Deck Maintenance painted terrace railings

Deck Maintenance Before the Parties Occur

How many invitations for outdoor parties have you received so far this season? Maybe you’re planning your own which means you’ve been making sure your backyard is decent for viewing. When was the last time you gave your deck any thought though? With all of the people you plan on having over in the coming season, you want to make sure that your deck is as safe and beautiful as the rest of your yard. If you haven’t done any deck maintenance  in a while, here are a few things you should do before that first party rolls around.

Protecting Your Deck from Weather

You’ll need two cloudy, mild days to do this (not back to back), so you’ll need to start this process in the early part of the year. Start by clearing the deck surface and in between the boards of all dirt and debris, then use a cleaner appropriate to the material your deck is made of—wood, composite, or vinyl—and coat the entire surface of the deck and railings with it. Be sure that it soaks for only as long as necessary before thoroughly rinsing every surface, and then allow your deck to dry completely.

If you have a wood deck, return after at least two days have passed, and you can begin the process of sealing the deck, which starts with sanding down the surface and replacing any loose or missing nails/screws. You can use a large paint roller to apply the sealant, with no more than two coats, as you don’t want it to pool in places and leave an uneven stain. If your deck is made of composite, you will need a specialized sealant, but if you have a vinyl deck, you can skip this step completely. Sealing the deck is an annual task, so be sure to consult a contractor on the best way to care for your deck when it is first built.

Inspecting the Structure

Early summer – after all of the spring rains have moved away – is a good time to check the structural integrity of your deck, and to ensure that the wood is free of rot and cracks. Use a screwdriver to inspect structural posts and stairs; if the screwdriver can be driven more than an inch into the wood, it needs to be replaced immediately. You should also take the time to replace any cracked boards in your deck, as rot has a tendency to form inside of the cracks and will eventually compromise the structure.

Your deck is a great place to spend time with friends and family throughout the spring and summer, it gives your backyard a homey feel, and it adds equity to your home, but only if you maintain it. If you have questions about how best to take care of your deck, or if you need help repairing damage to it, please call Liberty Builders for a consultation.

Exterior Home Renovations

Exterior Home Renovations that Add Value to Your Home

Exterior Home renovations can be expensive and time consuming, so it’s natural that as the homeowner, you’ll want to one day recoup the investment. Renovations should definitely be done based upon need before cosmetic updates, however, the good news is that no matter what updates you choose to make to your home, when it comes time to have it evaluated or sold, nearly all of your renovations will give you back more than 70% of the money you put into them. Here are three exterior home renovations that will give you the most return on investment.

 

Landscaping

The first impression of your home is the front yard, making it one of the best investments on the home reno checklist. Landscaping makes your home look nicer and more inviting, especially if you are looking to put your home on the market, but even if you aren’t, you should still invest in it. Proper landscaping will protect your home from the elements, helping to drain water away from your foundation and keeping it cool during the summer with well placed trees. Experts agree that a well-executed landscape renovation is between 95-100% return on your investment.

 

Siding and Front Entryway

Updating your siding and front entryway will also add value to your curb appeal, and give you back around 90%. Your siding needs to be replaced or refurbished around every 10 years, which will help give your home a fresh, well-kept look. Meanwhile, simple updates to the front entryway such as a new coat of paint in a trending color and repairing downtrodden sidewalks and steps will help rejuvenate the look of your home.

 

Deck

Adding a deck to your backyard will add a great deal of value to your house, and bring back around a 90% return on your investment. Creating an inviting, comfortable space in the outdoor portion of your home for socializing will add great appeal for future buyers but only if your backyard is big enough to accommodate it. If your backyard is small, it’s best to leave the green space and landscape it accordingly, especially if you have children or pets.

Every homeowner wants to increase the value of their homes through the years, and be sure of getting back some of their investment back when it comes time to sell, but it’s also important to do things that will bring comfort to you down the line, and to do thorough research into what are the best investments for you. If you are considering home renovations and have questions about where to start, contact Liberty Builders today.

Interior Home Renovations

Interior Home Renovations that Add Value to Your Home

Interior Home renovations can be expensive and time consuming, so it’s natural that as the homeowner, you’ll want to one day recoup the investment. Renovations should definitely be done based upon need before cosmetic updates, however, the good news is that no matter what updates you choose to make to your home, when it comes time to have it evaluated or sold, nearly all of your renovations will give you back more than 70% of the money you put into them. Here are three interior home renovations that will give you the most return on investment.


Kitchen Remodel
There are two types of kitchen remodels: major and minor. If you change the footprint of your kitchen in order to make it larger, then you are doing a major remodel; anything else is a minor remodel. Don’t let the name fool you though, because minor remodels, which can and often do include changing the cabinets, countertops, and appliances, generally have a better return on investment than major remodels do.

 

Bathroom Remodel
You can also perform major or minor remodels on bathrooms with the same criteria as kitchens, but again, a minor remodel generally has a much better return at resale, sometimes over 100%. Not that anyone would say no to a larger bathroom, especially in the master bedroom.


Insulation
As the world moves closer toward ever greater energy efficiency, it’s no surprise that homeowners and potential buyers are interested in making their homes as energy efficient as possible. Adding insulation to your home is a pretty painless way to add value, not only for future resale, but during your time in the home as well. Insulation is meant to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it will help keep your energy bills down through the years.

Every homeowner wants to increase the value of their homes through the years, and be sure of getting back some of their investment back when it comes time to sell, but it’s also important to do things that will bring comfort to you down the line, and to do thorough research into what are the best investments for you. If you are considering home renovations and have questions about where to start, contact 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.

 

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!

Squirrel on Gutter

4 Exterior Home Inspections for Spring

Finally, the weather is at a point when it’s not as cold and wet as it was in the winter. That means it’s time to get some spring cleaning done and start inspecting your home for damage caused by fall and winter weather. Here are some tips on what to look out for this spring that may need your attention as soon as possible!

  1. Clean the Gutters: Your gutters should be cleaned out at least twice a year. Now is the time to rid your gutters of the fall and winter collection of leaves and gunk that have been left behind by rain and winds of the season. Keeping your gutters filled with debris could cause damage to your gutters and will put a hole in your pocket. Plan on cleaning them before the heavy rains of the spring come in.
  2. Inspect Your Roof: While inspecting your roof for damage caused by winter winds, look for curled or missing shingles, cracked caulk, or deteriorating roof flashing. If you see signs of damage, call a maintenance professional to help with repairs. Repairing a roof by yourself could be dangerous.
  3. Repaint Your Home: Keep painted areas of your home in good repair by scraping off chipped and peeling paint. If you spot exposed wood, it needs to be covered in a fresh coat of paint as soon as possible or it will start to rot. Begin with a good exterior pressure wash on your house and then look for any chips in the paint.
  4. Clean Foundation Vents: Homes with a crawl space has vents alongside the foundation walls, which provide air circulation that helps dissipate excess moisture and prevents the spreading of mold. Vents also help with preventing critters from entering underneath your house. Remove leaves and other debris with a shop vacuum and replace if you see damage as soon as possible or you may start hearing rats crawling about at night.

If you are in need of a professional for exterior home repair, call Liberty Builders today. We offer a free in-home consultation!

painting wood

Home Exterior Trends for 2018

The exterior of your home is arguably the most important part of your home. It’s the first thing family, friends, and neighbors see when they approach your home. The exterior is also the most important part of your home to keep up so that it doesn’t falter in curb appeal. That’s why it’s so important to stay on top of popular styles and trends for the exterior of your home. Here’s what’s trending in 2018!

Color

When talking color trends, your best bet is for your home’s color palette to complement its architecture, along with the landscaping and surroundings. But in 2018, it’s all about making a statement while complimenting those features. Create a combination of light and dark over the exterior rather than using a subtle color palette. Make your home look bold and dynamic by using colors like blue, gray, and black on your siding and mix it with a bold accent like white on your trim to make it pop. And, finally, use a different color altogether for your door. In the example of white on dark, we suggest red or light green.

Texture

Blending different textures and styles is a booming trend for 2018. For instance, use different sizes and styles of cedar shingles in the same color as part of your exterior. If your house was built with brick or stone, they should not be the defining feature of your exterior. Instead, it should be mixed with as many complementary styles as possible to create a dynamic texture but isn’t necessarily defined by it.

Eco-Friendly

A trend for 2018 is something that has been trending for years and that’s reducing your carbon footprint, reducing your maintenance, and just being as friendly to the environment as possible when it comes to your home. When choosing to repair or replace on your home’s exterior, make sure you’re utilizing products and services that cater to the benefit of the environment. This can include anything from using eco-friendly paints to energy-efficient patio covers.

Trends for 2018 aren’t too far off from what you’ve probably been seeing in neighborhoods where remodeled homes are being sold. But there’s definitely a shift toward more dynamic colors, mixtures or siding and textures, and eco-friendliness. If you need assistance with exterior home maintenance, call Liberty Builders today! We offer a free in-home consultation!