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Replace an Asphalt Shingle







Repairing a Torn Screen


Repairing a Torn Screen







Deck Cleanup








Maintenance Schedule: Spring


Every spring inspect your roof for any signs of damage. From the ground you can use a pair of binoculars to look for broken, missing, or curled shingles that need to be replaced. Look in the gutters and around the downspout outlet for lots of loose granules from the shingle—a sure sign of failure and an imminent reroofing. Inspect all the flashing around chimneys, vents, roof windows, and the like to be sure it's in good condition.

Replacing an Asphalt Shingle

To remove a damaged shingle, gently lift the shingle above the damaged one so you can pry up the nails holding the damaged shingle in place. (Don't try this when it's cold. The shingles will be brittle and you could end up damaging still more shingles.)

Gently slide the new shingle into position. If it's a tight fit, clip the upper corners of the shingle to make this easier. Nail in the new shingle with 1˝" galvanized roofing nails. Make sure the nails are positioned high enough to be covered by the shingle above.

Replacing Torn Screening

If you have newer aluminum screens, the screening is likely held in place with a rubber cording called a spline. Gently pry out the spline and remove the old screening. If the spline is in good condition you can reuse it. If you need to replace the spline, be sure to take a piece of the old spline to the home center because spline comes in different sizes. Cut a new piece of screening an inch bigger than the opening in all directions and center it over the opening. Starting along the top edge, place the spline over the groove in the screen frame and roll it tightly into the groove. Continue around the screen gently pulling the screening into position as you go. Trim off the excess spline and screening with a utility knife.

If you have wood screens, start by gently prying off the screen moulding. Pull off the old screening, and pry out the old staples that held it in place. Position the new screening over the opening and staple it into position across the top edge. Roll the bottom edge of the screening around a scrap 2x4 and apply gentle, even pressure as you staple the bottom edge in place. Next staple across the middle crosspiece, then staple the edges. After trimming the excess screening, reattach the screen moulding with wire brads.

Deck Cleanup

A day or two of spring maintenance every year will help keep your deck in good shape for years to come. Start by cleaning any debris from between the deck boards. As you work your way along, keep an eye out for any loose nails or screws and refasten them as you find them. A popped nail will quickly come loose again if you just tap it down into the same old hole: it's better to drive a screw nearby and pull the offending nail.

If the deck boards look dingy or have mildew on them you need to clean the deck. There are plenty of commercial deck cleaners available. To clean the deck, we recommend applying the cleaner with a garden sprayer, scrubbing with a long-handled scrub brush, then rinsing with a garden hose. Avoid using a pressure sprayer to clean a deck—it's all too easy to damage the wood with one of these.

After the deck has dried completely, apply a wood preserver/sealer, following the manufacturer's directions for application rates, tools, and techniques.

While it's nice to have a great-looking deck, it's more important to have a safe deck. While you're out there be sure to take the time to make a thorough inspection of the deck's substructure. Examine all the connectors to make sure they're tight and showing no signs of rust or failure and check for rot and cracks, especially on the posts and ledger boards.


Home Maintenance Index



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