Monthly Archives: March 2015

Structural Home Fixes Part 1: How to Fix or Replace a Roof

How to Fix or Replace Your RoofHomeowners today are making measured, timely decisions about their homes that take care of improvement projects like structural fixes or replacement before they become emergencies. In this way, homeowners are protecting their property as well as their investment, financial and otherwise. In part one of our series that tackles structural home fixes, we explore options for fixing or replacing your roof.

Your first decision should be based on a thorough inspection of the roof to determine whether simple patching or repair can repair leaks or other damage you may find – or if it is better for the life of your home to replace the roof entirely. Before the inspection, hire a professional cleaning service or rent a pressure washer to clean the roof, especially if it has moss or a fair amount of debris on its surface. This allows for you to better evaluate the actual condition of the roof. Continue the inspection inside the attic, if possible – especially if you find evidence of leaks.

General Roof Repair

If you find damage to shingles resulting from wind, weather or fallen limbs, it is usually easy and inexpensive to fix:

  • Inspect under the shingles, making sure the roof deck is sound.
  • Remove any worn, torn or damaged shingles and replace with new ones. It’s always a good idea to store new shingles that match the existing roof just for this type of repair. However, you can have the building contractor order matching shingles for you, or you can go with a new one, even if it’s not an exact match.
  • Consistently replacing worn shingles could extend the life of the roof by 10 years or more.

If you find evidence of leaks, such as discolored felt paper under the shingles, other water stains and especially rotted wood around plumbing boots, vents, chimneys, windows, dormers or anything else that is built through the roof, you can still make a fix:

  • If the leak is due to condensation on cold “shiners,” nails that have missed their mark, clip it with a side-cutting pliers.
  • If a plumbing vent is torn, rotted, cracked or has broken seams, replace it with a new one. If the vent is in good shape, but nails are missing or pulled free, replace them with the rubber-washer screws used for metal roofing systems. Be careful when removing shingles around the fix so they can be reused.
  • To repair around windows or dormers, make sure the area is still sealed using a putty knife. Dig in to reveal any old, crumbling caulk. Remove all of it and re-caulk using a silicon latex caulk. Replace any cracked, rotting or missing siding, overlapping the step flashing by at least two inches.
  • If the flashing around a chimney is rusted through, either slip new flashing under the old or cut what’s called a saw kerf into the mortar and install new flashing.
  • If the step flashing along walls is rusted through, replace it with new flashing. If the flashing has come loose, exposing the wall, re-position it and re-nail to the roof.
  • If you find tiny holes in any shingles or in the roof, do not inject caulking into them. Fix the holes by using flashing.

When It’s Time for a New Roof

  • If your roof is more than 20 years old – the projected life of any roofing surface – it’s time for a new roof.
  • If just part of the roof is significantly showing its age, and you live in a severe weather area, replace the entire roof.
  • If you find evidence of a worn or damaged roof deck, do a replacement, so it too can be repaired or in some extreme cases, replaced.

Do the Job Right

Save yourself the hassle of continuous interruptions to the project by having these tools and materials on hand before you start:

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home fixes and repairs. Learn more by reading our blog, Repair and Prepare Your Shingles and Windows for Winter in 6 Easy Steps and if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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Spring Gardening Checklist (Part 2)

Mulching Your Garden for Spring“To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves.” Mahatma Gandhi

Rejoice, gardeners! It’s finally time to start planting. How do we know? The flower beds, vegetable patch and other landscape planting areas contain soil that’s been tilled and amended, and it’s ready.

  • Did you buy a few bare-root fruit trees? Get them in the ground before they start to leaf.
  • Are you growing seedlings in containers? Move them outside and place them in a sunny spot for about a week before planting.
  • Just back from selecting a few balled-and-burlapped trees, shrubs and berry bushes from the nursery? The soil is now dry enough to welcome them in the garden.

Roll out the wheel barrow, bring a shovel and wear some work gloves because you’re going to be digging in the dirt. Here are a few more planting to-do’s:

  • In the lawn, seed bare spots.
  • In the flower beds, plant hardy cool-season annuals such as calendula, larkspur, poppy, snapdragons, English daisy, pansies and sunflowers.
  • In the vegetable garden:
    • Plant cool season vegetables include broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, peas, spinach, lettuces, radishes, beets and strawberries.
    • Transplant asparagus, rhubarb and small fruit plants.

Best Checklist Tip – Mulch, mulch and more mulch

Mulching is one of a gardener’s best friends. It prevents weed growth, conserves moisture, protects against frost or freezes, allows plants to stay at a constant temperature range and maintains the garden through periods of low rainfall. Mulching also improves the structure of the soil by increasing nutrients and worm activity.

Gardeners use a variety of materials for mulch depending upon their garden and landscape design, including straw, compost, shredded bark, grass clippings and other organic material as well as gravel, stones or wood chips. Runyon Rental also recommends HydroStraw hydro seeding mulch, a new alternative to the old conventional wood, paper or cellulose mulches of the past. Made in the USA, HydroStraw is a combination of annually renewable natural fibers, tackifier and other additives specially formulated to provide uniform coverage over a larger area – as much as 50% more mulch over 50% more area. HydroStraw is sprayed on, using less water to apply than other types of hydro seeding mulches.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with gardening projects. Learn more by reading our blog, Tackle Spring Clean-Up in Your Yard with This Handy Checklist. From landscaping tools to seeds and mulch, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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[Infographic] Your Guide to Lawn Aeration: The Basics

Spring, between March and May, is the perfect time to consider aerating your lawn. If your yard suffers from poor drainage, poor subsoil, or brown, worn grass, then it is definitely a good idea to consider renting an aerator for a day and giving your lawn fresh new life again. For steps on how to aerate, check out this blog post, and for other helpful tips, read What Everyone Ought to Know About Lawn Aeration. Hopefully this infographic gives you a good overview of the 101 basics involved in lawn aeration. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have other questions or would like advice on which aerator to use. We have a variety for rent here. Happy plugging away!

Lawn Aeration Basics Infographic

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Your Spring Gardening Checklist (Part 1)

Till Your Garden for SpringPreparing the soil in your garden for planting helps assure a bountiful harvest. Before spring planting and transplanting begins, the soil should be prepared. First, remove old mulch and leftover plants tops, such as those of asparagus or rhubarb from all garden beds. Before any new growth appears on berry plants, remove old canes that look weak, diseased, damaged or bore fruit. Till the soil using a tiller machine.

Tips for Tilling:

  • Adjust the machine to match ground conditions by testing the soil. Depending upon whether the ground is hard or loose, set the tiller accordingly and work a test area, then evaluate the result. Reset the depth bar, tine configuration, throttle or gear selection as necessary and continue tilling.
  • Some tillers are designed to propel itself forward only; some are designed to till when moving both forward and backward. Determine which kind of tiller you’re working with. A forward-only model will need to be hauled backward to re-work the soil.
  • Allow the tiller to “bite” into the soil and work its way forward. After the initial groundbreaking, work the tiller back and forth to cultivate the soil.
  • Adjust the depth bar so the tiller is tilted slightly backwards.
  • For hard, compacted soil or to dig deeper, lower the depth bar. Raise the depth bar when working in softer conditions.
  • To cultivate soft soil or shallow soil, slow the engine speed, which will slow down the tines so the tiller can take smaller “bites” of soil for better performance.
  • To cultivate hard soil, run the tiller at full throttle so the tines can take bigger “bites” of soil.
  • After tilling, use a shove and rake to amend the soil with compost and peat moss, followed by “side dressing” with nitrogen, manure and fertilizer. Remember to test the soil for type of fertilizer and pH recommendations.
  • Fertilize woody plants before new growth begins but after soil temperatures have reached 40 degrees.

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with gardening projects. Learn more by reading our blog, Tackle Spring Clean-Up in Your Yard with This Handy Checklist. From tillers to landscaping tools, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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How to Repair and Replace Window and Door Screens

How to Fix a Window or Door ScreenSpring fever is on the rise – Get ready to enjoy it!

Very soon now, the warmer, milder weather of spring will motivate us to open windows and doors and feel the fresh air. This goes for flies and insects, too – it doesn’t take much of a hole in a screen for them to fly right into your home. Now’s the time to make sure all of your screens are in good condition. What might you find?

  • Holes and punctures in the screen
  • Screens torn away from frames
  • Window, door or screen parts that are rusted, corroded or damaged
  • Screen windows and doors in perfect condition (do a little jig!)

Depending on the condition of your screen windows and doors, you may decide to buy new ones, which can be an expensive proposition especially if your screens are custom-made.

However, do-it-yourselfers are likely to decide on repairing or replacing screens themselves.

How to Repair a Screen

Repair small holes or tears in screens using a patch. Patches will look obvious, yet still do the job of keeping insects out of the house. You will need screen material that matches the original, scissors, a block of wood and a tape measure or ruler.

  1. Trim the hole of excess or damage.
  2. Cut a piece of screen two inches larger than the hole on all sides.
  3. Secure the patch to the outside of the original screen by lacing a piece of wire through completely. Twist the end of the wire around one section of the original screen to finish.
  4. Or, use about ½-inch of the wires on the edges of the patch on all four sides to secure it to the original screen. Bend the ends over a wood block or the ruler edge of a ruler to form prongs.
  5. Place the patch over the hole and push the prongs through the screen.
  6. Bend the prongs toward the center of the hole to secure the patch.

How to Replace a Screen

A less obvious repair job is to replace the entire screen. You will need screen wire fabric, screen staples or tacks, bedding strips or splines for metal frames, scissors, screwdriver and hammer. Metal or nylon screen fabric comes in rolls or large pieces, which is attached differently on wood or metal frames.

  1. Work with each frame on a smooth, flat surface.
  2. Remove the damaged screen from the door or window:
    1. Wood: To free the wire fabric, use a screwdriver to pry up moldings, then remove old staples, tacks and brads.
    2. Metal: Lift and pull the cut end of the bedding strip up and out.
  3. Measure and cut the replacement screen fabric on the grain.
    1. Wood: Cut the fabric 6 inches longer and 3 inches wider than the opening.
    2. Metal: Cut the fabric 3 inches larger than the opening on all sides.
  4. Position screen fabric on the frame. Make sure the grain of the screen fabric lines up parallel to the sides of the frame.
    1. Wood: The screen fabric should extend about 1 inch from the top opening and 1-½ inches from each side.
    2. Metal: The screen fabric should extend about 2 inches from the top opening and 2 inches from each side.
  5. Attach screen fabric to frame.
    1. Wood: Insert screen staples or tacks across the top of the frame every 2 inches. Stretch the screen fabric from top to bottom of the frame, and attach the fabric in same manner as for the top. Tack or staple the sides every 2 inches. Attach the fabric to the center rail last.
    2. Metal: With a screwdriver, seat the bedding strip and edge of the screen fabric into the metal channel. Push the bedding strip into the channel on top of the screen. Pull the screen fabric taut across the frame and secure the other side, then secure the top and bottom by pushing the wire fabric and bedding strip into the channel.
  6. Trim excess wire fabric with a sharp knife or scissors and remove.
  7. Attach molding or quarter rounds. Touch up wood frames with paint, if necessary. 

Expert Advice

Our expert staff is always on hand to help you with home repair projects. From power tools such as drills and hammers, saws, nailers and staplers, if you have any questions about what to choose, pricing or how-tos, don’t hesitate to contact us. Stop by our store — we’re open seven days a week.

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