HOME IMPROVEMENT

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EXTERIOR MAINTENANCE


DOWNSPOUTS, 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.

DECKS

• 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 rinse thoroughly.

• 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 dry.

• 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.

 

PATCHING HOLES IN GUTTERS

1. Remove all rust and loose metal by cleaning the area with a wire brush. Cover the bad spot with paint thinner.
2. Cut a patch from wire window screen material. The patch must be large enough to cover the hole and extend about ½ inch beyond it.
3. Coat the area around the hole with asphalt roofing cement.
4. Put the patch down over the cement, and press it in place.
5. Brush the cement over the screen.
6. When the first coat sets, cover it again with cement.
7. Tiny holes can be patched without the screen; the cement will fill in by itself, but you will have to apply several coats.

 

 

 

 

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