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Winterizing Your Roof

Winterizing your roof can prevent damage from icy conditions and make your life easier in the long run. Prevention costs less than repair and replacement! Here are some ways to keep your roof intact all winter long.

 

Clean Gutters, Downspouts and Roof Areas

When rain and snow hit your roof, they leave through your gutters if applicable, as we don’t typically install gutters. Keeping gutters and downspouts debris-free prevents poor drainage.  Proper drainage prevents damage to your roof, landscaping and siding.  To protect your foundation, ensure downspouts are pointed away from the house. Good practice is to drain into a splash block.

Additionally, debris has a habit of getting trapped in valleys on the roof and can prevent water, snow and ice from draining, which causes damage.

 

Insulate & Vent Your Attic

Insulating and ventilating your attic will prevent heat loss and money loss in energy bills.  They can also help prevent ice dams and icicles from forming. Check with a local roofing expert for their recommendations on your roof’s insulation.

 

Check for Damage

Before winter starts, inspect your roof.  Pay special attention to any areas where you have had repairs before and make sure all shingles are intact. This can prevent leaks and further damage.

 

Trim Your Trees

When snow falls, it can weigh down tree branches.  Heavy branches can break and fall onto the roof of your home. Remove and trim the branches that extend over your roof to prevent limbs from landing on your home.

These tips will help you get through winter and protect the roof over your head.  However, if you detect a leak, do not walk on the roof while it is wet. Shingles are very slippery when wet and walking on the roof is potentially harmful to the roof itself.  If you are able to go into the attic space, it is recommended to install a bucket or container to prevent excessive damages. If this is done, be sure that the container is placed on a SOLID surface and is empties periodically depending on how bad the leak is, and how fast it will fill the container. Take note of where the leak is located and call a professional or inspect it yourself once the shingles are dry.

Winterizing Pipes and Exterior Fixtures

Before winter hits, we often take measures to winterize our lives. We may buy sweaters, new boots, chains and antifreeze for the car, and generally get our lives ready for cold weather. Just like our wardrobe and our vehicles, it is important to prepare your home for lower temperatures.

One specific way to prep your home for winter is to winterize your pipes. Winterizing pipes can protect your plumbing system, as well as keep your water accessible, even when the weather is below freezing. By winterizing your pipes, you will prevent water freezing inside the pipe which stops the line and can burst the pipe.

Here are a few things to do before the first freeze of the year arrives.

 

Drain, Turn Off, and Disconnect

Outside the home, make sure to disconnect and drain any garden hoses. Locate the shut-off valve for the exterior faucets and close the valve to stop the water inside the home.  The shut off valve may be in an access panel, or near the back wall in a garage or basement.  Open the exterior faucet to drain any remaining water in the pipe.  Leave the exterior faucet turned on (open) for the winter to prevent the trapping and freezing of moisture.

 

Keep a Heat Source On

Heating your home is one of the best defenses against freezing pipes.  A warm environment prevents freezing.  Keep your thermostat set at 60 degrees or higher during very cold weather.

 

Insulate

Insulate outdoor or exposed pipes with insulation sleeves, wrapping or using slip-on foam pipe insulation. Do not leave any gaps in the insulation.  Cold air can affect the pipe in these spaces. Good practice is to tape to prevent sun dry rot of insulation, so it doesn’t have to be done as often.

 

Going Out of Town? Prep the Pipes.

If you are leaving your home for an extended period during cold weather, you may need to take extra precautions. Keep the thermostat set at 60 degrees or higher and drain water lines before you leave. To do this, turn all sinks, shower heads, etc. on at around half flow with both hot and cold water, then shut off the main water valve, any water pump and the hot water heater.  Leave the faucets on and flush every toilet.  This should drain the water from your interior pipes.

When you return home, turn on the main water valve and pump.  Let water flow through the pipes and water fixtures for a few minutes. This may be noisy for a few moments. After you turn off the faucets, toilets should fill up again, too.  Be sure to turn your hot water heater back on once it fills. If a toilet, faucet, or showerhead does not have water coming through it, you may have a frozen line. If that is the case, call a plumber immediately.

How to Care for Your Countertops

How to Protect Your Countertops

There are some general rules of thumb you can follow to protect your countertops, no matter which type you have.

  • Wipe away spills as soon as possible, especially if spilled food is acidic or has coloring or dyes
  • Avoid standing or sitting on stone countertops
  • Always use a cutting board when preparing food
  • Use trivets to protect your counters from hot dishes while cooking

How to Clean Your Countertops

Granite

Granite is one of the most popular choices for kitchen counters. It is resistant to bacteria, comes in a wide variety of styles and colors, and is a beautiful addition to any new home.

  • Clean daily with warm soap, water, and a microfiber cloth or sponge
  • If stained, make a paste out of baking soda and water and use a microfiber cloth to remove the stain – don’t scrub
  • Don’t use vinegar, windex, or bleach on granite (this will dull the granite and weaken the sealant)
  • Plan on having a professional reseal your granite countertops every 2-4 years

Quartz

This increasingly popular option is engineered to be durable and doesn’t require a sealant because it is nonporous.

  • As one of the easiest countertops to care for, quartz resists stains and scratches, and is not negatively affected by acidic foods.
  • Clean daily with warm soap, water, and a microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Gently scrape any excess buildup of dirt or food with a putty knife
  • Don’t use bleach or harsh chemicals because it may damage the surface

Cultured Marble

Cultured marble is a more affordable counter option than natural stone and it beautifully imitates natural marble. Like quartz, cultured marble is manufactured to be durable and doesn’t require a sealant.

  • Clean daily with warm soap, water, and a microfiber cloth or sponge
  • For gloss finishes, completely avoid abrasives
  • For matte finishes, abrasives are ok when you’re trying to get rid of a stain
    • If stained, make a paste out of baking soda and water and use a microfiber cloth to remove the stain – don’t scrub
  • To maintain the surface’s shine, apply a protective coat of wax every few months

Formica (Laminate)

 The most common brand of laminate countertops is Formica. With laminate countertops, you have more freedom in choosing cleaning products and they are typically easier to maintain than natural stone countertops.

  • Clean daily with warm soap, water, or household cleaner and a microfiber cloth or sponge
  • Avoid acidic cleansers or bleach
  • If stained, make a paste out of baking soda and water and use a microfiber cloth to remove the stain – don’t scrub

If you’re not sure which type of countertop you have, regular dish soap and water will work on almost any surface. The most important thing you can do is clean spills right away to avoid long-term staining or damage to the surface’s finish. Also always avoid scouring pads if you’re unsure of your counter’s surface.

If your countertops are shiny, they are likely sealed so you should avoid using harsh abrasives. You can use baking soda and water for tough spots rather than a scouring pad, but we recommend taking it slow and being careful not to scrub.

For more home maintenance tips, visit our blog.

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Horizons East is a residential and commercial building company located in Jacksonville, NC. Horizons is your go-to builder for all things construction related. Whether you are looking to build the brand new custom home of your dreams, purchase a new home already under construction, remodel your current home, or build your new office, Horizons is the company for you. Continue reading