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.

Home Maintenance Tips for Fall includes cleaning gutters

8 Home Maintenance Tips for Fall

Fall is the perfect time to care for big exterior home repair projects before the shorter days of winter come along to make things more difficult. The hazardous winter weather can limit your time outdoors so make the move now and improve the appearance of your home’s exterior before it’s too late. Liberty Builders of Texas is here to help give you an idea of what to look for when it comes to exterior home care. Check the following items off from your list of fall home maintenance repairs and projects.

  • Care for Trees and Shrubs
    The fall of leaves from existing trees on your property is about to take place. Rake them up, but first, inspect your trees for any dormant or dead areas and trim them away.
  • Examine your home
    Look for signs of damage to your home by taking a walk around your property and inspecting your roof, siding, and foundation. If you spot something out of the ordinary, act on it now before the winter takes effect.
  • Replace your Siding
    Update your exterior paint job before the season changes if you feel your home needs an updated look.
  • Seal Gaps
    Critters, such as mice and raccoons, tend to find shelter indoors during the colder months. Make sure areas like your laundry room, garage, and pantry don’t have gaps and holes that lead outside.
  • Clean the Chimney
    Schedule a chimney cleaning and maintain the cleanliness of it throughout the cold months. Add a cap to your chimney as this will prevent critters from entering your home through the roof.
  • Maintenance the Heating System
    Ensure your heater is in working order before turning it on.
  • Check Weather-stripping
    If the weather-stripping on your windows and doors are damaged, it’s time to replace them to cut energy costs and improve heating in the house.
  • Clean Gutters
    Keep this task on the end of your checklist because after most of the leaves have fallen from the trees, you’ll want to start cleaning your gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters can damage your roof and siding.

Keep following Liberty Builders for seasonal exterior home maintenance tips! If you’re in need of exterior home repairs, give us a call today.

Insulating of attic with Radiant barrier

Is a Radiant Barrier Beneficial for Your Home?

Radiant barriers are installed in the attics of your home and their primary function is to reduce the amount of summer heat and reduce the cost of air cooling. Could you and your home benefit from having a radiant barrier installed?

The San Antonio’s climate is one of extremes. Help your home’s ability to fight the elements with the Liberty Builders Radiant Barrier. Designed to be maintenance and hassle free, the material used in making Liberty UV Radiant Barrier kept NASA astronauts from losing body heat in the intense elements of space. The Space Shuttle’s outer heat tiles and many other areas contain radiant barrier protection against heat and cold. This same technology is incorporated into our Liberty Radiant Barrier product line, giving you cutting edge materials and performance.

You may also be in need of attic insulation. If energy costs continue to rise, then it’s time to take action. If your home is over ten years old, there’s a good chance it’s not well insulated as it should be. Not having enough insulation results in major energy loss and, whether you realize it or not, your home is constantly leaking energy and most of that energy loss is coming from your attic.

Did you know that up to 40 percent of a home’s conditioned air escapes through the attic? If your cooling and heating energy cost are going through the roof, there’s an easy solution: Adding Owens Corning attic insulation and sealing air leaks can help cut heating and cooling energy bills by up to 20 percent.

Liberty Builders looks forward to helping you lower you’re A/C bills. Keep the heat out and A/C in. All while helping the environment and your pocketbook! Call Liberty Builders of Texas today to get Radiant Barrier installed in your home. Contact us today!

Make Your Outdoor Space More Attractive by adding a backyard grill

5 Features to Make Your Outdoor Space More Attractive

Outdoor features make your home feel attractive, larger, and more expensive. Create an outdoor space to compliment your indoor space. With new and attractive characteristics to add to your home, you’ll be the envy of your neighbors and you’ll have the most attractive house in the neighborhood. Here are five features that benefit your home’s exterior.

 

  1. Outdoor Lighting. Adding outside lighting, other than on your front porch or backyard, boosts your willingness to spend time outdoors and will also make your yard more attractive. Add some magic to your home’s exterior with outdoor string lights installed over your deck or porch, walkway lighting, wall lanterns, or landscape lighting directed path lights.
  2. Gathering Space. Your family and friends will love you for providing a spacious area that is designed for parties and gatherings. Add a permanent feature like a gas fire table, a BBQ area, a pool and/or hot tub, an outdoor bar, or a wooden fire pit.
  3. Landscaping. Treat your lawn well and you’re yard will encourage people to spend more time outdoors. Add color to your landscape with plants and outdoor art. Create a garden, install a fountain, or build a new fence.
  4. Outdoor Structures. Structures help boost the value of your home and provide storage and additional living space to your home. Active-use structures include a patio, deck, shop, gazebo, playhouse for kids, or an area for sports. Storage structures include a shed, carport, and garage.
  5. Covered Area. Covered areas protect you from the extreme heat of the sun and also from the rain. Add a large umbrella to your patio, a sun sail, or an awning and spend more time outdoors.

Liberty Builders is here to help you make your home’s exterior to more attractive. If you need a structure installed at your home, give us a call today.

Keep The House Cool Without Using Air Conditioning

7 Ways to Keep The House Cool Without Using Air Conditioning

It is hot outside and we still have August left to experience the worst of the Texas heat. Instead of overusing your air conditioning, there are other ways to help keep your home cool for the rest of the summer. Here are some neat tips and tricks for saving money on your energy bill and staying cool inside your home.

  • Keep Blinds Closed. About 30 percent of unwanted heat comes from your windows. By keeping your blinds closed, you can lower your indoor temperatures by up to 20 degrees and save up to 7 percent. In addition to this, purchase blackout curtains to block out sunlight from seeping through.
  • Keep Doors Closed. Close off unused rooms to prevent cool air from permeating throughout the house.
  • Utilize Ceiling Fans Instead. Ceiling fans use a lot less energy than A/C units and will lower your energy bill significantly. Set them to turn counter-clockwise to create a wind-chill breeze effect.
  • Crack the Windows Open. At night, if the weather isn’t too warm, try sleeping with the windows open for a refreshing night’s sleep. Addition to this step, heat rises so the lower you sleep the cooler it will be. Move the mattress to the floor of the room or even to a room downstairs.
  • Switch out the Lights. If you’re using incandescent lights, make the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to make your home a little cooler and to lower your electric bill, too.
  • Minimize the Use of Your Stove. Using your oven and stove will make your house hotter but it’s summer. You should be outside grilling, anyway.
  • Make Some Long-Term Improvements to your Home. You can make some changes that will keep your house cooler such as installing insulated window films or planting trees that will shield your home from the sun.

Stay cool this summer and keep following Liberty Builders for more tips and tricks.

hot sun on a summer day

Painting in the Summer with Liberty Builders

The summer is when most people want to take care of exterior home maintenance duties, like repainting their house. However, extreme hot weather like the type we get down here in San Antonio, is not beneficial to your paint job. Weather has a significant effect on your home’s exterior. As the days get warmer, the sun will have an impact on your home’s paint job among other things.

Humidity and heat have an influence on the time it takes your paint to dry. Don’t paint in the sun when it’s hot outside. Painting in the heat of the sun is not recommended because the paint will dry too fast. This may lead to lap marks, which happen when you paint large areas and it dries too quickly. This leaves striations, a series of ridges, furrows or marks, on the surface, and will ruin the paint’s appearance. Paint in the early morning when it is less hot and allow for double the drying time the paint label states. Also, paint in small sections and not large ones for the best results.

Painting in the damp, rainy environment is not any better than painting in the heat. If you’re having a wet summer (which could be rare for San Antonio), you are bound to fail if you paint over any wet surface. When you paint over a wet area, you seal in moisture and enclose it. When the sun hits the area, it tries to dry the moisture out, causing the paint to life and ruining the paint job. If you’ve ever seen peeling paint, this is a big sign of that. To make sure you’re not painting on a moist area, use a hygrometer to measure the amount of moisture on the exterior surface of a house. For best results, paint on a dry, warm day.

For additional exterior home maintenance tips, keep reading blogs by Liberty Builders.

replace water hose Summer Maintenance Tips

10 Summer Maintenance Tips for Your Home

Summer is the perfect time to step outside and make sure your home is in good shape. There are many tasks you can do that will help spruce up your home. Use a weekend to apply some time to exterior and interior home maintenance tasks. Here is a list of simple summer projects you could do.

  • Check Detectors. Make sure your home’s smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working.
  • Exterior Paint Touch-Ups. Touching up the paint on the outside of your home is a quick and fun way to boost your curb appeal.
  • Clean Exterior Windows. Use a summer day to wash the outside of your house’s windows as it is something that doesn’t get done very often. If Windex doesn’t do the trick, fill a bucket with hot soapy water and scrub them by hand.
  • Replace Your Window Screens. If your window screens are too filthy to be cleaned, you might just want to replace them.
  • Inspect Your Patio, Driveway, and Walkways. Check these areas for cracks and weeds, and use a pressure washer to wash away dirt and residue.
  • Clean Your Home’s Roof. A pressure washer is a good item to have to clean your entire house from the roof on down.
  • Clean Gutters. Rid your gutters of leaves and debris. It may be time to replace your gutters altogether.
  • Inspect Your Hoses. Check your hoses for leaks and wear and tear. Replace your hoses every 3-5 years.
  • Inspect Your Attic and Basement. Check your attic and basement for any signs of pests or insects, water leakage, and mold.
  • Add or Replace Exterior Décor. Liven up your yard or porch with new décor and make your home a sight to see.

Stay hydrated while you’re working on your summer maintenance tasks! Happy a safe and happy summer from Liberty Builders.

Improve the Value of your Home!

As the New Year begins and you look to fulfilling all your 2018 resolutions, we hope that you remembered to include home improvement among them. Home improvement projects that increase the value of your home are beneficial for many reasons, whether you’re looking to sell or stay, raising your home’s value is not as difficult as it seems. Here are some great tips to help get you started.

Make a plan. List all the things you want to change and improve on your home and research how much time and money will go into each project. After that, prioritize your list and focus on your cheaper or easier tasks first and leave the more challenging projects for last, as they may be less easily achievable due to time or cost.

Focus on one room at a time. Rather than working in several projects at once, focus on one, finish it, and then move on. Don’t stress yourself by overworking or leaving no room available for some R&R. Also, don’t forget about the little upgrades that will increase your home’s value such as replacing old faucets, doors, and outlet plates.

Keep up home maintenance. A well maintained home easily improves its value. Prevent mold before it spreads unchecked and stay on top of maintenance issues before they become expensive problems. This includes your home’s curb appeal. Accentuate your walkway or yard with flowers and lanterns and keep lawn and bushes well-trimmed and healthy.

Don’t forget the bathroom. One room that suffers the most over time is the bathroom. Take care of it or watch your home value decrease drastically. Watch out for mold, dirt, and grime as they can become embedded in surfaces quickly. Under-mount sinks are trendy right now so replace your faucet with those. Also, if you can, replace your countertop with marble or granite and replace your overhead lighting with wall mounds to add a relaxed mood.

Whether you’re looking to sell or stay, your home worth will increase dramatically with these simple tips. Your house will look newly renovated and have amazing curb appeal. Call Liberty Builders today, we can help!

Autumn Home Cold

Get your Home Ready for Cold Weather

It recently snowed and we couldn’t believe our eyes! Normally in South Texas, however, the bitter cold doesn’t arrive until January and February, so now is the time to prepare our homes from cold damage. Prepare your home now and don’t delay because if you’re a native Texan, then you know the weather is never predictable. Cold temperatures can damage certain parts of your home and could dig a hole in your pocket. Follow these steps to ensure your home is ready for what the winter brings this season.

  1. Seal windows and doors. Caulk around windows and install weather stripping around your exterior doors. Gaps that are found in windows and doors make it difficult – and expensive – to keep your house warm in the winter. You could save a lot on heating costs by taking on this task before the cold weather hits.
  2. Protect your pipes. Watch out for busted pipes this season as the water in your pipes could freeze. Especially in older homes, it’s a good idea to leave faucets dripping in very cold weather. Disconnect outdoor hoses and store them away, and cover outdoor faucets with foam insulators.
  3. Check the heat. Turn on the furnace to see if it is operating normally. Change your furnace filter before continuous use of your heater.
  4. Clean and store lawn equipment. It’s time to store away equipment usually used for summer days, such as your lawnmower and other motor-operated devices. Empty the fuel tanks because gas can degrade and damage the fuel line and other components. After cleaning, store them in a dry and warm place to avoid winter damage.
  5. Inspect your fireplace and chimney. Soot and other debris can collect in the months that you’re not using them. Make sure your fireplace and chimney are clean before you light up the first log of the winter. When you aren’t using it, keep the flue closed all the way. This will prevent cool air from entering the house.

For more home maintenance tips and other tricks, continue to follow Liberty Builders. If you have any questions or are in need of home exterior services, call us today. We offer a free in-home consultation.

Blue House

Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Every homeowner wants their house to be the best looking one in their neighborhood. Not every homeowner currently has the budget for big home improvement projects. We have searched to find 4 things you can do to easily boost your home’s curb appeal while being on a tighter budget. Follow these tips and watch as your home becomes the talk of the neighborhood.

1. Paint your front door, shutters, and trim. This may seem obvious but a new nicely fresh coat of paint can make your house stand out from all the others.
2. Keep up with lawn and garden maintenance. A fresh cut lawn and a weed-free flower garden with multiple colored succulents will complement your home.
3. Changing or painting lights and door fixtures. Getting or painting fixtures that match in color is a small change that can give your home new life.
4. Power wash your siding, walkways, and porch. Over time, dirt and grime start to build up on these surfaces. A power wash can clean them right up and make your home look brand new.

Whatever you decide to do with your home (sell or improve the exterior look), these tips can help upgrade any houses curb appeal. When you decide it’s time and you have the budget for larger home improvements, call us for a free in-home consultation.