While some repairs around your home can be put off, the following home maintenance projects need to be taken care of ASAP to prevent further damage:

    • Prune Trees and Shrubs: Keep trees and shrubs trimmed back away from your house to prevent damage to the roof or air conditioner units.
    • Caulk Cracks and Holes: Fill any cracks or gaps on the exterior of your house with caulking to keep water out and prevent rot damage.
    • Clean and Repair Gutters and Downspouts: Keep gutters and downspouts clean. Repair any leaks in gutters, and use downspout extensions to make sure water from gutters drains away from your home.
    • Remove and Replace Rotten Wood: Replace rotten door casings or other wood on the outside of your house before the damage spreads.
  • Inspect and Repair Flashing: Check the flashing around chimneys, dormers, valleys, and siding for leaks or gaps that might allow water inside your home. Repair by reattaching or replacing flashing and sealing cracks with plastic roof cement.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: This week on Today’s Homeowner we’re tackling some weekend chores you can’t ignore. If you do, this stuff can cost you big money down the road. So stick around and we’ll explore some ways to keep those small jobs small.

You know even a great looking house like this will have just a few things that need to be taken care of or they’ll turn into some very costly repairs. So this week we’re looking at the weekend chores you just can’t ignore. And I’ll bet if you look closely around your home, you will find some of the same things that we’re going to help homeowner Melanie Robinson repair.

Melanie and her family have lived in this house for almost eight years and they’ve done a lot to improve and maintain it. The front yard is beautifully landscaped and they had a new roof installed just a few years ago. But, like most homes, there are some little maintenance issues that can become big things if they’re not addressed soon enough.

These are cool being around on the corner of the house. But I believe because they’re so close to the overhang, it could really cause you some problem.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: This is another thing. The limbs being… Again, they are a ways away from the shingles. But when they get wet and then, you know, with wind, it’s going to just blow and scratch those shingles. I’ll get on the roof and cut some of that back and then it will prevent that from being a problem.

Melanie Robinson: That sounds great.

Danny Lipford: Okay. All right, let’s take a look on the other side. Oh, what a nice, big patio area here.

Melanie Robinson: Thank you. We bought the house for this, so we could have people over and entertain for birthday parties and all sorts of stuff.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, great. That’s great.

Melanie Robinson: Rain or shine. Absolutely.

Danny Lipford: Hey, uh, admiring your little container garden here.

Melanie Robinson: Thank you. I’ve worked hard on that.

Danny Lipford: Kind of interesting. Seems like it’s growing pretty well.

Melanie Robinson: It’s doing great.

Danny Lipford: We’ll take care of that in a little while. But this is something that I wanted to point out to you, you know, anytime you have downspouts like this and a lot of water is coming out of here. Obviously, it’s undermining that slab.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And then we have the limbs that we need to cut. And, uh, probably what I’ll do, I’ll get a ladder, and I’ll get up and look around to see if there anything else that we need to deal with.

Melanie Robinson: Okay, thank you.

Danny Lipford: All right, great. While I’m preparing to check the roof of the house, Allen has found a few gutter issues on the out-building behind Melanie’s house.

Allen Lyle: If you’ve got gutters on your house, I’ve got a great weekend chore and it all starts with inspecting those gutters. You never know what you can find. Here, I’ve got an elbow that’s loose from the downspout, we’ll make sure that’s back in place.

What really concerns me, look up here I can actually see, I’ve got leaves coming out of my gutter here. I’ve got vegetation growing in the gutter. So, that tells me, I’ve got to clean these out.

When you have a gutter that’s full like this, that rushing water coming down here can actually create a backwash and force water back up, under the shingles, giving access to damage. You can get the soffit, the fascia rotting out. You may not even know it until it starts happening.

One other thing, look how thick this is. I mean when it’s this full, and you got water running down here too, you’ve got the possibility of this pulling away. And again, creating access for water.

Danny Lipford: Back on the roof of the house, things are going well. There is some loose flashing on one of the gable vents, but that can easily be fixed. My big concern is the chimney. I’m going to have to recruit Allen to get over here and help me with this.

And that flat roof over the patio is going to require some attention. That’s definitely two things we need to take care of right there. Now to fill Melanie in on what I found. All right, that wasn’t too bad.

Melanie Robinson: How’d it look up there?

Danny Lipford: Oh, not too bad, a few things. You know, we know about the limbs we got to take care of.

Melanie Robinson: Right.

Danny Lipford: And then on the front, you know, you had that little gable that has a vent in it.

Melanie Robinson: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: There’s a little piece of flashing that’s moving. And, you know, with heavy rains and such it could get in there. Real easy fix, we can take care of that. But we did find something really strange on the back. I took a picture of it, so you could try to see what it looks like, here. That’s your chimney.

Melanie Robinson: Right.

Danny Lipford: And that’s the shingles right behind it.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And that little piece of flashing that’s designed to keep the rain out, for some reason has completely turned loose from that chimney.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Have you had any water inside?

Melanie Robinson: We did have it once this summer, during the heavy rain, we had some leaking in the chimney.

Danny Lipford: Oh, really? Oh? Perfect, we’re going to take care of it. I know that’s the source of it because you can see gaps down in there. And another thing I found here, just a really easy thing that we can clean up is, you see that pile of leaves?

Melanie Robinson: Absolutely

Danny Lipford: That are just piled up there? I’ll get up and blow all of that off, you can be the ground crew.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: And clean up everything up there. And then we might have to address your container garden. Do a little…

Melanie Robinson: I thought it looked pretty.

Danny Lipford: Well, it’s unique but we might want to do some transplanting on that.

Melanie Robinson: Okay, that will be great. Thank you.

Danny Lipford: Okay.

Joe Truini: One of the best ways to save energy around your house is install your own insulation. It’s a pretty easy job, too, although it does require a lot of cutting.

Typically, if they can be cuts like every three or four feet, or six or eight feet, depending on where you’re installing insulation. So, the best thing is to set up outside if you can, so you keep the dust out of the house. And to use… First you put a board down that you can cut against, and you have a straightedge that you can cut along.

Now, even with insulation—this is only R13, but it’s about four inches thick. If you use a standard utility knife, you can see the challenge, the blade’s only about an inch long. So what I prefer to use is a utility knife that has a snap off blade.

Now, the way these are designed to be used is, you extend the blade, when it becomes dull, you snap it off, and you extend another blade. But you can also extend it three or four inches. What you end up with is this beautiful insulation cutting weapon that will slice through the thickest insulation.

So, just roll it out, get the length you need. And then, what I like to do is kneel on the board to compress it. Then with the long blade, you can very easily slice right through it.

There you go, through the insulation and paper. Now, if I can just get someone to help install it.

Danny Lipford: This week we’re helping homeowner Melanie Robinson tackle some of those weekend chores you can’t ignore. We’ve scouted the house to find the issues. Now it’s time to take on some overly-enthusiastic tree limbs that are threatening to damage the new shingles on Melanie’s roof. If I can get her to cut it away like this a little bit, you won’t have to do this for a long time.

Melanie Robinson: And these thin limbs create such a problem because no grass grows over here.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I know. You’re right. I noticed there was very, very little growing over there. This will help get a lot more sun into there as well. Well.

Melanie Robinson: Looks better already.

Danny Lipford: If I fall you catch me as well.

Melanie Robinson: I got you. Oh, that’s a big improvement.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, there you go.

Melanie Robinson: Oh, that’s great.

Danny Lipford: Pretty good.

Melanie Robinson: That wasn’t too difficult.

Danny Lipford: That’s right. And the husband can take care of that.

Melanie Robinson: Oh, I’ll have the husband on the roof, I’ll keep taking care of this.

Danny Lipford: Up near the front, this Japanese Yew needs to be trimmed back, from the fascia boards a bit.

Melanie Robinson: That’s good.

Danny Lipford: All right, and then this is probably one of the bigger concerns I see. That ground cover growing up around the columns is holding moisture against them and beginning to rot the wood. Oh, look there, see, it’s got a little bit of…

Melanie Robinson: Sure does.

Danny Lipford: Still seems solid, but, I’m going to get some paint on that later. Okay. All right, Melanie, now that we have all of this jasmine away, you’re till bound to get a little water splashing up here. And I noticed when we were cutting it back a little, crack right in there.

Melanie Robinson: Sure enough.

Danny Lipford: So, I know we got to touch this up later. I’ve got some great exterior caulk that I can just fill in here. That way it’ll give it some time to dry before we come back with the paint to touch it up.

Melanie Robinson: That is a pretty big crack over here.

Danny Lipford: That’s treated wood that they used here in the way that it looks. Have you ever caulked before?

Melanie Robinson: I haven’t, but like to try.

Danny Lipford: Hey, this will be fun, all right here you go.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: You’re right handed?

Melanie Robinson: I am.

Danny Lipford: All right, just try to put some right in there. Just squeeze, there you go. There you go. Now go right on up, there you go.

Melanie Robinson: How am I doing?

Danny Lipford: Good, keep going.

Allen Lyle: It looks like you hired a new painter.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. I know. I know.

Allen Lyle: Did I scare you?

Melanie Robinson: I was doing good, until you got here.

Allen Lyle: It looks good, Mel. I like it.

Danny Lipford: Really good. A little generous with it, but that’s okay.

Melanie Robinson: Better too much than none enough.

Allen Lyle: Very good.

Danny Lipford: Hey, I see you found that problem brick mold around back.

Allen Lyle: Yeah, I did. But instead of the wood, I picked up this plastic polymer. I was going to show you see this, Melanie. I’ve already cut the angle on it, so you can see it’s all the way through, white. So, it’s solid, that plastic, that is really nice. But the real nice thing about it is it’s the same profile as what’s up there now. So I can replace this and you won’t even know it.

Danny Lipford: And it won’t soak in. You know the moisture won’t soak in on it, so it’ll last forever. Hey, go to work.

Allen Lyle: I will. All right. Now I’m going to be the first to admit to you that replacing a piece of brick mold is not critical. But I have this theory. Let me get to the bottom here and I’ll show you.

If you look, of course you can see how bad this is damaged right now. But my problem is that it’s not just here. It’s here, in the door jam. It’s already getting into this. And the brick mold for me, is the first line of defense. If you look down here on the ground, you can see there’s mold, mildew, so we got standing water as an issue already.

So, just replacing this piece of brick mold. You know, again, it may not be critical. But it will help to delay more damage down on the door jam.

Danny Lipford: Allen’s cutting the caulk line around the molding, to minimize damage to the surrounding surfaces when he pries it off. The mitered corners of these doors are stapled together so he has to pull them apart very carefully.

Allen Lyle: See how that starts pulling away from here and then hitting that tender point.

Danny Lipford: After he cleans off all the old caulk, he measures the length, and then cuts the new brick mold and puts it in its place.

Allen Lyle: Look how good that matches.

Danny Lipford: A few well placed nails, some putty to cover the heads, and the new molding is ready to caulk.

Allen Lyle: And there you go. That’s a very little bit of work. And that’s complete. The only one, let’s say frustrating thing about doing this type of work, is that when you look around. There’s always something else. Check it out, looks like we got a little bit more to do for this weekend.

Jodi Marks: Now, if your deck or your patio is in need of a little facelift, look no further than this aisle right here. I’m in the paint department, and I want to talk to you about Restore. Now this is a resurfacer that’s perfect for your decking or your concrete patio.

How do you apply it? Well, it comes in two gallon paint cans, and it also comes with this nine-inch, heavy-duty, textured roller. And all you simply do is just roll it right over the surface. Now, if you do have decking that’s got splinters or cracks, Restore will actually fill in those cracks and it’ll lock down the splinters. If you got a slippery, concrete patio, this will be great, because it creates a textured surface, which makes it slip-resistant.

Now, if you don’t want the textured look after you roll it on with this roller, all you have to do is take a brush and you can just go right over the second coat to smooth that out. This is a perfect weekend project that you can do in no time to help transform the look of your outdoor living space.

Danny Lipford: We’re taking care of some weekend chores you can’t ignore this week. And homeowner Melanie Robinson and I have moved to her backyard to deal with a drainage problem that’s eroding the foundation of her patio. Well, Melanie, the fun part of all this, you get to play with all these nice toys.

Melanie Robinson: Awesome!

Danny Lipford: So, if you want to just feed that right in there. And I will get rid of this old splash block in here. This thing had been in here for a while, it’s not doing much good at all, right now. Oh, look at it, look at that.

Melanie Robinson: Wow!

Danny Lipford: That is not helping at all, so we’re going to have to get rid of that.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, you’re doing perfect. Here we go. All right, while you’re finishing that up, I’ll do all this technical stuff over here. What I have here is this little extension boot.

Melanie Robinson: Okay.

Danny Lipford: Grab that, and point it straight this way, and I’ll hold this so that it doesn’t… Just kind of manhandle it there, just keep going. Okay, now. Stretch it out, like this. A little bit more, all right.

Now that’s not the prettiest thing right now. But at least for right now, we’re diverting it away from here. That way all of this water that’s coming off this big expansive roof, coming down and getting completely away from your foundation.

Melanie Robinson: That’s the important thing, yeah.

Danny Lipford: But in order to get the water to the downspout we have to clean off the roof above it. All right, Melanie, better get ready for some leaves there.

Melanie Robinson: I’m as ready as I’ll ever be.

Danny Lipford: A leaf blower’s a great solution for roof-cleaning any kind, but especially here, because this flat metal roof just isn’t sturdy enough for me to walk on. But some of this stuff is so matted together it isn’t even budging. Oh, this is a lot worse than I thought, I’m going to need a rake up here, I think.

Thankfully, the really bad stuff is close to the edge of the real roof, so I can reach it with a rake and shovel. But Melanie’s little gutter garden along the outer edge, well, we’ll have to clear it out from our ladders.

Melanie Robinson: Wow! I had no idea it looked like this up here.

Danny Lipford: Well, it’s kind of hidden you know with the… With not being able to see it, really from any place in the yard. And it was pretty thick in here, but just this little bit, it won’t take long, even though I know you’ll be sad to miss your little garden.

Melanie Robinson: Oh.

Danny Lipford: You throw off that way, I’ll throw it off this way.

Melanie Robinson: I’m ready.

Danny Lipford: All right. It’ll be so easy for your husband to maintain this.

Melanie Robinson: I’ll make him do some house work now…

Danny Lipford: Yeah, yeah. There you go.

Melanie Robinson: Because I’ve done all this out here. So, he owes me.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Are you sure you want me to pull these out?

Melanie Robinson: I’ve said my goodbyes, get rid of it.

Danny Lipford: You’ve said your goodbyes! Once most of the leaves are gone we can flush the gutters with water to clear them and the downspouts below. Now, on to the roof repairs.

The loose flashing in the front gable is a very easy fix. All I have to do is drive down the loose roofing tack… Well, it came out before, it’s probably going to come out again, so I think I’ll put another one near it. …and add a new one for good measure. Yeah, it should be fine. Then a little roofing cement to seal the deal. Think it’ll be good.

This flashing that’s pulled away from the chimney will be a bigger deal, so Allen’s pitching in to try help me get it all sealed up. Allen, make it over here, I want to show you something.

Allen Lyle: All right.

Danny Lipford: Melanie had mentioned that she was getting a little bit of rain in when it rained hard. I wonder why?

Allen Lyle: Oh, my goodness. Golly!

Danny Lipford: You know, I can’t figure that out, unless, probably when they put the new roof on a few years ago, maybe that was still attached.

Allen Lyle: Yeah.

Danny Lipford: And then it just kind of pulled away. Because I don’t see any nails, or any fasteners, so they relied just on the mastic here.

Allen Lyle: Stripping off some adhesive there. Yeah. All right. Where’s your bag of tools?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, we got some stuff in here. It’s just a big hole all the way down in there, look at that. See, you can see the brick down below.

Allen Lyle: I’m surprised she hadn’t had lot more water inside.

Danny Lipford: There may be another flashing or something under this.

Allen Lyle: She said they were getting some water, is that what she said?

Danny Lipford: Yeah, uh-huh. But she said only during heavy rains. Which I don’t understand, it seemed like this would be a complete trough.

Allen Lyle: Danny, there’s got to be at least another layer or something down there. Because this goes deep.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, I know. I know. But the thing is… Well, you know what it is? I bet they added this cricket diverter roof on top of it. Do you see that flashing you have right there?

Allen Lyle: Right.

Danny Lipford: This same piece.

Allen Lyle: Right.

Danny Lipford: I think that’s originally where it was.

Allen Lyle: So it’s a smaller cricket?

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: Probably.

Danny Lipford: Or no cricket at all, which is crazy.

Allen Lyle: That’s crazy.

Danny Lipford: Either way the next step Is to chisel and scrape off all the old dried roofing cement and replace it with a generous bead of new cement. Then begin attaching the flashing with our masonry screws. But the screws just don’t seem to be holding up the way we need them to be.

Allen Lyle: Little soft.

Danny Lipford: Mortar’s just too soft. I’ll tell you what, I got some nails, let’s switch to nails.

Allen Lyle: All right. Fluted masonry.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. Now that our plan B is working…

Allen Lyle: Oh, yeah, look at that.

Danny Lipford: Yes.

Allen Lyle: Yes, moving out.

Danny Lipford: Yeah, that’s great.

Allen Lyle: All right.

Danny Lipford: Just a matter of gradually pulling the flashing up tight to the chimney, one nail at a time. Then we can coat the top edge of the flashing and the nail heads with plenty of roofing cement to ensure we block out the rain water. It’s set, but I almost have no tar on my hand yet at all.

Allen Lyle: Unless you’re going to jinx yourself.

Danny Lipford: Probably get it all over my pants or something.

Danny Lipford: Jeanette asks, “What can I do to keep water from seeping into my basement when it rains?”

The main thing you need to do to keep that water from sneaking into your basement is to make sure that none of the rain water will be allowed to gather around the foundation.

Now, guttering’s a great way to go, bring the downspout down, and maybe extend the downspout like these homeowners have done to move the water further away from the foundation. But they got a little more work to do here, because the border grass like this—or if you have any type of edging—will serve as a dam. And then during heavy rains, it’ll still push that water against the foundation. Sooner or later, it will find its way in the basement.

Now, another thing that they’ve done here that’s a great idea. They’re in the process of adding some fill dirt that will divert that water and keep it from ponding in this area.

Now, once they get their mulch back in place, and a few little plants here and there, you’ll never know any work has taken place, other than no water in basement.

Danny Lipford: The small jobs we’ve been helping Melanie wrap up this week at her house should save her some major repairs down the road. If you’d like more details about these projects or others that can help you maintain and improve your home, be sure to check out our website at Todayshomeowner.com. Allen, you know we’ve worked with a lot of homeowners over the years, quite a trooper here.

Allen Lyle: You know what it is, we’ve done so much of the honey-do list, we’re kind of like family now.

Danny Lipford: Yeah. We are.

Allen Lyle: So here’s the deal, Mel. Okay. Since we’re family I think we should be here for Thanksgiving, Christmas…

Danny Lipford: Yeah.

Allen Lyle: Can I give you my birthday, anniversary?

Danny Lipford: New Year’s Eve is awesome around here, I heard.

Allen Lyle: Oh, yeah.

Melanie Robinson: As long as you work on the other things on my list.

Danny Lipford: Oh, there’s always something there. Hey, I hope we hadn’t got you in trouble with your husband some of the things we said during the show.

Melanie Robinson: Oh, yeah.

Danny Lipford: Maybe take him out to dinner when the show airs.

Melanie Robinson: That will be good.

Danny Lipford: And we’ll come back another time when it’s a lot cooler, maybe inside.

Melanie Robinson: Oh, that would be nice. That’d be nice. It’s a deal.

Allen Lyle: Okay, good to see you all.

Danny Lipford: Okay, take care.

Melanie Robinson: Thank you so much.

Danny Lipford: Hey, great to see you and everything, we’ll see you again.

Melanie Robinson: You too, Bye.

Danny Lipford: Hey, it’s been a lot of fun taking care of just some of the little chores, the little things that can really turn out to be some big money-costing items later on. So, you can see, some of them are very simple and can really solve a lot of problems.

Hey, thanks for being with us this week, I’m Danny Lipford. We’ll see you next week here on Today’s Homeowner.

Editorial Contributors
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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, TodaysHomeowner.com, and Checking In With Chelsea, a décor and lifestyle blog.

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