Redefining Restoration

Getting Your Home Summer Ready

Who’s ready for summer? Whether you’re grilling out or relaxing inside, make sure your home is as ready as you are for warm weather recreation. We’ve got a list of DIY tips to get started.

 Exterior Home Improvement

Cleaning Gutters Made Easy

This essential chore is often ignored, but keeping your gutters clean offers several advantages – it keeps your siding in great shape, protects your lawn and landscaping, and prevents your home from suffering (potentially thousands of dollars worth of) water damage.

The reason many folks fail to clean their gutters is simple – they make the job too hard. Do this instead:

  1. Use a quality, extendable ladder – and watch out for power lines!
  2. Grab a gutter scoop or a toy beach shovel to scrape out debris.
  3. Drop debris onto a tarp below instead of the bare grass.
  4. Rinse out your gutters and downspouts with a garden hose.

Boom, you’re done! If you don’t mind spending the extra money, check your home improvement store for speciality hose attachments that reach up to your gutters without the need for a ladder. You can also invest in quality gutter guards to help keep things free from leaves and other debris.

Power Wash Your Deck

You may not own one, but renting a power washer is a worthwhile investment each spring – especially if you have a deck. Keeping all that wood clean will add years to your deck’s life. When using a power washer, always remember to protect your feet and eyes from those powerful water jets. Remove all items such as furniture and plants from your deck. When spraying, use a fan nozzle if possible, and set the washer on its lowest usable water pressure setting. Keep an eye on the wood … if it starts to splinter or the fibers begin to erode, you’re either spraying too close and/or using too much pressure. Spray in gentle, even motions and keep an eye on the color of the wood – lighter means cleaner.

When you’re all done, consider refinishing the wood with a good all-weather sealer and stain. Also, while you still have the washer, give your outdoor furniture and even your home’s siding and walkways a good spray down, too!

Keep Mosquitoes Away

What’s the most annoying way to kill a backyard barbeque? No, we’re not talking about your nosy neighbors. We mean mosquitoes. These whiny bloodsuckers have been around for millions of years – far longer than us – but we can’t get rid of them fast enough. If you don’t want to cover your family and pets with bug spray, try this simple DIY citronella candle recipe instead. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Glass jars
  • Wicks
  • Soy wax
  • Citronella oil
  • Duct tape and scissors
  • Crayons (optional)

Start by collecting a few glass jars. Mason jars, pickle jars, pasta sauce jars – it doesn’t matter as long as they are rinsed and dried out. Next, you’ll want to cut the wicks to match the height of the jars, and securely tape them to the inside bottom of the jar. Add wax (typically sold in bars and flakes) to a pot or pan and gently warm until melted. Once the wax liquefies, add a few drops of citronella oil (we like to use three or four drops per cup of wax). Stir the mixture. At this point, you can toss in a few crayons if you wish to add color to your candles. Carefully pour the wax into your jars, making sure to keep the wick as centered as possible. Let your candles cool and dry, then snip the tops of the wicks about an inch above the surface of the wax. Take outside, light, and enjoy a pest-free evening on your freshly cleaned deck!

We’ve Got Your Back All Year Long

The folks at Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis raise a glass to a fun summer. But, if scary weather should strike, we’re here to help. Learn more about our many disaster restoration services and home improvement solutions. Also, be sure to check out our blog archives for lots more tips to protect your family and your home from Mother Nature.

 

End of Summer Home Improvement Checklist

Firing up the grill or cooling down in the pool … your favorite summer activities are coming to an end.

We’re not trying to be buzzkills here (we love autumn, too!), but with fall right around the corner, there are a few things you should be doing around the house to get it ready for cooler weather.

fall-home

Patio/Deck Furniture

It’s a good idea to start thinking about ways and places to store your outdoor accessories in the off season. Hit patio furniture with a hose and wipe down with a soft cloth to remove bugs, cobwebs, and other summer gunk. If you have fabric cushions, follow tag instructions for proper cleaning.

After your final cookout of the year, clean and degrease your grill. Remove any leftover charcoal briquettes and half-empty propane tanks. Use a proper oil to lubricate moving parts and protect metal. Cover accordingly, and, if possible, move to the garage or shed.

Garage

Do you park your car in the garage? If your answer is “no,” you’re not alone. Nearly a third of all homeowners leave their vehicles in the driveway. Why? They simply have too much stuff in there. Late summer is the perfect time to take a hard look at all your junk, er, mementos, and decide what stays and what goes. Sell on Craigslist. Have a garage sale. Donate to a local organization. Throw it away. Whatever it takes, organize your things and carve out some space.

Mudroom

Don’t have one? Make one. A mudroom doesn’t even have to be a whole room – any entryway will do. With colder weather comes sleet, slush, snow, water, and all kinds of crud. And, who wants a drop of any of that anywhere else in their home?

All good mudrooms have a few key pieces. Add a standing or wall-mounted coat rack. A bench with built-in shelving allows for convenient putting on and off of shoes and boots, as well as storing keys and similar items. Finally, no matter the type of flooring, make sure your entryway has a big strong rug or mat that’s designed to get dirty.

What Else?

Use late August and early September as an excuse to get a few more home improvement projects checked off your list. Painting a room is a big task, made easier now that the weather’s not as hot or humid. Cranking up the thermostat likely hasn’t crossed your mind in months, but having your home’s heating system inspected and tuned up this time of year will help you beat the crowds once the mercury starts to drop. And, what about that roof of yours? Here in Indiana, we’re all but guaranteed to get at least one big dump of snow every winter, so make sure your roof is in good shape. Catching small problems now will protect you from major damage later. We also know an Indianapolis area roofing expert that does great work.

We hope your dog days of summer are definitely something to wag about, and you pack it in before autumn arrives. To learn more about seasonal home renovations and other timely home improvement topics, explore our website and get in touch with us today!

Home Improvements – DIY or Call the Pros?

For many homeowners, summer’s the ideal time to tackle those home improvement projects that have been building up over the past several months. Some, like swapping out a damaged shingle, are relatively simple. Others, like replacing an entire roof, require a bit more than a toolbox to solve.

So, which projects are perfect do-it-yourselfers, and which ones are best left to the professionals? We’ve written a handy little article to help you decide.

DIY-Home-Improvements

When to Do It Yourself

There’s a good rule of thumb when it comes to home improvements: the cheaper the project and the younger the homeowner, the more likely it’s a DIY job. While you might not be a plumber by trade, chances are you can stop a running toilet or clear a clogged tub, even if you have to spend a few minutes on Google or YouTube before rolling up your sleeves. Likewise, a good ladder and a few standard hand tools are all a confident homeowner often needs to fix loose siding or a sagging section of gutter.

Now, speaking of confidence, please realize that confidence doesn’t always mean cocky. We love that the whole DIY trend continues to spread, thanks in part to the many home improvement reality shows on television, blogs and social media, and more. However, before diving into a new project, we encourage you to take a hard, honest look at a few things: do you have the time and patience to complete the tasks at hand? Do you have all the right tools and resources? And, most importantly, do you have the skills? As Americans, we take pride in getting stuff done, and getting it done ourselves. That’s awesome! But, the old saying “measure twice and cut once” is more than a simple suggestion; it’s a home improvement rule to live by. So, before you tear down a wall, ask yourself a big question: Do I know what I’m doing?

Also, we sure hope that wasn’t a load-bearing wall…

When to Hire a Home Pro

If you answered “no,” or even gave a delayed “yes” to the project self-assessment above, you’re more than likely better off hiring a professional to improve your home. DIY projects are notorious for taking longer, costing more, and being harder than expected to complete. And, it’s not uncommon for a homeowner to unknowingly (or knowingly, in some cases) cut corners or do something wrong that ends up causing an even bigger, more expensive problem than the original. Therefore, you can save time, money, and a heck of a lot of stress by doing a bit of homework and hiring a qualified expert.

A few things to ask when comparing contractors:

  • Check local licensure and insurance information
  • Insist on a list of customer references
  • Get all pricing information in writing and up front
  • Get all warranty/guarantee information in writing and up front
  • Read, review, and understand your contract. Don’t hesitate to ask questions if something is confusing or doesn’t feel right!

Be wary of so-called “Craigslist contractors” and folks who go door-to-door or otherwise solicit for work. These fly-by-night crews are rarely qualified or even experienced in the work they advertise, and some are outright scammers who use fake licensing and steal money without doing any of the things they promise. It really pays to do your research before saying yes to anything. We can’t stress this enough. Just like you, we hear about these crooks all too often in the news, and they give our highly regulated and honest industry a bad name.

Your Trusted Local Name in Home Improvement & Restoration

At Van Rooy Restoration, we understand that it can be tough to ask for help. After all, your home is your castle and you are the king or queen! Just remember this – when it comes to those important summer home improvements, you’re not admitting defeat or even swallowing your pride when you call in the pros. We are always on your side and are here to serve you, and we’re committed to helping make your castle as strong, sound, and attractive as possible.

Learn more about the many home improvement and restoration services, and contact us today to get started.