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April 26, 2017
Is your home ready for April showers?

April showers are here! Is your home ready? Here are some of our tips!

  • Clean Gutters. Make sure your gutters are free of leaves and debris, so they can function as intended. Also, be sure your downspouts are running away from the house.
     
  • Check Sump Pump. If you have a sump pump, check to see if it is working!
     
  • Landscaping Holes. Look around your house for any holes or low points and fill in if need be. Water can pool in those areas and it is a slippery slope to getting water in your basement.
     
  • Rain Barrel. Now is a great time to set up a rain barrel. The water can be used later to water your plants.
     
  • Stay Off Wet Grass. A lot of rain can leave your lawn quite fragile. So, it is best to stay off if possible. Avoid raking wet grass especially as it can damage the roots. 
     
  • Seeding. If you want to seed some areas of your lawn to spruce it up, do it now! This rain will help it grow and you'll have nice, lush, green grass before you know it. 

Call us (320-529-4800) or email if you have any questions or concerns. We're here to help! 

May 19, 2016
HCP's 10 Painting Tips!
1. Picking a Paint Color

It is really difficult to tell how an entire room will look just by a small paint swatch. We highly recommend buying a few samples to see how they look in the room and at different times of the day. Sherwin Williams also has a neat color visualizer tool. Click here to check it out. 

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2. How much paint to buy

It is important to buy ALL the paint you will need for a room prior to starting. If you underestimate the quantity, you run the risk of the next batch of paint not matching your existing paint. Measure the height and length of the room, then add up the square footage. Generally speaking one gallon of paint covers 250-350 sqft. Factors such as wall texture and paint color will affect the amount of paint needed. 

Measure.jpg

3. Wall prep

To get the best results, wipe down the walls prior to painting. Using a swiffer works wells for this task. This way any dust or dirt is removed and not buried under the paint.

swiffer.jpg

4. Drop cloths

Using drops cloths can save yourself from having to replace your carpet; especially if you are using free labor (aka your kids). Label your drop cloths so you know which side is clean & safe to place on your floor and which side should always face up!

Drop Cloth.jpg

5. Paint Vertically

This may seem obvious for some, but you want to make sure to roll the paint on vertically in a slight "W" pattern. 

Paint Vertically.jpg

6. Cutting In

For cutting in, it is best to use an angled 2"-2.5" brush. Also, cutting in as you go versus waiting until you've rolled the entire room, prevents color variations.

Cutting In.jpg

7. Taking breaks 

Need to take a break? A simple trick is to wrap your roller with Glad wrap - it prevents the paint from drying. 

Paint Roller.jpg

8. Minimize hassle on small jobs

If you're just doing a touch up or small job, you might not want to go through the entire process of pouring paint into the tray, etc. Placing a rubber band around the can is a great solution to eliminate extra paint on the brush.

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9. Take the tape off

Mask off areas with blue painters tape. We suggest removing the tape soon after you finish the project, so you can check for any paint. Do so at a 45 degree angle and moderate pace.

Paint Tape.jpg

10. Label your paint

Place a little dollop of the paint color on the top of the lid and also label the room where it was used, so you know in the future.

label paint.jpg

 

 

September 22, 2014
Fall Home Maintenance Tips!

Summer has come and gone and now the scents of fall are in in the air.  This fall home maintenance checklist is a great way to make sure your home is in good shape and ready for winter. If you have any questions or need assistance with these fall home maintenance projects, contact us! We're here to help!

  • Check heating and ventilating system.

  • Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Always use bath exhaust fan while showering.

  • Clean or replace furnace filter as needed.

  • Clean range hood filter.

  • Clean dryer vent.

  • Always use kitchen exhaust fan while cooking.

  • Check adjustment of door thresholds.

  • Check and repair all cracked, separated, or missing exterior caulking and weather stripping.

  • Wash windows and the exterior of the house to remove dust and dirt.

  • Get the snow blower tuned up before it snows.

  • Aerate the lawn and blow out irrigation system.

  • Check gutters and downspouts and clean if needed.

  • Water grass as long as possible, until the ground freezes.

  • With standard frost-free hose bibs, disconnect the hose so the faucet can drain out and not freeze pipes.  For non frost proof outside hose bibs, shut off exterior faucets and drain pipes before temperatures drop to freezing.

March 18, 2014
Spring Home Maintenance Tips!

After a long and brutal winter, it is finally officially Spring! For those of us who have been cooped up inside our homes, avoiding the cold and snow, we can now get out and enjoy fresh air again. It is also a great time to focus on your home -- think about what home remodeling projects you want to do this year and also conduct some routine home maintenance. Preventative maintenance is very important for the value of your home. By doing these tasks, you can avoid high cost and big repairs later on. 

  • Check and clean central air conditioning system.

  • Replace or clean make up air filters per manufacturer's recommendations.

  • Clean or replace furnace filter as needed

  • Clean range hood filter.

  • Clean dryer vent.

  • Check adjustment of door thresholds.

  • Check smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

  • Check and clean sump pump and pit.

  • Fertilize lawn and control weeds.

  • Turn on exterior faucets, if shut off for winter.

  • Check gutters and downspouts and clean if needed.

  • Wash windows and the exterior of the house to remove dust and dirt.

  • Maintain proper grades for drainage away from the house.  

  • If the house is exposed to a hail or wind storm, contact a professional to examine the roof for damage.

  • Check roof periodically for loose vent flashing and shingles.

  • Check and repair or seal coat asphalt driveway as needed.

  • If landscaping, call Gopher State One at 800-252-1166 to locate underground utility lines before digging. 

January 28, 2014
Winter Home Maintenance Tips!

This winter is giving your home a real performance test. Bitter cold temperatures for a prolonged period of time and then a sudden warmer day can cause a dramatic change to your home’s environment. As a result, you may notice a few things around your home -- some are just natural, nothing to be concerned about, while others should be checked out by a professional.

Not To Worry:     

  • Popping noises in attic   
  • Some condensation or frost on windows  
  • Exterior doors rubbing on the threshold
  • Condensation on skylights    
  • Slight lifting of ceilings at center of home  
  • Some ice build up on roof eaves  
  • Snow covering on roof vents   
  • Lifting of concrete sidewalks & driveways  
  • Lifting of asphalt driveways    
  • Minor squeaks in the floor or stairs   
  • Hinges squeaking on doors and cabinets 
  • Unable to open sliding patio door    

Call Home Check Plus:

  • Dripping skylights
  • Stained ceilings near outer walls
  • Doors or windows not latching properly
  • Large ice dams with water dripping inside
  • Air blowing through windows
  • Cracks in ceiling or walls
  • Smell of sewer in home
  • Sags in ceilings or overhangs
  • Laundry dryer not drying properly
  • Furnace running more than usual
  • Bath fans making a lot of noise
  • Egress window well is full of snow

For more winter home maintenance tips, click here! As always, we are here to help -- if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact us

Stay warm!

-Dale

October 17, 2013
Drywall

Drywall mistakes happen - whether it is from a DIY project or new construction. Here are a few of the most common drywall mistakes:

1. Over Sanding -- Trying too hard to smooth a drywall joint. If you sand too vigorously, you can actually remove part of the paper face.

2. Drywall Pops -- These are nails that have moved from under the surface of the drywall and popped through the finish. Screw are less likely to create pops.

3. Overcuts in Drywall -- Accidentally overcutting a drywall hole. The hole needs to be filled in before finishing.

4. Bubbled Tape -- Appears when the tape has been completely embeded into the joint compound or the bond has been unsuccessful. The tape can become loose and a bubble appears on the wall.

Of course with the proper tools and supplies, all these mistakes can be repaired. Click here to watch the video of our master mudder, Doug Heinen, mudding and taping drywall.   

July 9, 2013
Do you need a new roof?

How often do you look at your roof? If you're like most people, you maybe quickly glance up at the roof line while you are pulling in and out of the driveway. The fact is the roof has a BIG role - to protect your home, so it is best to give your roof some attention once in a while. In order for the roof to perform as intended, the shingles and roof system need to be installed correctly and in good condition. So, what should you be looking for when you inspect your roof? The following are good indicators that your roof shingles need to be replaced.

1. Damaged Flashing - either bent or torn. May be due to improper installation, weathering or settling of home's foundation

2. Ceiling Spots - caused by a roof leak, check attic for leaks in deck

3. Missing Shingle Granules - bare spots on your shingles or excessive amount of granules in the gutters

4. Blisters - moisture in the shingle caused by poor drainage or inadequate ventilation

5. Shingle Buckling - may be caused by wrinkled underlayment, poor attic ventilation or new shingles applied over old shingles

6. Missing Shingles - due to either improper fastening or exposure to high winds

7. Algae Growth - dark discoloration, roof looks streaked & dirty

8. Rotting- caused by excess moisture absorption & retention  

9. Shingle Curling - usually a result of improper nailing or lack of attic ventilation

If you have any questions about the condition of your roof or want us to come take a look, contact us - we are happy to assist you with all your roofing needs!  

June 27, 2013
DIY Drilling Tip!

You know the drill (pun intended)...you simply drill a hole in the wall only to have the dust fall all over to clean up or vacuum later. Kind of a pain. Well, we have the perfect DIY tip for you to eliminate that process. When drilling in drywall, stick a folded post-it underneath the drill to catch all the dust. Clean-up is a breeze...just throw the post-it away! 

In case you haven't noticed from our website, we love post-its and now there is another great use for them!

Another option is to hold a dust pan under the drill, which will catch the dust as well. 

June 17, 2013
Garage Organization Tip!

PVC plumbing pipe is a great way to organize your landscaping tools. Layout your tools beforehand to get proper spacing, cut small sections at an angle and screw to the wall of garage or shed. You could also label the pipes so you know where each tool belongs.

June 3, 2013
Gutter Maintenance & Leaf Guard Option

Looking around the state, it is pretty obvious, Minnesotans love trees! They provide beauty, shade & protection to name a few reasons why they are so great. Cleaning up after their fallen leaves, twigs and needles is not so great. But it is just something homeowners should do, especially cleaning tree debris out of their gutters.  

See, the purpose of gutters is to divert the rainwater from your roof away from your house.  If the gutters are full of debris or the downspouts are clogged, the gutters do not perform properly and the water from your roof may go under your house, potentially compromising your foundation or flooding your basement.  Clogged gutters can also lead to water damage to your wood trim or siding.  So it is important to occasionally clean out your gutters & downspouts. 

If you don't feel up to the task, you can call us OR consider getting gutter covers. There are a variety of leaf guard gutter protection designs available, but this particular kind offers:

  • Heaviest debris loads with smallest possible holes
  • Locks into hidden hangers and does not disturb shingles
  • Powder-coated micro-mesh aluminum
  • Two center beads for added strength

gutter_leaf_guard.jpg gutter_leaf_guard_2.jpg

April 9, 2013
How to Hang Pictures on a Wall


Home Decorating Tip:

Does hanging art on your walls make you a little nervous? Check out this helpful guide on how to hang pictures and artwork by learning about positioning, measuring & hanger options: http://low.es/mrBsx2

March 19, 2013
How to Pick a Paint Color


Home Design Tip:

Picking out a paint color can be a difficult task. It is hard to know how the end product will look! Well, Sherwin Williams color visualizer can help you out. Either upload a photo or use one of theirs & then play around with paint colors to see what you like. Check it out: https://www.sherwin-williams.com/visualizer/
 
 
 
March 5, 2013
Darn Ice Dams!


Home Maintenance Tip:

An ice dam can form when water from melting snow re-freezes at the edge of your roof-line. Without roof snow removal, the ice dam may grow large enough to prevent water from draining off the roof. The water can then back up underneath the roof shingles and make its way inside your home.

Solution: Remove ice dam and snow from roof – we recommend calling a professional.

Prevention: Make sure your attic is well insulated & ventilated to help prevent the melting-and-freezing cycle that causes ice dams to form and try to remove the snow from your roof eaves after every snowfall.
February 26, 2013
Check & Replace Air Filter Regularly


Home Improvement Tip:

Dirty air filters will reduce the airflow in your home, forcing your furnace to work harder. Plus, it creates more dust and increases indoor air pollution in your home. Check and replace your air filters regularly so your furnace can heat your home as efficiently as possible.


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April showers are here! Is your home ready? Here are some of our tips!
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