Summer Home Maintenance To-Do’s Highlight Gutters

Amerimax K Style GutterNationwide, savvy homeowners stick to an exterior home maintenance schedule during the warm summer months to prepare for upcoming harsher weather. The lazy hot days of summer can lead some homeowners to neglect some of the basic and necessary tasks that can prevent unpreparedness and damage. But many checklists available will keep those to-do’s handy and homeowners caught up on important maintenance.

Gutter cleaning and gutter guard installation are prominent on these lists since these must-do’s are often forgotten until after (or during) the first big rainfall of late summer or autumn. Don’t allow gutter drips, overflow and leaks to ruin your foundation, flower beds or lawn. Take care of your gutters while the weather is dry.

While we still have warm daylight hours, it’s a good time to ensure your gutters are secure and clear, ready to take on the coming rains. You still have time to add gutter protection to stop all those leaves from clogging your rainwater drainage system and possibly damaging your home’s roof or foundation. Our Find A Retailer button will help you locate your nearest local home center.  Be sure to take a list of the items you need when you visit. Ask for Amerimax products.

 

From Houzz: To-Dos: Your August Home Checklist


Easy Steps to Prevent Leaky Basements

While the heavy spring and summer rains may be great for nourishing your backyard garden, such benefits get swiftly forgotten when water begins gushing into your basement bedroom. A water-damaged basement can be damaging to your building’s infrastructure, your family’s health, and your pocketbook. Here are some easy steps to keep your home dry from the bottom to the top, and to prevent leaky basements from ruining your year.

Keep your gutters clean. Gutters clogged with leaves and other debris can cause water to overflow their edges. This non-directed water can pool around your home’s foundation and leak into your basement. Regularly inspect your gutters for miscellaneous debris, and consider the installation of gutter protection to prevent build-ups.

Install downspout extensions. Once you’ve cleaned your gutters, install downspout extensions to where they regularly drain water. These extensions will direct collected water a minimum of ten feet away from your home’s foundation for enhanced water protection.

Watch our video series, which illustrates some downspout accessories that move rainwater away from your home.

Change your home’s grade. Your home should have an ideal slope of at least 1/4 inch per foot for up to ten feet away from your house. This downward slope from your home helps water to naturally drain toward your landscaping and not your foundation. You can change your grade by adding soil and raking it smooth until it achieves a desirable height around your home’s perimeter.

Inspect your foundation for cracks. It’s advisable to routinely check your home’s foundation for any cracks as even cracks that seem minor can potentially lead to huge structural problems and leaky basements. You’ll want to immediately fix any visible cracks.

Check your basement’s caulking. Inspect the caulking around your basement’s windows and any penetrations caused by plumbing, electrical pipes, and the like. Any worn and cracked caulk and weather-stripping should be replaced. Note that most exterior caulking has a lifespan of under five years.

Keep your trees in check. Large shade trees with aggressive roots can damage your foundation and lead to leaky basements. They also can wreak havoc on your sewer pipelines, leading to nasty clogs and water that never seems to drain right. You’ll want to ensure trees are planted at least 10 to 20 feet away from your home. If you already have a beautiful maple tree that you don’t want to uproot, you can use special natural chemicals to deter root growth near your home’s foundation.

Visit your nearby home center to buy products that prevent basement leaks.  Rely on Amerimax products to move rainwater away from your home.

 

It’s Going to Rain. Are Your Gutters Ready for the Downpour?

rainy-neighborhood-autumn

The weather service is estimating our average rainfall to be pretty much like it was last year, at least for the fall season. We all know fall means leaf raking time, but we also need to pay attention to our gutters. They will need to be cleaned and any repairs done. This is a job that even a novice do-it-yourselfer should be able to do with no problem. Home center stores are usually not far away in case you need any supplies or parts. You should also check out the Amerimax.com blog for advice, that way you don’t even have to leave your home. Amerimax is the rainwater drainage expert.

Maybe you don’t have gutters and need to install them. Whether it’s for income properties you own or your private home, if you want to install gutters Amerimax can walk you through it. We can give you step-by step installation instructions for the various types of gutters systems, gutter protection, and rain diversion accessories we offer. The following are just a few of the products and directions you will find.

If you are a rental property owner you may want to contract the job to a professional. If this is the case, still take a look at Amerimax.com. By going over the directions and/or plans you will be aware of the parts and supplies the job will require.

Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer or prefer a contractor to do it for you, Amerimax.com was made for you. Be it scheduled maintenance, a repair because of rain or ice damage, wear and tear, let Amerimax.com be your first step for gutter, downspouts, gutter protection and rainwater diversion product information. With Amerimax’s step-by-step how-to videos even someone who has never tried to do-it-yourself can do it. Read the directions, go to your local home improvement store for the supplies you will need and soon you will find that you get a real sense of accomplishment.

 

Autumn = Less Daylight. Have You Prepared Your Home?

firstdayof autumnHappy first day of Autumn! Monday, September 22, at 10:29 p.m. (EDT) is the Autumnal Equinox for 2014. This is the moment when the sun crosses the equator and we’ll begin to see more darkness than daylight in the Northern Hemisphere. Whether it has been chilly for weeks or there are still balmy summer-like temperatures, this day is the official start of autumn.

So what is the Autumnal Equinox? Essentially, our hours of daylight — the period of time between sunrise and sunset — have been growing slightly shorter each day since the Summer Solstice n June, which is the longest day of the year (at least in terms of light). Even after three months of shortening days, though, we still see more light than darkness over the course of a day.

The Autumnal Equinox marks the turning point, when darkness begins to win out over daylight. For the next three months, our hours of daylight will continue to grow shorter. At this equinox, day and night are approximately equal in length. The name ‘equinox’ comes from the Latin word aequus, meaning equal, and nox, meaning night.  An equinox occurs twice a year (Autumnal and Vernal).

Everywhere you look, you can see the visible changes as nature prepares for winter: birds are flying south, temperatures are getting cooler, leaves are changing colors, and animals’ coats are thickening, to name a few.

The first day of Autumn signals the last few weeks of winter home preparation. While we still have daylight hours, it’s a good time to ensure your gutters are secure and clear, ready to take on the coming rains. You still have time to add gutter protection to stop all those leaves from clogging your rainwater drainage system and possibly damaging your home’s roof or foundation. Be sure to take a list of the items you need when you visit your local home center. And ask for Amerimax products.

Source: Old Farmer’s Almanac

Be Careful Up There! Ladder Safety for DIYers

Be careful up there inspecting guttersLadders are required equipment for any do-it-yourself project involving gutters and downspouts. Being cautious up there is extremely important for DIYers, especially since one wrong move can end with you in the hospital. Thankfully, these accidents are few and far between when you consider how many people use a ladder every day. However, there are a few things that you can do to reduce your chances of having a ladder accident, such as:

  • Making sure your ladder is on steady ground
  • Giving yourself a reasonable angle with the ladder placement
  • Never stepping on the top step of the ladder

The Importance of Solid Ground

Basing a ladder in wet or shifting ground can be very dangerous, especially if you are going to be getting off the ladder and onto your roof. Always make sure to set your ladder up in an area that is relatively flat and dry. The ground should be even so that both legs can touch at the same point without the ladder leaning at all.

Setting your Ladder at a Reasonable Incline

Your ladder should not be sitting nearly vertical since a sudden shift of weight backwards can cause the entire thing (you included) to fall backwards. At the same time, you don’t want a very wide angle either because of the added strain that would be placed on the area where the ladder contacts the roof, and to prevent the base from slipping.

Staying Off the Top Step

The top step on most ladders is absolutely not to be used as a step, but rather as an optional flat area where you can place a tool or bucket. When you step on the very top step, the ladder can become extremely unstable. This can cause the ladder to fall out from under you, leading to serious injury. If you can’t get onto your roof without stepping on your ladder’s top step, you need to get your hands on a longer ladder. Mark-laddersaftyvideoIt’s extremely dangerous both going up, and coming back down since you would about have to guess where the top step is without seeing it.

A little bit of common sense can go a long way when it comes to ladder safety. If you think it might be unsafe, just don’t do it. To our knowledge, we are sharing sound information, but also review your ladder usage guide for the manufacturers’ safety recommendations.

For more advice, take a look at our ladder safety video.

You can get everything you need to help steady your ladder–and to select new gutters, gutter protection, or rain diversion accessories–from your local home improvement store.

 

 

You Can Do It: Mesh Gutter Guard Installation

If you are sure-footed enough to put a ladder to your house and climb to gutter level, you can install gutter guards. Gutter guards keep most all the pesky tree debris and leaves out of your gutters and allow rainwater to flow freely through your home’s downspouts, away from your roof shingles, siding and foundation. Spring and fall cleaning become much easier.

Many good gutter guard systems are on the market today. Ranging from inexpensive vinyl or metal mesh to more pricey micro mesh on an extruded plastic frame, all gutter guards are relatively easy to install.  Here’s how you can install the simple and effective co-polymer mesh product.

Installation

First, measure the length of the gutters around your house. Measure each run twice. Purchase the gutter guard system, and read all installation instructions before climbing to roof level.

Next, clean your gutter, removing all leaves and debris and rinsing gutters and downspouts with a garden house. Dispose of leaves as you normally would through municipal trash, composting or mulching.

Then, carry your lengths of mesh (usually two-foot long by six inches wide) up to roof level. Using the clips provided by the gutter guard manufacturer, clip one long edge to the front of the gutter and butt or slide the back edge of the mesh up against or under the roof shingles. Overlap the next length by about 1/2 inch. As you approach a corner, cut the mesh with a tin snips or utility knife. Inside corners should be mitered or angled so water and debris move away from the roof. Outside corners can simply be butted together.

Carefully work around the roof until all gutters are protected. Check your gutters each fall and spring. Clear away leaves and debris from the top of the gutter guard mesh. Lift the mesh, and wash out any gravel or small debris that may have collected in the gutters.

Many homeowners love these simple, but effective, gutter guards as they save labor, extend the life of your gutters and protect your home. Consult with your local home center on what gutter guards are best for you and how to install them.

Look our featured product, the Snap-In Filter in most home center stores in September for the Fall home improvement push.

 

 

September: Back-to-School and Back-to-Yard Too

BacktoschoolBacktoyard

September isn’t just back to school month for the kids, it’s also time to get back to the yard for adults.  While summer showers and sunny days are easy on your rainwater drainage systems, a mild to harsh September could usher in some drainage problems come Fall.  The last thing you want is leaves stuck in your gutter or drain – much like the kids in school don’t want to get stuck in detention!

Great Home Tips to Prepare for Autumn Weather 

To avoid staying after class doing yard work this September, be prepared for the any type of weather and get a head start today:

  • Clean those gutters now.  Don’t wait for it to get a little bit cooler or for the leaves to start falling.  Muck can clog up your gutters at any time, especially if your region has been rainy and then hot as the sun can bake up some homemade glue for you to take care of.  Try to get to your gutters at least once or twice a month this Fall.
  • Trim around drainage systems.  While you may have already thought about clipping some of the branches that hang over your roof and gutters (if you haven’t don’t just think about it, do it!), you probably didn’t think of the other drainage points in your yard.  Check the drains in your yard and around the home for brush, bushes and other debris that could potentially cause clogs this Fall.
  • Upgrade your gutters.  If your gutters are old and damaged (or if they just look like they were installed back when you were in school), it’s probably a good time for an upgrade. Micro-mesh filter gutters ensure that nothing but water enters your drainage system.  This not only cuts down on stoppages, but also you getting up there on a ladder this Fall and scooping leaves, bird nests and everything else out of the gutter!

In fact, if you haven’t been to the hardware store in a while, it’s a good idea to visit at the beginning of each new season just to see what new home products were released.  Who knows, there’s probably something out there to fix each of your most despised chores around the house!  So when you get out of detention this September, be sure to stop by your local home center store and find the solution to all your roof drainage system needs!

Got Debris? Protect Your Gutters

A fall tradition - cleaning the gutters of leaves. Here, we see them clogging the gutters of a traditional home. Could be used for advertising/clean up articles/etc. Narrow DOF

A fall tradition – cleaning the gutters of leaves. Here, we see them clogging the gutters of a traditional home.

Each winter and spring, do your rain gutters require hours and hours of attention to remove all the debris caught in them? Taking care of the problem can be tedious, but ignoring it can be disastrous.

Rain gutters protect a home from rainwater damage. Made of troughs to collect the runoff of rain, they channel the water to the ground and away from the foundation of the house. Open gutters are the most common, but they lack protection from collecting every leaf or pine needle from trees located near your home or the cute little critters building nests and raising havoc.

Clogged Gutter Issues

Debris will clog the gutters and cause serious damage. Not only does it inhibit water flow, it can pile with enough weight to pull the gutter system away from the house, damage to the roof occurs when shingles lift and crack. As an added bonus, debris also becomes a fire hazard in dry weather.

If you are a new homeowner, to understand whether or not an extra system is needed to protect your gutters from debris buildup, walk outside and stand in the yard. Allow your gaze to wander above and near your roof. Are there trees overhanging? Will the wind carry leaves, pine needles, pine cones or acorns to the roof where they will land in the gutter from rain falling?

There are numerous brands of gutters that proclaim they are the best when it comes to reducing or eliminating clogging. Some require installation by professionals. Not only is the cost of the gutter system often beyond the reach of the average homeowner, the installation costs can be astronomical. Look to Consumer Reports for the best performing gutter systems for do-it-yourselfers.

Gutter Protection

There are some systems that not only are affordable, but can also be installed yourself. As is often the case to difficult and overwhelming problems, this is a simple fix.

You see, with the addition of screens,  you can still use your current gutter system. The screens, often made from plastic or aluminum, are added by merely clipping them on, or attaching them with screws. Amerimax has a complete line of gutter protection that will fit your needs.

So, instead of spending a day or two cleaning the gutters every couple of months, a one-time investment of pocket change and a few hours will greatly reduce the maintenance needs of your rain gutter system. Visit your nearest home improvement center and get started on getting rid of that gutter debris.  Ask for Amerimax.

Now, what will you do with all that extra time on your hands?!?

Look for our featured product, the Snap-In Filter in most home center stores in September for the Fall home improvement push.