May 152012

Wood Decks and Springtime

  Spring is in the air everywhere and it’s time to begin enjoying outdoor decks for entertaining friends, barbequing with the family and just watching the sun rise and set. Decks seem to be a favorite project for many very capable “do it yourselfers” and for some not so capable. Often wood decks are built after the original construction without the aid of city building inspectors. It is very important that each deck be inspected before the heavy use season of summer. The Maintenance Guru has included wood deck inspections on this month’s inspection schedule. The inspections only take a few minutes and are designed specifically to prevent accidents while prolonging the useful life of each deck.

Take a few minutes to review the inspection checklist or even print off a copy or view it on your smart phone the next time you plan to spend time on the deck. Critical items to inspect include the railings and supports. In addition, look for nails and screws that may have worked their way loose during the winter expansion and contraction of wood due to rain, snow, and freezing temperatures.

If issues or potential problems are identified, make plans correct them before a real danger exists. If real problems are detected, get them fixed before using your deck. The few minutes you spend ensuring a safe environment will provide many days of enjoyment knowing your deck is safe to use. Go ahead and grill, invite your friends and family, and enjoy the great outdoors for the top of your deck, spring is in the air.

Roof and Gutter Inspection

One of the biggest and most expensive problems a home can experience in the early spring is plugged gutters. Remember back in September and October when the leaves turned colors and began to fall. Then, before you knew it, old man winter came from nowhere with a blast of snow before you had a chance to clean the leaves from the gutter. As the snow fell, so did more leaves, onto your roof then down into the gutters. What happens next is the spring showers come to wash every last leaf off the roof and down into the gutters resulting in gutters that do not drain. Multi level roofs often have areas where leaves “drift” up like snow and then the rain washes big clumps of leaves into the gutter all at once causing the immediate potential for damage.

Instead of draining, plugged gutters act as reservoirs that holds water until it can hold no more and begins to run over the edge (look for water marks on the outside of the gutter indicating water washing over the sides). What happens next is the costly part of home ownership. The water backs up under the shingles and eves and begins rotting the word and can even run into your attic and down the walls of your home. A few minutes of gutter inspection and leaf mitigation can save thousands of dollars in home repairs.

Take the time to inspect your roof and gutters. Plugged gutters need tended to before the heavy rains come. As I sit here in Jacksonville, FL this evening, writing my newsletter, I am watching out the window while the rain pounds against my home. All I can hope for is that my gutters are working as they were designed and carrying the water away from my roof and foundation and into my yard to help it stay green and healthy.

Spring Safety = Ladder Safety:

The last time I talked about ladder safety was around Christmas light hanging time. Well, now the spring is here and roof inspections are upon us, it is time again to get that ladder out and inspect it before use. The ladder inspection checklist remains on the web site as ladder inspections and ladder safety should be practiced with each use.