Posted on April 28, 2015 in A La Carte Services, Disasters, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

Over and over we end up with expensive maintenance issues that are the result of prior short cuts taken. Over the years we have had several issues with hose bibs and other areas where shortcuts have been taken.

The most recent one is a very expensive repair to a dripping exterior hose bib. Typically an old bib is just removed, a new one installed and the job is done in under an hour. For this one, a remodel was the cause of a future giant plumbing bill. The contractor put the remodeled cabinets on top of the plumbing, with no easy access to the back of the hose bib. In order to change out the hose bib, cutting into the cabinets is necessary. Stupid, costly and expensive! If just ignored, it will freeze during the cold temps, crack and probably flood the house (starting with the kitchen of course).

Leaky Exterior Hose Bib

Painting is one area that we occasionally see – a cheap painting job that takes shortcuts on quality paint products and too few coats, won’t last as long. Cheap materials do not hold up and we are happy to see the recently built homes appear to be using better materials.

The list of issues we have seen in the past decade covers every facet of a home from poor design, poor roofing materials, ventilation and lack of proper drainage. The stories are endless. The most important part is to take care, do the right thing and make the repair and maintenance in a timely fashion.

At Home Fridays we are huge proponents of doing it correctly the first time and taking care of regular maintenance. It is so much easier to pay in the front end, rather than the VERY costly repairs and potential floods! Central Oregon weather is extreme with major temperature swings that are hard on all the homes. With regular maintenance and oversight the problems can be taken care of.

Need help with your home? Give us a call to discuss how Home Fridays can help you 541/317-3088.

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Posted on May 23, 2013 in Published Articles, Spring, Sunriver Scene, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

A recent column from the Sunriver Scene on deck maintenance by Shannon Bassett.

 

It is time to think about those decks! The sun is already out and the damage is evident fro a year or two of harsh weather. Snow, ice, freeze and heat; the weather cycle of Central Oregon does a number on our decks.  The best solution is to take care of the decks every year.

In one home the owner really does not want to spend the money on taking care of his deck.  As a result of ignoring the deck the boards are warping, the understructure is rotting and the entire thing will need to be replaced.  The cost of his annual ‘money saving’ will end up with a very expensive full deck replacement.

Another home owners decks looks great on the surface. But an inspection revealed a woodpecker home in the structure beneath.  Without an inspection, the entire deck could have collapsed at an inopportune time.  With the support beam replace, the deck is once again safe and ready for a summer of fun.

Steps for deck maintenance;

  1. Annual Inspection – Look at the surface for signs of rough wear ad tear. Inspect underneath the deck if accessible. Confirm the supports are in good conditions with no signs of rot or shifting. If boards are warping or cupping and the overall condition is poor, sanding is in order.  If the deck looks like it did last year and no signs of peeling stain or raw wood, you are in luck and can skp maintenance this year. Fading, peeling and signs of wear around heavy traffic areas?  Plan to wash the deck and apply stain. Compromised structure due to bird activity, rot or shifting should be looked at by a contractor for replacement.
  2. Timing – It is important to plan your deck projects when we are above freezing. While some of the stains are rated for colder temperatures, for the best results apply in warm but not hot or freezing weather. The second and MOST important timing is around the pollen bloom. It is critical to complete the deck project before or after the pollen bloom. If pollen is left on the deck and sealed (or get into the stain during application) it will create black dots throughout the deck.  This is pollen bloom and can only be removed through sanding.
  3. Wash – Remove the dirt, leaves and sap with a good scrubbing.  Many companies out there like to use a power washer.  This causes splintering in the wood and removes all the soft parts of the wood. You end up with an uneven rough surface.  This will cause issues when the stain is applied as the hard areas do not absorb the product as well and the finish will not last as long. The ‘less is more’ phrase can be used as a guideline when washing your deck.  Less harsh cleaners, less concentrated chemicals and less pressure washing.  Use Oxi-Clean or another good scrubbing cleaner, a brush and some elbow grease.  Then let the deck cry completely before moving on, typically 24-48 hours.
  4. Sanding – Remove any bad stain or peeling paint applications with a good sanding job across the entire deck. Sanding will also smooth out the surface by removing a small layer of the old gray wood of the deck. This process is often necessary when trying to bring back a neglected deck. I love the system used by Webfoot Painting which sucks in all the dust and doesn’t leave a mess behind in the yard or on the house.  Without a dustless sanding system you will need to plan a cleaning of the house after the decks are completed. Sanding is not necessary annually and wit a good annual or bi-annual stain application the sanding process can be eliminated.
  5. Apply Stain– The product used is key and to hold up you want something that penetrates the wood.  Anything that builds a film on the wood such as Thomas Water Sealer will not hold up in Central Oregon. They tend to chip, peel and dry out in our tough climate. A penetrating product such as Messmer’s UV Stain or Flood CWF-UV 5 Oil work well in our climate. The penetrating products are easier to maintain and with many decks are only necessary to apply every other year.  Of course location and sun exposure on the deck will be the deciding factor.

The secret to a successful and good looking deck is annual attention.  If ignored you will be facing a much bigger and more expensive problem.  So keep your annual maintenance up, the cost down and enjoy wonderful summers on your beautiful deck for years to come.

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays. com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners. You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays. com

 

 

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Posted on March 21, 2013 in A La Carte Services, Spring, Tips by ShannonNo Comments »

Tanya Carlsen of Carlseng Design is our guest blogger this week.  She is a Landscape designer who has done some beautiful work for friends and clients.  Check out her advice on what to do in the garden now that we have Spring Fever!

 

Happy Spring

What a fantastic way to begin the spring season, with a day of rain and rainbows.  In Central Oregon it is sometimes difficult to tell when spring has finally arrived, but not this year.  We will have more freezing weather so hold off on your tomatoes and such, but there are still many other things to plan and to do.

 

Some perennials and grasses are starting to leaf out and last years foliage should be cut back.  With your perennials like Catmint and Daisy, cut all the old foliage off completely.  For ornamental grasses such as Fescue, cut back to within about two to three inches depending on how big or tall they are.  For taller grasses such as Karl Foerster, cut back to about six inches or less depending on size.  You do see some grasses cut back to about one foot and that is unnecessary and unsightly, they do not need that old foliage anymore and it gets in the way of a great looking grass.

 

Get a jump start on tackling those pesky weeds before they get bigger, flower or go to seed.  Some of my favorite weeding tools are the Hula Hoe and the Dandelion Weeder stick.  For me spring weeding is a time to do a check up on the garden soil.  How loose or tough is it, how many worms are there, what is it’s condition?  Once you get the weeds out, roots and all, put down some healthy compost around your plants.  For a more sparse landscape, put down some compost just around the plants, for a more heavily planted area or your veggie bed, spread the compost all over, about one inch deep depending on the soil’s needs.  I add compost every year to my veggie bed and so one good deep one inch layer is enough.  Since my garden area is small, I use the bagged compost available at the local nurseries.  My favorite is ‘Harvest Supreme’ with chicken manure, kelp meal and other fantastic nutritious ingredients.  Healthy soil makes healthy plants so do not skimp on amendments.  I have also been using worm castings as an additional amendment and it makes the plants really pop!

 

Pruning is one of my secret passions and I was so happy when a client told me last night he wanted me to come over and prune.  Yeah!  Remember when pruning, first cut broken or diseased branches, then rubbing or crossing ones, then prune for structure and light.

 

We are lucky that there are so many wonderful local nurseries providing a great variety of product.  It is still a little early for them to order in much stock, but soon the spring blooming plants will be flowering and it is a great time to go select some spring color for your garden.  Some of my favorites are Witch Hazel (yellow flowers like Forsythia but with a really nice structure), Pasque Flower, Flowering Almond and Serviceberry shrubs or trees.

 

Plan now for landscape improvements so you can have them done to enjoy this summer.  Consider adding more edible plants, bird friendly and native plants for a more diverse, productive and alluring landscape.  Wondering what to do with all that lawn you have or that corner you haven’t ever touched?  Let’s get together and plan to make your landscape one that meets your needs and brings a smile to your face every time you see it.

 

For more gardening, design and landscape help please give me a call at 541-610-6961 or send me an email at tanya@carlsengdesigns.com and I will help you create the landscape you’ve always wanted!

 

Have a great day and a great season.

 

Tanya Carlsen
Carlseng Designs
Landscape Design, Consultation & Gardening
tanya@carlsengdesigns.com
www.carlsengdesigns.com
www.carlsengdesigns.blogspot.com
541-610-6961

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Posted on January 19, 2012 in A La Carte Services, Published Articles, Sunriver Scene, Winter by ShannonNo Comments »

As published in the Sunriver Scene

Every year homeowners ask about snow removal.  Many people only want to remove snow when they are going to be using their house.  While a nice idea, it just doesn’t work that way.  For starters, a snow-filled driveway indicates an empty house which can be a target for crime. That’s the least of your worries.  With the temperature swings we have in Central Oregon, the snow constantly warms up during the day and refreezes in the evenings.  This creates serious challenges:

 

 

 

Ice barricades:

 

Roads are typically plowed with every four inches of snowfall.   When they clear the roads, little consideration is given for your driveway.  The result is a snow berm at the entrance of your driveway.  Snow here in Sunriver has been known to create berms over four feet high.  Because of our warm days and cold nights, that berm turns to ice. Not only will even a small pile of ice stop all access to the home, without assistance from Mother Nature you will need an ice axe to get into the driveway.  Don’t forget that parking on the street will result in a ticket, starting at $50 and going all the way up to $250.

 

 

 

Skating rinks where walkways should be:

 

Of course the same freeze/melt cycle that turns berms into ice sculptures also occurs on your driveway and walkways creating an icy entrance.  Ice melt is sometimes recommended for taking care of the slick walkways. However, ice melt can speed up the breakdown of the driveway and damage the house when it gets tracked in on the wood floors.  I like to use sand or kitty litter in the slick spots, which adds traction without damaging asphalt, floors or your shoes.

 

 

 

Roof and Deck Overload:

 

The volume of snow in Sunriver can outweigh your roof and deck, putting your house in serious jeopardy if all that white weight is not removed. Roofs and decks are required by code to withstand 25 pounds per square foot of snow. Weight of snow varies greatly based on the temperature. Warmer, wetter snow is much heavier than fluffy, dry snow.

 

When fearing that your roof or deck might collapse it is easy to overreact.  I heard about one Sunriver homeowner who paid tons of money to have every inch of snow removed from her roof. She was called by a neighbor who told her she needed to have the roof cleared and they had seven guys in her driveway that could do it.  Were they roofers? Were they licensed? Did they even have references?

 

 

 

Removing the Snow:

 

How often do you clear snow? I clear driveways at four inches or greater to prevent ice berms and allow easy access to the house. Decks and roofs are cleared around two feet of snow accumulation. While decks in the sun often clear on their own, the shady decks pile up as the snow falls. Mounds of snow against windows or doors signal removal time has arrived.

 

Mother Nature sometimes helps with warm weather or rain melting away the white weight.  When that doesn’t work, a reliable local professional monitoring the snow situation and clearing it away provides peace of mind. Landscapers equipped with snow blowers, plows and shovels do a great job for the driveway and walkways.  Shovel smaller walkways, stairs and decks by hand to avoid damage. For the roof, I always use licensed roofers. They know what they are doing up there and won’t damage the area. On the roof I concentrate on clearing the eaves and the critical melt paths so water can run off the house.

 

The bottom line: Shoveling will have to be done by you or someone you hire to protect your home. After the driveways, roofs and decks are cleared you can enjoy winter from the comfort of your home.

 

 

 

To get help with your home call me, the Caretaking Commander, at Home Fridays. I have been buying, renovating and managing residential and commercial properties for over 20 years. My locally-based company, Home Fridays (homefridays.com), offers professional home management and concierge services to vacation home owners.  You can reach me at 541/317-3088 or shannon@homefridays.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted on August 20, 2010 in A La Carte Services by ShannonNo Comments »

Fires in Central Oregon are a way of life around here. If it is summer, it is hot and we have lightening. The results are fires – just no way around it. Often times we find out about a fire and need to check on houses in the area. Most importantly we want to update our out of town owners as to the status of their homes. If it is in the fire line – perhaps remove special items if possible. If affected by the fire we might want to line up some disaster recovery services such as blowers to air out the smoke smell. We spent a good bit of time in Sisters this summer checking on houses in the line of the fire. Thankfully everything was safe and secure – of course a little too stinky. But our home owners were happy to hear that their homes had escaped the flames. If you own a home in Central Oregon – I hope you have Home Fridays taking care of it. Better safe then sorry….

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