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Norm Merz

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Summer maintenance around the house

Summer maintenance around the house

While there is certainly no need to spend every weekend this summer tackling household chores, there are a few key tasks that most homeowners will want to tend to in the coming weeks to keep your home’s systems running as they should and to prepare for the season ahead.

Your roof and eavestroughs’ main function is to keep the elements, namely water, out of your home. Summer is a good time to check for cracked, curling or missing shingles and have them replaced immediately. Be sure your eavestroughs are clear of debris and properly affixed to your home. Siding is also susceptible to leaks, especially where it meets windows and doors. Look for mushrooms or fungus growing out of siding, it’s a sign that moisture is beneath.

After you’ve checked your home’s highest point, you should turn your attention to its lowest. Take a good look at your home’s foundation to see how it faired the winter months and the rainy spring season. Walk the perimeter of your home, examining the foundation for cracks. Even the smallest opening can allow water to seep into your basement. Use a ruler to measure.  If the crack is wider than 3/16 of an inch, it can be a problem. Mark smaller cracks with tape and keep track of their progress. You can likely fix a smaller crack yourself but larger ones will need to be tended to by a professional.

Proper care and maintenance will go a long way in extending the life of your deck and fencing. The blistering summer sun and harsh Canadian winters take their toll on wood elements, so it’s important to stay on top of maintenance. Dry rot and wet rot are two issues that you will have to watch out for when it comes to your deck and fence.  An annual stain application is the best way to combat both potential problems. You can’t go wrong with a good-quality linseed oil-based, solid or semi-transparent stain.

Staying on top of your home’s many features and fixtures will save you money, headaches and time down the road!

Divide and conquer your chores

Divide and conquer your chores

With the warm weather on its way, the kids out of school soon and weekends booking up fast with lots of family fun, the last thing you want to be is tied down every Saturday morning cleaning the house. During the summer months, certain weekly chores can safely lose priority (it’s only for a couple of months!) and there are many ways that you can ‘clean as you go’ during the week to reduce the mess you’re facing come the weekend. Take a look!

Spread out the jobs: The kitchen is likely a room that you spend way too much time in cleaning each weekend. In order to avoid the massive weekend scrub-down, divide your tasks and tackle one each day. On Monday, wipe down the cupboard doors, on Tuesday, clean the oven, on Wednesday, sanitize the microwave, on Thursday clean out the fridge, etc. Also be sure to wash and dry dishes and wipe down the stove, sink and countertops after each and every meal so the mess doesn’t build up.

Keep supplies in each room:  Having furniture polish and a microfiber cloth tucked away somewhere in your living or dining room will make it easier for you to give shelves, tables and other surfaces a quick wipe as you pass through. Keep cleaning supplies in each bathroom as well so that you can wash things down throughout the week when you have a few minutes.

The clutter basket: Keep a good-sized basket out of sight when not in use, perhaps in the laundry or mudroom. Each morning before you leave the house, do a quick walk-through, tossing in the clutter from each room. Ask family members to check for and remove any possessions that have accumulated on a weekly basis – or they go in the trash!

Other easy ways to clean as you go:

  • Multitask by folding laundry while watching your favourite show
  • Spray the shower and tub after each use
  • Invest in some good storage cubes, baskets or shelves near your front entry or in the mudroom
  • Buy a cordless vacuum and keep it charged and close by for quick clean ups
Spring maintenance for homeowners

Spring maintenance for homeowners

Spring has officially arrived! As a homeowner, the arrival of each new season usually brings with it a few maintenance chores that will need to be tackled, so wait for a nice, sunny day and check these jobs off your to-do list!

1. Repaint windows, siding and doors if needed. While wood will always be a popular material in home building, unfortunately it does require regular maintenance to keep it looking its best and realizing its life span. As with any job, take the time to gather the proper materials before getting started – it will make things run smoothly. Scrape away old, chipped or peeling paint from window and door frames and wood siding. Sand if necessary and finish by pressure washing on a low setting. Prime and paint as needed with a good quality exterior paint.

2. Organize the garage. After a long winter, your garage may have become a drop-zone for gardening supplies, sporting equipment, toys, broken items, etc. Enlist the help of kids to help create piles, including one for items to throw out, one for items to sell and a third for items to keep. If storage is an issue, assemble some heavy duty shelving or hooks. If your garage floor has seen better days, consider sealing and painting the floor for a tidy, clean look that will also extend its lifespan.

3. It’s likely been a few months since your air conditioner saw the light of day, so remove the cover on your outdoor unit, shut off the power and give it a good cleaning, removing any dust and debris. Inside the house, you’ll want to change the air filter and check for any leaks in the ductwork. Almost every HVAC company offers maintenance packages, so if you’re not up to the challenge or just don’t have time, schedule an appointment with a professional. Proper A/C maintenance will extend the life of your cooling unit and keep your energy bills down all summer long!

4. Clean or pressure wash deck. Canadians certainly spend as much time as possible during the summer months enjoying their outdoor spaces, so start off the season with a fresh slate! Take great care when pressure washing soft wood surfaces – one would rarely need more than 1500 psi to complete this task – any more can damage the wood. You can skip the pressure washer and buy a good quality wood cleaner and use some good, old-fashioned elbow grease to get your deck gleaming for the season ahead!

Should you renovate or move?

Should you renovate or move?

The spring real estate market is upon us and in many cities and communities across the GTA, inventory is low and prices are high. With tales swirling of homes selling for hundreds of thousands of dollars over listing price and bidding wars becoming the norm, you might be wondering if the time is right to purchase a new home.

Since there is no easy answer, some homeowners may decide to wait for a more stable market in which to sell and buy a new home. If you do decide to wait but are craving a change, take this time to tackle a home renovation! You can increase the value of your current home – always a good thing – create more square footage for your family and possibly position yourself better for a quick sale down the road.

Getting a high return on your investment is on most homeowners’ minds when planning a home renovation project. Kitchen and bathroom remodels almost always increase the value of a home. Any project that adds additional living space to your home will likely be a smart investment, including finishing the basement or attic space or building on an addition. As with any major project, getting the right permits and hiring a reputable contractor is key.

There are also dozens of projects you can take on around the home that will make it more enjoyable for your family for the time being and make it more appealing to prospective buyers when the time to sell does come. Exterior upgrades are becoming very popular amongst Canadian homeowners, with many families spending big bucks on landscaping projects, including new decks, fencing and driveways. With the price of cottages on the rise, outdoor kitchens are gaining popularity in Canada as well, as many homeowners aim to create the perfect “staycation” space in their own backyard.

Another goal of many home renovators is energy saving. Replacing your home’s windows or roof and beefing up insulation might not be the most exciting way to spend your reno dollars, but it will help you save big time on monthly energy costs while increasing the value of your home.

Grab a bite to eat in Haldimand

Grab a bite to eat in Haldimand

If you’re feeling cooped up at home and are looking for an excuse to go out, make plans to visit one of Haldimand’s excellent restaurants this month!

We are so fortunate to have a variety of options when it comes to enjoying a meal out. From fast food done right to relaxed fine dining in a casual atmosphere, Haldimand’s many restaurants have you covered.

If you’re bringing the kids out for a tasty family dinner, head to the Argyle Street Grill, one of just two local restaurants to appear on The Food Network’s You Gotta Eat Here! The perfect destination for a family dinner, special celebration or evening out without the kids, the Argyle Street Grill offers daily specials, live entertainment and a an extensive menu with everything from chicken wings to braised short ribs.

Other options in Caledonia include The Cornerstone, The Riverbend Restaurant, Wiggie’s and The Oasis, opening daily for the season next month.

Caledonia’s surrounding communities also offer a variety of tasty options. In Dunnville, Debb’s Cuisine on Main offers a cozy atmosphere and a fantastic menu using the freshest of local ingredients whenever possible. It’s a great spot for lunch with friends, a family celebrations or date night!

Twisted Lemon in Cayuga is always a tasty choice. The recipient of countless Hamilton Spectator Readers’ Choice Awards, it was also named by OpenTable.com as one of the Top 100 Most Romantic Restaurants in Canada. They offer a seasonal feature menu and an extensive wine list.

For mouthwatering burgers, great wings, creamy milkshakes and so much more, head to Burger Barn, located at 3000 4th Line in Ohsweken. Burger Barn, which also appeared on You Gotta East Here, offers a relaxed atmosphere, friendly staff and the best traditional strawberry juice you’ve ever had!

Whatever you’re craving, Haldimand has the restaurant for you!

Coming soon to Haldimand!

Coming soon to Haldimand!

With the first day of spring coming up, we have a lot to look forward to this month. Residents of Haldimand County will be pleased to hear that there are also some terrific events on the agenda in March, so get set for a busy month!

Public Skating – March 18, 25
Bring the whole family to the Haldimand County Caledonia Centre for a little Saturday night skating fun! Held from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Admission is free.

St. Patrick’s Country Dinner – March 12
Celebrate St. Paddy’s Day a little early at beautiful Cottonwood Mansion! This heart-warming dinner will include baked ham, colcannon, Barm Brack and all the trimmings. Stick around after dinner for a performance by students from the McGinley Academy of Irish Dance! Meal begins at 1:30 p.m. Reservations are required by March 9 – call 905-776-2538.

March Break Mansion Tours – March 13-17
Ruthven Park National Historic Site will welcome visitors during March Break to tour this stunning Greek Revival Mansion, located at 243 Highway 54 in Caledonia. Ruthven was built between 1845 and 1847 and was home to five generations of the Thompson family. Tours will be offered daily from 1 – 3 p.m. – admission is half price! Visit http://www.ruthvenparknationalhistoricsite.com.

March Break at the Library – March 13-17
Haldimand libraries will host a variety of fun programs during March Break. Here in Caledonia, don’t miss the Finding Dory Party on March 15 from 10:30 – 12:30 p.m., Toothpick Painting on March 16 from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. and No-Sew Mini Pillows on March 17 from 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. The Cayuga, Hagersville and Selkirk branches also have an assortment of exciting programs planned – visit the website at http://www.haldimandcounty.on.ca for more info. Registration is required.

Architectural Treasures Along the Grand – March 27
Visit Edinburgh Square Heritage & Cultural Centre this month for a chance to peruse its latest exhibit. Architectural Treasures Along the Grand will be open during regular museum hours, Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Admission is by donation.

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