Thursday, August 1, 2019

Summer Maintenance Checklist

By Kay Quam

Introduction
Homes in Lakeport Cluster, which are now more than 30 years old, are unique in several ways, and their maintenance requirements add particular issues to regular home upkeep. The proximity to the lake, though a positive feature of our cluster, means we need to pay attention to the animals–from insects to geese–and plants that prefer a water-based environment. In addition, cedar siding covers most Lakeport homes, which makes them prone to damage from insects, birds, and water.

The Board is building a checklist that is designed to include ideas for the maintenance of most aging homes. This checklist will be added to the Lakeport Cluster web page, and each quarterly issue of Ripples will include the items appropriate for that particular season.

The checklist is being created with Lakeport homes in mind so that there are specific suggestions based on our cluster’s environment. It is meant to be a handy guide for homeowners and residents who are experienced at home maintenance as well as for those who are less knowledgeable about what our homes require.

We anticipate that this checklist will change and grow as our homes continue to age and we encounter new problems and solutions. Your help in keeping this list current and relevant is essential. You can send your suggestions to the Lakeport Board (Board@LakeportCluster.org).
And an important note: If you are addressing issues with the exterior of your home, please consult the Lakeport standards and remember that you will have to seek approval from Reston Association’s Design Review Board.

Summer

The longer days and increased heat of summer mean that the plants in our yards come under greater stress, especially during periods of no or sporadic rain. To maintain the appearance of our community (not to mention to save yourself the expense of replacement), please remember to water your plants when needed. Helpful instructions can be found at the following site:
https://www.merrifieldgardencenter.com/tips-inspiration/watering-instructions/

A few preventive steps can be taken with many Lakeport homes that can save pain and lots of money.

  • Check wood siding and trim for signs of splintering, deterioration, softness, green mildew, or other discoloration. These are signs of potential wood damage. Replace damaged siding and trim following Cluster standards for material and color. In the case of mildew or discoloration, ask a home improvement provider to suggest the appropriate cleaner to preserve the wood.
  • A dark vertical line on the middle of your garage door is most likely caused by insufficient tension on the chain from your garage door opener to the front wall of your garage. Over time, the chain will slacken and start to drag on the door, which leaves that black mark and eventually will wear through the paint if left uncorrected. Most of these chains have a tensioner or turnbuckle that can be tightened to fix the problem. Once you have tightened the chain, the door can be cleaned with something like Scott’s Outdoor Cleaner and the gentle use of a scrubbing sponge from your kitchen.
  • Many gutters, and particularly those that are beneath a tree, have two problems: The gutters are clogged, and the spikes that attach them to the house are pulling away. When a gutter is not working properly, you’ll often see staining on the vertical wall below the gutter. Fixing the first problem is easy: Have your gutters cleaned. Even if you don’t have a tree nearby and even if you have something like Gutter Helmet or a strainer screen over them, gutters can still fill up over time with cinders washed down from your shingles.
  • If the gutter is not slanted properly toward the downspout, this can put a lot of weight on the gutter, leading to problem #2. If you see gutter spikes coming loose, you can just drive them back in, which may hold for a while. However, there’s a better, longer-term, and inexpensive solution: Home Depot sells long gutter screws that can replace failing gutter spikes. They go through a ferrule (a sleeve that keeps the screw from compressing the gutter itself) and screw into the wood behind the gutter. These are far more secure in the long run.
  • Exterior railing pipes are prone to rust. Home Depot has a product that cleans up the rust pretty well. One bottle of Rustoleum Rust Dissolver is probably a lifetime supply or sufficient to share with a dozen of your neighbors. Scrape rusted areas with a putty knife or flat screwdriver, spray on the rust dissolver, let it sit for about 15 minutes, and then wash it off with water (directions are on the spray bottle). Keep doing this until all the visible rust is gone. Dry the metal, sand it lightly, and then spray it with a Rustoleum primer. When that dries, you can paint it with the approved trim color for your house. There is no guarantee that the rust will not eventually return, but you can prolong the life of your exterior railing pipes and particularly the collars that attach the pipes to your trim wood by many years.
Some of our neighbors have suggested the following steps that we can take to avoid problems they encountered:

  • Homeowners should replace gasket/pressure regulators in their bathtubs and showers (including the overflow) to avoid flooding from a leak.

Fire-retardant plywood roof sheathing has to be replaced if the material degrades due to high attic temperatures, causing it to fail to retard the spread of fire.

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