Homes in Lakeport Cluster, which are now more than 30 years old, are unique in several ways. This checklist is designed with Lakeport homes in mind, and these suggestions may help to reduce major repairs in the future. If you think you have a problem, however, we urge you to seek advice from a licensed and insured contractor or other service professional.
- Be sure to water your plants. 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 your yard (not to mention to save yourself the expense of replacement), please remember to water your plants when needed. Helpful information can be found at the following sites (see also “From the Editor” in this issue):
- Fire-retardant plywood roof sheathing must be replaced if the material degrades due simply to high attic temperatures, which can cause it to fail to retard the spread of fire.
- 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 paint 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.
- Gutters, and particularly those that are beneath a tree, may experience two problems: The gutters become clogged and/or the spikes that attach them to the house may be 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 with cinders washed down from your shingles over time. Gutters that are not slanted properly toward the downspout can put a lot of weight on the gutter, leading to the second problem. 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, 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 the rust effectively. One bottle of Rustoleum Rust Dissolver is probably a lifetime supply (or sufficient to share with several 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 (clear 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’s no guarantee that the rust won’t 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.
- Driveways should be maintained in good condition with no loose sections of asphalt, holes in the surface, or crumbling edges. All older asphalt driveways will crack, and we recommend filling these cracks annually with semi-liquid driveway patch (available from Home Depot either in a squeeze bottle or in caulk-style tubes.) Patching the cracks will prolong the life of the drive considerably, though this type of product works well only in cracks that are no wider than about 1/4 inch. When small sections of asphalt break up and are no longer easily patchable with a liquid product, cold patch can be used to repair that section: Dig out the loose asphalt, put cold patch in the hole (available in 60 lb. bags from Home Depot), and pound with the top surface of a sledge hammer to compact it. Be sure to bring the cold patch up to the level of the existing driveway and smooth it into the original surface.
- Driveway sealers help to improve the look of the driveway and cover the differences among the original surface, crack fills, and cold patch fixes. From a cosmetic and lifespan point of view, they also help extend the life of the driveway. Sealers typically come in a five-gallon can and require a squeegee for spreading.
- All driveways eventually will reach a point where small fixes are insufficient, and they will need to be repaved. When your driveway is more than 5% cold patch or has many cracks that can’t be filled, this is a good indication that professional repaving is needed.
- Homeowners should check and if necessary replace gasket/pressure regulators in bathtubs and showers (including the overflow) to avoid flooding from a leak.
- Be sure to replace or clean your HVAC filter regularly.