Archives for September 2013

Fall Home and Yard Checklist

larson builders hutchinson mn fall home checklistHere is a list of things you want to make sure you do this fall, while the weather is warm to prepare your home, yard, and garage for the winter ahead.

Home

  • Change furnace filter, have ducts professionally cleaned, and schedule your fall furnace maintenance check-up.
  • Reverse ceiling fan blades to push warmer air down.
  • If applicable, install your storm windows.
  • Clean dryer vent, pellet stove vents, fireplace chimneys, and make sure exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom are working properly.
  • Change filters in humidifiers. Clean and store dehumidifiers.

Garage

  • Replenish sidewalk salt supply and re-discover the shovels
  • Properly dispose of household hazardous waste such as used oil, cleaners, solvents, and other items you no longer need.
  • Move items into the basement that should not freeze such as paint and caulk.

Yard

  • Detach garden hoses from your outside faucets before it freezes so you don’t break the faucet and deal with leaks.
  • Check your sump pump hose for leaks and make sure it’s attached securely.
  • Fertilize yard with slow release winter fertilizer
  • Mulch leaves and grass when possible.
  • Clean the debris out of your gutters and downspouts.
  • Trim branches growing close to power lines and call in the professionals if they are too close. Also trim branches close to your roof.
  • Put reflector stakes in the ground along your driveway or landscaping before the ground freezes.

If there is anything on your fall “to-do” list we can help with, give us a call!

Is Your Roof Ready for Old Man Winter

is your roof ready for winter and snowWinter in the upper Midwest can be brutal. Winter storms are common and snow fall totals are often measured in feet rather than inches. With snow, ice, wind, and freezing rain in spontaneous increments, your roof takes a beating.

Think about it. Your roof must endure heavy snow drifts. Your shingles have to defend against laterally blowing rain and sleet, fighting its way into every space. Your gutters and downspouts have to fight off a cycle of freezing and melting precipitation. One day’s snow on your roof is the next day’s melting and then refreezing ice. When that freezes, you get icicles. Kids think they are cool, but your roof and gutters don’t!

Rough winter conditions year after year make it crucial that you inspect your roof and make sure it’s ready for old man winter! Missing or curled shingles indicate there’s been some level of stress to your roof and you need to access the level of repairs needed.

Fall is the perfect time to schedule a re-roofing project, which can typically be completed in less than a week, depending on the size of your home/roof. If it is time to re-roof, consider a permanent option like our stone coated steel roof. This popular option utilizes stone coated steel shingles that consist of a heavy-duty Galvalume steel base that essentially transforms your roof into a maintenance free one.

If you have an older roof or haven’t been up on your roof in a while, now is the time. If you are not comfortable climbing on your roof or unsure what to look for, give us a call.

 

Preparing Windows for Cold Weather

Inspect, prepare, repair or replace windowsFall is a great time to get house projects done and make sure your home is ready to endure the winter ahead. Weather proofing your windows and making sure they aren’t drafty is something you should address every fall. If you have older windows, it’s possible that a window that was fine last season is now presenting some issues. You want to catch this early and remedy before your heat goes out the window!

Not only does proper window maintenance save money, but well maintained windows keep the elements out and your home in top condition. For heat efficiency purposes, it’s important to start your window weatherproofing on the inside. However, external maintenance is also important to prevent water seepage, mold, wood and insulation damage and more.

Inside Your Window

Window treatments: While not part of your window, window treatments are an important way to increase heat efficiency in your home and help your windows keep cold air out. Window treatments like blinds and drapes can help keep your room warm on windy days, but remember to open them on sunny days to take advantage of the free heat from the sun!

Inspect for repairs and replacements: Inspect your window for needed repairs. If you feel one or more windows need to be replaced, this is the time to get that scheduled. We can help you find a window that will match or closely resemble existing windows, as well as fit into the existing space. If you want a different style of window, a larger window, or to upgrade to a high efficiency type window like THV, this would be the best time to get it installed. If you are going to replace a window, consider your options and do that now.

Energy audit: An energy audit is a valuable resource for helping you decide what home improvements you can make to improve your energy efficiencies. For older homes or in cases where you suspect you’re home has some issues, this can really save you money now and throughout the future when you’re able to fix or replace items. In many cases, the remedies are quite simple and inexpensive. For larger expense items, an energy audit prepares you for repairs or appliance replacements and gives you time to set money aside.

Caulk: Caulk and weather stripping is a great idea for drafty windows, especially windows in older homes. You want to keep the elements outside, as well as unwanted pests and cold drafts. When replacing a window isn’t an option for you, make sure you seal any cracks around the window, wall, and sill.

Outside Your Window

Inspect repairs and replacements: Inspect your windows from the outside as well. A window that looks fine on the inside may have issues on the outside. Check for cracked glass, rotting wood, broken mechanisms, loose shudders and awnings. If you are unsure how to proceed with a repair, give us a call.

Weather stripping/caulk: Make sure your windows are sealed well from the outside, as well as the inside.

Trim Branches: If there are overgrown scrubs and tree branches close to or touching your windows, roof, or siding, it’s time to trim them back. Once we get snow , wind, and freezing rain, heavy ice laden branches can cause significant damage to your roof, gutters, windows, and more.

Screens off: If you have the kind of windows that utilize screens in the summer that need to be stored for the winter, now is the time to remove them. If you have storm windows and doors to replace the screens, get them on while the weather is nice.

If you have any questions about repairs or replacement windows, please give us a call.

 

Extending Your Day on the Deck: Deck Lighting

Deck lighting is a welcome addition to enhance both the ambiance and the functionality of a deck. You’re not limited in deck lighting options to help you achieve the lighting effect for which you want to achieve, so take the time to think about what you want and need.

Landscape Lighting

Lighting on and around your deck enhances your landscaping and the presentation of your outdoor living space. Lighting provides a warm element that invites seeing your space in a whole new way. Lighting in landscaping can complement deck lighting for a consistent look and feel. Landscape lighting helps provide a lighted path from the gate, path through the yard, and onto the deck.

Deck Lighting

Deck lighting options are as vast as landscape lighting and can feature lighted walkways, stairs, railings, newel posts, and overhead lights. Trex, a popular decking product offers integrated lighting into the materials for a seamless and polished look. If you are just starting a deck building project or remodel project, lighting is something you want to consider ahead of time, so that your selection is easily and beautifully integrated into the final project. The option of using dimmers and timers , as well as solar lights allow you to achieve the lighting that best fits your lifestyle and deck use.

Safety needs

Sufficient lighting on decks adds an element of safety that is necessary for your deck to be an extension of your home. You wouldn’t dream of making guests navigate through your home without lights, so make sure you’re able to offer them the lighting they need to enjoy their time with you on your deck!

Gallery of Deck Lighting Ideas We Can Make Happen for You!

 

Larson Builders