Pages Menu

Don't Neglect Your Septic Tank: I Learned the Hard Way

Most recent articles

Iron Fence Looking Old? Learn How To Spruce It Up

Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Uncategorized |

As an iron fence gets older, it will tend to show all of the wear and tear from years of being outside. You may be looking to spruce up the fence a bit to give it a more appealing look for your home or business. Follow these tips for things that you can do on your own. Sand The Iron You’ll want to begin by sanding all of the exposed iron on the fence. This will help remove any of the paint that is old and starting to chip off, and remove the spots that have been rusting that need to be repaired. Use your wire brush for removing any paint that is cracking or bubbling. Then use coarse sandpaper to smooth out the iron fencing in places that look like it is decaying. The sanding process can take a bit of time to do, so make sure that you plan to do it on a day where you do not have rain in the weather forecast. You’ll want to give yourself plenty of time since you don’t want the iron to be exposed if it were to rain. Clean The Iron It’s recommended to give the iron a deep cleaning one you’ve prepared the iron fence’s surface and made it smooth. You can clean the iron using mild detergent and a sponge that is non-abrasive. You’ll need to scrub every part of the fencing, and then dry it off using a clean cloth afterward. This will help minimize the chance of the material rusting. Paint The Iron You’ll want to use a paint that inhibits rust once it is on the iron. When it comes to painting, make sure to lay a tarp or sheet along the ground to prevent a mess from being made, especially if you have plants or nice landscaping in the area. Painting should be done with a paintbrush as opposed to a sprayer. It may take some more time, but a sprayer will not do as good of a job of getting in the intricate designs on the iron fencing. It will also waste paint during the spraying process. If you do not feel up to doing all this work, contact a professional to do it for you. An iron fencing contractor can do all of the maintenance that needs to be done, or replace the fence for you if it is beyond repair....

read more

How To Keep Up A Wooden Fence

Posted by on May 18, 2016 in Uncategorized |

You have probably noticed that many modern properties are being built with vinyl fences. Vinyl is a suitable material for fencing because it is waterproof and easy to maintain. However, most people will agree that it does not look quite as nice as wood. Wooden fences certainly require a little more maintenance and upkeep over the years. However, they have long been used in residential construction because wood is such a stylish and classic product. This article will explain what you need to do to keep up a wooden fence. This way you will know whether or not you should choose wood or a lower maintenance product like vinyl. Protecting Wood From Moisture When it comes to owning wood, the key is to always keep it protected from moisture. Wood is not naturally waterproof and it can show signs of aging if it has increased exposure to moisture. Of course, moisture is all too prevalent in exterior settings. A wooden fence will get wet not only from rain and dew, but also from the sprinklers. This means that your fence will be getting wet all year long, so it is very important to keep it sealed. Refinishing Wooden Fences Refinishing wooden fences takes more than just applying a new coat of sealant. For your finish to last a long time, you need to first smooth out the existing coat. You don’t necessarily need to sand off the entire existing finish unless you are trying to re-stain it a different color. The most important thing is to make the finish as consistent as possible. Then, you need to apply a new coat of stain. Stain can be easily applied with a paint brush, rags, or a spray gun. A fence with gaps between the slats are most easily painted with brushes and rags. If your fence does not have gaps between the slats and rails, you can spray it very quickly. Most fences will require multiple coats of stain. You need to smooth out the finish after every coat with steel wool. This removes any stain particles that are sticking out. Owning a wooden fence will require that you pay close attention to it. If small sections of your fence get rotted out or warped, you need to do spot-by-spot repairs. You can temporarily patch any exposed wood areas with stain, but you will eventually need to properly refinish it. For more information, contact a local company like Phoenix Fence,...

read more

4 Options Of Materials To Give Your Roof A Classic Wooden Look

Posted by on Mar 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you want to have a roof with materials other than the conventional asphalt shingles, wood roofing in the form of shingles or shakes can be a great choice. There are many choices for a shake or wood roof today, which can be made out of treated materials, composites and other materials. Here are some of the choices that you may want to consider if you want to have a wood roof installed on your home: 1. Composite Roofing Shingles With The Look Of Real Shakes It may not always be the best choice to install wood on your roof, which can be due to maintenance issues or even wooden shakes being prohibited in your area. If you still want the look of wood, you may want to consider some of the composite alternatives that are low-maintenance and can give your home the look of a shake roof. 2. Treated Shakes For Use In Dry And Wet Climates For Durability And Protection   For areas with dry climates, there are materials treated with a fire-retardant to protect your home from fire if you have a wood roof. You can also get pressure treated wood shakes, which can be a good choice in areas with high humidity or high amounts of annual rainfall. These materials will give your roof more resistance to fungus and rot that can damage a shake roof. 3. Stamped Metal Roofing For The Look Of Shakes With A Durable Material Metal can be another great choice for a durable material that is fire-resistant. It can come in the form of stamped metal shingles that have a pattern and finish of wood shakes. These are one of the best materials for fire protection and have the highest rating, which makes metal a good choice for homes in forested areas that are prone to wildfires. 4. Hardwoods And Other Alternatives To Natural Cedar Materials There are also many hardwoods that can be used as shake roofing, rather than the conventional cedar materials. There are some tropical hardwood shakes available from a few sources, but this can be costly. Oak is another great option, which can be cheaper in areas where it more widely available than cedar materials. If you use oak, you will want to use a white oak and not red oak because it will decay faster than white oak. These are some of the choices that you may want to consider if you want to have a wood roof installed on your home. If you are ready to have a new shake look for your home, contact a roofing contractor (like those at Starkweather & Sons Roofing & Siding and other locations) and talk with them about some of these options for wood roofing on your...

read more

3 Solutions To Give Your Pool Deck Area A Durable Wood Appearance

Posted by on Mar 1, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you want to have a more natural look for the design of your pool area, you may want to consider using natural materials like wood. Because of the water and chemicals that are often in a pool environment, you will want to choose wood that is resistant to rot and durable. If you use the right wood, it can even be used as the surface of the deck around your pool. Here are some of the options that you may want to consider to add a wood surface to your pool deck: 1. Use Composite Plastic Lumber As A Wood Alternative For Pool Deck Surfaces The wood you use on your pool deck can also be composite lumbers that are made of wood waste and look like the real thing. There are many options to give your pool area the appearance of a wood surface. This can include using composite lumber that is made from recycled plastics. These materials come in many different styles, and can look a lot like real wood materials. They also give you the benefit of a material that requires little maintenance and that is resistant to insects and exposure to moisture and pool chemicals. 2. Tropical Hardwoods For A Real Wood Surface That Is Resistant To Moisture Exposure If you want to have a real wood surface, tropical hardwoods are some of the most durable materials available for this. They can give you a surface that is naturally resistant to rot and insects. They will also have less discoloration than synthetic materials like composite lumber, but will cost a little more and require maintenance. One option that you may want to consider is using decking tiles, which you can replace in areas where there is a lot of wear. 3. Laminated Bamboo Products For A Durable Pool Surface With A Green Look Another natural alternative that you may want to consider for your pool deck surface is bamboo. It is a natural material that is very durable and resistant to moisture and insects. These products are usually laminated bamboo products, which are available in many different styles of materials, including tiles. It can be an option to consider if you do not want to pay for a tropical hardwood pool deck surface. These are some of the options that you may want to consider to give the surface of your pool deck a wood finish. If you are ready to redesign your pool area, contact a construction supply service (like Central Equipment Co or another location) and talk with them about the benefits of some of these materials for your pool...

read more

Three Topics To Ask About When You’re Renting Equipment

Posted by on Feb 8, 2016 in Uncategorized |

When you’re preparing for a major home renovation or other significant job around the home, it’s often advantageous to rent equipment from your local rental center. Doing so is more cost effective than buying several pieces of equipment, especially if you don’t anticipate having to use them again in the future. It’s generally a good practice to visit your rental center to see if it has the tools to suit your needs. While there, the rental agent will be able to compare different equipment features for you, explain exactly how to use each piece of equipment and address any questions you might have about rental process. Here are three topics to bring up.  Required Maintenance You can expect that when you load up the equipment and take it home, it will have been recently serviced and inspected and will be ready to use. However, it’s important to discuss what maintenance tasks you’ll be required to perform. Depending on the nature of the equipment and the length of the rental period, you can experience everything from not having to perform any maintenance to taking care of things such as topping up a machine’s fluids or changing the blade on a cutting tool. Make sure you understand exactly what is expected of you and that you have any fluids or replacement products to complete the maintenance tasks. Safe-Operation Tips While it’s common for your rental agent to explain the basics of operating the equipment, it’s important to ask to hear about any safety tips for the equipment’s use. Your rental agent should be able to identify any potential safety issues of using the equipment incorrectly and explain to you exactly how to perform the job safely. If you’re renting a stump grinder, for example, the agent could reinforce the importance of working slowly. When people use the grinder aggressively to get the job done quickly, they can put excess pressure on the grinding bit, which can then break off and potentially cause injury. Extending The Rental Many jobs take longer than expected, which means that you could be approaching the end of your rental period with plenty of work still left to do. Ask the rental agent about how you can extend the rental without paying a penalty. Typically, you’ll need to call the rental center before a specific time on a given date and confirm that you wish to keep the machine. Knowing this information in advance can prevent you from being hit with a...

read more

Proper Acclimation And Your New Hardwood Flooring

Posted by on Jan 15, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Before you install new hardwood floors, learning more about to prepare the wood before putting it down is especially important to get the results that will last for many years to come. When you get new hardwood flooring materials from the home improvement store or manufacturer, you will need to let it acclimate before using it. Proper acclimation is essential for your wood floor to stay put and look great. Acclimation Is Necessary Because Wood Is A Hygroscopic Material The cells in wood are similar to tiny straws lined against one another. The cells are designed to carry and distribute the moisture trees bring up through their roots. After a tree is cut, these tubular cells still have the ability to absorb moisture for some time. For this reason, wood is considered a hygroscopic material. Hygroscopic means the wood attracts and easily absorbs moisture. Fresh cut lumber is kiln-dried for lowering its hygroscopic properties. When you bring home your hardwood flooring boards, allowing them to sit out in the open in your home is a good way to further dry them before installation. When Proper Acclimation Is Not Done If lay down your hardwood flooring without acclimating it, you could end up with serious issues that will require repairing. Some of the problems you could see in a hardwood floor that is still absorbing moisture include: Buckling: When floor boards buckle, they actually curve upwards, separating from the sub-floor. Buckled floor boards can be unsightly and a hazard if someone trips over a board. Crowning: Crowning is like buckling, but boards become more sloped upwards towards their center while the sides sink downward, creating a cup-like shape in the wood. Gaps: When the wood boards on your floor begin to pull away from each other, you will have gaps between them. Gaps can mean even more moisture making its way through them, causing further damage to your flooring. How To Ensure Your Hardwood Floor Boards Are Ready To Install Measuring for wood floor moisture content (MC) and the environment’s relative humidity (RH) is the best to determine the best time to lay your floor boards. The MC and RH need to be balanced for your wood flooring to remain dry and unaffected by normal moisture levels in your home, like the steam that is created during cooking. Recommended MC levels are between 6% and 9% for the best results. A thermo-hygrometer is the tool you will use for taking these measurements. When you take the time to lay down your wood flooring correctly, you can rest assured it will look as good years from now as it does the first day after installation. Contact a hardwood floor company like MD Walk On Wood Floors for more...

read more

Thermostat Styles And You

Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Uncategorized |

If your furnace has had it and you’re getting another one, you have a chance to install a new thermostat as well. The types of thermostats available have increased and changed rather drastically over the past few decades, so you can really upgrade the technology in your home — and cut down your utility bill — by going for a newer model. Still, not everyone wants or needs the bells and whistles available today. Here’s a glance at the three main types of thermostats from which you can choose. Manual If you’re getting a new thermostat after using the same one for years and years, the manual type is going to be the most familiar and most basic. This is the plain box where you move levers to set the temperature or turn the system on and off. If you have a combined heating and air conditioning system, like a central system, there’s usually a switch to move between hot and cold air. These usually have an auto setting too, where the thermostat will turn the heating or air conditioning on and off by itself depending on the temperature in the room. These are perfect for people who are very good about adjusting the thermostat according to the time of day and the weather, and who are also good about turning the thermostat off when he or she isn’t home. The risk with these thermostats is that you’ll forget to turn it off or modify the temperature gauge before you leave for work, meaning that the heater or air conditioner may turn on when no one’s home. Learning This is at the other end of the thermostat spectrum. These are programmable thermostats that you can set in advance, or you can simply let the thermostat learn your preferences. The device will notice and log common settings and patterns and mimic those. These often have apps that let you control the device remotely. On one hand, these are fantastic if you don’t want to bother with setting the thermostat — just model your preferences for a short time and let the thermostat have at it. You also get the opportunity to control the thermostat even when you’re not home, so there’s no worry that you’ll go somewhere on vacation and realize you left the air conditioner running. On the other hand, these can be rather pointless if you change your temperature preferences a lot and don’t really have a set schedule. Plus, there have been a few security concerns regarding whether thermostats like these are hackable and can let intruders into your home. However, no actual problems have been reported. Programmable and Digital Non-Programmable These two styles are in the middle and are pretty much exactly what they sound like. The digital non-programmable is essentially a manual thermostat with a digital readout. It’s great for people who need bigger text or who prefer a backlit display instead of the dark, small numbers on a basic manual thermostat. The programmable thermostat is one you can set ahead of time, but it doesn’t start to copy your preferred schedule. This works well for people who still want to maintain total control over what the thermostat does, but who also don’t want to bother with changing it all the time.   If you...

read more

New Home Siding Showdown: Vinyl Vs. Metal

Posted by on Dec 11, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Choosing the right siding for your home can seem like an endless process even when you have the choice narrowed down to two popular materials like vinyl and metal. Each type of siding has its own pros and cons, which means the best choice will ultimately be the material that best matches your own particular wants and needs. If you haven’t decided on those wants and needs, discuss your options in detail with your general contractor. If you already know what you want out of your siding, here is a breakdown on what categories vinyl or metal would win in a showdown against each other. Easiest Installation: Vinyl Metal and vinyl siding are both relatively easy to install compared to more complicated siding materials like brick, which requires the help of a mason. The strip-like metal or vinyl pieces are easy to maneuver and match up while completing the siding project. Why does vinyl win out on the ease of installation challenge? Vinyl is far easier to cut and doesn’t require any specialty tools, which is vital if you are doing the siding or siding repairs yourself. The easy cutting also means there’s less risk of wasting material due to an improperly made cut. Most Impact Resistant: Vinyl Impact resistance refers to how well the siding survives being struck by a stray basketball or a projectile during a windstorm. Concrete siding, for example, would survive most impacts with little to no damage. How do vinyl and metal stack up? Have you ever backed your car into a garbage can and dented your bumper? Metal siding holds up about as well to impacts. The stronger the impact, the higher the chance the metal is going to dent, which can be both obvious and unsightly until you can have the damage repaired. Vinyl isn’t as durable as concrete under impact but can take on a projectile far better than metal without showing any damage at all. Most Temperature Resistant: Metal How well do the siding materials survive against summer heat waves and the frigid winters? Vinyl expands and constricts with the changing weather, which can cause the siding to buckle or bow, especially if the siding was installed loosely in the first place. The buckling and bowing can become so severe that you need to replace the siding. Metal, on the other hand, doesn’t change with the temperatures and is therefore more temperature resistant. Most Seamless Appearance: Metal When vinyl siding is attached to a house, you can see the seams where each new piece starts. Those seams might not be obvious if you have a darker siding color and a home with interesting architectural details. White vinyl on a block-shaped house, however, can show seams so badly that the house looks a bit like it’s made of plastic. Metal siding does not have the same seam problem as the pieces are able to smoothly transition from one to the next. Requires Least Maintenance: Vinyl   Vinyl might be less temperature resistant than metal, but the vinyl siding tends to require far less maintenance overall. The difference is found in how each type of siding has its color applied. Vinyl siding’s color is added during the manufacturing process so it is essentially baked into the siding. You won’t have to worry about the sun or...

read more

3 Ways To Get The Gas Pilot Light On Your Furnace To Stay Lit

Posted by on Nov 23, 2015 in Uncategorized |

There is no doubt that as the winter looms ever closer, the need for a functioning furnace is usually more important than it was during the summer. It is important to note that furnace manufacturers recommend having your unit inspected and serviced by a licensed specialist each year and that you should do so before using it for the first time. Even with that inspection, problems can still occur. Below you will find three easy ways to get the gas pilot light to stay lit. #1-Check The Wind Flow And Drafts In The Area The pilot light is obviously an important aspect of your furnace. Without it, the heater will not work. While there can be a number of causes for it to go out, including clogs in the unit, you may be lucky enough to find that it is just the wind that blows it out. First, simply close all of the windows and doors in the area. If you feel a draft when standing beside a nearby window or door, hanging heavier curtains may help and you may want to consider new insulation for the area. When you have contained the area as much as possible, light the pilot light again. With luck, you solved the problem. If you feel that the wind is coming from inside the furnace itself, it is time to consult with an expert as there could be a hole or leak that needs professional repairs. #2- Examine The End Of The Pilot Light That You Are Lighting For Waste If you have had your heater for a few years and have had to light the pilot light more than once, you may see that over the years, that tip has become dirty. As a result, it could become saturated with so much waste that it cannot access enough of the gas and fire to maintain the flame. Fortunately, this is an easy fix. Grab an old toothbrush and after turning off the gas, take out the tip. Soak it in a cleaner for degreasing, like what you might use to clean the barbecue grill. Use the toothbrush to remove the build-up and allow it to dry, after removing all of the cleaner. Replace it in the furnace and light the tip once again. If it still doesn’t maintain the flame after trying a few times, proceed to the next option. #3-Consider The Size Of The Flame First, check your manual to see if your furnace has a flame adjuster, as some units don’t. If your furnace does, you will see a small bolt or screw adjacent to the pilot light, usually with a picture that shows you how to adjust the flame. If the flame is too low, it will not catch or hold the flame, so you can adjust it upwards in very small increments to see if that helps. It is crucial to check it each time you increase the fire and to maintain the flame at the lowest temperature possible after it lights. In conclusion, you need and should be able to depend on a working furnace. When its pilot light does not stay lit, the above tips may be able to address the problem. If they do not help, it is time to call in an expert like Custom Comfort....

read more

Common Types Of Sealcoating Explained

Posted by on Nov 5, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When it comes to asphalt, there are many types of materials you can use for sealcoating. The right one for you will depend on different factors. Using the article below, you can decide which is the best option for your specific needs:  Coal Tar Emulsion In steel manufacturing, there is something called the coking process. In this process, thousands of chemicals are mixed with the asphalt itself. These chemicals have different molecular structures than the asphalt, and therefore protect the asphalt from UV rays, water, and even petroleum based products. For this reason, coal tar emulsion is considered to be the most durable sealant available. It is popular among airports because of its ability to withstand the effects of jet fuel leaking. The biggest advantage is that coal tar emulsion is not made from petroleum products so it doesn’t bond with the oil and cause deteriorating effects by breaking off in chunks. However, the black-gray color is something that people don’t like in some scenarios. For example, some contractors will mix darker emulsion with coal tar emulsion to achieve a more desired look. Coal tar must also be used with water to be worked into shape, after which the water dries and simply leaves the original coal tar behind. Asphalt Emulsion With a beneficial dark black color, the asphalt emulsion is something that restores original looks to asphalt. However, it doesn’t hold up as well against UV rays or gas leaks. It is also more difficult to sand down and it doesn’t hold the sand as long. Still, it is a great second choice to coal tar emulsion Oil Based Asphalt Sealer This is mainly used by asphalt paving contractors because it is available in asphalt plants. It is often used to rejuvenate asphalt. It is petroleum based, so it doesn’t protect against other petroleum products. It also has a very unique odor that lasts for days at a time. It also must dry before painting lines can be performed. A job site manager or owner of property needs to take into account the benefits and downsides of the different asphalt sealers when selecting the right one to use. Different materials and mix ratios are used depending on the contractor and the situation. One thing that should remain constant is that sand should be used to allow for maximum traction when surface material erodes due to sealcoating. Use the guide above and consider all of your options to make the best decision for you. Contact Norwest for more...

read more

Vinyl Siding Maintenance Tips to Help You Avoid Repairs

Posted by on Oct 20, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Vinyl siding gives your home a clean, modern appeal without the hassle of having to repaint every single year. But while vinyl is a low-maintenance material in home building, it still needs basic care to keep it looking fresh and functional. Here are easy vinyl siding maintenance tips you can use to help you avoid repair. Keep mildew at bay While simply spraying your vinyl siding with a power washer or regular hose can keep normal dirt and debris at bay, sometimes your vinyl can get mildew on it. This typically occurs in the areas where your vinyl pieces connect and along the bottom where your siding touches bushes or grass. If you notice mildew (black or brown spots or stains on your siding), you can easily clean it by putting 1 part bleach to 3 parts water in a wash bucket and scrubbing the offending areas with a car wash brush. With mildew out of the way, your vinyl siding can avoid getting stained, which helps it last longer. Avoid nicking your vinyl Lawn mowers and weed whackers can ruin a piece of vinyl siding with one whack or ill-flung rock. To avoid nicking your vinyl when doing normal landscape maintenance, place a barrier between your siding and your equipment. Cardboard, tarp, and pallets can provide the protection your vinyl siding needs when you are doing yard work. You can also add curbing a few feet away from your vinyl siding to create a safe barrier for when you are doing landscape maintenance in your yard. Protect it against weather Vinyl is very durable and can last up to 60 years or more. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t crack or tear under pressure, though. High winds, hail, and branches landing on your vinyl siding can damage it. When you know a storm is coming your way, do what you can to protect your vinyl siding by moving all toys and other belongings out of your yard so they don’t blow against your house and cause damage. Keep your trees trimmed so weak branches don’t break off and hit your house. Place a tarp over your siding to keep hail from creating dents. Finally, avoid stacking wood, pallets, and other heavy items against your home if your area is prone to high winds, since these items can crack the siding as they slam against your house. You value your home, and keeping its exterior in pristine condition is one of the best ways you can keep your house in great condition. Vinyl siding gives you the benefit of being able to enjoy the same siding for many years with little maintenance. As long as you take care of mildew stains as they occur, protect your vinyl from damage due to lawn care equipment, and repair damaged areas as soon as you notice them, you should be able to enjoy your vinyl siding for as long as you own your home. If you do need some repair work done, contact a service like W L HURST...

read more
Page 1 of 41234