Category Archives: Home Maintenance

How to Clean the Exterior of Your Home

Spring is the season for fresh starts. That’s the spirit behind “Spring Cleaning” efforts! The last week of March is National Cleaning Week, making it the prime time to get your spring cleaning started.

You know the drill for inside the house: sweep, mop, dust, declutter, disinfect. What about the exterior of your home? Here are some tips for cleaning your home’s exterior, depending on the type of siding you have.

Vinyl Siding

A pressure washer will clean vinyl siding quickly. However, to help extend the durability of the siding, try cleaning with a brush and cloth. Wipe it down from top to bottom, rinsing often. Use vinegar and water for routine cleaning, or if you’ve got more serious stains, use something a bit stronger, like bleach, in the mix.

Wood Siding

Siding made from wood is not as sturdy as vinyl, so it’s best not to use a pressure washer. A mixture of water and vinegar, or bleach and oxygen are highly recommended. After cleaning wood siding, it may be a good idea to use a sealant to protect it from weather. Check with a professional to see if your specific siding needs sealant.

Metal Siding

To clean metal siding, use a soft brush to remove heavy debris and dirt; be careful not to use anything too abrasive that may scratch the paint or metal. Use a mixture of water and laundry detergent to clean. If you want to use a pressure washer, make sure to use the lowest power setting. Be careful not to leave behind any cleaning solution because it may promote corrosion.

Fiber Cement Siding

Whenever you notice any stains or dirt on your cement siding, spot clean it with soap, water, and a cloth! Be careful when using any cleaning products as they can cause corrosion over time. For a gentle clean, use your garden hose to rinse. Aside from spot cleaning your cement siding, most siding can just be cleaned once a year! Add it to your annual spring cleaning checklist to make sure your exterior stays beautiful.

Fireman with extinguisher

Fire Safety & Prevention in Your Home

This year we’ll celebrate the 100th annual Fire Prevention Week from October 9th to 15th. This occasion provides you and your family the perfect opportunity to address fire safety in your home ahead of the holiday season.    

Fires are incredibly dangerous and can ignite and spread quickly. From the time a fire alarm sounds, you may have as little as 2 minutes to escape safely. Because time is so limited, your family should have fire prevention strategies in place and an evacuation plan that everyone knows and can execute when smoke detectors go off.  

Here are some ways to prepare your family for fire safety and emergency responses.

  1. Install smoke detectors in every bedroom, hallways outside bedrooms, stairwells, and living areas on every level of the home, including basements. Test monthly to ensure they are all working properly and change batteries as recommended by the manufacturer.  
  2. Learn how to use a fire extinguisher. For small fires that may start in the home, using a fire extinguisher may be all the fire-fighting that is needed. Educate yourself, your spouse, and any older children on using one safely. 
  3. Plan your escapes. Find the safest and quickest route to get out of every room. Set up a family meeting spot that everyone will go to in case of an emergency so you know everyone’s out and safe from fire. Practice evacuating and meeting. 
  4. Make sure everyone knows to call 911. Explain to your children why a smoke detector could go off and teach them about different reasons that warrant a call.   
  5. Practice stop, drop, and roll.  
  6. Monitor children and pets around any open flames, like a candle or a gas stove.  
  7. Keep space heaters, curling irons, wax warmers, etc. away from other objects. Make sure they have cooled off before storing them. 
  8. Store lighters and matches out of reach of children.  
  9. Practice fire safety in the kitchen: Keep stoves clean. When using the stove, keep the handles on your pans pushed back.  
  10. Never overload electrical outlets or power strips.

5 Tips for Getting Your Home Ready for Summer

With the summer on its way, it’s time to get your home prepped for warmer weather. From spending time outside to keeping your yard healthy, there are a few things to consider when transitioning from spring to summer.

1. Take care of the flower beds

Get rid of weeds and fertilize your greenery. Purchase new summer plants to spruce up your garden. Make it a fun activity to do with the family on a nice day. The prettier your outdoor space, the more you will want to spend time in it there this summer.

2. Check your irrigation system

Sprinklers may have some damage from the winter freezing or may just need a little TLC after inactive months. Make sure all are in working order and make repairs or replacements as needed.

3. Fill in grass

Remove debris and mow the lawn to find any spots that are a little bare. Purchase seeds and dethatch the brown grass that needs to be replaced. Apply the new seeds and fertilizer and watch it grow this summer!

4. Move winter clothes into storage

Aside from a sweatshirt on the porch, you probably won’t need your winter gear this summer. Swap out your sweaters for swimsuits and flannels for flip flops.

5. Prep the grill

Clean all the residue of last summer’s barbecues off your grill before you fire it up! To do so, close the hood and let the grill heat up all the way. Wait for at least 20 minutes before turning it off. Disconnect the gas line, and, once it’s completely cooled, remove the grates and burners and let them soak in warm, soapy water. Scrub down the whole grill and all its pieces before reassembling. For cleaning instructions, be sure to check your grill’s specific manual.


Enjoy the warmer weather and sunshine this summer!

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

Often when starting a new year, we make resolutions. The universal goal is to make this year better than the last. Here are a few resolutions you can make for your home to create a more calming, organized, and family-friendly space to love.


Create a Cleaning Schedule

There are things you do every week and every day, like laundry and dishes. Make a cleaning schedule for your home, from a monthly or quarterly closet declutter all the way down to sweeping. Assign a date for each item and who will be responsible for completing it.  Sticking to the schedule means tasks do not go unnoticed and nothing piles up on you.


Complete a Home Safety Check

Change the batteries in your smoke detector. Test your home for harmful chemicals. Do a safety check throughout the home to protect your family for the whole year. Consider having a home security system or a smart doorbell installed to keep your home and family even safer!


Cut Energy Use and Costs

Consider keeping the house a degree warmer in the summer and cooler in the winter. Make sure you turn off lights and appliances that aren’t in use. Install eco-friendly LED bulbs and check for Energy Saver ratings when investing in appliances. Saving on energy won’t just help the planet, it will help save you money.


Revamp and Refresh Your Space

Start the New Year with a fresh start by revamping your space! Spruce up by having walls repainted or updating the décor in an area of your home. Rearrange the furniture or change out your throw pillows to make a big impact easily.  Check out this article on refreshing your space with the 2022 Colors of the Year.

Get Your NC Home Ready for Winter

While winter doesn’t hit coastal North Carolina as hard as northern states, it’s still important to winterize your home and perform seasonal maintenance. Preparing your home for winter before temperatures reach a freezing point prevents damage and helps keep your family comfortably warm. 

Clean Gutters 

Regularly cleaning out gutters is always a good idea.  Clogged gutters can cause water damage to your house. But in winter, a clogged gutter can freeze.  If it does, it becomes very heavy and can break or fall. Make sure to clean your gutters before it freezes! 


Check for and Fill Cracks and Gaps 

Ensure that there are no cracks in your molding, foundation, or around windows/doors. Fill the holes in molding or foundation with caulk, and install weatherstripping for any gaps around doors and windows. Most doors have adjustable thresholds that can easily be adjusted with a screwdriver, this is a good practice to ensure proper seal of the sweep to the threshold. Doing so will prevent pests from entering your home and save on heating costs by keeping warm air inside your home. Also, check all windows to make sure they are fully closed and properly latched to prevent energy loss from cold air slowly getting in. 


Trim Tree Limbs 

Like gutters, freezing rain and temperatures can make tree limbs heavier, causing weakened branches to fall or break. Trim limbs that are close to windows or over your gutters or roof to prevent costly damages to your home.  Trimming shrubs and trees away from the house is also a great pest prevention tactic. 


Drain Hose Pipes 

When freezing weather is approaching, draining your pipes is a simple but effective prevention technique. Shut off the valve – labeled hose bib valve – inside your home, and then turn the hose on to let all the water run out of the pipes. This step is not needed frequently but is very helpful to know when we get a hard freeze in eastern North Carolina. 


Clean Vents 

Wiping down your vents before turning them on for the first time will prevent an unpleasant “burnt dust” smell.  


Replace Air Filters 

Make sure that the money you’re spending for hot air inside is being used efficiently! Dirty air filters prevent proper airflow. Replace air filters regularly as recommended by your heating/cooling unit manufacturer. Be sure to use the correct size to properly filter the air and not leave gaps for dust and debris to be pumped into the air return. 


These helpful tips will help keep your home cozy this winter and prevent damage to your property, and will also help save a few dollars on energy. 

Normal Wear and Tear in a New Home

Every structure reveals signs of aging over time. If you see slight imperfections in your home over the years, don’t stress. They are a natural and unavoidable part of the home’s aging process. We’ll explain why these imperfections happen, give examples of normal wear and tear, and list some regular maintenance tasks that will help keep your home in great shape.

What Happens to a Home as Time Passes?

Exposure to the Elements

Daily exposure to the sun and other factors like wind and rain can cause minor damage to your home’s exterior. This will eventually lead to blemishes and may require paint touch-ups or minor repairs. This is expected over time.


Settling is a naturally occurring process that happens when the ground under a home shifts or compacts under the weight of the structure.  Every home settles over time.

Expansion and Contraction

The building materials in your new home are subject to seasonal changes in temperature. These changes in temperature can cause materials like wood and concrete to expand in the heat and contract once cooled.

The whole home undergoes these physical changes. The combination of expansion, contraction and settling will cause normal wear and tear on your home as time passes.

Here Are Some Examples of Normal Wear and Tear:

  • Faded paint
  • Slight cracks where the wall and ceiling meet
  • A slight lifting of baseboards
  • Nail pops (a nail starting to push through the drywall)
  • Drywall seam lines may become visible
  • Cracks or separations in grouting
  • Shrunken or cracked caulk
  • Sticking doors
  • Sidewalk cracks

Normal Use of Your Home May Lead to:

  • Cabinet and vanity scratches
  • Worn carpet or other flooring
  • Loose door hinges
  • Lightly scuffed floors
  • Other signs of use

Not all homes will experience the same types or levels of wear and tear, but all homes will experience some wear and tear.  Time, weather conditions, regular maintenance, and care are variables that contribute to the maturing of your home.

Regular Maintenance Tasks for Your Home

To keep your home looking its best and prevent small problems from turning into large ones, regular maintenance is required. Here are some steps you can take to extend the longevity of your home.

Indoor Home Maintenance

  • Check appliance and fixture care instructions to be sure you’re cleaning and maintaining them correctly and often enough. Check your home’s water heater, HVAC, refrigerator, stove, dishwasher, washing machine, dryer, etc.
  • Clean dryer exhaust vent regularly.
  • Ensure you’re using the right cleaning method for your type of counters and flooring.
  • Wipe down counters daily.
  • Clean floors weekly or immediately after a spill.
  • Deep clean carpets yearly.
  • Check caulked areas around tubs, sinks, thresholds, countertops, etc. annually and repair as needed.
  • Change HVAC filters each month, they don’t need to be expensive filters. TIP: Set Amazon to auto-ship.
  • Replace smoke/carbon dioxide batteries yearly.  TIP: Pick an easy day to remember like New Year’s Day.

Outdoor Home Maintenance

  • Inspect caulk, weather stripping, and sealants around doors, windows, exterior vents, piping, etc. each year and repair or replace as needed.
  • Keep shrubs trimmed away from the home to prevent scratches in your home’s siding.
  • Power wash your siding if you notice pollen, mildew, or algae build-up.  This is especially important in North Carolina.
  • Prepare your home for season changes by cleaning gutters, getting furnace and fireplace inspections, and checking for drafts/installing weather stripping as needed.
  • Wash windows every season or at least twice a year.
  • If your driveway ices in the winter, use sand instead of salt.  Salt can damage concrete.
  • Keep downspouts pointed away from your foundation.

A home provides your family with shelter, security, and peace of mind.  Maintaining and caring for your home’s interior and exterior will help it age gracefully and stay beautiful for years to come.

If you’re looking to become a new homeowner in Eastern North Carolina, let us know.  We’ll walk you through every step of the process.