(BPT) - As temperatures drop, you're reminded that Old Man Winter will soon rear his ugly head. Before the first flurries fly, it's important to take some winterization steps to ensure your home is ready for whatever the season brings.
This five-point checklist will help safeguard your home against winter's woes for another year. For additional winterization ideas and detailed project plans, visit Real Cedar.com.
Inspect each window from the outside to see if any gaps or cracks are present. These small openings let in cold air and are also inviting to small critters looking for protection from the cold.
If you find some gaps, it’s important to seal them quickly. Apply caulk to the openings to prevent cold air from seeping in, helping to cut down on heating bills. Plus, you won’t have to worry about bugs making your home their hibernation haven. Note: never caulk above or below the window and door openings, as this may block moisture drainage.
Prep the deck
The amount of work you have to put into winterizing your deck depends on your decking material. For example, a durable, long-lasting material such as Western Red Cedar requires the least amount of maintenance. That said, all decks require some upkeep.
To preserve your deck’s luster, start by cleaning it with a warm, soapy solution and a soft-bristle brush. Do not power wash as this can damage the wood. It’s important that you remove all dirt and debris from the surface as well as in between the boards to improve ventilation.
Next, inspect the deck for mold. If present, wash the deck with a mild oxygen bleach solution and leave on the surface for 30 minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Finally, remove anything that might leave marks on the deck’s surface such as furniture, planters and mats.
Protect planter boxes
The majority of planter boxes are made with Western Red Cedar. That’s because the wood is naturally resistant to rot, decay and insects; and therefore, doesn’t require treatment from potentially dangerous chemicals that can leach into soil and plants. But like all garden beds, real cedar planters need protection during the winter months.
Start by removing all soil and cleaning the boxes as you did the deck. Then, if possible, store emptied planters in a garage, shed or under the porch. If you don't have the space to store them this way, then cover them with a water-repellent tarp to protect from moisture buildup, but don’t seal the tarp. As with decks, it’s very important that you allow for proper ventilation.
Look for weak trees or those with dead branches, particularly those near your home. As snow accumulates, the weight may bring down a tree or branches, potentially damaging your house.
Eliminate this risk by removing any dead trees or dangerous branches now before the first snow. Be safe by using the proper equipment for tree trimming and removal, or, consider hiring a pro to do so. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and handling this issue now could prevent costly damage to your home down the road.
Clean the roof
Your roof is a large portion of your home, and it also holds a lot of snow over the winter. To prevent ice dams and other roof problems when freezing temperatures arrive, it's important to clean gutters and check your roof for problems now.
Start by taking all debris out of gutters to ensure free flow for water. Next, walk around your roof and inspect it for any damage. Repair loose shingles and make sure the chimney and vents look intact and secure. Your roof takes on a lot of weight from ice and snow during the winter months and you want it to be as strong as possible.
A few simple steps now can mean a cozy, safe winter for you and your entire family. Add these five steps to your winterization to-do list for this weekend and give yourself valuable peace of mind.
Before you can fully enjoy your outdoor living spaces this spring, chances are high you’ll need to wash away a layer of winter grime. Take yourself one step closer to backyard barbecues, leisurely evenings around the fire pit and generally reveling in all the season has to offer with these tips for updating your outdoor living environment.
Prepare Outdoor Spaces for Warm Weather Use
(Family Features) Before you can fully enjoy your outdoor living spaces this spring, chances are high you’ll need to wash away a layer of winter grime. Thoroughly cleaning and sprucing up these outdoor areas can get you well on your way to a season filled with outdoor entertainment.
Take yourself one step closer to backyard barbecues, leisurely evenings around the fire pit and generally reveling in all the season has to offer with these tips for updating your outdoor living environment.
Make functional repairs. Start with a careful scan of your yard, giving close attention to items that may have sustained damage during months of disuse. Look for cracks in planters and other items. Inspect wooden furniture and accessories for splintering and rough patches. Check the bolts and hardware securing furniture, especially moving pieces like swinging benches or rocking chairs that are prone to loosening over time. Where needed, make repairs, apply fresh stain or paint and generally ensure each item is in good working condition.
Turn attention to aesthetics. Once everything is ready functionally, you can turn your attention to appearances. In most cases, a vigorous washing is all you need to bring fresh life to windows, siding, decking, sidewalks and other concrete or stone surfaces. An electric pressure washer can make short work of the task, and each of Briggs & Stratton’s models offers a variety of maximum pressure and flow rates to fit homeowners’ unique outdoor cleaning needs. These units feature an onboard detergent tank to easily store and dispense cleaning detergents. Some pressure washers offer additional versatility, such as the POWERflow+ model that has a high pressure mode – ideal for cleaning tough grime – and a high flow mode, which is particularly useful for extended reach, power soaping, power rinsing and delicate surfaces.
For best results when using a pressure washer – whether you’re power washing the patio, cleaning outdoor furniture, washing outdoor windows, rinsing out the grill or scrubbing messy garbage bins – aim the spray nozzle perpendicular to the surface you’re cleaning. Use a steady motion because inconsistent pressure leads to striping. Be sure to “feather” your strokes, overlapping each previous sweep with half the height of the new sweep. Also, allow the detergent soak into difficult stains for 3-5 minutes before rinsing so it has time to latch onto the stain and pull it from the surface.
Focus on details. An outdoor space can evolve from a practical area for outside activities into a true extension of your home with just a few simple touches. Plush cushions make it more comfortable to spend extended time outdoors and accents like rugs and decorative accessories lend a sense of character and charm. Convenience features like end tables make it easy to rest a refreshing beverage nearby. Also consider elements like fans and shades to manage the climate as temperatures climb, and don’t overlook the importance of lighting so your enjoyment can continue after the sun fades from the sky.
Find more tips to get your outdoor living space ready for spring at briggsandstratton.com.SOURCE:
Briggs & Stratton
Interested in Publishing on The Outdoor Idea?
Send your query to the Publisher today!