Monday, February 20, 2017

Spring Maintenance Checklist

Like many of us, homes need a tune-up after the long winter months. Everything from the roof to the sump pump needs a once-over after the season has taken its toll. To help you cover all the bases, we’ve come up with a handy spring-maintenance checklist. Consult it every year and your home will thank you.

Inspect Brickwork and Stucco

Spalling is a chipping or popping away of a brick’s face, leaving the brick’s interior susceptible to moisture and crumbling. Look for this and any deteriorated mortar that typically occurs on older homes.

Is your brick plagued with efflorescence, those unsightly white deposits caused by soluble salts left behind during water evaporation? The Brick Industry Association recommends dry brushing in warm, dry weather to remove it.
If you discover water penetration in brick, consider sealing the brick with an appropriate sealant.

Replace Rotted Siding or Trim, and Repaint as Necessary

Repainting siding or trim is often more than a one-weekend project. For color consistency, you just can’t just touch it up—you need to paint a whole section.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Make sure gutters and downspouts direct water away from the house.

If you live in a place where there’s a lot of freezing and thawing, gutters will expand and contract, so make sure they’re flush to the roof, with no sags or dips.
Get a professional cleaning if you live in a two-story house. Do-it-yourselfers will be safer cleaning a ranch home.

Consider installing gutter guards.

Inspect Your Roof

Shingles that curl (turn up) and claw (turn down) can make your roof inefficient and susceptible to leaks. Call a minimum of three roofers before committing to one for repairs. You’ll educate yourself in the process and end up with a better deal.
Get a Chimney Checkup

Have a professional chimney sweep clean and inspect your active or decorative chimney. Professionals should also check the chimney flue and cap for cracks or leaking.
Don't Overlook Your Attic

Check your attic for proper ventilation and birds’ nests.
Look for obstructions over vents, damaged soffit panels, roof flashing leaks and wet spots on insulation. Keeping a good airflow will save you when it comes to cooling costs.

When you’re rooting around, wear long sleeves and gloves to protect yourself from insulation.

Check Your Heat/Air Unit; Change Batteries in Detectors

Change filters and clean the air purifier as needed.
Have your ducts professionally cleaned. It’ll make your indoor air quality healthier and your furnace more efficient.

Change batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Prune Landscaping and Create Good Drainage

Shrubs and landscaping help against soil erosion and should be planted to form a negative grade, which means water will flow away from the house.
Give Concrete a Little TLC

Seal and inspect asphalt or concrete driveways. Most of us put off sealing driveways until the fall, but the spring is an ideal time to do it. The sealer you use, the driveway material and climate will affect how often you need to seal your driveway.
Power-wash concrete patios, and inspect decks for rotting wood and secure railings. Seal both if necessary.

Have a professional service your pool.
Weatherproof Windows and Doors

Remove interior storm windows (old homes only) and replace screens on clean windows and doors. If you don't have air conditioning, you want to make sure you have good airflow throughout the home. You can also save on utility bills by adding blinds to windows that face south and west. Open windows when the sun sets and closing them at sunrise.

Examine putty and caulk lines around exterior windows and doors, and ensure that weather stripping creates a good seal.

Don't Forget the Sump Pump

Make sure the sump pump is operating correctly, and install a battery backup pump. The backup, another pump that floats above the original pump, will kick on when the electricity goes out. If your sump pump fails, an alarm goes off, letting you know the backup is working. A few hundred dollars will save you thousands in water damage.

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

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


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

Thursday, February 9, 2017

10 Important Tips For Insulating Walls

Get the most energy efficiency from your insulation by filling all gaps, avoiding compression, sealing holes in framing and other expert tips.

Cut Fiberglass Batts to Exact Widths

It’s easy to insulate your walls with fiberglass insulation (at least when they’re open!),
but the job still requires attention to detail to get the maximum benefit. Every gap and compressed
batt leaves a path for heat or cold to escape.
Measure and cut the fiberglass batt for an exact fit. Add about 1/4 in. to the measurement
to ensure a snug fit. Use a 4- to 6-in.-wide board or strip of plywood as a straightedge to guide
your utility knife. Line up the edge of the board at the proper width, compress the insulation and
cut it with a sharp utility knife. A scrap of plywood under the batt will protect finished floors and
keep the blade from dulling on concrete.

Avoid Stuffing

Don't stuff full-width batts into spaces that are too narrow. Crumpling batts to fit narrow spaces
creates uninsulated air pockets. And packed insulation has a lower R-value.

Wear Protective Equipment

 Protect your skin, eyes, and lungs when you're working with fiberglass. Goggles, gloves, a dust mask, a cap, and long sleeve coverings protect you from fiberglass irritationIf you'r installing alot of it, consider wearing disposable coveralls.

Seal Narrow Gaps with Foam

Seal around window and door jambs with expanding spray foam. The main purpose of the spray
foam is to seal the space around the window to prevent air infiltration. Use foam that's labeled for window and door insulating. This "minimal-expanding" type reduces the chance of warping the jamb.
If there's still space around the window after the foam cures, lightly stuff the remaining space with strips of fiberglass insulation.

Notch Batts Around Electrical Boxes

Cut notches in batts to fit snuggly around electrical boxes. Airtight boxes have gaskets
that seal against the drywall. Put the batt in place, and use a scissors to snip around the box.
Tuck the snipped-out plug of insulation behind the box. Don’t wrap fiberglass batts around
electrical boxes or stuff full batts behind them.That creates gaps and air convection routes
around the box.

Split Batts Around Cables and Pipes

Split apart the batts to fit around wires and pipes to get the full value of the insulation.
Fiberglass batts have a vertical weave that allow you to easily tear it open for
insulating around electrical cables.

Avoid Stuffing Batts Behind Pipes and Cables

Don't tuck full-thickness batts behind pipes and cables. Compressing the fiberglass
decreases its insulating value and creates voids between the insulation and the drywall.

Plug Holes in Top and Bottom Plates

Plug holes in the top and bottom plates with expanding spray foam.
Even small holes can let a lot of air escape. Don't leave gaps around wires, pipes
or ducts unplugged. These gaps create pathways for warm interior air to leak into the attic,
wasting energy and causing attic condensation or even ice dams in cold climates.

Avoid Paper-Faced Insulation Where Possible

Don't buy paper-faced insulation for standard wall insulating jobs.
The paper facing makes cutting the batts difficult. And it's hard to create a tight vapor
retarder with paper-faced batts.

Buy Friction-Fit Batts

Buy unfaced friction-fit batts and seal the walls with a 4-mil poly vapor retarder.
Seal the gap between the bottom plate of the wall and the floor with acoustical sealant or caulk.
Press the poly into the sealant. Use special airtight electrical boxes (see photo, Tip 5)
or seal the poly to the electrical box with acoustical sealant.
Tape the seams in the poly withsheathing tape.