Getting Your Home Ready for the Winter

Before you know it, our warm weather will be replaced by some chilly fall weather and it will be time to start thinking about getting your home ready for winter.  The following early preparation tips will go a long way to helping you avoid common winter weather pitfalls, while keeping you warm and saving you money.

Trees and shrubs

A good place to start is to look at what is going on with the trees in your yard.  If branches are crowding your home, look dead or likely to come down with stronger winds, you will be much better served by bringing them down where you want them.

Trimming trees before potential winter storms opens up the tree’s canopy, reduces fallen branches and keeps your home safe.  Although shrubs and bushes will not fall on the home, properly trimming them before the winter will insure that water and debris have little chance to collect on the surfaces of the home and siding.

If you are not sure or need a refresher on how to properly trim branches, Fiskars has an instructional post HERE on how to do just that.

Gutters

Once the trees are no longer potential hazards to your home, you’ll want to check the gutters.

Maintained gutters and downspouts divert water away from your house and protect your home and foundation from the harmful effects of water.  Scheduled cleanings may be all that is necessary to keep rain water going where it should. When the heavy and constant rain begins, debris are likely to gather in gutters, causing pooling of water and other compounded problems.

You may elect to use a handyman, we refer some HERE, but the job can be done without great cost using a hose, ladder, gloves and trowel. Give special consideration to the corners and connections where debris is likely to gather.  Although many customers employ the use of gutter guards to decrease the labor of cleaning the gutters, they too must be cleaned regularly.

Rinsing the gutter with a garden hose, allows you to inspect the seams for leaks. Once dry you can repair leaks with an approved sealant. Make sure the gutters are strongly attached to the home and look for any large gaps between the fascia and the gutter that will allow water to drip or flow. Your fascia should be inspected for evidence of water damage so that any needed repairs can be done while weather is cooperative. If your home has steel gutters, be sure and check for rust or any exposed metal that will begin to rust. Paint over exposed metal on the gutters and replace any rusted areas as needed.

Lastly work your way down from your ladder and check that water is properly diverted away from your home. Since you rinsed the gutter with the hose you should be able to see if water is flowing away from the house or pooling. If water is pooling consider flexible gutter extensions or installing French drains if needed.

Roofing

Check your roof for potential signs of current or future leaks.  Do you have any broken or missing roof shingles? Is the flashing around chimneys, skylights and vents flush with the roof? Check your attic, the upper crawlspace and any top ceilings for stains from potential leaks. If you find any areas that look concerning, check them right after a rain. If they are damp or the stain changes size or color than it is likely that you have a leak.

Although some roof repairs can be completed by a knowledgeable and experienced homeowner we strongly encourage the use of a professional roofer to make any necessary repairs.  Many roofers are also available to look over the condition of your roof if you are not able to do the pre-winter inspection yourself. We refer dependable and local roofing contractors and handymen on our Contractor Referral page HERE if you are in need of any assistance.

Windows and Doors

Missing or damaged weather stripping on doors and cracked caulking around windows, are major issues when trying to keep your home warm in the winter. These fixes are relatively easy and inexpensive compared with high energy bills later on.

Start by checking the sills and all moving parts of your windows and sliding glass doors for dirt and debris. Debris can get caught in sills and moving parts causing improper seals. Clean these areas with shop-vac on the outside as well as the inside, to create a tighter seal and increase the performance of your windows. Check the seals and make sure they are properly caulked.  The caulking should not have any gaps or cracking and should be in a continuous bead along the seams of the window. If caulking is absent or damaged we suggest re-caulking the area with a multi-polymer caulk like Alex Plus Windows and Door which has a 40 year warranty and comes in 9 colors.

Caulking can be one of those frustrating skills to acquire so check out the video we found below for help.

The weather stripping on the inside jams of doors is the greatest entry point for cold drafts leaking into the home. Your heating system is constantly fighting to make you comfortable, not to mention the increased monetary expense of fighting these intrusions. Check the weather stripping around all your doors for damaged or missing pieces that need to be replaced. Make sure and bring your damaged weather stripping into the store so it can be easily matched.

Watch the video below if you’re new to replacing weather stripping.

Some other areas that will assist in stopping heat loss

  • Install blinds, shades or window coverings
  • Installing storm doors on exterior entryways will add an extra layer of insulation to help lower draft impacts
  • Replace old windows with energy efficient double or triple pane windows
  • Replace old doors with fiberglass

Heating Systems

Whether you are heating with wood or have a furnace, now is the time to do the maintenance.  This can be as simple as changing the furnace filter and getting it serviced by a technician or getting the chimney cleaned.  In most cases this is as simple as a phone call to your local heating company or chimney sweeper before they are booked with peak season calls.

Insulation

Insulate, insulate and you guessed it, insulate some more.  Adding insulation to the attic will go a very long way to keeping the heat inside your home this winter.  Some applications work well with batt insulation in rolls while others might prefer the blown in type to fill the gaps. Angeles Millwork offers free rental of the Attic-Cat blow in System with purchase of AttiCat Loose Fill insulation. Attached garages are frequently left uninsulated and if you are in and out of the house through the garage you could benefit from insulating this space. Also, pay attention to upper crawl space and attic entrys. Using some self adhesive weather stripping around the edges will help with keeping your heat in.

Electrical Boxes

Another area in need of additional insulation is the electrical boxes for switches, phone and cable junctions. When they are located on exterior walls you can sometimes feel a cold draft coming through the box. Using low-expanding foam to fill the gaps between the box and the exterior wall surface will solve this problem with little need for expertise, just be careful not to spray foam inside the box.

If you’re new to expanding foam or want to know of other money saving uses for it click HERE for the blog post “17 Ways to Master Expanding Foam Insulation”.

Hoses, Water Pipes & Facets

A garden hose that freezes can actually burst an interior water pipe.  Freezing water causes expansion and increased pressure through the whole plumbing system. All hoses should be unhooked and stored away before the first hard freeze is forecast. Be sure and place a faucet insulator over the spigot after draining the faucet

Insulating the pipes under your home in unheated areas, will not only insure that they don’t freeze but will also allow warm water to flow more efficiently throughout the house during the colder months. This is a very easy and inexpensive fix that any homeowner can accomplish. Merely purchase some foam pipe insulation and wrap the pipes securing it with duct tape.

Emergency Kits

Finally, as you work through the winterizing projects on your list, remember to stock up on the things you will likely need in bad weather. Ice Melt, Snow Shovels and Tarps are the first items we stock that run out in anticipation for a winter storm.  We previously posted on our blog HERE about emergency kits for Earthquake preparedness and many of the items will work perfectly in case of a strong winter storm.

As Russell Wilson once said, “the separation is in the preparation”.  For your sake, I hope the preparation provides a warm layer of separation from the elements while you enjoy a good book and some hot chocolate.

Using Krylon’s New Sea Glass Paint

One of the greatest new DIY spray paints around is Krylon’s Sea Glass Spray Paint.  It’s not only easy to use but the amount of projects that can be created is endless!  Krylon Sea Glass spray paint will give any clear glass surface a refined, beach-inspired look while having excellent adhesion and durability. The finish after application will look as if your glass was tumbled smooth and matte by the seas waves.

Revamping vases bought at Goodwill and simply painting them is a great start and a perfect way to learn how to use the paint with little investment, but we aren’t happy with just painting a vase.  We have found a bunch of alternative ways online to use the paint and for you to add our own personal touches.

Check out the different projects below, find what intrigues you and drop on by one of our stores to pick up some Krylon Sea Glass Spray Paint.

Nautical Ornament

Frosted Glass Picture Frame

 

Painting Camouflage with Krylon Spray Paint

Don’t get spotted in the wild!  Just in time to prepare for the upcoming hunting seasons we have Krylon Camouflage Paint made with Fusion for Plastic® Technology that can assist you in staying out of sight and achieving your the best shot possible.

Available at both stores in 4 colors (Camo Green, Camo Khaki, Camo Brown and Camo Black) and @ $6.78 a spray can.

Camouflage is all about gaining an advantage over the target by blending into the environment, giving you the greatest advantage at being successful.  There are countless patterns of camouflage meant to blend into your terrain and vegetation but stick to mimicking the environment you’re hunting in.  It doesn’t make much sense to use camouflage on clothing and equipment but leave out  your gun.

Below is an easy way to accomplish a custom camouflaged gun for any terrain.

You can paint camouflage using the instructions on the video below from the YouTube channel InnerBark Outdoors to paint coolers, vehicles, firearms, and more! Want to know more about InnerBark Outdoors? Visit their website HERE and follow them on social media!

Camouflage Painting Tips

  • The best way to camouflage an object is to match it to the surroundings in which it will be located
  • Use colors in the same family that work well together
  • Start painting with the lightest color and move to the darkest color
  • Look to nature and use local tree leaves, ferns and branches as your stencils
  • Take your time. Let coats fully dry! Since there is a lot of overlapping, small mistakes won’t show
  • As with any spray paint, use several light coats instead of one heavy coat
  • Always read the directions before applying the spray paint

How to Properly Stain a Deck

A deck is a huge investment for any home owner. Making sure it stays clean and protected will insure it has a long life. With the proper cleanup and a proper application of stain you can avoid costly repairs and regular degradation that many wood deck owners experience.  Once completed you can restore your old deck or further protect a newer deck.  Taking this time on an annual or bi-yearly basis will have you dodging the need for major repairs, leaving it protected from weather and allowing the natural look of wood to shine through.

Prep and Cleaning

This is the most important part of staining your deck.  Do it correctly and be patient with drying and you will be rewarded with an easy staining experience.

Clear your deck of all your potted plants, outdoor furniture and other obstacles on your deck. Blow off or sweep the deck clean of any debris, leaves and dirt.  Cover all perimeter plants and shrubs located around the deck with painter’s plastic or drop clothes.

Once fully cleaned, check the deck boards that may need to be replaced. Deck boards that are rotten, severely warped or have large splits should be replaced.  Look for nails that may have raised up and use larger nails to re-secure the boards. Minor splits can be sanded down using an orbital sander to smooth the surface.  Check you gaps between boards for buildup of old leaves, pine needles and dirt removing with a flat plastic putty knife or straight edge. Re-sweep the deck and hose the surface down to remove any stubborn debris.

Suit yourself up with the proper protection with gloves, old clothing and eye protection when working with any chemical cleaners and following the manufacturer’s directions, apply a wood cleaner such as 30 Second Cleaner or SuperDeck Wood Cleaner with a pressurized garden sprayer being careful not to let the solution dry.  Agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water. Allow deck to fully dry.

Once fully cleaned let’s bring back the color and vibrancy that you remember when the deck was first installed. SuperDeck Wood Brightener should do just that. Hopefully you still have all your protective gear so make sure your pressurized garden sprayer is cleaned of any previous chemicals and use it to apply the wood brightener in the same way as the cleaner. Don’t let the solution dry and agitate the cleaner into the wood with a long handled stiff bristled brush for 10 -15 minutes and then rinse off with water.

Rinse off the plastic you used to protect the surrounding plants and store away for use when staining.

Allow deck to dry fully for at least three days before moving on to staining.

Staining the Deck

If you don’t have a favorite stain and color there are many to choose from so we advise getting some advice in our stores from one of our paint specialists for your proper environment and for maximum protection.  Take advantage of our annual exterior stain sales that starts around Memorial Day and runs through June. It will undoubtedly save yourself some needed cash and allow for some new deck accessories.

These are the most popular of exterior deck stains we stock and sell. Click images for direct link to manufacturer’s website.

Penofin stain and coatings logo

Cover the plants to protect them from any splattering.

Stir the stain thoroughly and pour the stain into a paint tray. Apply a THIN coat of stain using a paint roller attached to a long handle rolling it in the direction of the boards making sure the stain does not puddle or pool.

With a paint brush get all the ends of the boards stained and allow the deck to fully dry.  Repeat this process at least two more times utilizing multiple thin coats rather than a single heavy coat.

Once you have completed the process inspect the deck fully for any areas you might have missed, paying attention to the ends of boards, stairs, railings or other attached wood structures.

Now is the fun part!  Remove the plastic protecting the plants, return your outdoor furniture to its place and start planning that summer bar-b-que to show off your hard work.

If you clean and stain your deck every 1-2 years you will have a deck that will stay protected, looking new and perfect for your outdoor enjoyment. Have questions? Come in and ask to talk with one of our paint & stain specialists or give us a call.  We’d be happy to help!

The Complete Interior Painting Guide

painterNo doubt the rain has arrived in the Northwest moving us from projects outside to the indoors.  Get a jump start on a fresh new look just in time for the holiday gatherings and family time spent indoors.

Interior painting is the fastest way to change your living space and with some insider tips, the easiest.  Once completed it will transform your living space.  Most homeowners can paint rooms with a little guidance, a bit of patience, and practice.  We hope that the links below can provide you with a road map to a successfully painting a room within your home.

Just stop by Angeles Millwork & Lumber Co or Hartnagel Building Supply and either of our paint specialists, Denise or Coy would be happy to show you new color trends, pro tricks of the trade and whole room design options.

plWhich Paint?

Lets start first with what kind of paint you’ll need for certain areas of the home.  Pratt and Lambert offers a variety of premium interior paints that promise beautiful results for any style, any budget – and every home.

Interior paint selector for Pratt and Lambert.

swatches2Which Color?

We all have our specific color tastes. How different colors interact can be difficult to predict and have a large affect on emotion. Sometimes the best way to start is with something you and your family have a positive attachment to. Compare artwork that you like, the colors in a throw pillow or rug or some of the colors you already have in your home.  These can all be great starting points for your color search. Choosing color is often the toughest part of painting and is often a process of elimanation through obtaining paint swatches and painting small sections of wall for comparisons. Click below for the top tips on choosing interior paint colors.

How to choose interior paint colors.

brushesWhich Brush/Roller?

The outcome of most jobs are as good as the tools you choose.  Picking the right brush and roller is as important as the right paint and a small investment can be the difference between good and great.  Bunnings Warehouse has a great general post on how to select the right paint brushes and rollers and Wooster has a great “Brush & Roller Advisor” to help in choosing the right brush for the job.

How to select the right brush and roller.

Wooster Brush Advisor.
Wooster Roller Advisor.

paint-accesoriesWhat accessories will I need?

Having the right supportive cast of tools to do the job will save you time and make your paint job look like a professional came in and did it. 90% of a great paint job is prep.  Here’s a short list of items need along with you paint, brushes and rollers.  Be sure when purchasing your painting supplies that you take full advantage of our paint specialists.  They have countless years in the industry and are there to help in making your painting project come out great!

Masking Tape – creates smooth lines and protects between walls, ceiling, baseboards and flooring.

Drop cloth – plastic or canvas to protect flooring and furniture.

Bucket and grid –  it will keep you painting instead of constantly refilling a roller tray.

Gloves – keep those hands clean!

Rags – for the inevitable drip and splatter.  It’s easier to clean wet paint than dried!

How to paint your interior space.

You’re all prepared and ready.  Time to put the brush to wall!  This Old House has a great page devoted to proper paint application to an interior space.

How to paint a room.