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April 29, 2015

How To Install Exterior Wall Cladding

Installing exterior wall cladding on your home or business is usually a job for experts. Mistakes in measurements can quickly increase the costs of your project, so unless you are a handyman, putting cladding up could be overwhelming. Take a look at the beginners self building before you move on. With that in mind, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re learning how to install exterior wall cladding.

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Choose Your Material

Wall cladding comes in many different forms. Some of the materials are finished upon installation, while others, such as stucco or plaster, are spread on after you complete the cladding job. To select the type of cladding, consider your budget, your skills level, and your property value. Some cladding materials add value to your home, while others, if they are not up to neighborhood standards, may decrease the value of your home.

You can choose from any of the following:

  • Brick
  • Wood
  • Stone
  • Aluminum
  • Vinyl
  • Cement boards
  • PVC
  • Stucco
  • Plaster

Measurements

Taking measurements for your cladding can make the difference between having enough material and not having enough. Measure all four sides of each wall to get a round number, but don’t forget the eaves. Triangular eaves, particularly, can be a challenge to measure. Also, be sure to be clear whether or not you are going to replace soffits and trim.

Sheathing

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Sheathing is important to the installation of any cladding. The sheathing is usually plywood or some other type of quality board to which your cladding will be attached. It should be sturdy so that screws and nails will not strip out, causing failure of your cladding.

House Wrap

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House wrap creates a vapor barrier, for starters, and also serve to help keep out bugs. It is also an insulation that helps to make your home more energy efficient. Quite often, people doing their own cladding jobs will skip this step because of time and money. But, if you will take the time, the money will come back to you in just a few years with savings in energy bills. Usually, the house wrap goes on first, then the insulation is fastened on top.

Start the Cladding

When you are ready to start the cladding process, begin at the bottom. This is your “starter row”, and serves to keep your lines straight. Go the entire length of the wall with your starter row, being very careful to keep it level.

Overlap Rows

Most strip cladding will need to be overlapped. In some cases, the upper row of  shiplap cladding will hook into the lower row, others simply lie over the top 1/3rd of the lower row. If you don’t do this, water will seep in behind the cladding and rot it from behind, causing structural damage to your house, as well.

Finish the Walls

It can be very tempting to skip the finishing touches. However, without the finishes of corner pieces and J channels, the cladding is subject to moisture and bug infestation. Finish out the walls, then install trim.

April 22, 2015

Treating Your Lawn for Summer

Summer is on its way, and it’s time to get your lawn ready for the change of seasons. The soil needs to be prepared to encourage quick, healthy growth, weed seeds have already germinated, and who knows what kinds of bugs are whetting their appetites for the tender shoots of your grass blades And newly formed roots. When it comes to treating your lawn for summer, you can do the work yourself or hire a lawn treatment service. Either way, here are some of the preparations that can get your lawn off to a great start.

Reseeding

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There are undoubtedly sections of your lawn that need reseeding. These areas may be bare because of any number of reasons. Grub worms eat the roots of grass, leaving spots of dead grass scattered throughout the area. Once the roots are gone, the grass dies and is worn off. Other areas are sparse because they do not get enough sunlight during the summer. Heavy traffic areas will need reseeding, too. This is especially true of pet owners whose pets wear trails in the turf. Each of these areas will need reseeding and, in most cases, amendments made to the soil. It’s a good idea to check with a lawn treatment service to see which seeds you need for each of these spaces. Some fescues, for example, are very tolerant of shade, and will fill in nicely under trees and in areas in the shade of your house. There are even ornamental grasses that can turn barren traffic areas into lush green spaces.

Soil Amendments

Ok, what about that section of your lawn that simply will not thrive? It is entirely possible that that the soil in that particular spot is damaged or sub-par in some way. In our case, a barren spot in our lawn was due to clay that had been dredged up when the neighborhood pond was built. Our house was built afterward, and topsoil spread over the clay. The solution was a soil amendment made of ground and powdered oyster shells. It is spread over the soil and watered in. The powder works down into the clay, increasing the quality of the soil and keeping it from packing down.

Fertilization

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By all means, fertilize your lawn for summer. Add a “green maker” rather than root stimulator, because the roots have had all winter to grow. As the fertilizer starts to work, the grass wil spread, covering the ground more quickly with richly colored grass. As you go into the heat of summer, there are fertilizers you can use to help the lawn grasses deal with heat without becoming stressed, but for now, a green maker will feed that lavish underground root system for a great start to the summer.

Preparing your lawn for summer is one of the first outdoor activities for the year. That first glimpse of a green summer carpet makes it all worthwhile.

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