18 Apr 2018

3 Important Maintenance Items for Spring

The days are growing longer and warmer. Spring is here! It’s the season for cleaning, home improvement projects, and cleaning and repairs. While you were still getting used to losing that extra hour of sleep, we were busy putting together maintenance tips for your home.

Remember, you can always check out our annual maintenance checklist for a quick guide to once a year projects. For more detailed instructions, keep it right here. Don’t delay! Take a look at this list and note what things you need to do this spring season.

1. Check on your Trees

Ensuring your trees are healthy and well rooted can prevent a lot of future hassles and insurance claims. Believe us, having a tree fall on the house is not a fun experience. Here are a few steps you can take to making sure that your trees are healthy and ready for another season of shade.

01 Junk on the trunk

Taking a look at your tree’s base is often a good indication of health. There are a couple things to watch out for. First, pay attention to decay or rot. A rotting tree trunk is usually a good sign that the tree has seen better days. Next, consider the amount of mushrooms or conks on the tree. Usually there isn’t a problem, but when combined with other issues, it’s a tell-tale sign of a dead tree.

02 Brown Collar

A tree’s collar is where the trunk and roots meet the soil surface. Pull back the grass and take a good look at the collar. Notice any bark that might be missing or falling off, as this could be a bad sign. Finally, consider large cracks that could allude to structural weakness.

03 It’s a bird, it’s a plane, its a tree branch!

Sometimes, all it takes is looking up. Is your tree overly barren when it should be sprouting? Are there tree limbs falling into your yard? Those are usually bad signs.

If you’re noticing any or a combination of these things, call your local arborist and have them run an inspection on the trees in your yard. They’ll let you know if the trees need to be removed or if you’re safe.

2. Cleaning your Gutters

Clogged gutters can lead to ruined flower beds, saturated foundations and water damage to your siding or even interior. All of this can be prevented by making sure that your gutters are clean and well maintained. Realistically, you should clean your gutters twice a year and after every big storm.

01 Hardware

We recommend wearing long sleeves and gloves. Often times when you’re dealing with metal, sharp edges can get the better of your skin. Above all else, protect yourself. Here are a few things that you might need to pick up to get the job done:

  • Gutter Scoops
  • High Pressure hose
  • Extendable Ladder
  • Tarp or plastic bag (optional)

02 Doing the Deed

If you’re trying to spare your lawn, be sure to have your plastic bag or tarp ready to capture the gunk you’re about to pull out. Stabilize your ladder, and put on your gloves. Once you’re up on the ladder, make sure you’re at a comfortable height, but can still see and reach the gutters. Using your gutter scoop, scrape out any debris and throw it down to the ground, or into your trash bag. Make sure you get dirt, sticks, leaves, and debris out of the gutter to allow water to flow along, down, and away from your home.

03 Clean Up

Once your gutters are cleaned out, take your hose and flush out any remaining dirt. Keep careful watch on the flow of the water, making sure that you can trace the water down and away from your home.

Remember to stay safe. If climbing ladders isn’t your thing, call a local contractor to do the job for you. Chances are, they can offer any repairs or improvements that you may not have an eye for.

3. Check for Pests

Once the days begin to warm up, be on the lookout for bees, ants, and other pests. Squirrels can be dangerous if they’re getting into your house. Raccoons can become aggressive and can lead to disease because of their fondness for trash. Bird droppings can cause serious damage to roofs and automobiles. So before any of these issues become a problem, nip it in the bud and contact your local pest control professional.

An especially dangerous pest for the spring time are termites. Termites are incredibly difficult to spot if you have other little issues in your home. If you aren’t sure, be sure to hire a pest control professional to inspect the home. Look for these 3 warnings signs if you think you have termites.

01 Discarded Wings

Termites have wings that they use to fly around from one colony to another. Once they’ve landed and establish a new colony, they shed their wings. What’s more, they will shed their wings in a single file line as the new termites enter their colony. You’re looking for a row or a line of small wings.

02 Mud Tubes

Termites need to live in very humid environment. The further North they get, the more likely they are to build mud tubes near foundations. This gives the termites a highway that’s humid enough to maneuver around your home. Mud tubes are pencil sized shafts (almost like small roots) that run up and down your foundation. A good way to identify if you have termites is to break the middle of one of those tubes. If termites pour out, that’s probably a bad sign. If they don’t, check back in a week or so to see if that tube has been rebuilt.

03 Wood Damage

Termites feed on wood and in the process, it weakens the structure of the wood; this is dangerous in homes for obvious reasons. It can be hard to spot because it’s often behind your wall. Look for small holes in your drywall, or wood damage outside, under, or above your home. If you think you might have termites, its best to take care of it as soon as possible. Termites cause billions of structural damage each year. Don’t be another victim.

Notable Mentions

Don’t consider this an exhaustive list, but we’ve compiled a few other things to check around your house when Spring rolls around. Be sure to inspect and replace if needed your…

  • Smoke Alarm
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors
  • Windows and Doors
  • Garage Doors
  • Dryer Vent

Additionally, it might be beneficial for you to contact a local professional and get them to inspect a few other big items around the house:

  • HVAC

Your heating and air conditioning unit needs regular maintenance. Be sure to replace your air filters regularly and get a professional to perform a system diagnostic at the turn of the season.

  • Mold and Mildew

With the wet season comes mold and mildew, especially around basements, attics, and other areas where water collects. Remember that mold and mildew can be the source of really nasty illnesses. Be on the lookout for this around the house.

  • Roof inspection

Snow, sleet and heavy rains can cause a number on your roof. Remember that most roof jobs come with substantial warranties. Don’t be afraid to keep an eye on the roof and call your roofer if you think something could be wrong.

07 Mar 2018

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Damage to your Home from a Tree

Trees are beautiful, and some of the longest lasting things on earth. But they have their downsides. Falling trees and tree limbs are responsible for countless amounts of home and property damage.

Here are 5 things you can look out for to prevent it from happening to you:

1. Look out for dead trees.

It's not a matter of if the tree will fall, it's a matter of when. Dead trees are especially dangerous if located near homes or driveways where cars usually park. Keep in mind that even though insurance will usually cover the damage that a tree has on your property (or your neighbor's), it's your responsibility to make sure that the trees are maintained. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Sometimes it can be difficult to tell if a tree is dead or if it just needs a shot of coffee. If you're noticing one of these guys in your yard, reach out to your local arborist. A tree professional can often inspect and test a tree to suggest the best course of action.

2. Keep an eye peeled for dead branches.

A tree may not need to be dead to have dead branches. A few days ago Richmond, VA experienced unbelievable winds. In addition to blowing around some debris, we lost about half of what we thought was a healthy tree. We're lucky it didn't hit anything except the yard (and barely missed the mailbox). Be sure to keep tree limbs trimmed back to prevent them from coming down on your property.

3. Keep an eye on your roof.

Tree limbs that aren't exceptionally long but are touching your home or roof can still be a major problem. As the wind blows the limbs, they can catch your shingles and begin to damage and even rip up your roof. Be sure to keep the trees around your home trimmed back. Thousands of Americans visit the hospital each year from roof and ladder-related injuries; if you aren't comfortable getting up on your roof, call a tree trimmer or arborist to take care of the job for you.

4. Notice leaning trees.

Even beautiful, healthy trees that are leaning too heavily can be concerning. Some trees have the capacity to lean in a particular direction (oak is a strong wood that often leans) but they should still be inspected thoroughly to ensure that they don't grow too large and lean too much.

5. Mushrooms at the base of your tree.

Mushrooms and conks can be signs of decomposing or rotting trees. They will often attack older trees, so it can be beneficial to get the tree and mushroom inspected. Usually, it isn't a problem, but it's always best to be safe rather than sorry.

Keep an eye out for these things. If you ever feel concerned, reach out to G&R Contracting at 804-360-2686.

** We don't actually remove trees but we can refer you to a specialist that we trust!

(804) 360-2686