Show Notes: Don’t Be a Homewrecker – On the House

Show Notes: Don’t Be a Homewrecker

By on July 9, 2017

You may be damaging your home with simple fixes and cleaning tips you learned from your parents. Today with some experience and help from experts you can maintain and clean you home with less damaging products.


Congratulations to all the winners of this years Great Backyard Makeover Sweepstakes:

1st Prize Winner – Sue Barney

2nd Prize Winner – Kathy Mc Candless  

3rd Prize Winner – Joan Blanco  

4th Prize Winner – Jackie Little


Home Improvement & Diy Apps

 WikiHow (Android, iOS) (Free)

Like Wikipedia for the DIY set, WikiHow (AndroidiOS) provides you with thousands of how-to guides raning from tech and life hacks, quick repairs, DIY and craft projects, and even some neat food recipes. Ever wanted to learn how to change your car’s oil? Clean and maintain a rain barrel? Frame a jigsaw puzzle? WikiHow has it all, complete with illustrations and videos. Users can browse through and search categories, check out featured articles, as well as bookmark particular how-tos for later offline reading. A neat feature in the iOS version is the inclusion of a Survival Kit, a collection of first aid and survival guides that come preloaded for offline use.

TapPainter (iOS) ($2.99)

Take the guesswork out of paint matching and room planning with TapPainter. Just snap a photo of your room and upload it through the app; TapPainter processes your photo, analyzing lighting and room layout to allow you to create accurate previews of how your room would look like painted in a different color. Users can choose from complete color fan decks of leading brands such as Sherwin-Williams, Behr and more. Or you can find the closest match of your custom color. You can easily compare original and processed images with swipes, as well as share the previews through email or Facebook.


You Could Be Wrecking Your Home — And Not Know It (Yet)

 Stop in the name of loving your home!

If you are doing any of these, stop now before it’s to late!

Using Bleach as a Cure-All

If bleach is your chicken soup for whatever ails your home, proceed with caution.

Bleach can:

  • Eat through the sealant on stone surfaces like granite
  • Discolor laminate and colored grout
  • Fade enamel and acrylic tubs
  • Dissolve vinyl and linseed-based flooring like linoleum
  • Corrode seals within the disposal

In addition, bleach kills mold on non-porous surfaces, but can feed future mold growth on absorbent and porous materials, like grout. Yep, whitening grout with bleach creates a mold feeding ground.

Better options? Water and vinegar are all you need for most cleaning jobs. If you’ve got a heftier mold or mildew issue, apply a commercial anti-fungal product.

Training Ivy to Climb Your House

“Anything that climbs on the house will damage it,” says Marianne Binetti, a speaker and author who leads garden tours around the world.

The horticulture expert made the mistake herself.

“It looked cool for a while, but it dug into the siding so even when we pulled it off, it left damage. And it climbed up the drain pipe and tore the gutter off the house,” she says.

By sending roots beneath siding and shingles, ivy enlarges tiny cracks in brick and wood, introducing entrances for moisture and insects, says Jay Markanich, a certified home inspector based in Bristow, Va.

Relying on Chemical Drain Cleaners

The most common active ingredients in these solutions, hydrochloric acid and sulfuric acid, can erode your pipes.

Even the old baking-soda-and-vinegar medley can result in cracked pipes, as the reaction causes a build-up of pressure.

Old-fashioned “mechanical” methods — your plunger, a drain snake, or a handy $2 gadget called the Zip-It — are safer and more effective, according to “Consumer Reports.” 

And if that fails, that call to the plumber doesn’t sound so bad compared to an eroded or busted pipe, no?

Using Glass Cleaners on Mirrors

But be cautious with your mirrors. Spraying can lead to what’s ominously called “black edge” — created when a liquid seeps beneath the reflective backing and lifts it.

Instead, clean mirrors with a lint-free microfiber cloth, dampened with warm water — especially mirrors in expensive, installed items like vanities and closet doors. 

Avoid the edges and dry immediately with a second cloth.

Planting Trees Close to Anything

You definitely don’t want a tree root pushing through your driveway, sidewalk or — so much worse! — your foundation.

And watch out for evergreens. If planted too close to the house, they cast too much shade, encouraging mold growth.

Position trees according to its maximum height, crown size, and root spread. For perspective, even a small tree reaching less than 30 feet tall needs at least 6 feet of clearance from any exterior wall, according to the Arbor Day Foundation.

Using the Wrong Caulk

As a dutiful homeowner, when you see failing caulk, you fix it. But the term “caulk” is as broad as the word “glue.”

There’s kitchen and bath caulk, concrete caulk, gutter caulk, mortar caulk — and that’s just the tip of the caulk-berg. And just like you’d never fix broken pottery with a glue stick, you don’t want to pick the wrong caulk either.

Plenty of damage done when the wrong caulk is used. Such as using silicone caulk (totally great on non-porous surfaces like bathtubs) on concrete or brick or other porous surfaces. It won’t adhere, and moisture can seep in, compromising the bond and the structure.

Before heading to the store, check an online buying guide to find the right match for the project you’re doing. Odds are there’s a specific caulk just for it.

Over-Sealing Countertops

Applying sealant too frequently can create a cloudy or streaky appearance on surfaces like natural stone, concrete, butcher block, and glass, which typically only require occasional resealing to resist stains. (Quartz, laminates, and solid surfaces like Corian are best left sans-sealer.)

How to know it’s time to reseal? Drip some water on a high-use area of the countertop. If the water doesn’t remain beaded after 15 minutes, consider resealing. 

But always defer to your manufacturer’s recommendations. Different materials can have different needs.


When it comes to mulch (which is so great, for so many reasons), it turns out elbow deep is a little too much love.

A layer thicker than 3 inches can suffocate plants and prevent water from reaching roots, so spread thoughtfully.

Piling Firewood Next to Your Exterior Wall

Storing firewood against your home’s exterior walls is akin to opening a B&B for termites.

In fact, “anything that creates a dark, climate-controlled area near the house will invite termites” and other pests into your home.

Twenty feet is a safe distance from home for firewood — and still not too far to go to fuel your awesome fireplace.


How To Fix A Hole In Vinyl Siding

 A hole in vinyl siding opens a door for moisture and insects to intrude. Fortunately, you can repair most small holes and punctures without a professional’s help. You’ll need a tube of color-matched vinyl siding caulk, which you can purchase from siding retailers. Caulk is matched the same way as paint. If the retailer doesn’t have information for your siding on file, take in a small piece of siding to ensure a good match. If the hole is larger than a nail or screw puncture, you’ll also need a scrap of matching siding to use as a patch.

Clean the siding around the hole with vinyl siding cleaner or mild dish detergent and water and a soft sponge. Wipe the siding dry with a rag.

Cut the nozzle tip on a tube of color-matched vinyl siding caulk with a utility knife and fit the caulk into a caulk gun. Cutting the tip at a slight angle gives you more control over application. Prime the caulk tube by squeezing the trigger two or three times, then release the trigger.

Align the caulk tube’s nozzle opening over the hole in the siding.

Squeeze the caulk gun’s trigger to fill the space behind the hole with caulk. This step is important for a long-lasting repair. Squeeze as much caulk through the hole as you can, then slowly lift the nozzle and release the trigger. Overfill the hole slightly, ending with excess caulk outside the hole.

Scrape a plastic card or semi-rigid rubber caulk trimmer lightly across the hole to remove most of the excess caulk. Alternatively, let the caulk harden and then trim off the excess with a utility knife blade.


 Holey Window Screens

Choosing the best window screen material

 When it comes to window screen cloth, you have many choices, including aluminum, fiberglass, bronze, and copper. But you have even more choices. There are also heavy duty, no see-um, and pet resistant screening materials.

Before choosing the screening material that’s best for you, first consider some of the key characteristics of each type of material.

Aluminum Window Screening

  • Strength and durability. A protective finish is usually used to strengthen the weave.
  • Resists rust. The protective finish also helps prevent corrosion.
  • Less prone to sagging.
  • Tends to last longer than fiberglass.
  • Color choices: Typically available in a natural color. Also available in dark grey/charcoal, and black. If you choose dark grey, the screens will look less visible in your windows. If you choose black, you will be better able to see out the window as there will be less glare, but the screens will be more visible.

Fiberglass Window Screening

  • Most popular
  • Less expensive than other window screen materials.
  • If vinyl-coated, it is resistant to corrosion, rust, and staining.
  • On the negative side, it can stretch and tear more easily than the other types of screening material.
  • Color choices: Grey/charcoal or black. The charcoal type provide a better view of the outside.
  • Bronze Window Screening
  • Strength and durability. Made of 90% copper and 10% zinc. Also resistant to denting.
  • Long life. Bronze screens tend to last longer than aluminum or fiberglass screens.
  • Color: When first used, the screening material has a bright gold appearance. Over time, the color changes into a bronze patina. The patina contributes to the screen’s durability.
  • Provides more visual privacy than standard aluminum or fiberglass screening.
  • Style. The patina screen coloring contributes to the overall curb appeal of the home.
  • More expensive than aluminum or fiberglass material.

Aluminum, fiberglass, and bronze home window screens are usually made in an 18 by 16 mesh. That means that for each square inch there are 18 horizontal and 16 vertical wires interwoven. The standard diameter of the wire is .011. Other weaves and diameters are available for special situations, as discussed below.

Copper, Brass, and Stainless Steel Window Screening

These specialized screening materials are usually made of an 18 X 14 or 16 X 16 mesh using a .011 wire diameter. Brass screening is made in a 16 X 16 mesh with a .018 wire diameter.

These type screens will typically cost more than bronze screening material.

Copper screens, because of their visual appeal, tend to be used in older, historical homes.

Stainless steel window screening is good for use in businesses because this material provides added strength. If security is a concern, read about security window screens.

Heavy Duty Screening Material

For screens that must cover a larger area than a window, such as a pool, patio, or sun room, heavy duty screening is recommended. It provides extra strength while covering a large space.

The material is usually 18 X 14 weave fiberglass, and the width of the wire strand is increased to .013.

No-see Um Screening Material

This material is intended for windows in marshy wetlands or coastal areas where small insects, such as gnats and sand flies are common. This screening material is fiberglass in a 20 X 20 weave with a .013 diameter. This tighter weave does a good job of keeping the smaller flying creatures outside.

Pet Resistant Screening Material

If you have pets such as a dog or cat, you may soon find that if he or she wants to, they can scratch or paw their way through standard screening material. In this case, you may want to use a heavy duty pet screen fabric. This material is usually vinyl-coated polyester that is manufactured to be heavier and stronger than the standard window screen material.

This is often a good choice for a screen door, screened patios or porches, or pool enclosures. Another choice is using a pet door.

People who have cats in apartments that are above ground level find that their cat is smart enough not to scratch through a standard aluminum or fiberglass window screen.


There is no one best window screening material. The “best” depends  on what you want to accomplish with the screening material and how much you are willing to pay.




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