The Nuts and Bolts: July 16, 2013

The Nuts and Bolts Column.

A little DIY, FYI…

Hurricane Season in Full Swing: Are You Prepared?

Hurricane season has officially started, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is anticipating “an active or extremely active” hurricane season for 2013. The NOAA is predicting the possibility of 13-20 named storms this year, a 70 percent increase from last year. Unfortunately, this leaves many coastal communities caught off guard, unprepared for such a drastic increase in storm activity.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) has jumped into action to guide home owners on steps they can take to secure their homes and avoid possible disaster.

According to ARMA, the roof is “a home’s first line of defense against the elements, and asphalt shingles have been proven to provide superior cover due to their durability, reliability and high performance.” However, they stress the importance of testing your roofs' durability before the elements do. ARMA has released a series of steps homeowners can take to ensure the structural integrity of their roof before hurricane season starts.

  • Know the wind resistance rating of your roof covering. Asphalt shingles are rated according to wind zone protection. Be sure to use an asphalt roofing product that meets or exceeds your area’s wind zone recommendations; check with your local building department for specific requirements. Asphalt shingles have been qualified for use in the highest wind regions in the U.S. through testing to American Society for Testing and Materials standards. Homeowners are encouraged to contact individual manufacturers for information on asphalt shingle rating clarifications.
  • Make those small fixes and repairs. Work with a roofing contractor or a certified home inspector to evaluate your roof, and make necessary repairs to flashing, caulking and shingles as soon as possible. Many leaks occur where roofs meet sidewalls and around penetrations such as skylights, vent pipes and chimneys. Missing or broken shingles need to be individually replaced, and loose shingle tabs should be securely adhered.
  • Check what’s above your roof. Dangling tree branches or those that scrape against a roof can cause significant damage. Cut back large branches that extend over roofs, and have a professional inspect your yard for trees that should be removed altogether. Also, clean out gutters and roof valleys clogged with leaves, branches or litter, which will help water drain properly.
  • Inspect for leaks. Even minor roof leaks can become a serious problem when a major hurricane arrives. To check for leaks, inspect interior walls and ceilings for old stains and water damage. Also, shine a flashlight into the attic during the next rainstorm and look for any active leaks on the underside of the roof deck.
  • Use hurricane straps and clips. These metal connectors secure a roof to a home’s frame structure. While they are required on new construction, older homes may not be reinforced. Look in your attic for metal bands or plates connecting rafters or roof trusses to the tops of the walls. If none are visible, consult a professional roofing contractor to ensure proper retrofit installation.

Home Improvement Companies Turn Focus to Senior Citizen Safety

With reports from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that 90% of senior citizens want to stay in their home as they age, many home improvement companies have begun to focus on increasing the safety of homes. One such company, House Doctors, is specifically focusing on making bathrooms a safer space for senior citizens who are at risk of falling.

Jim Hunter, President of House Doctors, believes that injuries from falls will increase drastically unless action is taken to make senior citizen homes safer: "A third of Americans who are 65 and older fall each year according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control). This means an older adult is being treated in the emergency room for a fall every 15 seconds. Consider the pain, suffering and the cost of this. It's unacceptable when there are simple modifications that could be done to help with the problem. We need to create more awareness of what's available to increase safety." House Doctors will focus on the installation of Safeway Safety Step and Grabcessories products. Furthermore, they will undertake the widening of doors, fitting walk-in tubs, and installing ramps.

Rolling Out Launches New Home Improvement Show

Keep an eye out for a new web series from Rolling Out called “Celebrity Refresh” this summer. The series will focus on home improvements and take viewers behind the scenes into celebrity homes for insight into how they tackled their home improvement projects. The show will give an insight into the personalities of favorite celebrities and how their personal taste shaped their home improvement experience.

The first celebrity to take part in the web series is recording artist Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, from the group TLC, showing off the home improvements she has undertaken in the past 15 years of owning her home located in a historic neighborhood in Georgia.