Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Time to Prep Your Home’s Exterior for Winter


Fall is here and its time to start preparing your home’s exterior outdoor living space for the impending harsh winter weather. Taking the time now to get your home prepared for snow, ice, and freezing temperature will not only help protect your home but will save you some time in the spring.
Home exterior
Your home’s exterior is your first layer of protection from the winter weather. Make sure it’s in prime condition before bad weather and cold temperatures appear.
  • Check your windows for cracks and clear the sills of dirt and debris and clean them with a dry paintbrush.
  • Replace or reattach any loose or damaged weather stripping around the doors and windows. Check for drafts and caulk inside and outside as needed.
  • Replace screen doors with storm doors. A storm door will provide an extra layer of protection and reduce air and moisture leaks.
  • Inspect your siding and trim for wood rot, decay, or other problems and make any necessary repairs.
  • Examine your roof for missing or damaged shingles and replace as necessary to prevent leaks.
  • Check for damaged or missing flashing around the chimney, walls, skylights, and vent pipes and replace them as needed.
  • Ensure that gutters and downspouts are properly fastened and directing water away from the house.
  • Check that handrails on all of the exterior stairs are sturdy and secure.
  • Trim overgrown branches away from the house and electrical wires to prevent branches from causing damage if they become coated with ice.
  • Remove any hoses and store them inside. Shut off all of your exterior faucets.
  • Be sure to properly drain and disconnect any water feature to prevent them from cracking and breaking over the winter.
Deck and patio
Your deck should be thoroughly inspected for damage at least once a year. If you didn’t inspect it or refinish it in the spring, check now to see if it needs to be refinished or requires any repairs.
  • Examine your deck for split or decaying wood. This should include the support structures, deck floor, and railing. Replace any damaged or decayed boards.
  • Make sure the railing and banisters are properly secured.
  • Replace any flashing that is damaged or missing, especially in areas where water may collect.
  • Give your deck a thorough cleaning to get rid of all the dirt and grime. You can use a power washer but do so carefully so you don’t damage the wood. Be sure to sweep away any leaves or debris.
  • Sweep your patio to remove any dirt and debris and wash it thoroughly with a hose.
  • Remove any weeds that may be growing around your patio.
Outdoor furniture
While outdoor furniture is designed to stand up to harsh winter weather, it’s always a good idea to give it a little extra TLC at the end of the season to prolong its life and keep it looking great longer. Be sure to clean your outdoor furniture before storing it away for the winter. If your furniture will remain outside, consider covering it for added protection.
  • If you have metal furniture, examine it for scratches and rust and touch it up with automotive paint.
  • For wrought iron furniture, use a wire brush to remove rust and touch it up with an exterior paint created specifically for wrought iron.
  • Plastic furniture can become brittle if it is left outside in frigid temperatures. Clean it with soap and water and store it inside.
  • Inspect wood furniture for wood rot, decay, or damage and repair and paint it as needed.
  • For outdoor furniture with fabrics, you should give it a good cleaning before storing it. Vacuum or brush off dirt and use soap and water on tough stains. While outdoor fabrics are resistant to mildew, it’s still a good idea to store them indoors over the winter. Consider storing them in plastic bags to keep them clean.
  • Hammocks and umbrellas should be stored indoors. Before storing, wash them with soap and water. Be sure to allow them to try thoroughly before storing them to prevent mildew and mold.
So if you’re ready to get your home improvement projects completed before winter sets in, contact Maze Lumber today – we’d be happy to help you out!



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MAZE LUMBER
1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752

Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed

Friday, September 29, 2017

Inspect Your Fire Extinguishers!


A fire extinguisher is something most people don’t think about until they need one. While you may be able to use a home fire extinguisher to help you put out a small fire, you may find that it’s of little value if it hasn’t been kept in operating condition. Below are some tips to help make sure your fire extinguisher is in proper working order.

Types of Fire Extinguishers


Before you buy or use a fire extinguisher, you should know what types of fires it is made to handle. The U.S. Fire Administration says fire extinguishers are made to combat five types of blazes:

  • Class A: Ordinary combustibles (i.e. cloth, wood and paper)
  • Class B: Flammable liquids
  • Class C: Appliances, electrical
  • Class D: Metals
  • Class K: Cooking oils
Some fire extinguishers may be made for more than one type of fire, and they will be labeled as such: “ABC” or “BC,” for example.
Monthly Fire Extinguisher Inspection
Even if they haven’t expired, home fire extinguishers should be checked each month to help make sure they are ready for use, says the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).
The NFPA also suggests including the following steps in your inspection:
1. Ensure accessibility. Make sure the extinguisher is in its proper spot, visible and easy to access.
2. Inspect the seals. Look over the tamper and safety seals to make sure they are intact.
3. Check the pressure. If your fire extinguisher has a pressure gauge, be sure that the gauge’s needle indicates proper pressure. If the fire extinguisher has a test indicator, press it to make sure the pressure reading is within the correct range.
4. Look for damage. Visible signs of damage, such as corrosion, leakage or a clogged nozzle, may mean it’s time to replace the extinguisher.
5. Document your inspection. Keep track of your extinguisher’s monthly checks and maintenance. Some extinguisher come with an inspection tag for this purpose.
Fire extinguishers are often an overlooked part of a home safety plan. Do your checks, know how to use them, contact your local fire department if you need help or more resources and be sure your extinguishers are ready for use — just in case.
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MAZE LUMBER
1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752

Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

DIY a Home Bar With These Free Plans!


Print off one of these free bar plans to help you build the home bar you've always dreamed of. There are free bar plans for indoor bars, outdoor bars, and even tiki bars, to help you get just the style you're looking for.
Building a home bar can be a simple project and pretty budget friendly. The free bar plans all include building directions, diagrams, material lists, tool lists, photos, and some even include videos.




Backyard Tiki Bar Plan from Popular Mechanics


A handmade built Tiki bar.

Popular Mechanics has a free tiki bar plan that starts with a shed plan but uses weathered materials to create a complete tiki bar feel.
The free tiki bar plan includes a materials list, tools list, the tiki bar blueprints, and step-by-step building instructions complete with color photos. More 
Rolling Bar Cart Plan from Ana White



A red rolling bar cart.

 A rolling bar cart is a great alternative to your standard home bar and this one can be used both inside and out. With a large shelf, a towel bar, and wheels you can finish it in any color you want.
These are complete building plans that include everything you need to build this basic bar project for less than $50. More 
Free Outdoor Bar Plan from My Plans Outdoor



A blown-up diagram of a home bar.

Use this free outdoor bar plan that incorporates a basic design with simple woodworking skills to get you an outdoor bar in just a few hours. Step-by-step directions with color diagrams will help you get this outdoor bar built in no time. More 

DIY Coffee Bar from The Tale of an Ugly House
If you aren't much of a bar person but love the classic touch it add to a home, you may want to consider building this DIY coffee bar that would be a cute addition to any home.
This free coffee bar plan includes a cut list, supply list, written directions, and lots of photos to help you along the way. More 






Free Bar Plan from This Old House
This Old House has a wonderful free bar plan with panels, molding, and an optional foot rail. It's less than $500 to build and will take you just a weekend.
The free bar plan comes complete with diagrams, shopping lists, building instructions, photos, and even a video. More 
Free Home Bar Plan from Bob's Woodworking Plans
The finished result of this free home bar plan is a classic 6-foot bar that features an oak arm rest and a brass foot rail. There's plenty of room on the inside of the bar for storage with drawers, shelves, and a wine rack.
Download a PDF of this free home bar plan and you'll have over 40 pages packed with directions, a materials list, diagrams, and photos. More 


Pottery Barn Inspired Chesapeake Bar Cabinet Plan from The Design Confidential

This free bar plan is inspired by Pottery Barn's Chesapeake Bar. This outdoor bar has a fold down top and sides that open allowing you to keep your bar stocked at all times.

Diagrams, instructions, and a materials and tools list will help you along each step of the way of building this outdoor bar. More 
HomeWetBar.com's Free Bar Plan

Another free bar plan suitable for indoor or outdoor use is offered by HomeWetBar.com. This bar plan is listed as costing around $1,500 - $2,000, but you can get the price down if you choose different materials than are listed.
The bar plan is setup as "8 Easy Steps," complete with the most essential set of tools and equipment you'll need to build it, and images throughout to help guide you through the construction. More 


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MAZE LUMBER
1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752

Hours:

Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed

Thursday, June 15, 2017

AVOIDING CONTRACTOR SCAMS

AVOIDING CONTRACTOR SCAMS


Property owners can become the victims of unlicensed, uninsured, inexperienced contractors and outright scammers who come to prey on uninformed people. Poor quality contractors and scammers can cause permanent damage, devalue your property, steal your money and put you at personal, legal and financial risk... not to mention all the headaches!
Many scams begin with a knock at your door, or an unsolicited call on the phone, claiming to be a contractor. Unfortunately, many scam companies imitate legitimate contractors, so protect yourself by checking your contractor out, before agreeing to an inspection.
Make sure any contractor you work with is properly licensed, insured, and provides 3 local references. Feel free to check out our list of local contractors that we know and trust.

Scam Warning Signs

The following list represents the most common indicators that the person or company you are speaking with might be running a scam.
  • Not properly licensed
  • No insurance or under-insured
  • No local office (beware of P.O. boxes and hotel addresses)
  • Won't provide local references
  • Demands up-front cash or deposit
  • Shows up on convicted criminals list

Out-of-State Contractors

Many excellent storm restoration companies have multiple offices around the country, or travel to work in hard hit storm areas. Just because a contractor is from out of state, it is not necessarily a reason to worry. However, as with any contractor you hire, you'll want to do your homework and check the contractor out before signing a contingency agreement or contract to do any work on your property.
If you decide to hire a contractor that is based out of state, make sure they have a local office, or reciprocal relationship with a local contractor, who will perform warranty repairs, if your contractor should leave the state. It is important to remember your workmanship warranty is worthless, if your out-of-state contractor leaves the state and does not have a local representative to honor the warranty.

Storm Chaser Scam Warning Signs

Storm chasers are like ambulance chasers. They flock to areas of the country that have been recently hit by damaging storms and attempt to scam people that are in need of serious help
  • A temporary office or P.O. box
  • Out-of-state phone numbers
  • Out-of-state license plates
  • Staying in a hotel, or motel
  • No local references
  • Don't know your area
You can avoid scams by working with one of the highly rated and experienced storm restoration contractors listed on our website. If you have any questions or concerns, please stop in or give us a call!
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MAZE LUMBER
1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752

Hours:


Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

What to Ask Your Deck Builder Before Hiring Them



When you are getting ready to hire a contractor to build your deck you should thoroughly research their building history, get at least three estimates, and always ask them questions. This will help make sure that you are being dealt with fairly and that you will hire a contractor that you will be comfortable with …

BUILDING A DECK IS A BIG INVESTMENT FOR YOUR HOME.

It will help make your home a more enjoyable place and will also help with resale if you’re thinking about putting it on the market someday.

THAT’S WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT YOU GET THE JOB DONE RIGHT.

In previous blog posts, we've talked about how to build your own deck. But we think it’s also important for folks to reach out for professional help with their deck when they need it. A licensed contractor will know all of the rules to building a deck. We’re talking structural, safety, legal (and important) rules. Most people don’t have a building background, and that’s totally OK. Now, it’s time to understand how to hire the right builder.

We found this post from LivBuildingProducts.com that outlines a few questions you’ll want to ask a builder before hiring them. Do you have ideas to add to this list? Click on the link above to find out more.

For more information, check out our website!
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MAZE LUMBER
1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752

Hours:


Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed

Friday, April 21, 2017

Understanding Decking Terminology

Terminology Of Decks

When you start on a journey of planning, building, or updating a deck, there are a lot of terms you should know. Take a look at this graphic put together by Wood Magazine. If you’re a visual learner, it’s especially helpful. They’ve also defined all of the different terms. Armed with this information, you should feel confident moving forward with your wood deck construction.


A deck is essentially an outdoor floor supported by a frame, posts, and footings secured in the ground; assembled in stages; and built from the ground up. The following terms define all of the important components of a typical deck.
Beams or girders: Hefty framing members (usually 4x, 6x, or doubled or tripled 2x stock) attached horizontally to the posts to support the joists.
Bridging: Short pieces of lumber between joists that strengthen the framing. They are designed to prevent the joists from twisting.
Decking: 2x or 5/4 stock attached to the joists to form the deck floor.
Footings: Concrete columns below grade that support the posts and, thus, the deck. On sites where the soil freezes and thaws, concrete is poured in an above-grade form and a cylindrical hole. Ask your building department for footing depths in your area.
Joists: Horizontal framing members (usually 2x stock) fastened on top of the beam or flush with the ledger to support the decking. A header is fastened to the ends of the deck?s interior joists. Rim joists or end joists are the outermost joists perpendicular to the ledger.
Joist hangers: Metal fasteners that allow you to fasten the joists in place without notching the ends of the board. A joist hanger secures a joist to a ledger or rim joist.
Ledger: A board (usually 2x stock) attached to the house to support one side of the deck.
Piers: (not illustrated) Precast concrete pyramids made to set on in-ground footings. Where frost heave is not a factor, piers set directly on the ground to support posts.
Post anchors: Metal framing connectors that attach posts to piers or footings. They raise the base of the posts slightly above the top of the footing, protecting them from water damage.
Posts: Timbers (usually 4x or 6x) set vertically to support the deck framing. Posts are used on all but the shortest decks. The posts can be cut off below the deck surface, or they may rise above the surface to provide support for the railing. Posts may rest on top of concrete footings or they can be set plumb in the hole before the concrete is poured.
Rails: Horizontal components of railings that provide a safety barrier and handhold for stairs or along the sides of the deck.
Railing: The assembly made of rails, rail posts, cap rails, and balusters or spindles. The balusters, the smallest vertical components, are positioned to fill the space between the top and bottom rails and between rail posts. Maximum baluster spacing for child safety is 4".
Risers: Boards covering the vertical spaces between stairway treads. Although shown in the drawing, risers are often omitted on deck steps and other exterior steps.
Stringers: Long, diagonal framing parts (usually 2x12s) that support stair treads. The stair treads are attached to the stringers.
Treads: The horizontal, stepping surfaces of a stairway.
Now that you've learned what some of the terminology means, we hope it will help you feel a little more comfortable planning your deck project! Understanding these commonly used terms should give you a steady foundation to stand on.

Check out our website for more information on the products we carry.Or give us a call at (815) 223-1742!




Maze Lumber is dedicated to providing our customers with superior service.


Don't forget!!!
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MAZE LUMBER
1100 Water Street
P.O. Box 449
Peru, IL 61354
Phone: 815-223-1742
Fax: 815-223-1752

Hours:


Monday-Friday: 7:30AM - 4:30PM
Saturday: 8:00AM - 12:00Noon
Sunday: Closed