FLASHING, AND GUTTERS
• Inspect your gutters frequently. They should be cleaned in the
autumn after all leaves have fallen and again in the spring. If
you have heavy rains and lots of trees in your area, you’ll want
to clean them more frequently.
• Clean gutters by hand using a whisk broom to re leaves. Then
use your garden hose to flush out the debris remnants. Observe
the flow of water, and check for low spots or improper pitch.
• When cleaning gutters, inspect each hanger for bent straps and
popped nails. If the house has a fascia or board trim, check the
gutter’s alignment with it. The gutter should rest firmly
against the fascia for maximum support.
• Use roof cement to patch any thin spots or gaps along a
flashing joint, at a chimney, or along a valley.
• Check the nails or screws in the straps holding the downspout
to your house. These can work loose with use or age.
• To keep downs pouts clear, flush them frequently with a garden
hose. If necessary, remove stubborn clogs by forcing the running
hose down the downspout.
• For best wear and protection, paint the outside of gutters
with exterior house paint, and coat the insides with asphalt
roofing paint, which will make them resistant to rust. When
painting galvanized gutters, you’ll first need to neutralize the
zinc coating. If you don’t, the paint will quickly peel. While
commercial washes are available, an inexpensive and effective
home remedy is to mix a 50/50 solution of warm water and white
vinegar. Apply at least three coats of this solution to the
gutters, allowing for drying time between coats, and rinse
thoroughly before painting.
GATES AND FENCES
• Use pressure-treated lumber for posts that will be sunk in the
ground. While more costly, they will last many years.
• Don’t procrastinate on fence repairs; one weak post can bring
down the entire fence.
• Shore up a broken fence rail with a 2x4 scrap, securing it
with galvanized nails.
• Steady a wobbly post by driving a pair of stakes into the
ground on either side of the post and bolting them down. You can
also soak the ground with water, and then tamp the soil around
the post hole.
• Use galvanized steel T-braces, available at most hardware
stores, to repair a rail. Level the rail, drill pilot holes into
the post and rail, arid secure with galvanized screws. Caulk the
joint, and then paint the braces to match the fences.
• If a gate sags or won’t close properly, replace its hinges
with heavier ones. Make sure to use galvanized screws.
• A slight sag in a gate can sometimes be repaired by shimming
under the bottom hinge. Prop up the gate in the open position,
remove screws from the post side of the hinge, and cut a thin
piece of cedar shake to fit into the hinge mortise. Reattach the
hinge by driving longer screws through the shim.
• Inspect your deck frequently for popped nails and loose
railings or boards. Remove and replace any nails that have
popped with coated screws, and immediately repair or replace
loose railings to avoid hazards.
• Use a mild household detergent in water to clean everyday dirt
from a wood deck. Rinse thoroughly.
• To remove stains caused by tree sap, use mineral spirits and
• lb remove mi1de use a solution of 1 cup bleach to 1 gallon
warm water. Flush the area with clear water, and allow it to
• Deck stains make routine cleanup much easier and preserve the
life of the wood. Apply stains especially formulated for decks
immediately over new wood, except for pressure -treated lumber,
which should age for six months before being stained. The deck
will benefit from a new coat of stain every one to two years.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the stain.
If your deck has been painted, you will have to remove the paint
before a stain can be applied.
• Avoid applying clear finishes, such as varnish or shellac, to
wood decks doesn't withstand sun and moisture, and they must be
removed if they start to peel.