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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.


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!


Maintaining Your Deck

maintaining your deckIs your deck looking weathered and faded?

If your wood deck is peeling, discolored in places, warping, or splitting, chances are your deck is in need of some maintenance. Wood is still a popular choice in deck building materials, but it requires regular maintenance to make sure the wood stays in top condition.

Typically, you will have a choice of two wood products. A chemically treated product (known throughout the industry as green treated) or a natural product (cedar or redwood). Either product will need maintenance to keep your investment looking good. Furthermore, keep in mind that both products will dry out and will need re-staining and re-sealing. It is best to get into a habit of maintaining your deck so you can enjoy it for years to come.

How often do you need to stain and seal your deck?

Each deck is different, and how often you need to restain your deck depends on a number of factors including the type of stain you use, the finish you used the previous time, heavy usage, and exposure to extreme elements. Some stains are more transparent than others, and the more transparent of stain you choose, the faster it tends to wear off. Typically, you can expect to stain your deck every one to five years.

Each time you stain and seal your deck is the perfect time to go through a deck safety and inspection checklist.

  • Split, jagged, or broken boards.
  • Mildew on wood, rust on metal components
  • Loose railings
  • Screws/nails no longer sunk in or flush with boards
  • Check risers and stringers of stairs for decay or instability
  • Attachment to home; any sign of pulling away is an emergency!

If you have questions about the safety of your deck or items that may need repair, contact us at once.


Deck Building Trends and Amenities

trends in decksA there’s no doubt that a deck enhances the beauty and function of your home. Today, home owners find all kinds of uses for decks, making them an extension of the kitchen, dining room, living room and/or rec room. In our fast paced society, finding a quiet space to unwind and enjoy the beauty of the outdoors is important and a deck offers all of that.

Deck Trends

If building a relaxing deck space sounds appealing or you have ideas of enhancing your current deck to make it better fit your lifestyle, then some of the new deck trends may be something you want to explore. Recent innovations offer amenities such as maintenance free materials, lighting, shade, built in seating, and much more.

You don’t have to settle for a boring rectangular deck. Decks can be any shape and multiple levels. They can have water features such as fountains or contain built-in storage areas for cushions and gardening hoses. Many people are adding outdoor kitchens, heating, and view-through railing systems. A decision to build or remodel a deck should take into consideration the amount of time you plan to spend on the deck and how you want to use the space.

We’ve found many customers really love the maintenance free options available with the Trex decking system. A great resource for ideas is available at Trex.com, and we’ve incorporated many of these into recent projects. We invite you to take a look at some of the deck options available, and then give us a call to discuss your ideas. And of course, never begin a deck project without considering these factors.

What does your future deck look like?


Larson Builders