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How To Prevent Clogged Gutters

Clogged Gutters

If you have a home with gutters, you probably find yourself a couple of times a year climbing ladders and unclogging them. If there are trees in close proximity to the home, you may be unclogging gutters even more frequently.

I recently saw a simple, but very effective, product that can eliminate this tedious and sometimes dangerous homeowner chore. The product is called “Gutter Cap” and is manufactured and installed by a company with the same name: See Gutter Cap.

Gutter Cap is an aluminum cover that is actually installed on top of your home’s gutter and attaches to a hidden bracket assembly located under the bottom tier of your shingles.

Gutter Cap works under two basic principles: Water tension and capillary action. As water runs down the roof of your home and slides over the dome shaped aluminum Gutter Cap, the water adheres to the surface of the cap and roles into the gutter below. The leaf and pine needle debris however, do not adhere to the surface of the Gutter Cap dome and instead simply slide off and over the Gutter Cap and gutter to the ground below.

Gutter Cap can also be installed with heated wires to eliminate Ice Damns during the winter.

Gutter Cap installation requires a professional, as the Gutter Cap is formed on site to the specifics of your particular home and gutter situation.

Gutter Cap is reasonably priced and well worth the investment, if you value your time and do not like to regularly climb ladders.

Basement Remodeling Begins With Dependable Waterproofing

Basement Remodeling

Basement remodeling can add lots of extra living space to your home but beware; basement water leakage could put a real damper on your hopes if not properly corrected.

There are two conditions you must address for a dry basement, actual water leakage and condensation. Water leakage is a pretty obvious concern to homeowners but many are unaware of the problems that high humidity can cause to a finished basement.

Humidity Problems

Because a basement is below ground, it will be naturally cooler than the floors above ground. When warmer air from upstairs or outside enters the basement, it shrinks in volume as it cools. This shrinking or “condensing” of the air volume results in higher humidity. Everything porous in your basement will absorb the extra moisture in the air and cause a foul odor. Dehumidifiers are appliances which mechanically remove the unwanted extra humidity from your basement. A good dehumidifier is a must if you plan on remodeling your basement. Even a basement that doesn’t leak will benefit from using a dehumidifier.

Water Leakage

Without doubt, water leakage into the basement must be permanently corrected before you start your remodeling project. Start by correcting obvious sources of the problem; broken or non-existent rain gutters, down spouts emptying next to the foundation, ground outside sloping toward the home, uncovered underground windows, etc.

After you exhaust all preventative measures outside, try to identify areas inside where you are experiencing the leakage. If a corner of the basement seems to be a particular problem, again, look outside at your rain gutter downspouts. If you see cracks in the walls leaking, some of these can be repaired with hydraulic cement or crack injection. If water seems to be coming in from an isolated area, installing a sump pump below floor level can lower the water table and underground hydrostatic pressure in that area. If you are unsure or your problems seem to be widespread, it might be best to call in a building inspector, engineer or other professional to help you identify and solve your problem. There are a variety of services available to solve your leakage problems. These include; outside excavating, re-parging your walls, interior or exterior drainage systems, interior cove systems, grout or epoxy injection and others. Most of these options will require a professional.

Basement Remodeling Begins

I like studding the walls out with 2X4s. If you can spare the extra space, 2X6s are even better because they allow room for more insulation. Never, under any circumstances, nail furring strips onto the walls. Penetrating the foundation will compromise its barrier against water.

Use construction adhesive rather than nails or screws to adhere your bottom wall plate to the floor. It’s ok to nail the upper wall plates into the upper floor joists.

Don’t glue down your basement carpet. Carpet is something that is going to wear out and eventually need to be replaced. Glued down carpeting creates a real problem later on when trying to remove it. Tell your carpet installer to use construction adhesive to install the carpet tack strips around the perimeter. Do not allow them to drive nails into the cement floor.


With some common sense construction techniques, a reliable waterproofing system and humidity control, you can enjoy a lot of extra living space by remodeling your basement.

The Pollen-Trapping Power of a Lawn


Lawns are often blamed for causing allergies but the right lawn is actually a powerful allergy suppressor. The best lawn grasses either do not bloom at all or will not bloom (and produce pollen) if they are regularly mowed. What is little understood or appreciated is that a thick lawn is a very effective pollen trap. Pollen blows about and when it lands on smooth surfaces (cars, cement, roofs, decks, large leaves) it doesn’t often stay there for long. The next good breeze to come along picks the pollen up and gets it back into the air.

However, consider what happens when airborne pollen lands on a well-maintained lawn. The lawn is composed of millions of long, slim leaves and the pollen grains fall down between these leaves. When it rains or when the lawn is sprinkled, the pollen grains are pushed further downward, down to the ground level. There the pollen is trapped and remains. An average sized lawn at an ordinary house will trap and remove hundreds of millions of grains of pollen each season. A strong growing lawn will trap and remove far more pollen than it will ever produce itself.

To be fair here, a few types of lawns, such as ordinary common Bermuda grass lawns, can be large producers of allergenic pollen. However, common Bermuda produces much more pollen when it is stressed. When a Bermuda grass lawn is kept well fertilized, regularly mowed, and well watered, even it will produce little pollen.

By the way, there are many wonderful new kinds of Bermuda grass that don’t ever produce any pollen. There are also types of other grasses that are separate-sexed, and with these the female lawns are also pollen-free. The bottom line here is this: a good lawn is a thing of beauty; it adds considerably to the quality of the landscape and to the actual property value. A healthy lawn is the safest place for our children to play and where they like to play the most. Our dogs and cats also appreciate a nice lawn. A lawn is an excellent area for trapping rainwater from storms. Rain that falls on a lawn will soak in, not run off to the gutters.

A lush green lawn has powerful cooling qualities and will cut our cooling costs in the heat of the summer. A well-kept lawn will not produce pollen and it will trap millions of grains of allergenic pollen from nearby trees and shrubs. A good lawn is a marvelous thing!

Certain types of lawn mowers may kick up pollen that does land on a lawn. A rear-bagging mower will trap and bag pollen along with the grass clippings. A well-maintained mulching mower will deposit pollen back down below the mower and then it will work its way downward with irrigation. A side-discharge mower, used without a bagger, may kick up some loose pollen and this is not recommended. Push reel mowers bring up little pollen and most power reel mowers are also pollen-safe.

There are some allergenic people though who will react negatively to volatile organic compounds that are released when the blades of grass are cut. People who experience this problem would be wise to get someone else to do the actual mowing.

A few types of grasses are somewhat stiff and prickly and less pleasant to lie on. These grasses may irritate the skin of sensitive people. Bahia grass and some of the types of zoysia grass will cause this itchiness.

Leaf blowers do in fact kick up a good deal of pollen that may be lying about on cement. If you have allergies it is a good idea to wear a facemask when using a leaf blower. Do not blow towards the direction of your house either. It is always a good idea to close the windows in your house too, before using a leaf blower. Pollen is tiny and can easily pass right through the tightest window screens.

Should Sellers Get A Home Inspection

Home Inspection

A home inspector’s report will review the condition of the home’s heating system, plumbing, electrical system and central air conditioning system (temperature permitting), as well as the roof, attic, visible insulation, walls, ceilings, floors, windows, doors, foundation, basement, crawl space, drainage, landscaping, and visible structure.

10 Ways to Prepare for a Home Inspection:

1) Clean out dirty gutters or debris from your roof.

2) Divert all water away from the house (for example, downspouts, sump pump discharge, condensation drain, etc.). Clean out basement entry drains.

3) Clean or replace HVAC filter.

4) Remove or grade mulch away from contact with siding (preferable 6-8 inches of clearance).

5) Paint all weathered exterior wood and caulk around trim, chimneys, windows and doors.

6) Make sure all windows and doors are in proper operating condition; replace cracked windows.

7) Replace burned out light bulbs.

8) Make sure plumbing fixtures (toilet, tub showers, sinks) are in proper working order (repair leaks).

9) Caulk all exterior wall penetrations.

10) Provide clear access to the attic, crawlspace, heat systems, garage and other areas that will need to be inspected.

Types of Gutters to Consider for Your Home

Types of Gutters

When choosing a gutter for your home, there are several factors to consider. These factors include the type, cost, and durability of the material. If you live in a more storm-prone area, you may want to invest in a more durable material. Also, homes with steeper pitches may require a more expensive and durable gutter than homes with flatter roofs. The type of gutter you choose is essential to the overall success of your home. Read on to learn more:

Aluminum is the most popular type of gutter

Aluminum is one of the most popular types of gutter for your home. It is durable and lightweight and available in a wide range of colors. Another popular type is the LeafGuard gutter, which is 20% thicker than the industry standard. This type of gutter offers more protection against harsh weather.


Another common type of gutter for your home is steel. Steel gutters are durable, but they need regular maintenance to avoid rusting. You should ideally have them professionally installed so that they are in good condition.

You can also buy gutter guards and mesh screens with an aluminum hood to prevent clogging. Debris barriers and gutter cleaning tools are helpful for removing clogs. Other gutter accessories include rain chains, which are useful for houses with deep overhangs. You can also get downspout brackets that are decorative.

Steel is durable

Steel gutters are one of the most common materials for roof gutters. They are incredibly durable and offer many benefits over aluminum gutters. For example, steel gutters are strong and flexible, making them easy to install. These metals can also be galvanized for better protection against rust. Copper gutters are another great option, but they are more expensive and can be stolen.

Steel gutters are also available as seamless systems, making them less likely to rust. They also won’t expand or contract as much as aluminum gutters do. Unlike aluminum, steel gutters require little maintenance and can withstand heavy snowfall and ice.

Copper is a luxury option

Copper is a luxury option for gutters and can add significant value to your home. These gutters are durable and look elegant. In addition, copper gutters can add curb appeal to your home, which is important if you plan to sell it in the future. Copper gutters can also form a beautiful patina over time.

copper gutters

If you choose copper gutters, they should be installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications. You will need to install three to five downspouts, diverting rainwater from your gutters away from your home. Copper downspouts can be round or rectangular, and you can also get decorative downspouts.

Mesh screens are a good option

One popular option for gutter protection is mesh screens. These screens are typically made of aluminum or plastic mesh and help keep larger debris and seeds from getting into your gutters. These screens can be installed by the homeowner or by a professional gutter guard installer. They fit over the gutter, allowing the rain to pass through but catching large pieces of debris. However, some plastic mesh screens may not be durable and may blow off your gutter in strong winds.

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