Tips to Maintain Your Landscaping in Fall

Tips to Maintain Your Landscaping in Fall

Simple Steps to Care for Your Landscaping in Fall

The spring and summer months are not the only times of year to care for your yard. It’s easy to maintain your landscaping in fall and keep your yard looking great even after the green foliage of summer is gone.

Prepare Your Fall Garden

When preparing your home for fall, consider adding a fall garden space. Between late summer and early fall, remove annual flowers planted during the summer and pull out weeds and other unwanted plants.

Once you have tidied up your garden space, you can begin planting for fall. Choose flowers, shrubs, and trees that will perform through the season. Mums, marigolds, and flowering kale are great fall choices.

Care for Your Lawn When Landscaping in Fall

During the fall season, care for your lawn to protect it from the cooler weather and get it ready for next summer. Continue mowing the grass as needed until the first frost. You may notice your grass growing slower than in the summer months, but you can still mow and water it.

Also, apply fertilizer in the fall to keep your lawn healthy. The fertilizer will help your grass grow stronger roots before winter. Fall is also the perfect time to aerate and seed bare patches in your lawn.

Plan a Spring Garden

Fall is a great time of year to plan out your spring garden. Choose flowers and plants you want to see bloom in the spring and add them to your garden now. Bulbs should be planted in the fall so they’re ready to bloom when the weather warms. Tulips and daffodils are popular choices for spring gardens.

Fall is also a good time to plant perennials. The soil is still warm from the summer, providing the right environment for plants to grow strong roots before the harsh, cold months ahead.

Make a Clean-Up Plan

The bright hues of autumn leaves won’t last on the trees for long. Soon the fallen leaves will litter the yard. Caring for the landscape in fall means to plan for leaf pickup. If you have a mulching mower, mulch your leaves as you mow the lawn. The nutrients in mulched leaves will find their way back into the soil.

You can also rake and compost leaves to add to the soil next year. If your town or HOA requires leaf clean-up, rake and gather the leaves for scheduled town leaf collections.

American Home Inspection Services offers home inspections to customers in Southeast Michigan. Contact us to request our services.

4 Easy Home Improvement Projects

4 Easy Home Improvement Projects

It’s always a good time to complete some easy home improvement projects. The more you can do on your own, the more money you can save. Only take on projects you feel comfortable with. Some of the home improvements in this article are easy enough for an inexperienced homeowner, and some take a little more skill.

Home Improvement is Easy With Foam Crown Molding

Adding crown molding looks more difficult than it really is. It’s possible to make this project simple and affordable while adding class and elegance to a room. The key is using polystyrene foam rather than wood. It is easy to cut, lightweight, and adheres to the corners of the ceiling and wall with joint compound.

Recaulk the Bathroom

Over time, caulk in the bathroom around tubs and sinks needs to be freshened up. Scrape it away with a putty knife or razor scraper before applying new caulk. Wipe away any residual grime and debris, and then apply a new strip of caulk with a caulk gun. Then press the caulk down to make it smooth. New caulk will make your bathroom look cleaner and better protect your walls from water intrusion.

Add a Backsplash

The kitchen gets the most use out of any room in the house, so it makes sense to focus your home improvement efforts there. Adding a backsplash is one of the simplest yet most impactful projects. A less experienced DIYer can choose peel-and-stick tiles for a foolproof backsplash application. If you feel comfortable with tilework, apply ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles with grout. There are also non-traditional backsplash options that come in sheets or panels, like metal or pegboard.

Install a Bathroom Vent Fan for Home Improvement

If you do not have exhaust fans in bathrooms already, this is one of the more necessary home improvement projects. Vent fans remove humid air that builds up from showering and sends it outside. This keeps mold from proliferating in the bathroom, which is a common problem. This project does take some electrical skills, but it is a worthwhile home improvement project.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspections to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

5 Ways to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

Your home should be the place where your family is the safest and most comfortable. Regular maintenance is key to keeping your house in good condition. However, appearances aren’t enough. Follow the below five tips to keep your home healthy and safe for years to come.

1. Reduce the Risk of a Fire in Your Home

While no one can eliminate the threat of a fire, there are measures you can take to prevent one. Don’t overload any of your outlets. Make sure nothing is up against your furnace, baseboard heaters, and space heaters. Have fire extinguishers in the kitchen, basement, and garage. Install smoke detectors in several rooms throughout your home including all bedrooms, the attic, and the basement. Check your smoke detector batteries twice a year and replace the units every decade.

2. Prevent Mold to Keep the Home Healthy and Safe

Every homeowner dreads finding mold in their home. Mold is a living organism that makes your home unhealthy. It can wreak havoc on your health if you inhale its spores. It thrives in damp places, so the bathroom and basement are the most common areas where mold can show up. To keep your home healthy and safe from mold, control the moisture levels in your home. A ventilation fan protects your bathroom from growing mold. A dehumidifier and fans can keep your basement dry.

3. Minimize Dust

A buildup of dust in the home is not healthy. Dust mites and other tiny organisms breed in the dust. They can cause skin rashes and breathing problems. Dust is especially problematic for anyone who is allergic to dust, has asthma, or has other respiratory disorders. You can combat dust by dusting regularly with a microfiber cloth, keeping the surfaces clean in your home, and purchasing an air filtration device.

4. Keep Your Drinking Water Pure

The quality of your water is essential to keep a home healthy and safe. Most municipal and well water contains contaminants of some form. You have two options when it comes to purified water. You can either buy bottled water or you can install a water filter. Bottled water promotes waste and is expensive. A water filter comes with an initial expense that will offer you the return of clean drinking and cooking water for years to come.

5. Test for Radon to Make Your Home Healthy and Safe

Radon is a radioactive gas that is often found in the basement. It can increase your risk of lung cancer. Testing is the only way to find out the levels. If you do have high radon levels, hire a mitigation professional to make your home healthy and safe.

When you are conscientious, you can keep your home healthy and safe throughout the years. Reduce hazards like mold, dust, radon, house fires, and polluted drinking water with the above tips.

American Home Inspection Services provides water testing, radon testing, and other home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule our services.

 

Pros and Cons of Popular Decking Materials

Pros and Cons of Popular Decking Materials

A deck is an outdoor living space that is often elevated off the ground, varying in height from a few inches to many feet or levels. Originally constructed of wood, modern decks might be made of any of these popular decking materials. Let’s look at the pros and cons of some of those materials.

Redwood Decking Materials

Redwood has been a traditional choice for decking material for many years. The wood is durable and attractive and the natural color is pleasant. Redwood is fire and insect-resistant.

Redwood can be more brittle than softwoods, so pre-drilled holes are usually necessary to prevent splitting. The biggest disadvantage is the cost. Compared with softwoods or composites, redwood can be up to twice the price per foot.

Cedar Decking

Another popular choice for natural wood decking is cedar. Cedar is strong and has a distinct scent that many people find appealing. Another advantage of cedar is that it is naturally resistant to rot, decay, and insects.

While not quite as brittle as redwood, cedar can be just as expensive. If not regularly sealed, the attractive cedar color will fade to gray.

Pressure-Treated Lumber

Pressure-treated wood is the most common material used in outdoor construction. This type of wood repels moisture and is resistant to mold and insects. It is inexpensive and easy to install.

Pressure-treated wood needs to be resealed every year or so to prolong its lifespan. If regular maintenance isn’t for you, choose another option.

Vinyl Decking Materials

Synthetic materials like vinyl have become a common choice in recent years. Low maintenance and ease of installation make this a popular material for HOAs and subdivisions looking for a uniform appearance. Color is infused into the material, eliminating the need to paint. With proper maintenance, you can expect it to last 20 to 30 years.

Vinyl is difficult to paint and can’t be stained, so changing colors is not an option. While some vinyl can mimic wood, it lacks the natural beauty of quality wooden decking.

Composites

Another synthetic material commonly used for decks is composite. Composite is made of wood particles mixed with plastic and pressed into shape. Composite decking is heavier than vinyl and has a longer lifespan than natural wood.

This type of decking is more difficult to install, can be pricey, and may contain chemicals that make it difficult to dispose of safely.

Aluminum

While not a common choice, aluminum decking does have its advantages. It dissipates heat more effectively than wood, so it cools quickly. It’s also lighter and stronger than wood. Although installation can be a more difficult job, aluminum decking is nearly maintenance-free.

Besides the installation, the main disadvantage is the cost. Aluminum decks can be pricey. This material is also noisy underfoot and becomes slippery when wet.

These are the most common types of materials used to build decks. One material may be better for your backyard deck. Examine the pros and cons of these materials and choose the one that is right for your home and your budget.

American Home Inspection Services provides home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.

How to Organize Your Closet

How to Organize Your Closet

Because closets are out of sight, they’re often forgotten about during housecleaning. A clean closet is a useful and convenient storage area. Here are a few tips to help you organize your closet.

Take Everything Out

To organize your closet, start by taking everything out of it. As you remove your belongings, separate clothes into categories: dress pants, workout attire, casual pants, formal clothing, dress shirts, casual shirts, etc. This way, you can easily go through each pile and see what you actually own. If you notice you have several white dress shirts, you might decide to donate a couple of them.

As you go through the clothes, separate them further into what you want to keep and what will be given away. If you don’t like how an item fits or if it hasn’t been worn in over a year, it should be donated.

Clean the Space Before Your Organize Your Closet

Before you begin to put everything back, clean the area first. Wipe all of the shelves, vacuum the carpet, and clean scuff marks and dirt off of the walls. If you’ve been needing to repaint the closet, now is a perfect time to do so.

Organize Your Closet

Organizing your closet can seem daunting, but with the right strategies, you can finish this project in a weekend. If more storage space is necessary, buy and install wall shelves that can help organize items like hats, purses, and other accessories. Add shelves above the clothing racks, or on any open wall. This helps you use every available space in the closet. Use every inch of the closet for storage.

If you have space, a double hanging rod helps hang more clothing in the same area. For storing shoes, add shelves or install a behind-the-door shoe rack made of mesh, plastic, or metal.

Designate a specific space for everything so clothes and shoes don’t get scattered around. Hang like items together and keep often-used pieces within easy reach. Use higher shelves to store out-of-season or special occasion clothing.

Hang or Fold

Sweaters will stretch out when hung on hangers. Fold sweaters and store them in drawers, on shelves, or in baskets. Materials that can stretch like Lycra and most knitwear should also be folded. Designate places in your closet for these items.

Delicate materials like silk, satin, lace, and starched shirts like cotton dress shirts are stored best on hangers. This will help these garments keep their shape and prevent wrinkles.

American Home Inspection Services offers home inspections to customers in Southeast Michigan. Contact us to request an appointment.

How to Improve Curb Appeal Before Selling Your Home

How to Improve Curb Appeal Before Selling Your Home

You’re likely to sell your home more quickly and for a higher price when the exterior impresses potential buyers. Here are 8 tips that will help you improve curb appeal.

Wash the House

It’s possible to add profit by simply cleaning the exterior of your home. Get rid of the dust, dirt, and grime on a vinyl, wood, stucco, metal, or brick exterior with a pressure washer. It’s best to hire a pressure washing company if you are inexperienced with using this machine so that you don’t damage your property.

Improve Curb Appeal by Fixing Your Roof

The rest of the home’s exterior may look great, but if the roof is failing, it will bring down the curb appeal of the house. This is especially true if all of your neighbors have newer roofs that are in good condition. Repair the roof, if needed. If your roof is technically sound but dirty, then get it professionally cleaned. Removing moss, algae, lichens, and dirt will make any roof look better.

Get Rid Of All Clutter

Move garbage and recycling bins to the backyard or the garage. Get rid of old, dirty, or broken lawn decor and furniture that is bringing down the curb appeal of the yard. Tidy up toys and bikes that may be laying around the yard, and stash them in a shed or garage.

Paint Your Home to Improve Curb Appeal

Sometimes washing your home isn’t enough to improve curb appeal. Painting your home with a fresh coat of paint makes the home look much newer. It’s best to use a neutral color that will appeal to most people when selling your home.

Spruce Up The Yard

Add fresh mulch to garden areas. Prune the shrubs and cut the grass to improve curb appeal. Take out old, overgrown bushes and replace them with newer, easy to care for plants. Edge along the driveway and garden beds. Get rid of all the weeds. Add solar garden lights to boost the curb appeal at night.

Fix the Mailbox

A new mailbox can be expensive. Save money by adding a fresh coat of paint to your existing mailbox. Add decorative house numbers to your house while you’re sprucing up the mailbox.

Install a New Fence

Add a decorative or picket fence around the front yard. Buyers will love the look and the extra security a fence provides. Repair any existing fencing issues like broken latches so the fence doesn’t detract from curb appeal.

Make All Needed Repairs

Take a good look at your property after repairing the roof, fixing up the lawn, and replacing the mailbox. Look for anything else that’s taking away from the overall presentation. Do you still see any peeling paint, loose front step bricks, or sagging gutters? Fix all of these problems. Here are other items to pay attention to:

  • Cracked driveway or walkway cement
  • Crooked shutters
  • Cracked windows

Follow these tips to improve curb appeal and sell your home more easily.

American Home Inspection Services provides pre-listing home inspection services to Southeast Michigan. Contact us to schedule an appointment.