Great Outdoor Living Ideas: Gutter Gardens for Any Space

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Love the idea of growing your own fresh, pesticide free produce and herbs but believe you can’t because you’re a little short on yard space? Well, thanks to a hip new gardening trend that may no longer be the case.

Gutter gardens have been growing in popularity as those short on space have found them to be a great – and relatively easy to implement – way to to indulge their need for green. . Perfect for patios, decks and porches, as well as tiny yards, these space-saving, sustainable little gardens provide a way for anyone to cultivate fruits, veggies, eye-catching blooms and more, with the added benefit that they certainly lend a rather lovely natural aesthetic to your outdoor décor scheme as well.

Planning Your Gutter Garden

The first step in the creation of any gutter garden is deciding just where you want to place it. All you really need is a sunny space that catches the sun three to four hours a day, so that could mean attached to porch or deck railings, in the places where traditional window boxes are usually found, adorning a plain fence or garden wall and more.

Sourcing your materials should not be that hard either. If you are going for brand new you will find that your local home store stocks a variety of guttering in in a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, including plastic, aluminum or copper. You can choose one long gutter, or go for several shorter pieces for use as accents or to create a stacked design. People are getting pretty darn creative with their gutter gardening efforts so there is no reason that you shouldn’t too.

If you have older guttering lying around in a shed someplace, or maybe you have recently replaced some of the guttering around your home (as you may have to once every several years to ward off water damage issues) that can be used to create a slightly vintage looking garden, great if you like the ‘shabby chic’ vibe.

Getting Things in Place

Before you begin mounting your gutters don’t forget your new garden’s ‘contents’ will need a drainage system. You can achieve this in one of two ways; either drill holes in the bottoms of your gutters, or hang them at a slight angle so that excess water drains away harmelessly (in which case be careful that they will not be draining onto walls or too close to your home’s foundation.) That done, ensure your gutters are securely hung, and then fill them with a good quality potting soil.

So what can you grow in your new gutter garden? All of the following should thrive beautifully with minimum effort on your part:

Herbs: mint, chives, parsley, cilantro, scallions, marjoram, thyme
Flowers: pansies, violas, marigolds
Greens: ornamental lettuces, chard, kale, spinach, arugula,scallions
Vegetables: radishes, beets and shallow carrot varieties
Strawberries!!!

Thanks to their elevated existence, gutter gardens will also resist rabbits, bugs, slugs and other pests that roam on the ground grubbing for food. The added height also makes gutter gardens easier to harvest than ‘normal’ gardens, with no excessive bending over. They are great for renters too, as they don’t involve making any permanent changes that might annoy the landlord!

Not sure what gutter gardens can actually end up looking like? Check out the gallery below for some inspiration:

Adding Beauty and Curb Appeal to Your Landscape with a Back Garden Pond

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Water features are very trendy but what better way to add a little real H20 to your garden than to build a real pond instead of just buying a generic fountain or water feature from your local garden centre? Building your own pond is not as hard or as expensive as you might think and done right a pond can transform an okay garden into something that is truly spectacular.

What Kind of Pond Appeals To You?

You really have two choices when to comes to building a pond. You could choose to create a slightly more natural, organic style pool, mimicking the kind of pond you would find in nature or opt for a more formal style, an ornamental pond that you could keep fish in.

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An organic style pool can be created using all kinds of easier to find rocks, boulders and stones and can be made to be almost any size. An ornamental pond on the other hand would need to be a little larger, especially if you want to use to keep fish in it.

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Which type of pond you choose to build choose depends upon what you are looking for in a finished product. Fish are beautiful creatures and it can be rather amazing – and relaxing – to just sit and watch but you do have to be prepared for the extra work, and expense, it will entail.

An organic style pond can be equally as stunning though and if you take the time to add the right elements it should attract visitors from the bird and animal kingdom that can be just as engrossing to watch.

Choosing the Right Pond Liner

A truly functional and practical pond has to to be more than just a random hole dug into the ground. A pond liner is really a must. If a pond leaks or drains too much water into the soil you will end up with a perpetually soggy garden and, if the pond is too close to your home, possible water damage to the structure.

Again though you do have a choice to make. A preformed pond liner is usually the best choice for first time pond builders. You will find that they come all kinds of predefined shapes and sizes so you still have a lot of design flexibility, but they are a product that is far easier to install than most of the other options.

Flexible pond liners are just that – slightly flimsier and very flexible. They are much trickier to work with but they offer the best way to create a unique layout, very useful if you are working with limited space. As they are not easy to maneuver or place alone though you will need to enlist help if you choose this option.

Planning Your Pond

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Before you ever actually go out shopping for any type of pond liner you need to physically ‘map out’ the pond area. You can do this using a length of rope, stakes or even just a garden hose. After you have mapped out your pond’s intended location take some careful measurements of your desired shape so that you can take them along to the store with you.

Choosing a Garden Pond Pump

In order to keep the pond water fresh – especially if you have chosen an ornamental pond – you will need to buy an good pond pump. Ideally your pond water needs to be recirculated every two to three hours. This will mean looking for a pump that has a gallons per hour rating that is at least half the size of the pond. Don’t guess though, ask for help if you have any doubts at all about the right pump to meet your needs!

Putting the Finishing Touches on Your New Garden Pond

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After your pond and pump are properly installed the real fun begins – decorating and accessorizing it. If you opted for a organic style pond then adding a fountain or some kind of running water feature is often a great idea. Not only will this kind of thing it add to your pond’s visual appeal but birds are usually attracted to the running water. If you provide birds with a nice place to ‘sit’ they will usually quite happily come around a lot – adding even more colour and interest to your back garden.

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If you went for an ornamental pond to keep fish however, your primary focus will be on caring for them as well as the pond itself. There is a certainly a learning curve involved in caring for fish outdoors and you may have to be ready for some occasional tragedies in the beginning but for many people fish tending (and fish watching) actually becomes a hobby they really enjoy.

Lawn Sprinklers, Leaks and Water Damage: Watch to Watch for to Avoid a Summer Disaster

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Many of us are very proud of our lawns and put more than a little effort into keeping them looking as good as possible throughout the Spring and Summer. And when they function properly lawn sprinklers and landscape irrigation systems are wonderful things.

Lawn sprinkler systems minimize the need for hoses and watering cans, help ensure that the lawn is watered at the right time and that water is delivered in just the right quantities. And perhaps most important of all, allow you to go away on vacation without having to worry too much about coming home to a brown, dying patch of grass in front of your house.

This is all when things are in good working order though. If your system develops a leak or other mechanical malfunction it can not only damage the health of your lawn and send your water bill skyrocketing but potentially cause serious water damage the structure of your home as well.

However, given that most of the workings of any lawn irrigation system are buried underground it is not always to tell that you even have a problem at all. It is possible however, and here are some tips for doing just that:

Watch for Telltale Wet Spots

If there are patches or spots on your lawn that seem to now be constantly soggy, or have even a slightly boggy feel when trodden on that is usually a definite sign of either an issue with site drainage or a sprinkler malfunction.

Ruling out surface water drainage issues is relatively easy . Don a pair of water boots and get out into the garden to check if the wet spot is also lower than the surrounding lawn and if it is wet after it rains, when the irrigation system is not in use.

If either of these conditions exist then drainage is likely to be the problem and you may have to call in a landscaper to help you put things right. If not, it is far more likely that sprinkler the system has sprung a leak and is the cause of these damp patches.

Looking for Physical Damage and Water Flow

A physical inspection of any of the visible and accessible elements of your lawn irrigation system is also a must, especially the sprinkler heads and any surface pipes, which are quite prone to accidental damage (usually from a lawnmower) Nozzles may have simply become clogged over time, or the water pressure from the water source in your home may have dropped. These are relatively simple, quick and low-cost repairs that will save you the hassle of having to dig anything up.

You may also be able to spot a leak with some careful and patient observation. A bubbling, gurgling or hissing sound usually indicates a leak. Looking for potential leaks in this manner will allow you to mark the exact spot of the leak using a flag, stake or rock so that a minimum of digging has to be done.

Dying Lawn

A closer look at your lawn may reveal that some parts are getting too much or not enough water. Excessive moisture around plant roots kills its ’tissue’, in this case leaving your grass unable to take up required nutrients and water and exchange gasses, making it vulnerable to fungal invasions. This will manifest itself as wilting blades of grass and new dead patches. On the other hand dry, brown areas of grass may be the result of that section of lawn not getting enough water as a result of reduced water pressure in that section of the irrigation system, a good indication then of just where the problem is.

Check Your Water Meter

If a sprinkler system is leak is very small (at the moment) and your soil drainage on your lawn is good the very first indication you get that there is a problem at all may not come until you receive a bigger water bill in the mail. But so you really want to wait that long? If you use a lawn irrigation system at all get into the habit of occasionally checking the water meter. If the meter is constantly spinning, or, if you are lucky, a leak indicator is activated, and all possible leak sources in the house like toilets, faucets and washing machines have been ruled out, the lawn sprinklers are the likely culprits.

Keeping Cool without Central Air: Window vs. Mini Split Air Conditioner System

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If you live in an area where things get hot in the summer (and that is pretty much everywhere) then if you want life indoors to be any other than miserable for the summer months then you really do need some form of adequate cooling available pretty much on demand.

These days central air is usually considered to be the gold standard but if your home did not come with it can be rather expensive to install. Or, in the case of some older homes pretty much impossible. And if you rent? Well then it’s certainly not an option.

Generally, the next best options are often either window air conditioners or what is known as a mini split A/C system But which system should you choose if you want to move beyond fans and have a cooler, more comfortable summer this year? Here are some of the pros and cons of each to help you decide:

Window Air Conditioner Pros and Cons

Window air conditioners are probably the most popular choice when it comes to residential air conditioning systems and while they get the job done they do have some disadvantages:

Window Air Conditioner Pros

Window based air conditioners are relatively cheap, you can buy a room sized basic model for well under $150.
They are easy to find – even supermarkets carry basic window air conditioner models these days, right in the grocery aisles.
They are relatively easy to install and other than a hand from a strong friend then you won’t need to call in a pro to install it for you.
Renters and people who lease their home can install a window based air conditioner system because they will not actually be making any structural changes that will violate the terms of their lease.

Window Air Conditioner Cons

They have to be fitted to the window and that often involves all kinds of pieces of cardboard, plastic and other odds and ends.
They reduce the security of your home. Its not that hard to get an air-conditioner out of a window so a determined thief could get themselves easy access to your home.
They are rather ugly to look at and if not properly installed they could be a danger to people outside.
If they leak into the windowsill, which can easily happen, they may permanently damage it and even the walls themselves, leading to potentially serious water damage over time.
You do have to remove them at the end of the summer, find somewhere safe to store them and then re-install them when the good weather returns.

Mini Split Air Conditioning System Pros and Cons

Mini split A/C systems are basically a smaller, cheaper version of a central air system. They comprise of an outdoor condenser and inside wall mounted cooling units that are called zones. These are ductless systems so they are easier and cheaper to install than a central air system but you will still need to pay a professional to come into your home to install it.

Mini Split A/C System Pros

There are no ugly boxes to mount in the windows, the zones are wall mounted inside.
More complicated systems can also be used as heaters in the winter as well.
They tend to be a little more energy efficient in terms of per unit cost than a large window mounted air- conditioner.
The system is permanent, there is no need to take it apart in the winter in the way that you have to with a window mounted air conditioner.

Mini A/C Split System Cons

They cost far more than a window based air-conditioner.
You will have to pay a professional to come in and install the system.
As they are ‘intrusive’ and require a structural change to the home, this kind of system is not an option for anyone who rents or leases their home.
A mini A/C split system does require more maintenance than a window based air conditioner, which is an annual expense you will have to account for.
The system is still potentially prone to leakage if not meticulously maintained, and water damage to walls is no laughing matter.

In the end the choice between the two systems often comes down to a balance of your available budget and your personal living arrangements. Whichever you choose though do take the time to comparison shop between the various models available to make sure you are getting the best possible deal and then make sure you understand just what it is going to take – or who to call – to keep everything in great working order.

Beating the Heat: What Summer Really Means for Your Pipes

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Most people really only worry about the water pipes in their home in the winter, usually keeping a fairly careful watch as they are aware of just what havoc frozen pipes can cause. Once the cold weather departs however most people forget all about them. After all, it’s sunny and warm outside, what could possibly go wrong?

Actually more than one or two things. The warmer weather can in fact cause all of the following issues that not only should you be aware of but actively on the look-out for:

Sweating Pipes

It’s not just people who sweat in the summer heat, your pipes will too, if they are not adequately insulated. Sweating pipes can lead to slow leaks that may go undetected for months – leading to water damage, mould and mildew – or, if the pipes are also older, the same kind of potentially catastrophic breaks that you were so afraid of in the winter.

Sewer Backups

Summer rain showers are not usually a daily occurrence in our area but they are certainly not unusual either. And as these showers tend to be short but intense they can lead to unexpected sewer backups. Deep rooted plants and trees that are going through their spring and summer growth phases may cause problems as well. To help prevent this schedule a ‘check-up’ for your sewer system before the summer gets into full swing.

Clogged Drains and Waste Disposals

Summer is cookout season, which is a wonderful thing. Unfortunately it’s easy to get sidetracked by your culinary efforts and entertaining guests and do something rather silly like pouring grease from the grill into an outdoor drain, or even the garbage disposal. This of course can lead to troublesome clogs even if you only do it once.

Water Heater Issues

During the winter, it’s important to have your water heater at a high temperature. In the summer, keeping your heater above 140 degrees is really just be a waste of energy. As long as your hot water is at least 125 degrees, it won’t grow dangerous bacteria – a definite possibility in the warmer temperatures of the summer – and you’ll save money on energy bills as well.

Bathroom Issues

In the summer, when it’s hot and sticky people get the same way and so it’s pretty usual for the shower to be put to greater use. Which means a hot, humid bathroom because even in the summer a cold shower is not something that is in any way pleasurable. If a bathroom is not properly ventilated this will lead to an increased chance of lingering damp that will lead to mould and potential water damage. To help prevent this leave the bathroom exhaust fan running a few minutes longer than usual after your shower to ensure that as much warm, damp air is removed from the space as possible.

Layout Basics to Form the Backbone of the Perfect Kitchen Remodel

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Did you know that remodeling the kitchen is the single most frequently undertaken home improvement project in the Western world.? Beautiful, and yet still very functional, new kitchens do not just ‘happen” to come together like magic though. A great kitchen remodel calls for good planning, a great design and then an expert contractor team – designers, electricians, plumbers – to put all of these pieces together as one wonderful whole. A kitchen has to function well as well as look good, and far too many DIY jobs result in crooked cabinets, wonky floors and bad plumbing that can lead to all kinds of problems, including water damage.

No matter how a kitchen design eventually evolves, all kitchens have three basic task areas that have to be incorporated into the plans. There are the cooking areas (the stove, the microwave etc) food storage (the refrigerator) and the cleanup area (sink/dishwasher) For a kitchen design to be truly efficient, the paths between these areas has to be easy and uncluttered ones and all of the other features that a homeowner wants to incorporate in their new renovated kitchen have to be built around them. Here is a look at the most common options:

U Layout 

One of the most commonly utilized basic kitchen layouts is the U shaped set up. In this scenario at least three cabinets (usually more though) topped with functional counter-tops are laid out in a U shape. Then the cleanup area is located in the center of one side, which simplifies the plumbing, the food storage on another, and the cooking area in the third.

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This set up then leaves an open area in the center of the kitchen space that should allow more than one cook to work unobstructed and without crashing into one another. If the kitchen space is large enough an island inserted into the ’empty’ space can be a great idea as well, both in terms of form and function.

G-shaped Kitchen

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A G shaped kitchen layout is fairly similar, with the exception of a short additional counter added at a 90 degree angle on one of the cabinet ends. If such a set up is viewed from above it really goes look like a capital G, thus the name. Many homeowners who spend a lot of time actually cooking in the kitchen love this set up as the extra workspace comes in handy for all kinds of things!

L shaped kitchen

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An L shaped basic kitchen layout is another very popular choice, especially among those who are opting for a high end countertop choice such as granite that they really want to showcase as prominently as possible. And it is effective as two long counters are placed at a 90 degree angle to one another to form one continuous, beautiful L shape.

In the basic L layout the sink (cleanup) area is usually located at the center of one of the counter, the cooking area in a similar position on the other side and the fridge slotted in at the far end. This leaves two sides wide open, creating lots of space for people to work.

These though are simply three of the most commonly used basic kitchen layouts there are of course many more. In addition, in the hands of the right kitchen remodeling specialists even these very basic layouts become something very special and unique to both the individual home and its owner’s personal design aesthetic.

 

Your Deck and Water Damage – What You Need to Know Now

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Lots of homes today boast beautiful hardwood decks , decks which, apart from looking rather good, provide an excellent, permanently set up location for outdoor entertaining, cook-outs, or simply spending a relaxing few hours with a long cool drink and a book, or a charming companion, simply enjoying the outdoors.

Decks that are properly installed and constructed using quality materials should last for decades. However, those with less than stellar build quality, or those that are solid but shoddily maintained, often suffer water damage – sometimes serious water damage – at the hands of the elements.

Causes of Deck Water Damage

The Rain

The rain, both winter downpours and summer showers, is the biggest culprit when it comes to water damage and your deck. Decks are unavoidably perpetually exposed to the elements and prolonged exposure to rain can’t help but have an effect. Unless the deck is properly sealed, water can easily work its way to get into the wood itself, causing staining, swelling, and softening of the structure and weakening it considerably. Decks usually need resealing every 5 to 7 years or so, depending upon the average rainfall in your area.

Mould

Where there is excess or pooled water, there will almost always be mould, and mould on wooden decks is a common problem for many homeowners. It can usually be avoided, or at least minimized, by keeping the deck clean of dirt and other debris by sweeping often and cleaning the deck regularly. Power washers, though, should be avoided, since they can seriously damage the wood. Yes, that means mopping the deck the old fashioned way (on a nice, dry day of course) but the effort will be worth it.

The Sun

Darn those summer weather conditions If there isn’t rain, then the sun may also cause your deck problems, as it tends to fade and dry out wood over time, making it susceptible to dry rot and other similar problems. Again, proper sealing is the answer.

How to Protect Your Deck

As we have mentioned, decks should be resealed every couple of years but how do you know when it’s time. One fairly sure-fire way to determine that is to watch the water on your deck ‘acts’. If it beads up, you’re still protected. If not, then it’s time for new sealant.

Decks can – and should – also be protected from damage caused by too much sunlight through the application of a UV protecting finish that disrupts the chemical reactions caused by the sunlight’s ultraviolet rays. Some of the newer sealants do already have UV protection built in though, so read labels carefully when buying your supplies at the home store.

In addition you can protect your deck, and your home in general, by making sure that your gutters are cleaned out and functioning properly, draining water away from the deck instead of onto it or across it. If you have pot plants on your deck – which many people do, as they do look very pretty, ensure that they are placed on pot risers or mats at all times, to prevent the run off from watering from causing unseen water damage over time.

Natural Swimming Pools: A New Outdoor Trend Examined

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Natural swimming pools – also known as natural pools – are all the rage in Europe and they are now becoming more and more popular here as well. The idea is that while still being a functional swimming pool these pools provide a chemical free environment for all kinds of creatures and plants. A swimming hole for the back garden if you like. The eco friendly brigade love the idea, as do those looking to beautify their outdoor space but not in a way that requires too much on-going maintenance.

As water damage restoration specialists  who spend a great deal of time with water – usually when it where it’s where it’s not supposed to be though – we do have an acute understanding of the importance of water conservation, and as regular homeowners we have a keen interest in home trends both indoors and out, so we have to say these natural swimming pools really intrigue us.

According to some landscaping buddies though one of the biggest reasons that the concept of trading a chemical and chlorine soaked swimming pool for a natural pool alternative has taken its time catching on in North America  is that there are more than a few myths about them that have been putting people off. Here though, are some facts behind those myths, and a few reasons why they really are worth a second thought:

Natural Pools are Very Expensive

One of the biggest myths out there about natural pools is that they are a lot more expensive to have built than a conventional swimming pool. However, that is not really the case. In terms of construction costs , if you have  builders or landscapers cometo do the work for you (always the best idea) it will cost you about $50 per square foot, even less if you are willing to undertake a lot of the basic grunt work – digging mainly – yourself. Later on, when the pool is finished, you will not be spending a small fortune on chemicals or electricity to power a huge pump and so you will be saving money over a conventional pool in that way every day. All you need to keep the water circulating in a natural pool is a simple, small battery powered pump that runs once a day or so

Natural Pools Take a Lot of Work to Maintain

Once it is constructed and finished, a natural swimming pool is almost a completely self contained ecosystem, it almost takes care of itself. Therefore discounting the idea of one because you are afraid you won’t have time to maintain it would be a mistake. In all likelihood the most you will ever have to do is rake a few leaves off the pool surface and that little chore is an awful lot easier than all of that messing around with chemical combinations and temperamental pool pump systems.

I Would Be Swimming with Weeds and Frogs

As natural swimming pools actually use plants to aerate and cleanse the water some do imagine that swimming in such an environment will involve a lot of mud and getting tangled up in weeds all the time. That is not the case though. A standard natural swimming pool is actually made up of two interconnected pools, one for swimming and the other for the plants so the experience is much cleaner than you might expect, really no different from the lake or sea swimming you do every year on vacation.

People do also worry that the water will become unpleasant smelling and stagnant. However, running a ‘bubbler’ – a simple battery powered pump unit – once every few days will help keep the water moving and the plants will help ensure that it stays nice and clean.

I Don’t Like Ponds

A natural pool does not have to look like a pond if you do not want it to! With the assistance of professional landscaper, homeowners can easily create a pool that looks just like a conventional swimming pool if they want to, although we happen to think that by doing so you will miss out on the chance to create something truly unique in your outdoor living space. The term natural pool refers to the water in the pool, not the pool itself.If you want a modern, conventional looking swimming you can still have one. But have a look at some of these pictures and then ask yourself, would you really want to do that?

Summer Mould and Water Damage Home Risks You May Not Have Considered

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We are all looking forward to summer. All the good stuff; warm weather, getting back outside, all those great barbecues and get together, maybe some time at a beach or a nice, relaxing vacation. Summer certainly is great, but when it comes to mould and water damage believe it or not summer is just as busy as winter. That’s because although the cold that freezes pipes and the snow that damages roofs is gone new threats emerge when the summer sun returns that can cause just as many problems. Which is why you do still need to be vigilant in the summer to prevent unexpected problems. here are some basic tips to keep in mind as the weather warms up:

Mould Issues

Mould is actually just like most of us; it really, really loves the summer. The rising temperatures usually bring along with them some delicious (to mould anyway) humid air, some lovely rainshowers and homes that are often perfect for mould to breed in.

The biggest key to keeping mould at bay in the summer is properly ventilating your home. And we do get that most people are budget conscious enough that they do not necessarily want to run their air conditioning at refrigerator like levels for the summer months just to keep mould at bay.

But you really don’t have to. Provided that the temperature is maintained at a reasonably steady level – as in, for instance, the A/C is not shut off for hours during the day when no-one’s home allowing rooms to get warm, stuffy and humid – and you keep an eye on the humidity levels in your house (a simple barometer is good enough for daily use) in terms of ventilation everything should be fine.

You should keep a closer eye on the places that mould is often most attracted to though, which are often the places you don’t worry about keeping so cool. Very few people actually air-condition their bathrooms (because why should they?) but you should at least keep a fan running on very hot days and ensure that everyone uses the ventilation fan when showering etc to prevent the addition of even more mould friendly humidity into the air. Laundry rooms tend to be a bit to warm in the summer too, so common sense precautions should be taken in there too.

Water Issues

Probably the biggest water issue we see in the summer is basement flooding and its aftermath. Summer rain showers tend to be quick but very wet and those summer storms can be very fierce. If there are just a few little breaches in your basement’s water defenses you could be in trouble.

That’s why now is the time to get down there and do some serious checking. You should be on the look out for cracks in the foundation, leaky windows, high humidity and existing mould, something that would indicate that there already is a problem, even if you can’t quite figure out what it is. Any issues you do encounter should be addressed now, before the summer really kicks in.

The Lessons Homeowners Can Learn From the US Bank Stadium Gutter Disaster

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We have written here a number of times about the importance of gutter maintenance to your home, but there are still many homeowners who simply don’t pay enough attention to them, so we’re going to do it again! This post was inspired from a media story unfolding down in the US. One of their NFL teams, the Minnesota Vikings are, like many professional sports teams in the last few decades, having a new stadium built. And everything seemed to be going well.

To the casual observer, the new U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis looked great, the epitome of a shiny 21st century upgrade, just what the team needed to replace the aging Metrodome. However, apparently building inspectors called in to give their seal of approval to the new structure have discovered that leaks in the brand new snow gutter system have already caused about $4 million worth of serious water damage. The leaks caused water to collect, unseen, behind the stadium siding, and according to contractors, fixing it will be a big operation. They’ll get it done before the season starts they say, but it will cost a lot in terms of money and person power.

This all brings us to your gutters. If a brand new state of the art building can suffer so much damage because of leaky guttering, what could bad guttering do to yours? Its more than leaks you have to be concerned about too, gutter issues that can lead to water damage come in a number of guises, some less obvious than others. Here, as a reminder, refresher and a spring maintenance check list are some of the things you should definitely be on the look out for when it comes to the gutters protecting your home from water damage:

Clogged Gutters – This is the most obvious issue. Gutters that are clogged with debris cause water to stagnate in pools rather than run off properly and this can lead to all kinds of issues including erosion, mosquitoes, rust through, roof damage, foundation damage, siding damage, and damage to the gutter and roof support system from excess weight.

Missing Drains or Splash Blocks – When water leaves the downspouts at the bottom of a gutter it must be directed safely away from the house. Newer homes usually have underground drainpipes connected to the downspouts while older homes carry the water safely away by means of “splash blocks” mounted at the bottom of a gutter, directly where the water will drain down to. Without either of these things rest assured that water will find its way into and under the foundation which can lead to standing water in a crawl area, mould, mildew, foundation settlement and dry rot.

Defective Pitch – The way in which gutters are pitched is very important as well. If they are out of alignment, even by a few centimeters, not all of the water will make it into the downspout to be drained away. Instead some with either stagnate in pools or may even seep directly into the structure of the home, basically putting your home at the same risks as it would be if the gutters were clogged.

Poor Flashing at the Eaves- A lack of proper flashing between the back of the gutters and the wooden support structure of the roof is a rather common problem that many homeowners do not even properly understand. Without good flashing, bare wood is exposed to the water and debris passing through the gutters, potentially leading to dry rot, termites, roof rot and even insect infestations (yuck).

With all of this in mind though we do understand that most people are not gutter experts and so calling in a pro, for an initial inspection at least, is usually the best idea. Some basic maintenance, especially keeping gutters clean, you can often take care of yourself and it’s worth keeping in mind that the expense of hiring on a gutter service is nothing compared to the hassle and expense that many of the problems we just described would cause!