use a safe and secure ladder

3.   Rake leaves and other debris off the rooftop first

4.   Wear rubber-soled shoes when walking on the rooftop

5.   Use a plastic gutter scooping tool

6.   Wear gloves and proper eyewear

7.   Unclog downspouts

8.   Watch out for hazardous power lines

  • Practice Ladder Safety

Always let someone know you will be using a ladder to work on your building’s roof or gutters.

Use a safe and sturdy ladder, preferably one with a small shelf strong enough to hold a five-gallon bucket to collect gutter debris, and make sure to secure the bucket with a lanyard.

A four-legged step ladder is good for a single-story structure, and an extension ladder is ideal for a two-story or taller facility.
An orchard ladder is not recommended because there are only three legs for support and they can become unbalanced.

A wooden ladder is also not recommended because they are often wobbly and difficult to safely balance.

Fiberglass ladders seem to be the sturdiest, but are also the heaviest.

If you are cleaning gutters for hours upon hours, muscle fatigue can set in from moving the heavy ladder numerous times.

If this is the case, you should try using an aluminum ladder, which is the second-choice option for strength and support.

Inspect the ladder for defects, dents or loose parts before climbing.

If your ladder is fastened together with screws and bolts, make sure all parts are tightened.

When opening up a step ladder, make sure the extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked in place.

  • Utilize A Garden Hose

Use a garden hose with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle.

This type of spray nozzle allows you to adjust the water pressure with the use of just one hand.

A pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle can be easily hung over the front edge of the gutter while moving the ladder or while using a gutter scoop.

This type of spray nozzle can be purchased at any hardware store.

  • Get A Gutter Scoop

Scooping out the leafy debris seems to be the best overall method for cleaning out gutters.

An excellent tool for this job is a plastic scooping tool, which can be purchased at most hardware stores.

Plastic scooping tools are unique because the front scooping edge is very thin and forms itself to the bottom of the gutter trough, making it easy to scoop out even the toughest debris in any size gutter system.

Stay away from using a metal scooping tool because the bottom of the gutter and seams can be damaged and scratched.

Scraping the bottom of a steel gutter can introduce areas to rust, and if the bottom of the gutter is already rusting, the rusting process could speed up.

  • Protect Your Hands

Gloves can help protect hands against dirty, rotting leaf debris that often contains bird, pigeon and squirrel droppings that are ridden with bacteria.

Gloves can also prevent painful cuts from the torn metal shards of an old, ragged gutter.

Cotton gloves can soak up dirty water that exposes skin to bacteria.

Leather gloves are not as maneuverable and tend to shrivel up when they dry after cleaning.

Rubber gloves can get poked or torn by metal shards in the gutter.

Thick, suede glove material is recommended because it is superior to cotton, thin leather or rubber gloves.

  • Protect Your Eyes

Eye protection is a must because one never knows what might fly out of the downspout when cleaning gutters.

People have experienced rats, birds, frogs, wasps and bees leaving at high speeds once they start removing a clog, and the last thing they want to have happen is an eye injury.

  • Clean Off The Roof

Rake or power wash all debris off the roof first.

Otherwise, the next rain will wash all the debris down into the clean gutter, clogging it up again.

Also, debris left on the roof can lead to water damming up in valleys, around the chimney or near heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment, which can cause erosion and roof leaks over time.

  • Consider Rubber Shoes

If walking on the roof is necessary to perform gutter cleaning, it is good to use rubber-soled shoes.

Rubber soles tend to adhere best and prevent slip-and-fall incidents.

Rooftops tend to be moist in the morning, so it is best to walk on the roof after the sun is well up in the sky and has dried up all the moisture.

Late mornings or early afternoons are the best times to walk on a roof.

  • Unclog The Downspouts

Make sure the downspouts are clear.

After all the gutters are cleaned out, run the water hose down the downspout at full pressure.

If the water backs up out of the top, a clog is present.

Normally, it can be unclogged by tapping on the side of the downspout.

But, if that doesn’t work, the downspout and back need to be removed, and it should be flushed from the bottom.

If a clog is present and the downspout is connected to an underground drain, it is best to disconnect the bottom of the downspout from the underground drain.

Otherwise, the clog may move to the underground drain.

  • Schedule Semiannual Cleanings

Make sure your gutters are cleaned at least twice a year: Once in the fall and again in the spring.

One main reason for cleaning out gutters is to eliminate the possibility of water damage from rainwater runoff due to a clogged gutter.

Another reason is to reduce the possibility of rust corrosion.

Even though it may not rain during the summer, if there is debris in the steel gutters, the rusting process can speed up.

It’s difficult for rust to speed up with clean gutters.

The faster the rusting process, the sooner new gutters will be needed.

  • Be Mindful Of Power Line Hazards

When cleaning gutters around a power line cable that drops from the power pole to the roof of a building, conduct a visual inspection of the electrical cable where it connects to the roof.

This is to ensure that the protective wire insulation hasn’t rubbed off through years of wear-and-tear by weather and nearby trees.

If the cable appears to have damage, do not attempt to repair it; instead, call a licensed professional electrical contractor to fix it.

If it’s raining and there is an electrical wire problem, do not attempt to clean out the gutters until the wires are fixed; water is a dangerous conductor of electricity.

Whether it’s raining or not, it would be a good idea to have the electrical wiring repaired before cleaning out your gutters.

  • Invest In Gutter Guards

Using a quality gutter guard can eliminate the need for cleaning out gutters.

Consider carefully the manufacturer’s claims before purchasing a gutter protection system that keeps out leaves and pine needles because many promises are made that can’t be delivered.

Call us for all your real estate needs…..

The Laugesen Team

Luxury Specialists

#1 Producing Team

Coldwell Banker

Denise: 650-465-5742  Cortney: 650-678-5084

www.TheLaugesenTeam.com

www.the411on94010.com

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5 Spring Home Improvement Projects for Under $1,000

By Yuka Kato

Spring is not only the best time of year to give your home a good cleaning, it’s also the best time of year to take on several home improvement projects. Spring projects like these can improve your home’s looks and performance, and rarely cost more than $1,000 , so you can easily take care of these issues before they have a chance to lead to bigger problems down the road.

Siding Repair

siding repair

Winter weather can really do a number on your siding. Hail stones can dent or damage anything from aluminum to vinyl, while painted wood siding frequently needs to have sections replaced that have been subjected to moisture over the cold wet months. In most cases, repairing a section of siding can help your home maintain its curb appeal, while also helping to ensure that problems like rotting wood don’t spread, necessitating further repair.

Costs
The average cost to repair siding of nearly any type is about $300, with a full range of up to $1,000 for more invasive types of repairs.

Money Saving Tips
The best way to save money on a repair is to try to color match the new siding to the old. That way you only have to replace damaged boards, rather than the whole section. You can also paint aluminum or vinyl siding to match existing siding if you are unable to find matching planks to help keep costs down.

DIY Considerations
Aluminum and vinyl siding can both be very easily repaired by most homeowners. Things like dents can be popped out of aluminum, and cracked or broken boards can be removed and replaced without needing to disturb too much around them. Wood siding, masonite, brick, and fiber cement siding, however, should be left to professionals for repairs, as should any major repairs that appear widespread.

Paint Your Front Door

paint door

Just like the paint on the rest of your home, your front door can be subject to things like peeling, cracking and fading over time. The freeze/thaw cycle in the winter can make this even more obvious, as can things like salt or ice melt getting splashed on the door by slush as people make their way indoors. Repainting your door is fairly easy and inexpensive, and can really give your home’s curb appeal a big boost.

Cost
The average cost of painting a front door is about $100 per door. The total cost ranges from about $20 for a DIY job to $300 for high-end doors and paint jobs.

Money Saving Tips
The best way to save money on front door paint jobs is to invest in high quality enamel paints for the job. They’re less likely to need touch ups as frequently as other paints, which means you need to paint less often. If you’re comfortable painting the door yourself, tackling this job DIY can really save you a lot of money as well. Just be sure to use a primer and two coats of paint to ensure you’re doing it right.

DIY Considerations
Most people can comfortably tackle the job of painting themselves. The only time you may want to leave it to the professionals is if you have a door with windows, glass inserts, or a lot of carvings and features that may take a specialized approach.

Stain Your Deck

stain your deck

All that snow, ice and freezing rain hitting your deck this winter could have done a lot of damage to the stain and finish of the wood. Stain is necessary not only to keep your deck looking great, it also helps prevent the wood from absorbing moisture and rotting over time. So if your deck has begun to peel and show the wood through in places, it’s time to put on a new coat of stain. Doing so will not only help protect your deck from the elements, it will also improve your home’s curb appeal.

Cost
The average cost of staining a deck is around $2 a square foot, assuming a deck of around 500 square feet. In most cases the cost will not be any higher than $400 for the total job.

Money Saving Tips
Your deck will need to be power washed before it can be stained, and this needs time to dry before the stain can be applied. Save time and money by doing the power washing yourself; schedule the professionals to come in after the deck has had a chance to dry. If you’re comfortable with tackling the job yourself, DIY can also save you professional fees, as most pros will take about 4-5 hours to do the job, and charge for their time.

DIY Considerations
Most able bodied homeowners will be able to tackle this job on their own. Keep in mind that you will need to rent or purchase a power washer to thoroughly clean the deck. You’ll also need to remove old, peeling stain, and apply at least two coats to ensure good coverage.

Air Duct Cleaning

air ducts

After running your furnace all winter, it’s a good idea to get your air ducts cleaned come spring. This is particularly crucial if you’ve had any work done indoors over the past year, as construction dust and debris can build up in your ducts, reducing your HVAC system’s efficiency. Likewise, if you or your family suffer from allergies, cleaning out the ducts periodically can help improve your air quality.

Cost
The average cost of having your ducts cleaned is between $300 and $500 for a professional cleaning. The total range of costs is between $200 for cleaning the ducts in a small house to $900 for older ductwork that may need some upgrades done at the same time.

Money Saving Tips
Change your filter regularly on your HVAC system to help prevent dust and dirt build up in your ducts. You should change these seasonally at a minimum, but some brands recommend changing them monthly. Remove your filter and hold it up to the light; if you can’t see through it, it’s time to replace it. Clean and wipe down your grates periodically as well to help get rid of buildup that could be falling into the ducts, necessitating their cleaning.

DIY Considerations
Special equipment and knowledge is required to clean out the ducts properly. While you could possibly clean around the openings and the grates, cleaning the ducts themselves should be left to the professionals.

Fertilize Your Lawn

Grass

Help bring your lawn back to life after a cold, snowy winter with fertilizer. Fertilizing your lawn helps feed it with nutrients it needs to grow. Some fertilizers can also help eliminate weeds, and improve the overall quality of your lawn at the same time, so it requires less water or maintenance in the future.

Cost
The average cost to fertilize your lawn is around $.03 a square foot, assuming a 6,000 square foot lawn. The total costs range from around $.02 a square foot for a DIY job to $.04 a square foot during the peak season.

Money Saving Tips
Make the most of your lawn fertilization by ensuring that you water your lawn either early in the morning or late in the evening to prevent the sun from drying out both your grass and the fertilizer at the same time. If you have your lawn professionally serviced regularly, ask about bundling in fertilization with other services such as mowing to help reduce costs.

DIY Considerations
Nearly any able bodied homeowner should be able to tackle this job. All you need is a spreader and the ability to traverse your entire lawn. If you have a lot of steep hills or other issues, however, it may be better to hire a professional.

Keeping your home looking and functioning well in the springtime doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Follow these tips to help ensure your home looks and functions its best this year. For more cost savings, visit these Cost Guides.

Call us for all your real estate needs…..

The Laugesen Team

Luxury Specialists

#1 Producing Team

Coldwell Banker

Denise: 650-465-5742  Cortney: 650-678-5084

www.TheLaugesenTeam.com

www.the411on94010.com

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