Do-It-Yourself Projects

  • Something to Think About: Avoiding Injury When Raking Those Leaves!

    10/4/2012 4:50 PM

    Autumn is a beautiful time in the mid-Atlantic area. Nature’s fall colors are on display for us to enjoy. Ride down the scenic country roads in Virginia with the tree-covered mountains full of color, Washington DC with its monuments flanked by manicured trees and shrubs, Maryland’s eastern shore with corn fields ringed by trees bursting with color. It’s a glorious time to live here! Along with autumn’s beauty comes autumn’s chore list. And once those fiery leaves turn brown and die, they begin to fall and cover your lawn. So at the top of the to-do list for many is raking leaves. It’s a chore that occupies many a weekend during the fall, and drives up sales of pain relievers and heating pads to soothe those sore joints and muscles. So how can you make sure you’re able to complete the task without causing your body too much pain?  

  • How Clean Are Your Windows?

    9/27/2012 1:51 PM

    As the leaves begin to fall, more sunlight is able to filter through the trees and into your home. And that’s not a bad thing – sunlight can actually help warm your rooms in the winter through solar heat gain. Along with the glorious warm sunlight on a cool morning, you may also realize that your windows are in need of cleaning. Summer storm debris, dirt and dust and fall leaves all leave a residue on windows that cloud the view. Spend an afternoon getting those windows crystal clear again.  

  • Thompson Creek Tips For Combatting Bug Complaints!

    9/19/2012 7:33 PM

    As we begin to enjoy cooler temperatures, prepare to see more insects. Crickets, ladybird beetles, boxelder bugs, stink bugs, cluster flies, elm leaf beetles and other harmless insects will attempt to enter your home for protection as temperatures slowly begin to drop.  According to the University of Maryland Extension, different nuisance pests, including centipedes, crickets and spiders, are more noticeable inside the home with cooler temperatures. Sweep them up, but it is not necessary to treat with pesticides. Caulk, weather strip and seal up all cracks and entry points around your house foundation, vent openings, windows and doorways to prevent these critters from coming indoors.

  • It's Time for a Gutter Check!

    9/7/2012 1:18 PM

    Autumn’s falling leaves can wreak havoc with your home’s gutters and downspouts. If you have traditional gutters that don’t have guards, there’s no way to prevent leaves and debris from entering the gutters. Don’t wait until the trees start dropping leaves to inspect your gutters. Do some work now to get a jump on the battle with leaves. You want to make sure your gutters and downspouts are properly installed and efficiently carrying water off your roof and away from your home during a storm. A 1,500 square foot roof will collect about 940 gallons of water during a one inch rainstorm. If that water is flowing out of an average of four downspouts, you have 235 gallons of water pouring out of each downspout.

  • Get Your Windowsills Clean

    8/29/2012 4:25 PM

    When summer temperatures begin to drop, many homeowners look forward to turning off their air conditioners. The breeze from open windows not only refreshes a house that’s been closed up for months - turning off the AC also saves money on your utility bills. But opening your windows lets you see those windowsills that you probably haven’t seen in months. Chances are good that they look a little worse for wear. Pollen, dust, dirt, dead bugs, and even mold can all make their way onto your windowsills over the summer, even if you have window screens.

  • September Lawn Care Tips and Tricks

    8/29/2012 4:19 PM

    There is finally some relief in sight for heat-stressed lawns. Daytime high temperatures are dropping and we’re even experiencing some pleasant cool evenings. You may already begin to see your dormant (i.e. brown and dead-looking) grass begin to recover in the coming weeks, as long as you kept up with regular deep watering during the summer. This dormancy is a natural response that helps turf grass survive drought and heat. Grasses that go dormant will usually green up and grow vigorously again once high temperatures begin to drop.

  • Combatting Basement Complaints: Sump Pump 101

    8/28/2012 2:02 PM

    With hurricane season upon us, basement flooding is an all-true reality. Water can enter your home either from above ground level or seepage from below ground level. And if you’ve ever experienced a sump pump failure, you realize just how important it is to have a properly installed and maintained pump system. The source of water entering your basement or crawlspace will determine what type of pump set up you need. Surface water that enters the area, such as from rainwater or burst water lines, typically requires a concrete or plastic pit sump pump. This allows the water to collect in the pit and be removed from the home. Water that enters by seepage from underground requires a plastic pit liner with collection ports. 

  • Fall Cleaning & Deck Maintenance

    8/27/2012 3:11 PM

    As we bid a fond farewell to summer, it's time to look around and see what needs sprucing before winter. Your deck may be at the top of your list. Just about every home has a dedicated space to enjoy the great outdoors. The US Census Bureau reports that 85 percent of American homes have a deck, porch, balcony or patio. But without proper care and maintenance, that wood deck can begin to look shabby. Faded wood, mildew spots, warped boards, UV damage, nail pops and wobbly steps and railings are all potential problems.

  • How Has Your Yard Held Up This Summer?

    8/3/2012 1:09 PM

    With the extreme heat and rain deficit in the mid-Atlantic region this summer, many lawns and gardens have suffered. If you’re not happy with the way your yard has fared this summer, right now is the time to do something about it. If you haven’t done so already, raise the height of your mower blade. Lawns are nearing the end of their feeding cycle, and cutting it too short will stress it even more. Don’t be too concerned with brown spots – much of the grass has gone dormant from the heat. It should bounce back in the fall.

  • It's Storm Season - Are You Ready?

    8/1/2012 1:07 PM

     We've now experienced our first derecho storm - which hit this area hard. Hurricane season officially runs June 1 through November 30 for the mid-Atlantic area. The maximum hurricane activity timeframe usually falls early to mid-September. Homeowners should think about what to do to prepare for the possible high winds, heavy rains and flooding that accompany not only the thunder storms that fill the summer, but also derechos, hurricanes and tropical storms.