Protect Your House with These 5 Tips

florida home
Heat and humidity make Florida Homes especially prone to wood rot

Keeping your home safe and beautiful is what we do at Trusted Hands Services.  While everyone wants to live in a beautiful home, safety should be everyone’s primary concern.  When people think of home safety they often think “inside” the home.  While fire alarms, radon gas detectors, fire extinguishers, and first aid kits are important, what’s the point if your roof is leaking, mold is growing, bees are nesting in your attic or rats are living in your gutters?  Here are five ways to protect your house and safeguard your family.

Don’t Ignore Rotting Wood

Paint and stains do not protect wood forever, and even under several coats of finish, wood can rot and go undetected for a long time. Many people don’t realize that wood rot spreads.  A small area of rotting wood on the outside of your home will grow larger with time.  Rain and humidity will speed up the spread because they create an environment where fungi grow, causing wood fibers to deteriorate and rot. The rot that starts outside can eventually spread inside your home and over time, wood rot can undermine the structure and make it unsafe. Outside staircases with wood railings, wood frames for doors and windows, and wood decks, balconies or porches are the primary areas where rot starts.

Wood Rot can be obvious, like this or completely unseen. Use the touch test to detect it in your home.

If the wood is soft when you press on it, it probably is in some state of rot and should be replaced.  While there are some wood rot repair products available, I do not recommend them, especially if the rot is found on beam or joints that provide structural stability.  Rotting wood on any floor surface should always be replaced to avoid an accidental cave-in and injury.  Depending on the amount of rot, steps to replace rotting wood can include, removing nails and screws from the rotted planks, removal of rotten portions of wood, applying a sealer, reinforcing joists, and replacing damaged portions or the entire plank.

Damaged Siding Can’t be Repaired

Buckled or warped vinyl siding will allow moisture and termites to unprotected outside surfaces of your home.  This is usually caused by heat, either directly from the sun or a grill that was placed too close to the house.  Siding will expand and warp or buckle, especially if was nailed too tightly to the home.  Hail can also damage siding and leave cracks or holes in the surface.  Once the damage is done, it cannot be repaired.  However, you can replace the damaged part and is a rather simple job requiring only a few tools that can be found in your local hardware store.

Vinyl siding can be damaged in many ways. Replacing the damaged area can be as simple as calling Trusted Hands Services.

Working Soffits Can Cut Energy Bills

A ventilated soffit does more than just look nice. It can help air to circulate and lower energy bills.

The soffit refers to the material forming a ceiling from the top of an exterior house wall to the outer edge of the roof.  A ventilation system is often installed in the soffit that keeps steady airflow between roof and attic.  This helps to release heat buildup inside the attic.  During summer months the heat inside your attic could reach 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more. This can result in higher cooling costs so everyone looking to save money on their electric bills should make sure their soffits are in good working order.  Along with the heat, humidity also builds up and can condense during overnight hours, causing insulation and building materials to deteriorate.

Another important job of the soffit is to keeps animals and insects out of your home. Once bees make a hive in your attic, it can be expensive to have them professionally removed.  According to Cost Owl, a bee removal job can cost as much as $1,000 to $2,000 plus repair and reconstruction costs. Trusted Hands Services recommends regular visual inspection of your soffit for cracks and holes.  Repairs can be done using filler products or in advanced stages of rot or deterioration, replacing wood planks is needed.

Things to Know when Replacing your Fascia

The fascia is the long straight board along the lower edge of the roofline.  This is one of the most important and vulnerable places on the exterior of your house.  First off, it is the last line of support for the lower edge of the bottom row of the roof tiles/shingles.  Second, it is the place where gutters are installed so it constantly gets soaked during rainstorms.  Finally, it can be seen, so it needs to do its job and look good at the same time.

If you are planning to replace your roof, be sure to repair or replace damaged fascia before the roof work is done.  It’s both easier and cheaper to replace rotten wood before a new drip edge is installed by your roofer. Things to keep in mind when repairing fascia include the type of wood used and the placement of the nails.  Select only wood that will withstand the climate where you live.  An experienced carpenter will know where to nail the wood so it won’t split.  Finally, always use stainless steel nails and additional protection with a good coat of paint.

Keep Gutters Clean

Keeping your gutters clean can prevent unwanted houseguests like mice and rats.

Gutters are an essential part of your home protection.  They serve to control the flow of rainwater away from your roof and protect your walls, foundation, and landscaping.  Unfortunately, gutters need to be cleaned regularly to prevent leaky roofs and water damage.  On top of that, gutters filled with leaves and twigs make nice homes for insects and rodents.  Mold grows in rotting leaves that can spread inside your home.  When clogged gutters get heavy they can sag or pull away from the fascia board, causing wood rot.

The exterior of your home is your first line of defense against bad weather, insects, and critters.  Trusted Hands Services knows how to protect your house and safeguard your family.  They have a team of expert carpenters and masons ready to handle all your exterior home needs.  Services include everything covered in this article and more, like window replacement and shutter installation.  For more information on windows, read our recent article.  Contact Frank at 813.520.000 or here to start your home safety project today.

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