Rhode Island Monthly Spring Home Improvement 2014 : Page 6

SPE CIAL AD VER TISING SE C TION Spring Fixer-Uppers Seventeen projects that will have your home looking (and performing) its best from must-do maintenance to wish list improvements. solution or talk to someone who specializes in washing houses. “Today’s paint products are less susceptible to mildew. In the past, it would actually feed o the old oil-based paints and stains,” Lopatosky says. 5. PAINT This is always a popular project, but are you ready to do it yourself? One guideline is the age of your house — if built before 1978 there’s a good possibility you have lead paint. Before you start sanding and scrap-ing, do some research or call a pro to take a look. Post-1978, there’s no clear-cut answer regarding when to paint again. The typical life span of a paint job runs between ive and ten years depending on your location and the quality of your prep work. “Most people wait until it’s so ugly they can’t stand it anymore. Depending on the person, that could mean a few peeling patches, or the whole house is peeling. It’s better to stay on top of it. Once a year, take a walk around, look for signs of peeling, touch them up and you’ll get more life out of your paint job than if you let it deteriorate,” Lopatosky says. S PRIN G HA S S PRU N G AN D YOU ’ RE ENJOYIN G YOU R FIRST GLIM P S E OF GREEN grass. But if you’re also seeing roof shingles or pieces of gutter littering your lawn, you have some work to do. Spring is a great time to take a look around outside and assess the toll winter took on your home. 1. RO O F The extreme temperature luctuations we had this winter were prime conditions for ice dams that could damage your roof and back up behind the trim and into the attic. “Most of the damage is done when homeowners try to remove the ice. Shingles can break when you pull the ice off because they are cold and brittle, and some chemicals used to melt the ice can damage the asphalt,” says Bill Bowley, installation service manager at Humphrey’s Building Supply. There is no easy fix once the ice forms, so you have to focus on prevention with underlayment or electric heat wires that can be turned on and off when and where needed. How do you know if it’s time to replace your roof? When the asphalt granules are worn o and the shingles are smooth, it’s time to consider replacement. And, shingles that are cupped, bumpy or become brittle and break o when stepped on can be a sign of venting issues that require replacement, Bowley says. The fun part of the project is all the colors and products to choose from. Architectural shingles add a three-dimensional appear-ance, some of which simulate cedar wood shakes. There’s even an engineered polymer composite roo ing material that simulates the appearance, texture and contours of traditional natural slate. 128 RHODE ISLAND MONTHLY 2. GUT TE R S AN D DO W N S P O UTS “If you had an ice blockage that prevented drainage, once the water enters the gutter it will refreeze, and expanding water pulls your gutters apart like a crowbar,” Bowley says. Inspect them for cracks and splits, and shake your downspouts gently to make sure they’re still attached properly. 3. WATE R D AM A G E Look for water staining on the underside of your soffits, an indication you may have had an ice dam over the winter, says Tom Lopatosky of Lopco Painting. Also look for water damage and wood rot anywhere wood touches the ground, such as siding or trim around a door frame or where the vertical part of a window frame meets the sill. “If you push on the wood and it feels spongy, replace that piece of wood. If it’s just paint peeling and the wood is still solid, prep it like you would any other part of your home, then inish coat it and keep an eye on it.” Outdoor Fun Now that your to-do list is done, what could you do to make your yard more enjoyable and add some curb appeal? Sue Donahue of Walpole Woodworkers shares some ideas for projects big and small. 6. P E RG OL A S A ND GARD E N S TRU C TU RE S “There has been huge growth in pergolas of all types over the past few years. They improve both a home’s curb appeal and lifestyle,” Donahue says. Attached pergolas serve as an extension of your home — just open the kitchen sliders or family room doors and you’ve increased your living space to the outdoors. Freestanding pergo-4. M O LD AN D M ILD E W These are two key things to check. Mold usu-ally occurs on the north side of houses and in shaded areas. Mildew is an environmental condition that tends to grow where it’s moist. If you ind either, wash the area with a TSP l MARCH 2014 PHOTOGRAPH ABOVE COURTESY OF WALPOLE WOODWORKERS

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