November 25, 2009
Kind of a bad news/good news situation: A local stager is closing down and clearing out all their inventory. Very bad news for them, but for those of you with homes to furnish it could be a really great opportunity to get some stylish, up to date furniture at bargain prices. For more information, go to http://www.lushinteriorssf.com/lush/Welcome_Home.html.
October 22, 2009
As you might have noticed, due to the fanfare around The Big Rumble, last Saturday was the 20th Anniversary of the Loma Prieta Earthquake. Not to get to preachy about the whole thing, but are you prepared?
If anyone reading this does not know how to shut off their gas, please let me know and I will come show you or at least explain it on the phone. But in addition to that, you might want to think about getting an earthquake preparedness kit together. These can be assembled or purchased. Here’s a great source for one stop shopping: Disaster Survival Solutions. They make a kit in a weather proof box you can keep outside your home (which is really important if your house falls down…). If you want to assemble your own, just take a look at what’s in the kit do it yourself.
After you have your tent, sleeping bags and 3,600 calorie food bars, and WATER, you might want to consider making sure you know what to do and how to best help if the big one hits. The San Francisco fire department offers fantastic free Neighborhood Earthquake Readiness Traning or “NERT.” Elvis wants me to take the traning to get the free hard hat. But fashion options aside, it’s probably a good idea, which I hope you will consider. To find out more click here.
April 9, 2009
CITK and friend architect James Dixon has some wonderful new resources on his Web site.
The first is an article entitled “10 Ideas for Home Improvement in Today’s Economy – What the Smart, Careful Money Stays at Home.” He discusses why investing in improving your home is a good idea and offers project guidelines and ideas. Click on the picture at right to download the article or click here.
The 2nd article is part of James’s continuing effort to educate people about San Francisco’s architectural styles. I’m sure a number of you have heard me enthusing about this cirricumlum over the past couple of years. I encourage you to read Victorian & Edwardian Residential Architecture in San Francisco because it will enrich your life and help you to make better decisions about home improvements over the years. Click on the image at right to download the article or click here.
Thanks for the great resources James! If you want to reach James for help with a project or just to tell him how much you like his articles, he can be reached at email@example.com. To visit his Web site, click here.
October 30, 2008
Is Your Home Ready for Winter?
“Winter? What winter?” you might be thinking if you are a transplant from somewhere it snows. In such places, winterizing a home includes specialized activities such as insulating pipes, sealing up windows or putting on storm windows and the like.
When you are enjoying the sunshine from April through October, it can be easy to forget the harsh weather your home is subjected to between November and March. This weather features sheets of the biggest enemy of your home’s long-term health: water. When water infiltrates your home it can cause minor issues such as stains or peeling paint, but the real problems are foundation deterioration and dry-rot. Dry-rot is a fungus that deteriorates wood which thrives when there are alternating conditions of wet and dry. Our winter weather, where we have alternating driving rain and sunshine is ideal to foster dry-rot. Foundation deterioration can occur when there is a leaking roof. You might think that the most dramatic effects of a leaking roof would be higher up in the house, like damaging the ceiling of the top floor. But what ultimately happens is that the water trickles down through the house and reaches the cement (or brick and mortar) that is holding up the entire house. The lime in concrete and mortar is water-soluble, so it’s important to keep water from running over or consistently sitting on your foundation.
To protect your home from water this year, take a hard look at places water might be getting in and take action! Start with the south or south-west facing side of the house as that side takes the brunt of our weather – the hardest rain and the hottest sun come from this direction so deterioration often happens first here.
Many times the problems you will find are not hard or expensive to fix. For example, a common place I see untreated leaks is around windows. Often a small leak at the outer top of a window frame (which will show up under the window as staining or peeling paint) can be fixed with new window flashing on the outside of the frame and a bit of caulk. This is not an expensive repair and making it now can save a bundle in the long run. Other things to check:
- Wooden back stairs – are they in need of stain or paint? Are there places where water collects and stands?
- Front entry stairs or stoop – do the steps and railings need caulk at the joints and/or paint?
- Basement – Does it smell damp? If your home is adequately protected from the elements, it should smell dry. Where is the water getting in? If it’s not obvious, it may be coming from the roof and you should contact a roofing contractor.
- Exterior Paint – is it in good shape or could it use some touch ups? Many leaks come from the joints of the exterior siding which are re-caulked when the exterior is re-painted. Even if you are not ready to repaint, applying some caulk now to obvious voids can make future repairs less costly.
Other San Francisco winterizing projects include cleaning the ducts for your central heat system (I bet you haven’t used it in a while) and your chimney flue if you are lucky enough to have a wood-burning fireplace.
Most of the problems I have mentioned, above, can either be addressed by a roofing contractor or a handyman. Long-term, one of the best things you can do for your home is to develop a relationship with reliable home-repair specialists because it makes it easy for you to take care of routine maintenance. If you need help finding the right resource for your winterizing projects, don’t hesitate ask me.
(This article by ME will also be printed in the November issue of The Castro Courier.)