Robert and Leigh Bailey bought their home about eight months ago immediately after their first viewing, mostly because of the gorgeous lake in the backyard. But, there were several areas of the house that needed attention. So, we helped the Baileys tackle some maintenance chores, and we used our 4 Seasons of Homeownership summer checklist to guide our efforts.
We’ve taken all the chores that need to be done around a house and divided them up into four manageable lists that coincide with the seasons of the year. Granted, changing air filters, cleaning the grill and inspecting the chimney may go unnoticed by the neighbors, but those chores give you peace of mind. And when you can make a big change, like repairing the Baileys’ deck, then you also have something tangible to point to with pride.
For the full summer checklist and interactive infographic, visit 4 Seasons of Homeownership: Summer.
Repairing a Damaged Deck
The Baileys’ biggest concern was their deck. Using a tool called a deck wrecker, we removed all the rotten and damaged wood. Unfortunately, the problem was even bigger than we thought. Many of the joists that support the deck boards were completely rotten, and the deck was infested with termites. We called in an exterminator to address the termite problem before we started making repairs.
Watch How to Prevent Termite Damage to Your Home for more info.
The wood used to build the deck was pressure-treated to resist rot, decay and termites; but it was not rated for ground contact. We replaced the rotten joists with YellaWood treated 2x10s that are rated for ground contact. The tag on the end of each piece of lumber will tell you whether the product is approved for use “above ground” or “ground contact” applications.
Whether you are replacing a few boards on an existing deck or building a deck from scratch, be sure every board is installed with the crown side up to prevent warping and pooling of water. The crown is the natural curve or arch of a piece of lumber. Use exterior coated deck screws or, if shooting with a nail gun, use exterior galvanized ring shank nails.
Watch How to Maintain a Wood Deck for more info.
Adding Mulch to the Planting Beds
You can certainly buy mulch for your garden, but since we love any excuse to operate heavy equipment, we rented a wood chipper from Compact Power for this job. Robert and Leigh had a lot of limbs and branches on the side of the road waiting for trash pickup. Instead of sending the wood to the landfill, we recycled it into mulch for the yard.
As with all machinery, safety is key when operating a wood chipper. Wear full goggles, ear plugs and gloves; and make sure the equipment is facing away from you. We used a large tarp to catch all the freshly chipped mulch.
Read Using Mulch in Your Garden for details.
Other Tips from This Episode
Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
How to Make a Nontoxic Weed Killer
Use this inexpensive formula of epsom salt, white vinegar, and dish detergent to make an affordable, nontoxic weed killer. Watch video.
Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Ryobi Brushless Electric Lawn Mower
Ryobi’s 20-inch brushless lawn mower, which runs on a 40-volt lithium-ion battery, is easy to operate and is whisper-quiet. It is available at The Home Depot. Watch video.
Ask Danny Lipford:
How to Replace a Broken Window
Are windows safe for homeowners to replace themselves? It depends on whether the windows are single pane or insulated glass units. Watch video.