Fall Maintenance Checklist for Your Home

These 6 fall maintenance projects that save you money on energy costs and can help to protect your home from the harsh New England winter.

Gutter in need of cleaningGutters

After all of the leaves have come down, inspect and clean gutters and downspouts. If gutters are clogged dangerous ice dams can form.

Check roofCheck Roof

Inspect the roof for loose, damaged, or missing shingles, corroded flashings, or leaky vents.  If any problems are found contact your local roofing professional to fully assess the condition of your roof.

Sweep fireplace chimneySweep Chimney

Even if you only use your fireplace sparingly, you should inspect it every year for hazards and damage.  There could be creosote buildup, flue blockages, a damaged damper or flue cap. Have your chimney checked by a professional chimney sweep and cleaned if necessary.

rep-windows-2Weatherproof windows and doors

Check weather-stripping and caulk around all windows and doors. A home air leaks around windows and doors can see their heating bills increase by about 10% (according to the U.S. Department of Energy). Weather-stripping and caulk is a simple and cost-effective project to reduce your energy costs.

8579135-cracks-in-asphalt-pavement-of-walkwayCheck Driveway for Cracks

Damaged driveways and walkways can be an expensive hazard. Small cracks can turn into big problems when the weather becomes icy. Filling those small cracks in the fall can help prevent further problems in the winter.

Check sprinklersTurn off and Drain Outdoor Faucets

With temperatures reaching below freezing in Western MA, you need to take steps to ensure that outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems don’t freeze and burst. Close any shut-off valves, blow the sprinkler system free of water, and remove all garden hoses.  

Is your deck safe? Here are 5 Danger Signs to Look For

There are 5 critical signs to look for to evaluate and keep your deck safe. As a homeowner you owe it to yourself, your family and friends to check the integrity of your deck. According to the North American Deck and Railing Association the number of deck failures and injuries from those failures is on the rise. There are 40 million decks in the US that are over 20 years old. Many of these decks were built before specific code requirements were in place, or have just weakened over the years.

The following 5 signs can help you determine whether or not you need to contact your local remodeler to talk about replacement to keep your deck safe.

deck_boards_cracked_peelingWood rotting or cracking

Wood can rot and crack from aging, or the elements over time. If wood within the frame of the deck is rotted or cracked it can weaken your deck. It will no longer perform up to standards and make the deck unsteady and prone to collapse.

Missing Connections

There should be a system of connections called the “continuous load path” throughout your deck framing. These connections are essential to a safe, sturdy, code-compliant deck. If these connections are not installed correctly or have weakened over time your deck may be unsafe. The deck should be connected by a combination of screws, nails, and metal joist hangers. Check to see if all of the connections are present and correctly installed.

Loose Connections

Depending how old your deck is or how it was initially built, some essential connections may have decayed. Ledgers that seem to be pulling away from your house, unstable railings, loose or missing stairs, and loose deck boards are all troubling issues that need to be corrected to keep your deck safe.

Corrosion of metal

Water damage can cause rust and corrosion to metal pieces of your deck. The integrity of the joists, screws, and flashing can be compromised from the water damage. This corrosion will ultimately weaken the structural integrity of your deck.

Deck footings, Proper Footing to keep deck safe

Paradis Remodeling and Building

A deck in need of replacement in South Hadley

Posts without concrete footings

The deck posts need to be attached to concrete footings with the proper piers and anchors to keep the deck safe. Posts that are on the ground may not be able to resist lateral and upload lifts.

As a homeowner you can easily check these five signs to evaluate your deck. If any of these problems exist your deck may be unsafe and prone to collapse. You should contact your local remodeler immediately for a consultation to determine what steps should be taken to keep your deck safe.