After Winter Home Maintenance

After Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

If you can believe the groundhog, Spring is on the way. That’s news that the entire country can celebrate after such a rough winter. As the cold gives way to rising temperatures and rainy days—we have to get those May flowers somehow—our homes might start to show a little bit of wear and tear from the long and brutal winter. To help you avoid any water related disasters, we’ve put together a handy maintenance checklist for your home before those Spring rains appear.

1. Check for Water Damage

The very first task is to inspect your roof, chimney, gutters, and siding for any damage. Problems like damaged or missing roof tiles, cracks in the chimney, clogged or loose gutters, or rotted siding should be addressed immediately, by yourself or by a contractor. Left unattended, these problems could lead to water damage to the interior of the home, further damage the roof, or ruin your home’s foundation, creating far more expensive problems than any damage that may appear from this initial inspection.

2. Service HVAC and Change Filters

Spring often feels a lot like summer in certain parts of the country, and the idea of wanting to turn on the AC is completely understandable. Before doing so however, you should have your HVAC serviced by a repairman or contractor, as it’s been sitting dormant for several months outside in the elements. Now is also a great time to change the HVAC filter in your home; experts agree that you should change it every 3-6 months, and Spring is an excellent time since some members of the household may have allergies.

3. Inspect All Windows

Spring is a wonderful season when you can open the windows and effectively cool the house down, but before you do, you should ensure that all of your window screens are fully intact. Harsh winter weather or falling debris can leave holes in the screens, which will only serve to let bugs inside where they don’t belong. Check your storm door for similar repairs.

4. Check Curb Appeal and Safety

Cold weather can also be harsh on concrete. Check your main walkway for cracks that need repairing or pavers and bricks that need to be replaced. Once the warm weather has set in, you can put down fresh soil and start planting flowers and shrubs while getting rid of any weeds that somehow survived through the frost. Now is also a great time to replace any outdoor lights that have gone out, and to ensure that the doorbell is working properly. Last, but certainly not least, test all of your fire alarms and replace the batteries, if necessary.

Once you finish this checklist, you can begin planning for your Summer and Fall renovation plans. If you’re in need of professional repairs or replacements, call Liberty Builders today!

Show Your Handy People You Love Them

5 Ways to Show Your Handy People You Love Them

Listen up, lovebirds, because this one’s for you! It is 2019 so most likely we, as couples, take turns dealing with home tasks including exterior home maintenance. However, general gender norms claim that men work on the hard tasks of home repairs and other rough duties. Whatever your situation is at home, the time is approaching to show some love and appreciation for your loved ones on Valentine’s Day. So if your man (or woman) is the repairer around the house, we’ve compiled a list of Valentine’s Day gifts to get them.

Gifts for your Handy People

Emergency home maintenance can be stressful and scary, and working outside in the winter is difficult for anyone, so when Valentine’s Day comes around consider these gifts for the repair guy or girl in your life.

  • The simplest way to show your appreciation is to order in or head out for lunch or dinner.
  • Bake up a storm in the kitchen and hand out cookies and other simple sweets.
  • While your sweetheart is working outdoors and building up a sweat, you can simply head out with a glass of water to help keep them hydrated.
  • A simple and genuine thank you goes a long way. Make sure to thank the person who is working hard outdoors.
  • Tools and other gadgets are a great gift for the repairman in your home. See what needs to be replaced in the tool shed and pick it up at your local tool shop.

No one wants to be outside doing home maintenance, but there are some people who do, and we should show our love and appreciation for them as they help us with tedious tasks of home repairs and other duties. If you find yourself with a home maintenance emergency on your hands in the dead of winter or any time of the year, please call your friends at Liberty Builders or visit our website for information on our services. We’ll be glad to help.

Keep Your Gutters Flowing

Keep Your Gutters Flowing Year-Round

February can be a volatile month when it comes to weather; the temperature fluctuates between cold and pleasant and it’s often raining. It’s not the ideal month for doing any sort of outdoor home maintenance, but it actually is a great time to go out and check your gutters for any damage before the spring rains set in.

 

Gutter Maintenance is Important

Gutter maintenance and repair can and should be done all year long since each season of the year has their own unique ways of clogging them up. In winter, icicles and ice dams are the biggest dangers that homeowners have to face on their gutters. As picturesque as they may look, ice dams especially have the potential to crack, bend, or burst the gutters they are attached to if they are not dealt with before they grow too large.

Tree debris, such as leaves or pine needles, could fall into the gutters during storms, contributing to the creation of ice dams or icicles, or cause water from storms to back up onto the roof, rot wood siding, or create puddles dangerously close to the foundation rather than flow away from the house as the gutters are intended to ensure. As unpleasant as the idea of climbing around the roof on a February day is, water damage prevention to your home truly is worth it.

Gutter Protection

If you’re tired of climbing onto a ladder in all weathers to clear out your gutters, there are products that can help keep your gutters clear throughout the year, such as the Leaf Relief® by Ply Gem that you can find on our website. It acts as a guard against leaves, twigs, and other debris clogging up your gutters and causing disastrous water damage to your property throughout the year.

If you are interested in having a gutter guard such as Leaf Relief® installed, or if you would like more information on gutter maintenance, feel free to visit our website for more details, or give us a call, and we’ll be happy to assist you.

 

Go Green in 2019

How to Go Green with Home Maintenance in 2019

As children, we’re taught that we should leave a place as clean as when we found it, if not nicer, and as adults that idea morphs into the desire to leave more for our children than we had for ourselves. While that concept is often applied to money, it’s also very easily applicable to the earth itself, for what greater gift can we leave to the generations who come after us than a healthy, thriving planet on which to grow and prosper? Based on climate science, the earth is changing because of human influence, and while that idea can be daunting, small green changes in our home maintenance projects do have an impact, both on the world and on your immediate finances

Insulation is Your Best Friend
The harder an HVAC system has to work to heat and cool a home, the more CO2 is potentially being pumped into the air, ultimately contributing to a vicious cycle that could easily be nipped in the bud with a little bit of insulation. Insulating your attic will save you thousands of dollars over your lifetime in heating bills during the winter, and insulating your basement will do the same for you during the summer. However, insulating your walls and ceilings will only help you so much if your windows and doors aren’t as properly insulated; but that task is not a difficult one. You don’t have to immediately replace old windows and doors in order to achieve a greener home, though if you are in the market for new windows, double paned windows are the greenest choice; however, older windows can be made green by using a tube of caulk and a tin of glass putty to seal up any gaps where air can be felt flowing through. As for doors, adding some inexpensive weather stripping or a fun draft blocker will quickly eliminate the issue; your wallet will thank you at the end of the season.

Outdoor Projects
An extremely easy way to make your home green on the outside is to plant trees. It raises your curb appeal, can lower your heating and cooling bills by protecting your house from the elements throughout the year, and help the environment, because the world needs more trees. Evergreen trees on the North and east sides of your house will help keep your home cozy during the winter months, and deciduous trees on the south side will protect the house from the sun during the summer. If you want a more involved project, manufacturers have begun creating non-VOC exterior paints, or you can add stone facings to the exterior of your home, which will add an additional layer of insulation year-round. If you’re in the market for a new roof, look into metal, slate, or ceramic tiles instead of the traditional asphalt. They are kinder to the environment overall, can be recycled if damaged, and will keep your home cooler during the summer. And don’t turn your back on the idea of mounting solar panels on your home either. The price for solar energy has dropped significantly in the past few years, and they will help take your energy bills down year-round.

Going green doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive; in some ways going green is about being thrifty and finding new ways to use what you already have. There are short and long-term benefits to going green, and you and your children deserve to benefit from those changes. If you need help getting started going green, call us at Liberty Builders. We’re standing by to help you with all of your exciting future projects. 

Trendy Doors

3 Trendy Doors to Look for in 2019

A new year is always a good time to freshen things up in your home, inside and out. If you are looking for ways to brighten up the exterior of your home without getting too cold—it is still January after all—sprucing up your front door with the latest trends may be a good place to start.

Trendy Colors

According to style experts, the top color picks of the year are either bright, cheerful colors or colors that fall on the more soothing side of the spectrum. If you want your house to exude a summery feeling throughout the winter months, you can’t go wrong by painting your door a shade of yellow. Both bright and pastel yellows are in style for 2019, as are bold and pastel shades of reds and pinks. If you find yourself longing for spring, try a brilliant cherry red of a soft coral pink to refresh the front door and bring a smile to the faces of all your visitors. The big color of the year though, in all its iterations, is blue. If you’ve ever dreamed of giving yourself a break from the cold with a trip to the beach, but haven’t had a chance yet, bring a hint of the beach to your home by painting your front door an ocean blue or teal, or if you just miss spring, a robin’s egg blue will make the exterior of your home springier in no time.

Technology

Smart home technology has slowly been on the rise for the past few years, but security experts and home design experts expect the demand for home security, specifically more sophisticated smart locks, to grow rapidly in 2019. The number of home invasions around the world have been rising since 2016, but smart home technology has grown to meet the challenge, and as most home invaders begin at the front door, experts agree that high end smart locks will be appearing on front doors very rapidly throughout the year.

Front Door Hardware

The first thing people see when they approach your front door is the color, but a close second, most of the year, are the hardware pieces that adorn it. If you’ve never had a reason to replace the handle or doorknob or your front door before, a home exterior makeover may be your excuse to do it. Trends in metal pieces for 2019 mostly skew towards dark metals such as Venetian or oil rubbed bronze and matte black, which will stand out in stylish contrast to many of the year’s front door colors. However, if dark metals aren’t to your liking, champagne bronze and brushed nickel are also trending for 2019, and will blend in well with pastel door colors, but avoid brass fittings, as that has fallen out of favor this year.

Giving your home exterior a makeover can be fun when there are so many new styles and ideas to choose from, but if you’re not sure how much time you want to invest in it, your front door is an excellent place to start, and it can help to clear away some of those winter blues. Give Liberty Builders of Texas a call for a free in-home consultation.

boost your curb appeal by updating the exterior of your home

Resolve to Boost Your Curb Appeal

Every year, millions of people make New Year’s resolutions, only to break them before January is even over and it tends to boil down to the fact that too many people choose goals that were too vague to begin with and had even more vague outcomes, or they didn’t have their heart set on attaining it anyway. So this year, why not make a New Year’s resolution that will have a concrete outcome and have a lasting effect throughout the year, like improving your home’s curb appeal?

Paint and Lighting

Improving the curb appeal of your home does not have to turn into a complete overhaul of your front yard. Start closer to the house and work your way outwards to get yourself in the mood of updating things, like painting your front door a new color, or replacing the outdated door fixtures with something more modern. The benefit of Christmas and New Year’s being so close together is that if you end up in a hardware store for some Christmas shopping, you can head on over to the paint section and pick out a few chips that you think might look nice as the new focal point of your home. Have you been considering replacing the lighting on the front porch? Take a walk by the lighting section on your way to the check out. You can begin to make note of things that you know will make your home look brand new with minimal effort and time.

Gardening

Winter is a good time to trim your trees and shrubs, as it will help them grow more healthy leaves and branches when spring arrives. If you live in areas of the country with milder winters, this task can be done at nearly any time of the season. In areas where the winters are more severe, this is a task best done before winter truly sets in, or just as it’s beginning to ease off. Either way, come spring time, your healthy, fully blooming shrubs and trees will add a tremendous amount of curb appeal to your home.

Now that you’ve made it to your garden, don’t forget to mulch your gardens once the winter sets in. Whether you prefer flowers or shrubs in your gardens, they will mostly withdraw during the winter months, but putting mulch down before the soil begins to freeze will keep the roots of the plants warmer and will give you a much richer soil to work with in the spring. Winter is also a great time to repair or build any raised planters that you may have on your property, before any of your plants come back for the spring or to line any flower beds to help keep the weeds out. Doing these things when the plants are dormant makes the overall tasks far easier than they would be if you wait for spring.

There are many reasons to improve your home’s curb appeal: you want to sell your home, you have a home owner’s association monitoring your yard, or for personal enjoyment; you deserve to live in a beautiful home. Should you decide that you’d like to improve your curb appeal in the new year, and are unsure of where to begin, call Liberty Builders. We are always happy to help you with your home improvement projects.

winterizing your home exterior

Winterizing Your Home Exterior: A Checklist

In Texas, no one waits for the temperature to drop before breaking out their coats and scarves but as the cold weather starts to roll in, wrapping your house up for the winter is just as important as wrapping up yourself. Neglecting exterior home winter maintenance can lead to costly repairs, long waiting lists, and possible emergencies at the time of year when most can least afford them. So here is your checklist for making the outside of your home winter-proof so that you can enjoy winter the way it’s supposed to be enjoyed; inside, warm, and safe.

The Roof

Head up to your roof to inspect for any damage. Missing shingles and other damage should be immediately repaired in order to avoid possible leaks during winter storms. While you’re up there, you should go ahead and clean your gutters so that you can avoid icicles and ice dams throughout the season. Detritus built up in gutters can cause a back-up of water that will freeze and could ultimately damage your gutters or roof if not taken care of quickly. It’s best to just clear your gutters before it gets cold and stormy than to have to go out into the cold later and knock down dangerous ice dams afterwards. While you are focused on the top of your home, if there are any exposed pipes in the attic, insulate them to protect them from freezing.

The Windows and Doors

Give your house a once around and search all of the windows and doors for drafts. There’s nothing inherently wrong with cold weather, but you shouldn’t have to be cold inside your own house. Gaps between doors, windows and your walls will lead to that. Any gaps wider than a nickel should be filled with caulk, and any old window putty should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent any heat loss during those frigid winter nights.

The Exterior

Winterizing your pipes and outdoor spigots is essential to ensuring that you don’t end up with broken pipes and an expensive emergency call to a plumber. Any exposed water pipes outside should be insulated to protect them from freezing during cold nights, and the same should be done for any pipes in basements or attics. Meanwhile, outdoor spigots should be drained by shutting off the water valve in your home long enough for all of the water to be removed from the pipe, and the same should be done for all water hoses. If you have an underground irrigation system, which should be drained to avoid frozen pipes throughout the winter.

Additional Items

  • Have your chimney cleaned before its first winter use to prevent any unwanted fires. Experts recommend that you cover you’re A/C with something sturdy to protect it from damage from falling objects like tree limbs or ice dams.
  • Trim any tree limbs that look dead or have grown too close to your house. In the event of an ice or snow storm—they do occasionally happen in Texas—weaker tree limbs can become weighed down by snow or ice and fall, damaging whatever is in their path. Since it’s better for the overall health of the tree to remove these limbs anyway, removing them while you’re winterizing your homes’ exterior is a good idea, as it solves two potential issues before they ever have a chance to become a serious problem.

Even if you live in parts of the country with traditionally mild winters, performing winter exterior maintenance will only benefit your home in the end, and with this handy checklist, the maintenance will be faster and easier than ever. For more information on winterizing your home, or for expert advice on how to perform these tasks, contact Liberty Builders.

Fall Leaves being collected

Fall Leaves, Nature’s Bounty

Autumn is finally here! We’re enjoying delightfully cool weather and that exquisite fall foliage until, of course, the foliage does what it promises it’s going to do and falls all over your lawn and starts turning soggy and brown. Before you get disgruntled about the amount of yardwork you have to do now, here are some tips on how to put those fall leaves to work for you and the yard you work so hard to maintain throughout the year.

Compost

If you love to garden, then you’re in luck. Leaves are a naturally compostable material and an excellent source of what is known as brown compost. To make successful homemade compost, you need equal parts green and brown compost materials, and the green, which could be made up of vegetable scraps and grass clippings, is much easier to come by throughout the year. Often, gardeners resort to old newspapers to make up the deficiencies in their brown compost until fall comes rolling to the rescue. Your compost will become richer, more effective, and your newly planted seeds will be very grateful.

Leaf Mold

The long-term garden planner can take their leaves and store them somewhere out of the way and make a staple of English garden soil, leaf mold. All it takes is a few garbage bags or plastic bins, and a moist place to store them in. As long as the leaves stay wet, fungi will take over, and in about two years, instead of leaves, there’s a mineral-rich fertilizer in their place that will make the soil in your gardens the perfect place for your plants.

Garden Insulation

Leaves also make excellent insulation material for a number of outdoor projects. Any plants that need protection throughout the winter will benefit from a natural layer of leaves that separate them from chicken wire, blankets, or any other insulation material you choose to use. Throughout the winter, the leaves will break down and give the plants some added nutrients, so it’s a win-win situation. And if anyone is looking to experiment with worm bins, leaves can also insulate those.

Mulch

If you have no interest in gardening or raking your leaves, then just mow your lawn, and the leaves will take care of both you and themselves. Leaves are so full of natural nutrients that if you mulch them up with your lawn mower and leave them there, they will feed your lawn over the winter, and come spring time, you will have beautiful, fluffy, green grass. You may want to wait until November to mulch those leaves up though, as a leaf-strewn yard adds a nice creep factor to your decorations on Halloween night.

At the beginning of the season autumn leaves give us beauty, and near the end of the season, they provide our lawns and gardens with the nutrients they need to grow again in the spring. The best part is that they don’t cost anyone a thing for either of those things.

Insulate Your Attic Now

2 Huge Reasons to Insulate Your Attic Now!

Autumn is here and it’s starting to get cold, inside and out. You will inevitably spend a lot of time trying to warm up for the next few months. Many Texans fear this time of year because their homes start resembling the inside of a refrigerator, but there’s no reason to spend the next few months bundling up in every sweater you own whenever you get home from work. There’s a much simpler solution to keeping your home nice and toasty this winter, and now is the perfect time before the cold weather descends.

Heat Always Rises

Science class taught us that cold air stays close to the ground, while hot air rises, and if your house isn’t insulated, it will rise right out of it just when you’re most desperate to keep it inside. This is a common problem, mostly in older homes, but even newer constructions can experience it. If the walls were insulated but the attic was not, a lot of premium heat escapes outside when it’s wanted most. This is easily preventable by the addition of spray foam or sheet layers insulation in your attic, a process that can painlessly be embarked upon during the autumn months when the attic is not unbearably hot to work in, and before too much money in the form of heat has been wasted warming the outside.

The Savings!

Home repair always comes with a price tag, but adding insulation to your attic will save you more money in the long run than not adding it. The Department of Energy estimates that adding insulation to your attic will ultimately save you anywhere between 10 and 50 percent on your current energy bill over your lifetime, as it not only keeps the heat inside the house during the winter, but your AC inside during the boiling hot summer months, and all Texans can attest to how important that is.

If your home is already cold, or has a history of being chilly during the winter months, there’s no reason to wait any longer. Before the truly cold winter months roll in, call your friends at Liberty Builders for a quote on attic installation. We’ll give you a free in-home consultation.

4 Reasons to Hire a Contractor for Your Home Projects

4 Reasons to Hire a Contractor for Your Home Projects

We live in a Do-It-Yourself world. If you search YouTube for how to fix broken roof tiles, you get 12 videos showing you how to repair tiles of various materials. Switch your search to siding replacement and you immediately get 16 videos. It’s perhaps not surprising that so many people choose the DIY route over hiring a contractor, as the phrase DIY tends to imply that the job will prove to be less expensive. Without the proper research, however, that often proves to be a misnomer.

Experience
Just because you can do outdoor home repairs yourself doesn’t mean—one, you can do it well, or two, you should. The main advantage of hiring a contractor to perform maintenance on the outside of your house is that the contractor has the experience for the job that you lack. They will also already have any specialized tools the job in-hand needs, meaning that you won’t have to run to the store to buy or rent a potentially expensive, possibly one-use tool.

Safety
Safety is an excellent reason to choose a contractor over fixing any outdoor issues yourself. Contractors usually work for other companies and have amassed a great deal of experience before going into business for themselves. They will know how not to electrocute themselves when running new electric lines so you can have power outside, and how to properly fortify weakening foundation without causing catastrophic injury to themselves or anyone working for them.

Knowledge
You will run into a surprising number of outdoor home maintenance projects that require permits from the city. A contractor knows whether or not the project you want to start requires a permit, though the responsibility will always lie with the homeowner, so please do your research regardless. Having the expertise of a contractor will give you an added safety net when dealing with the city, because no honest contractor will allow you to proceed with a project without the proper paperwork in order. The cost to you down the line would be very detrimental.

Investment
Hiring a contractor is an investment, because you are paying for their time as well as the materials used, but doing the project yourself is as much of an investment, for you will be investing your own time into when you could be doing something else. No one is suggesting you should hire the first contractor you meet; in fact most contractors will tell you that’s a terrible idea. However, doing ample research into creditable contractors in your area and how much it will cost to do it on your own will save you many headaches when it finally comes time to get your project started.

Call Liberty Builders of Texas for a free in-home consultation today!