It’s important to maintain the outside of your home to prevent more costly repairs in the future.

Watch this video to see how to:

Replace Columns: Remove and replace rotten porch columns with pressure treated wood columns from YellaWood which are kiln dried after treatment to allow for immediate painting.

Repair Gutters: Clean and repair leaking, sagging gutters by replacing spikes and ferrules with more secure gutter screws, repairing a damaged seam joints, and adding a second downspout.

Test Gutter Guards: Test different types of gutter guards to see which work best.

Watch the video above to find out more.


Danny Lipford: When the weather changes, so does your list of chores. So this week, Today’s Homeowner is all about fall maintenance fix-up, and the chores and fun that go with it.

Where did you get those glasses?

Hunter Black: I found them, man.

Danny Lipford: People love the fall of the year because of the changing colors and the crisp air. But, for homeowners, those leaves will soon mean raking and gutter cleaning. And the coming cold weather will delay other outdoor maintenance chores that need to be done. Payton and Hunter Black are a couple of optimistic, young homeowners in exactly that position.

Hunter Black: We liked the house when we saw. We looked at a few other ones, but this one kind of called to us, so…

Payton Black: The location was good.

Hunter Black: Yeah, it was perfect.

Payton Black: And we’ve been here a year.

Hunter Black: Yeah, it’s been a year, and we plan to live here a lot longer. You know, it’s a big fixer-upper, but we’re happy with it, we’re excited.

Payton Black: We painted our kitchen and…

Hunter Black: Well, I spilled the paint within first five minutes, so of course, it didn’t go off without a hitch, but we got it done. Everything came out nice.

Payton Black: It was wood paneling. We just painted over it with the wood paneling.

Hunter Black: Right.

Danny Lipford: But outside, there’s still work to do. Payton and Hunter are in need of a fall maintenance fix-up, so we’re taking a look around to see what we can help them get done.

Definitely got a problem there.

Hunter Black: Yes, sir.

Payton Black: Yeah, I could kick them over.

Hunter Black: These have been an eyesore for us for quite some time. We’re excited to get something done about it.

Danny Lipford: I’m going to tell you what. I got a great solution for this.

Hunter Black: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Something that’s kind of new that will solve that problem. You know, you don’t have gutters up in here, which I don’t like gutters in the front of a house anyway.

Hunter Black: We got them in the back.

Danny Lipford: Oh, you do?

Hunter Black: Yes, sir, I’ll show them to you.

Danny Lipford: Okay.

Hunter Black: Yeah, they’re right over here, actually. This is where we have some of our biggest problems with our gutters.

Danny Lipford: Oh, yeah.

Hunter Black: The damage is obvious, so…

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I see another seam right there. It’s the same thing.

Hunter Black: Right there, and there’s one right over here.

Danny Lipford: I got you.

Yes, sir. Of course, I’m sure you keep them clean all the time.

Hunter Black: We try to. We try to. That’s her job.

Payton Black: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: It’s hard to do that.

I’m also taking some measurements for the new columns and making a list of materials we’ll need before calling Allen to pick them up. And while he’s doing that, Hunter and I get ready to remove those rotten columns, which don’t seem to match the house very well, anyway. So, the new ones Allen’s going to get will be square.

We’re using a hydraulic jack and a piece of four by four post to temporarily lift the weight of the roof from the column. A short piece of two by six tacked on top of the four by four will help spread the load a bit.

Tell you what, you…

Hunter Black: Mmm-hmm?

Danny Lipford: Jack on that one time.

Hunter Black: All right.

Danny Lipford: Just hit it a couple of times, and I’m going to watch.

Hunter Black: Okay.

Danny Lipford: All right, keep going. All right, there you go. That’s good.

Hunter Black: Okay.

Danny Lipford: That’s already loose. This is good and secure. All right, let’s see if we can get this in… Oh! There you go.

Hunter Black: Hmm.

Danny Lipford: That’s all you need.

Hunter Black: It’s pretty easy, huh?

Danny Lipford: All right, there you go. You can give that to Payton for her birthday.

Hunter Black: Good. I was having trouble coming up with something. What’s a night on the couch, anyway, right?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, that’s right. That’s right. Let me know how that works out for you.

Payton must have heard us, because before long she shows up to check out our work.

Payton Black: Is this help in the roof stay up, or?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, we just jacked it up a little bit, a four-ton jack to hold it up for just a minute. And I’m bound to level, make sure this is level. Because if that sagged any, we have a chance now to raise this back up just a little bit to get that level, so…. What you got there?

Payton Black: Some paint samples.

Danny Lipford: What did you decide on the color?

Payton Black: I have no idea.

Danny Lipford: So while I’m checking to see if the porch beam is level, Hunter takes on every man’s favorite chore—picking paint colors with his wife.

Hey, there we go. Boy, good timing on that. Allen, this is Hunter and Payton.

Hunter Black: Hey, how are you?

Allen Lyle: Allen Lyle.

Hunter Black: Nice to meet you.

Allen Lyle: Nice to meet you, too.

Hunter Black: This is Payton.

Allen Lyle: Hi, Payton. Can you grab that end?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I got that end.

Allen Lyle: Get them down. Danny Lipford: There you go.

Allen Lyle: Got another one back there.

Danny Lipford: This is fine. Check that out.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, that’s a good one.

Danny Lipford: Here’s a key thing that we have. Yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about. To keep them from being down in the water that will sit on the slab, and then the column will sit on top of it.

While we get the columns ready, Payton’s off to pick up the colors for them.

But right now, it’s time for you to check in with Joe Truini for Simple Solutions.

Joe Truini: When using caulk to seal cracks and holes around the house or outside, it’s important to make sure the crack is no wider than a quarter of an inch, because if you just put in caulk, the caulk will fail, because the crack is too wide.

So, here’s the trick. Go to a hardware store and pick up foam backer rod. It’s just this rope of soft foam rubber. And you can force that in through the crack first, and that’ll serve as a foundation for the caulk itself.

So, start by sweeping it out. Sweeping out the crack so there’s no dust or debris in there. You want it as clean as possible. In this case, since we’re working with concrete, we’re going to be using a concrete repair caulk.

But before putting in the caulk, because this crack is way too wide, we’re going to stuff it with this backer. Then you can fill it up. The entire crack will be filled, but not entirely with caulk.

The backer rod provides the support, and you’ll have a perfect repair that will last years.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re tackling some fall home improvement chores with new homeowners, Payton and Hunter Black. We’ve just removed the first of two rotten support columns from their front porch…

Definitely got a problem there.

…and we’re getting ready to replace them with these hollow, laminated columns made from treated lumber. The folks at YellaWood tell me these things have more structural capacity than a solid timber. Plus, they won’t twist, and they’re much lighter.

Hunter Black: What’s the next move to getting this standing up and…

Danny Lipford: It’s really pretty easy, you know.

Hunter Black: Yeah?

Danny Lipford: I measured from that plinth block up…

Hunter Black: Right.

Danny Lipford: …so that it will fit right in there. And, of course, you know this has the strength that it needs structurally. But check out the backside of that. I’ve never seen labeling where you actually have all of the instructions piece-by-piece…

Hunter Black: Oh, wow, Yeah.

Danny Lipford: …exactly how to do it, and the ways to, you know, like, attach the plinth to the bottom of the column…

Hunter Black: Uh-huh.

Danny Lipford: …which is very do-it-yourself friendly.

Since the column is thicker than the maximum depth of the saw, we’re transferring the mark around to all four sides of it before cutting it off at the proper length. Then, Allen shows Hunter how to attach the plinth block to the bottom of the column using coated deck screws.

Allen Lyle: Last one.

Hunter Black: Yep, this is it. This is exciting.

Allen Lyle: We’re ready to go and place, Danny.

Danny Lipford: Okay, buddy. All right, I got my end.

Allen Lyle: Now you may have come down a little since you’ve had that pumped up, so you need to pump that up again.


Allen Lyle: One more time.

Hunter Black: One more?

Allen Lyle: Yeah. That’s it.

Danny Lipford: The next step is making sure the column is plumb or perfectly vertical.

Allen Lyle: Just a hair. Just a hair.

Danny Lipford: Since the top has to remain in the corner, we’re tapping the bottom from side to side and in and out to get it perfectly plumb.

Allen Lyle: We’re on it.

Danny Lipford: Fingers out of the way. Let her down.

Allen Lyle: And now release the pressure.

Hunter Black: Wow.

Allen Lyle: Just like that, it’s done.

Danny Lipford: Now, the second column.

All right, next.

Only this one is sagged a little more.

All right. See we’re already loose.

This column is in even worse shape. But the cap at the top is attached better, so getting it out takes a little more effort. Next, we need to get the porch beam level, which may take some doing.

All right, go ahead and crank it up some more, because we got a ways to go here.

Hunter Black: All right. Here we go.

Danny Lipford: Yep, give it some more.

Hunter Black: All right.

Danny Lipford: Really close now. Keep going some more. There you go. That’s it. Now, that should make this perfectly level across here. Yeah.

Hunter Black: Wow.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Perfect.

One more measurement, and we’re ready to cut column two.

Hunter Black: All right, I know what’s next.

Danny Lipford: All right. Yeah, we can get the plinth block on the bottom over there.

Hunter Black: All right. Does it matter, actually, which end we put this on?

Danny Lipford: Well, I’ll tell you. Since this one was cut, much better to go on that. Because you’ll notice down there it has this yellow paint on it. And it’s basically applied at the factory to just seal all of that up from getting that up to prevent moisture from absorbing in there.

Hunter Black: Oh.

Danny Lipford: Anytime, you know, if you’re building a column yourself or whatever, it’s always good to seal that up to keep that from happening. So We’ll put it down on that end…

Hunter Black: Wow, okay.

Danny Lipford: …and then this end can go up top.

So, after four more screws…


Hunter Black: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: I was kidding.

…we’re setting the last column. A little finagling to get it perfectly plumb, and the heavy lifting is done.

Hunter Black: Looks nice.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, it does, doesn’t it?

Meanwhile, Allen has been cutting some one by eight to create a base that wraps around the bottom of the column.

You know, I’ve used a lot of treated wood over the years. And a lot of times, it can be really embarrassing because you have knots and all kinds of cracks, and that type of thing. And that’s fine if you’re using it for, like, an old barn or something like that. When it’s on the front of your house, this is pretty impressive to see. You know, no knots in it whatsoever, and everything just really smooth. It’s pretty awesome.

Hunter Black: Looks nice.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, looks great.

Hunter Black: There she is.

Payton Black: Hey, ya’ll.

Danny Lipford: Did you get everything?

Payton Black: Yeah, I think so.

Danny Lipford: So you’re cool doing all of the priming and painting?

Payton Black: Oh, yeah, I’m excited about that.

Danny Lipford: I got you a kind of a helper, not much of a helper.

Allen Lyle: I’m here, I’m here.

Danny Lipford: But Allen’s going to help you out here a little bit, so…

Allen Lyle: I got the primer for us, so…

Danny Lipford: All right.

Allen Lyle: It’s just you and me?

Payton Black: Mmm-hmm.

Danny Lipford: All right, we’ll start cleaning up around here.

There’s a little more masking to be done around the bottom of the columns before the priming begins.

Allen Lyle: You know, the nice thing about this new stuff from YellaWood, this KDAT lumber [Kiln Dried After Treatment]…

Payton Black: Mmm-hmm.

Allen Lyle: …is you can prime it right away. With the old stuff…

Payton Black: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: …you had to wait anywhere from 30 to 45 days before you could even touch it.

Payton Black: Crazy.

Allen Lyle: Yeah. These love bugs are insane.

Payton Black: Yeah, they get on our…

Allen Lyle: Payton, I think we have created something new.

Payton Black: What?

Allen Lyle: We’ll call it love bug texturing.

Payton Black: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: And that will allow them to be spattered throughout the column, stuck there for eternity.

Payton Black: Love bugs add character to our house.

Danny Lipford: While Payton and Allen battle the bugs to wrap up the priming, Hunter and I are getting ready to deal with those gutters in the back.

Uh-huh. Yeah, we got a little cleaning here to do.

Hunter Black: Huh.

Danny Lipford: Clean this regular, huh?

Hunter Black: Well, I knew that would only last till you got up there and looked, but no.

Danny Lipford: While we start digging into this mess, why don’t you check out this week’s Best New Product with Jodi.

Jodi Marks: You know, I love working out in my yard, but one the things I can’t stand is trying to rake leaves and put them in a bag that’s going to fold in on itself, and then I have to fight the bag to get the leaves down in there. But, Shea, you’ve got a really good solution for this, don’t you?

Shea Pettaway: Yes, it definitely can be a pain, Jodi. And Rubbermaid has this Roughneck BagBone, and you just take the long side, flex it in, and there you go.

Jodi Marks: Wow, look at that. It holds it open and wide open. So, I’m not having to struggle with my hands and try to get the leaves down in there.

Shea Pettaway: Right.

Jodi Marks: Because, you know, that’s a pain. I’m trying to get my daughter to hold the bag, but she won’t help me. It really is kind of a two job, two person job, until this.

Shea Pettaway: Right, so now we’ve eliminated two people to one person. So, that way, you can do the backyard and I can do the leaves in the front yard.

Jodi Marks: That’s fantastic. So, you know what, basically we’ve done? We’ve given our bag a spine. Good job.

Danny Lipford: Payton and Hunter Black are in fall maintenance fix-up school this week, and so far we’ve replaced the rotten columns on the front porch of the young couple’s first home.

Payton Black: I like the square a whole lot better than I liked those round ones.

Danny Lipford: While Allen and Payton prime and caulk those columns, Hunter and I have begun the rehab of the gutter over their back patio.

Hunter Black: So I shouldn’t have never let them get this bad, then?

Danny Lipford: No, no. because it…it just doesn’t…it backs them up.

Hunter Black: Right.

Danny Lipford: And what happens, too, is, like you got these gutter spikes here, and the water will back into the eave area of the house. And you before you know it, it’s rotten like crazy, and bugs love it. I mean, you know, carpenter ants, that kind of thing. Roaches, they’ll get all this.

Hunter Black: Don’t tell the wife, man, she’ll freak.

Danny Lipford: No, no. Better not say a peep. And, you know, during the fall time of the year, it’s a great time to do this as well.

Hunter Black: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Because, you know, you’re going to get a lot more leaves coming down real soon.

Hunter Black: Right.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I guess you’re going to have to go, have to go hide the evidence, huh?

Hunter Black: I guess so, man.

Danny Lipford: Just sneak it in the garbage can.

Hunter Black: Probably going to put it in the laundry room, she never goes in there. It is the best hiding place, I think.

Danny Lipford: We’ll send her a little copy of this tape.

While I’m doing a little marital counseling in the backyard, Allen is giving a caulking class in the front.

Allen Lyle: That’s the key, right here, is to get a wet finger and smooth it over the top of it. Let the water actually flow it in to where it needs to go, and it does such a better job.

Danny Lipford: As Hunter and I are doing our final rinse, we’re also testing for leaks. All right, any leaks yet?

Hunter Black: Uh, yeah. Right here in the corner, it’s just pouring out.

Danny Lipford: Instead of the water flowing towards that downspout, it’s flowing backwards.

Hunter Black: Wow. So it’s unlevel, I guess?

Danny Lipford: Yeah. It’s because it’s sagging.

When the gutters are clean, we let them and the primer dry overnight before work continues the next morning. First, we remove the loose, rusted gutter spikes and replace them with threaded gutter screws to hold them more securely to the fascia board. Then we tighten up the seams in the gutters with some small self-taping screws.

You see how it’s tightening up?

Hunter Black: I do, everything’s coming together. That’s good.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Yeah, I think we’re going to be good. Yeah. I’ll tell you what, the way this is going, it’s not going to take very long.

Hunter Black: I didn’t realize it was this simple.

Danny Lipford: Then, once we scrape out the old, dried caulk; we’re ready to seal up the seams with new caulk. As we work our way along the gutters, every seam offers slightly different challenges.

I’m going to persuade it out of there a little bit.

Hunter Black: Wow. That’s when you know somebody’s done things before.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: Do you think the guys are actually working over on the other end of the house?

Payton Black: Probably not.

Allen Lyle: Probably not.

Danny Lipford: In some cases the seam splices are so badly bent that they have to be removed completely.

Hunter Black: Now, what makes the metal bend over time? Is it just being weathered or?

Danny Lipford: Mostly, and just the weight of the leaves, expansion and contraction. It will just back out.

We’re replacing it with a splice generously coated with gutter seal and secured with more self-taping screws. While Hunter and I are sweating it out here in the sun, I can’t help wondering if Allen and Payton are actually painting those porch columns or maybe just enjoying the shade.

Allen Lyle: Could you rub my shoulders?

Payton Black: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: That’d be great.

Payton Black: Hold on one second.

Danny Lipford: She jumped on that painting instead of helping on the gutters.

Hunter Black: Yeah, you saw that, didn’t you?

Danny Lipford: Sure did.

Hunter Black: I wonder what that’s about.

Danny Lipford: I think Allen told her about the shade and the mint juleps, and…

Allen Lyle: Oh, this is really hard work, Payton.

Payton Black: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: I saw this when we were cleaning this thing yesterday, that there’s no cap here whatsoever, no downspout. Water’s running out down here, and you see what happened.

Hunter Black: Yeah, it’s messing up my yard.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, it’s got a heck of a hole there that could affect that foundation, so much better to have a downspout here. Especially this much gutter, and you need at least a couple of downspouts. Put one right here. That wouldn’t be too pretty.

Hunter Black: Right.

Danny Lipford: I don’t think Payton would like that. So I bought an outlet. Instead of extending this thing, I thought we would cut this off with a reciprocating saw, put that outlet right in here, and then I have a downspout to go down right there to kick that water out.

Hunter Black: That’s going to be perfect.

Allen Lyle: I think I painted a love bug in the column. Is that all right?

Payton Black: Yeah, that’s fine.

Danny Lipford: Where did you get those glasses?

Hunter Black: I found them, man.

Danny Lipford: Man, designer frames, that’s awesome.

Hunter Black: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: That’s when it happens.

Hunter Black: God! Yeah, it got me, too. Dang it!

Danny Lipford: That wasp sting slowed us down a little bit, but we’re still accomplishing way more than those two in the front yard. I still think someone is a slacker.

Allen Lyle: Break time.

Payton Black: I agree.

Danny Lipford: We’ll hold that up there, and I can screw that off, and you can hold it to the wall.

Hunter Black: Okay.

Danny Lipford: You see any wasps, just knock them down.

Eventually, we get the downspout installed to complete Payton and Hunter’s gutter rehab. Now the gutter should work great. But since they dislike cleaning these things so much, we thought they would be the perfect judges to test out some gutter guards.

We’ve collected samples of five different designs from trade shows and distributors, and we’re installing them in the newly refurbished gutters. Why don’t you climb up the ladders enough so that you can see the guards and then we’ll test them out.

Allen Lyle: You may want to move your ladder back a bit, Hunter.

Hunter Black: All right.

Allen Lyle: Yeah. It’s going straight for you.

Danny Lipford: So here we go with the rainfall.

Allen Lyle: Rainfall coming.

Danny Lipford: And here we come with the leaves.

Allen Lyle: I’m the special effects.

Danny Lipford: There you go.

Okay, so it’s not exactly scientific, but it’s kind of fun after a long, hot day in the sun—for some of us—and we’re getting a good look at how well each of these things work.

And then, of course, that’s some straw and some leaves.

Allen Lyle: Some straw, some leaves. They all seem to be staying out of the gutter, at least.

Payton Black: Yeah, but I think the white one did the best.

Hunter Black: Absolutely.

Allen Lyle: Do you think this one, too? Yeah. The white one, yeah. Absolutely

Allen Lyle: Seems to slide off of it.

Danny Lipford: Because, you know, the others have all that texture.

Hunter Black: Right, they’re gripping, it seems like.

Payton Black: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: But how much water is going into the gutter, that’s what I want to know.

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Hunter Black: We have a lot of water coming out down the spout

Danny Lipford: That might work well, in, say, Seattle, where it rains all the time, but not very hard. And then some of these others may work well during the heavier rains, but…

Hunter Black: No more leaks. The leaks are fixed.

Allen Lyle: Oh, the leaks are fixed, too?

Hunter Black: They are.

Allen Lyle: That was our leak test.

Danny Lipford: So we can’t give a conclusive answer for everyone on gutter guards, but here’s a question from one viewer that we can nail down.

Danny Lipford: Barry asks, “We have a leak somewhere around our chimney but can’t seem to locate it. Any suggestions?”

Finding a leak on your chimney can be one of the most frustrating things you’ll ever do at your house, because there’s so many entry points.

But the vast majority of the time, the problem is with the flashing—the metal material that’s right around the base of your chimney that kind of integrates into your roofing, whether it’s shingles or other types. That’s where, a lot of times, the flashing will pull away a little bit, and you’ll have an entry point for that rain.

What you need to do is reattach the flashing anywhere you see any gap or crack, using nails or screws. Then grab a good quality exterior caulk and seal every little crack you can possibly find.

Also, a great idea is to dab a little on the nail heads or screw heads to make sure that rain doesn’t enter the house.

Danny Lipford: Boy, I tell you, it’s always amazing. A few plants, a little bit of straw can make a big difference to the front of a house.

Hunter Black: Huge difference.

Payton Black: Yeah, it definitely motivated us to maybe do something else, plant some more stuff.

Danny Lipford: Oh, you have a few ideas, huh?

Payton Black: Oh, yeah. Yeah, we’re going to extend this.

Allen Lyle: If you need ideas…

Danny Lipford: Oh, boy.

Allen Lyle: …I have ideas.

Danny Lipford: He can go on and on and on. Hey, I hope you had some fun with us this week. We certainly had a lot of fun helping Payton and Hunter knock a few things off their fall maintenance list.

Further Information

Editorial Contributors
avatar for Danny Lipford

Danny Lipford


Danny Lipford is a home improvement expert and television personality who started his remodeling business, Lipford Construction, at the age of 21 in Mobile, Alabama. He gained national recognition as the host of the nationally syndicated television show, Today's Homeowner with Danny Lipford, which started as a small cable show in Mobile. Danny's expertise in home improvement has also led him to be a contributor to popular magazines and websites and the go-to source for advice on everything related to the home. He has made over 200 national television appearances and served as the home improvement expert for CBS's The Early Show and The Weather Channel for over a decade. Danny is also the founder of 3 Echoes Content Studio,, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

Learn More