We hate to mention it, but summer is winding down, which is why we’ve come up with seven maintenance tips for mid-August, including one that involves doing nothing except being a little careful.
Our timely tips will help you keep the inside and outside of your home running smoothly and looking good.
Even better, they’re all DIY tasks that anyone will be comfortable tackling.
Patios and walkways
Natural stone is great for patios, walkways and the like because it’s tough and looks good, but it also takes a beating in the summer from dust, spilled food and foot traffic. To clean it, try your garden hose first. If that doesn’t do the trick, switch to a pressure washer using a fan spray. You may need to use dish detergent and a scrub brush to get rid of stains, but first test the detergent in an inconspicuous spot to make sure it doesn’t leave its own stain. Rinse well with a garden hose. Tips on cleaning concrete interlock.
Your maintenance tips for mid-August include checking vinyl siding for gaps, cracks and holes that could allow water penetration and damage. Replacing a length of siding is easier than you may think, provided you have the right tools and take your time.
If you have mould on the siding, which often happens on the north side of a home or where heavy foliage creates a moisture trap, you can usually remove it with mild detergent, warm water and a soft scrubbing brush or a mix of 70 per cent water and 30 per cent vinegar. Heavy mould may require siding cleaner, available at building materials and hardware stores.
These little guys get very busy in the late summer as they finish constructing beautiful nests in trees, under eaves and other places you’d rather they didn’t frequent. And while they can give a bad sting — and a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction in some people — if you leave them alone, they’ll reciprocate.
So, unless the nest is in an area where it’s clearly dangerous to you or your family, why not leave it until the wasps die off in the fall? The insects are part of our natural environment, serve as valuable pollinators and help control vegetable garden and other pests, especially herbivorous caterpillars. Nests are not reused the following year.
Basement airing and check-up
You’ve likely kept your basement windows closed during the hot, humid summer. Now is the time to give it an airing. Wait for a sunny, dry day, then open the windows for several hours. While you’re airing out the space, check it over for unusual dampness that could indicate a water leak or moisture penetrating from outside. If you notice anything unusual, investigate it and call a plumber or foundation professional if necessary — ignoring the problem won’t make it go away.
If you have a sink or tub that’s rarely used, turn on the tap for a couple of minutes. That will replenish the water in the trap, which has likely evaporated, and reduce the likelihood of sewer gases entering the space.
Microwave clean up
If you’ve got caked-on gunk inside your microwave, get rid of it so you head into the fall with a spanking-clean appliance. Putting a bowl of water inside and warming it until it steams (three to five minutes) will loosen the gunk so that you simply need to wipe it off with a wet cloth. More microwave cleaning tips.
Before fall arrives, take the time to whip the mudroom into shape. It’ll minimize the chaos in this busy room when coats, hats and boots become the norm for outdoor activities. Think about installing more wall hooks, make sure there’s a spot for wet and muddy footwear, and remember to make the mudroom a welcoming place with bright paint or wall decals. More mudroom ideas and making the most of your mudroom.
Originally published Aug. 16, 2019