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Who Owns the Fence?

We sometimes get asked to help solve a fencing problem, and it’s not always a technical problem. Many homeowners aren’t happy with their neighbor’s fence, or want to install one for a new pet but aren’t sure how to address their neighbors concerns. That’s where we can discuss options, although we don’t have a lot of personal experience. My preference is to keep spaces open so we can all enjoy them. In one house, I did appreciate not having to walk our dog and we simply added a dog door for easy access to the fenced yard.

When I... 

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Organize Your Basement (or Garage) Storage

When you

What’s in your basement? Your garage? Are you using this bonus space in your home to make things easier or more difficult?  Are there enough shelves so everyone in the family knows where to store things and find them when needed?

It’s so quick and easy to pile the clutter you’ve accumulated in the basement or garage when you’re cleaning up for company.  You close the door and, like magic, the clutter disappears.

Unfortunately magic tricks don’t work in real life.  How often do you go back and sort out all that stuff that conveniently disappeared?  The piles get bigger and... 

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Swing Set Installation Tips

Backyard swing sets are for kids to dream about the possibilities

Every year families with young, energetic children purchase swing sets which have to be assembled and set up. Although setting up a swing set isn’t difficult, it requires more patience and time than than you would expect. A touch of realism will help homeowners assess how much time it will take to assemble the swing set and decide whether it’s worth it … as smaller, simpler swing sets or pre-assembled ones are just as much fun.

Double the cost of a swing set to cover paying someone to set it up – does it fit your budget?

This approach gets the swing... 

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Repairing Water Damage and Wood Rot in Doors

Doors have a high rate of wood rot due to backsplash from landing immediately below

Door thresholds, kick plates and surrounding trim are susceptible to wood rot. When water splashes up from the landing just below the door and gets into the cracks, and the wood doesn’t dry out, wood rot happens.

All exterior doors must have a landing in compliance with building code safety requirements. Typically there are only 8 inches between the landing and the door threshold, setting the stage for water to splash up and hit the house. Water run-off from the roof makes the problem worse by adding to the amount of water hitting the landing. That means even more water... 

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Estimating Repair Costs for Rotted Window Sills and Trim

Estimating home repair costs is challenging

When the extent of the damage is not visible, estimating home repair costs presents a challenge. One of the most common handyman projects is repairing rotted window sills. The  extent of the damage in these repairs is often hidden until the rotted wood is removed. Most wood rot is preventable if home owners understand how critical routine, annual maintenance is to protecting their home.

We are accustomed to protecting ourselves from getting wet, except when it’s fun and intentional, like at the beach or  pool. We use umbrellas when it rains. We put wet stuff in plastic instead of brown paper... 

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Does Your Home Need Any of These Wood Rot Repairs

wood rot is a common home repair

Everyone knows we’re getting lots more rain and snow than normal. Hopefully your house is watertight and none of the water has gotten inside your home. Because when water gets inside a house and doesn’t have a way to escape, you’re likely to get wood rot and that’s never good.

The worst part about wood rot is that it gets worse, year after year, so the sooner you find and make needed repairs, the less costly it will be.

So first you might want to understand how this happens. Wood rot is caused by wood destroying fungi that break down the wood cells... 

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Spring Exterior Maintenance Projects

In some parts of the country, spring is making an appearance. If it hasn’t shown up in your town, it will soon. That means it is time to decide what home maintenance projects you want to tackle this year. Without a doubt, there will be more projects then there will be time or budget, so you will need to prioritize.

Safety is priority one. For the most effective safety inspection try and see your house as a visitor arriving for the first time. Is your house number easy to find during different lighting? Is the path from parking spots to the... 

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Types of Contractor Estimates

there are different types of contractor estimates

There are different types of contractor estimates. Understanding how the different estimates work can make the dialog between homeowners and contractors more comfortable. Everyone has heard contractor horror stories, and there isn’t a contractor out there who doesn’t have a homeowner horror story or two … although a professional will never bad mouth a previous client to a potential client.  

The key to a successful relationship with your contractor is communication. It is crucial to establish a relationship so you feel comfortable asking questions as the project progresses.

As a homeowner you must have a good understanding of the work you are... 

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Spring Checklist For Exterior Home Maintenance

exterior home maintenance checklist includes roof repairs

Unlike the inside of our homes, we can’t control the weather that pummels the outside of our homes. A home maintenance check list is an important tool that can help you inspect and make repairs to your home. With a home maintenance checklist, you can improve the safety of family and friends, reduce the loss of cooled or heated air, and prevent water damage.

It doesn’t matter if you roll up your sleeves and tackle the work or if you delegate to a landscaper, handyman, or other home professional. What’s important is that you are proactive and stay on top of... 

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Hard Surface Flooring, A Simple Guide

floor coverings are a great home improvement

When thinking about hard-surface floor coverings there are many different materials to consider, not to mention colors and patterns! Flooring is such a big investment, you want make sure you take your time and make the right choice for your home and family. Initial cost is a consideration, but you must also consider how easy the floor will be to maintain in the long run. This will help you decide whether the flooring you want is the best choice for the room where it will be installed.  

It would be difficult to list the numerous hard-surface floor coverings out there.... 

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