Snow-covered-roof

A Minnesota Homeowner’s Guide to Ice Dams

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Gutters, Roofing, Uncategorized

Winter weather comes with many potential threats to the safety, warmth, and structural integrity of your home, from gale force winds to heavy snowfall. One of the most common cold weather hazards is the ice dam.

Ice dams are most likely to form when the temperature fluctuates. So while you may breathe a sigh of relief to have a break from Minnesota's well below freezing temperatures for a few days, higher temperatures do not negate the risks to your home. Ice dams are especially common in the late winter and early spring when the weather may warm up and then drop below freezing again unexpectedly.

In this blog, we provide the information you need to protect your home from ice dams and the damage they cause.

5 Tips to Protect Your Siding From Water Damage

Written by BooAdmin on . Posted in Uncategorized

Your siding has a primary purpose: to protect your home. When installed correctly, your siding will keep your home warm during the winter and stop mold and mildew from compromising your home's structure. Additionally, quality siding will keep out pests and absorb the everyday bumps, knocks, and bangs that would otherwise tear through your building.

But while your siding acts as your home's first defense against damage, siding also has a primary weakness: water. If rain, snow, or ice slip through the slats, the water could soften and warp the wood of your walls and ceilings. And since the siding covers your home's exterior, you might not notice the damage until it requires drastic repairs.

Fortunately, you can help your siding perform its role more effectively through a few small tasks. The following steps in particular reduce the likelihood of water damaging your siding.

1. Trim Plants and Trees

A few well-placed shrubs and flowers can significantly improve your home's overall appearance. With the right landscaping, you can boost your property's resale value and create a more relaxing and inviting environment for your family.

But plants also trap a lot of rainwater on their branches, and they release water vapor through the small pores on their leaves. If your bushes sit too close to your home, the branches may brush up against the siding and allow water to creep into the cracks.

To ensure proper air flow and allow for drying, trim any branches so they rest several inches away from your building.

2. Adjust Sprinkler Heads

Your sprinklers save you a lot of time and hassle. They ensure your lawn and garden receive adequate water without dragging around a heavy hose.

But sprinklers only work as installed. If the original installer pointed the heads in the wrong direction, you can bet that your sprinklers will spray water over your driveway, into the sidewalk, or against the foundation. And if your sprinklers hit your house every morning, you can bet that the constant spray will find its way past your siding.

If needed, adjust any wayward sprinkler heads that point toward your home. If you have any flowers or shrubs against your home that the sprinklers can't reach properly, consider watering them by hand or installing a drip system.

3. Clear Your Gutters

Your siding isn't the only thing protecting your home from the elements. Your gutters and downspout collect rainwater and redirect it away from your siding and foundation.

Yet if you neglect your gutters, you can increase the likelihood of water damage on your siding. When leaves, branches, and other debris clog your gutters, the water will overflow and spill onto your home's siding.

Ideally, you should clean your gutters at least twice a year, during the fall and spring seasons. If you have large trees that shed a lot of organic material, you may need to clear your gutters more frequently.

Don't feel comfortable cleaning the gutters so often? Invest in a gutter guard that will allow water to flow freely but will keep out leaves and pests.

4. Promptly Remove Snow and Ice

In Minnesota, the Twin Cities and the surrounding cities see some of the coldest average temperatures in the US. In fact, the Twin Cities have an average of 12 inches of snow per month in January and December and another 9 to 10 inches of snow per month in February, March, and November.

When winter storms hit, you may feel tempted to scrape away just enough snow to escape your driveway or to avoid slip-and-fall accidents on your sidewalk. However, if you leave snow piled next to your home, that snow will eventually melt against your siding and into your foundation.

While you don't have to obsessively clear your property of every last inch of snow, do your best during the colder months to keep snow away from your home. Remember to use gentle movements with the shovel, as scraping and pounding against ice may dent or crack your siding.

5. Insulate Your Attic

As you look for ways to protect your home's exterior, you might not initially think about what you can do to your home's interior. But your insulation can have a profound impact on how much snow collects on your roof, and in turn, that snowmelt affects your siding's lifespan. 

Ice dams form when your shingles warm enough to melt the under layer of snow on your roof. The water then trickles down between the snow and the shingles until it reaches the eaves of your home, and then the water refreezes. As the snow repeatedly melts and refreezes, the water eventually backs up underneath your shingles and drips behind your eaves and your siding. If the ice becomes heavy enough, it can break away from your roof and pull gutters, shingles, and siding along with it.

Insulation, fortunately, keeps temperature fluctuations in check. It stops the heat in your attic from escaping through the roof. If you see frequent ice dams, ask a professional to assess whether your attic needs additional insulation.

Talk to a Contractor About Damaged Siding

These five steps can keep moisture buildup in check and stop water damage before it starts. However, if your siding already seems worse for wear, you may need to replace it to ensure your home stays dry throughout the year.

Talk to a contractor a D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc. about repairing or replacing your damaged or aging siding. We'll gladly install fiber cement, vinyl, wood, or steel siding at your request. 

How to Protect Your Deck from These 6 Common Pests

Written by BooAdmin on . Posted in Uncategorized

You recently installed a deck, and you look forward to the barbecues, parties, and lazy summer evenings you'll spend on it.

However, as you've added patio furniture and décor, you've noticed that your deck attracts more than just human occupants. Inse cts, rodents, and other pests seem to enjoy it too. And you worry that these pests may ruin your deck or make it dangerous or uncomf ortable to use.

Don't surrender your deck to these creatures. Instead, identify the animal invader, call a pest control company for removal, and the n fortify your deck against further infiltrations. We'll tell you more about this process below.

Identify the Pest

You'll often find these common pests living on, in, or under your deck.

1. Termites

These insects look like smaller, lighter ants, and they all have wings. When they eat through wood, they create tubes about a pencil's width across. They can cause significant structural damage because they will eat through all the materials in your deck. They can also tun nel through foam, plaster, and other materials to reach wood.

2. Carpenter Ants

Carpenter ants look like smaller ants-but they grow much bigger. They come in red or black. Like termites, they also bore holes throu gh wood. They don't eat the wood, but they do like to live in it, and they'll soon make your deck look like Swiss cheese. You'll also see sm all piles of sawdust and dead insects around your deck.

3. Carpenter Bees

Carpenter bees don't cause as much damage as carpenter ants or termites, but they do bore holes in your wood or composite deck . The holes will appear about a half inch in diameter, and they'll look perfectly round. These bees bore into wood or wood-like materials to build their nests.

Even though carpenter bees don't cause as much damage as other pests, they do create a stinging hazard, so you should remove t hem.

4. Powderpost Beetles

You won't likely see these beetles until they fly around lights late at night. They appear reddish brown, with skinny, flat bodies that gr ow about a quarter inch long. They also leave sawdust behind, and they create pinhead-sized holes. These beetles will also undermine you r deck's structural integrity.

5. Mice and Rats

Rodents like to live in or under decks as well. You'll know you have mice or rats because you'll see their small, grayish bodies darting a nd scurrying. They also leave small, black, pointed droppings behind. And because they have dirty fur, they create grease trails when the y rub against your home's surfaces.

These rodents spell disaster for your deck because they chew on the materials and make them weaker. Mice and rats also carry disea ses that could endanger your family.

6. Raccoons, Opossums, and Skunks

These larger rodents cause even bigger problems because they tear through deck materials more quickly. They also carry some of t he same diseases that mice and rats do, and they will bite and scratch to defend themselves. So if you see cat-like creatures under your d eck, call a pest control expert for assistance.

Fortify Your Deck

Now that you know what kind of pest has invaded your deck, you can take steps to remove it and ensure it never returns. Just mak e sure you don't eradicate the rodent or insect on your own. Ants and bees will attack if you try to spray them, and you may face legal p enalties if you accidentally kill rodents like opossums. Leave the pest removal to a professional.

Once you've removed the pest, you can take the following steps to protect your deck:

  • If you have a wood deck, seal it with a new protective coat, and add a new layer of paint. A well-maintained deck attracts fewer pests than a poorly maintained one.
  • Trim all plants away from your deck so pests have nowhere to hide.
  • Remove any standing water around your deck. Your pests need water to survive, and if they can't access it, then they won't want t o make a home under your deck.
  • Cover the gap between the deck and the ground with a mesh screen. This screen deters rodent pests. You can also seal the gap wit h concrete or plywood if you want a more thorough deterrent.
  • Put yellow bug lights around the deck to keep insect and spider pests away.

Your pest control or deck expert may also have some more tips for you. For example, if you have raccoons, you should use zip ties to seal your garbage cans. If raccoons can't get to the food inside your garbage cans, they'll leave your yard in favor of a location with b etter access to food sources.

If pests have damaged your deck, get a deck expert to repair and restore it. If you have further questions about keeping your deck comfortable, safe, and pristine, check out the rest of our blog

Parties, Pilates, and Campfires, Oh My: 3 Ways to Use Your Deck This Summer

Written by BooAdmin on . Posted in Uncategorized

You wake up, peek through your eyelids, and catch sight of a few rays of light. You quickly jump up, rush to the window, push it open, and are flooded with the fresh scent of summer. You hear birds chirping and your heart catches in your chest-your favorite season is finally here.

With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan for upcoming outdoor activities and events. Grab your bathing suit, some suntan lotion, and head to your deck so you can lounge away the day and plan three different ways you can use your outdoor space this summer season.

1. Host a Party

Summer provides the perfect opportunity to gather your friends, neighbors, and family together to celebrate the warmest season of the year. Follow these tips to host one of the most memorable outdoor parties on your deck.

Keep Stress Levels Low and Plan in Advance

Don't wait until the last minute to start planning your party. Make several lists (guest list, shopping list, and to-do list), invite friends to get involved, and split up responsibilities to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Wow Guests with Creative Décor

To some guests, décor is as important as what's on the dinner menu. Set the mood with the following backyard accessories:

Lanterns

String lights

Tiki torches

Plants and flowers

You can also add a little personality with artwork. Buy a few canvases and some paint at the craft store and invite your kids to let their creative juices flow onto a blank canvas.

Satisfy Taste Buds with Delicious Grub

It's not a party without food. What's on the menu? Consider the following:

Steaks

Tacos

Fish

Grilled pizza

Plan the menu well in advance so you can stock up on all the right ingredients before it's time to party.

Quench Thirst with Unforgettable Drinks

If there's one thing to splurge on, it's drinks. Load your fridge with all sorts of beverages, including the following:

Soda

Juice

Alcohol

Keep your guests happy and the mood light with a Moscow Mule. This cocktail includes:

Ginger beer

Vodka

Lime

First, mix together two parts ginger beer with one part vodka. Add lime to taste.

Set the Mood with Music

Prevent awkward silences with music that will please the entire crowd. Create a playlist with the following songs:

"I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees

"Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" by Roberta Flack

"Born Too Late" by Dent May

"Paris 1919" by John Cale

"You Do Something to Me" by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

If you want music to dance along to at your party, browse through dance playlists on iTunes or Spotify so you can keep your guests entertained at your outdoor deck party.

2. Get in Shape

Summer is bathing suit season. Use your deck as an outdoor gym and stay in shape with a combination of the following exercises:

Yoga

Pilates

Barre

Zumba

If you don't want to do exercises on your deck surface, invest in a yoga mat to avoid splinters.

3. Camp Out

If the great outdoors are calling your name, you can heed its call in the comfort of your own backyard. Use these tips to transform your deck into the perfect outdoor campground.

Create a Campout Atmosphere

First, clean your deck so you don't have to worry about loose nails, loose floorboards, broken lights, or spider webs during your camping extravaganza. Once you've swept, mopped, and dusted, gather the following items:

Pillows

Blankets

Sleeping bags

Fire pit (small grill)

Set up the bedding away from the fire to ensure your family stays safe during your campout. Create a Campout Menu

Excite your kids with a menu full of campout essentials, including the following:

Hotdogs, buns, and condiments (mix it up with onions, barbeque sauce, jalapenos, and banana peppers) Corn on the cob (don't forget the butter, salt, or pepper)

Tin foil dinners (stay full on meat, potatoes, onions, peppers, and any other vegetables)

S'mores (it's not a campout without plenty of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers)

You can always add an extra layer of sweet delight to s'mores with a dab of caramel or peanut butter.

Create a Campout Game Plan

When it comes time to campout on the deck with your kids, throw away any notion of bedtime. Instead, stay up late and stay entertained with one-or all-of the following activities:

Star gazing Charades

Singing

Storytelling

Take time to create a campout game plan so you can create fun and lasting memories for your entire family.

Whether you want to host a party, get in shape, or camp out, your deck offers the perfect outdoor space for you to stay entertained all summer long. Use these tips to amp up your summer entertainment. If you want to give your deck a makeover before summer arrives, contact your local deck contractors today.

The Essential Roofing, Siding, & Decking Spring Cleaning Checklist

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Uncategorized

Spring has officially arrived in Minnesota, which means warm summer weather and blissful sunny days are just around the corner. After a long, harsh winter, you're probably more than ready to head outside to enjoy barbecues, parties, and relaxing days on the porch.

But before you can really enjoy those barbecues or relax in your yard, you need to do some spring cleaning around your house. Just like the inside of your house needs refreshing this time of year, your home's exterior demands some attention, too.

Your roof, siding, and deck withstood several months of harsh ice storms, violent winds, and heavy snowfall. As a result, they might have accumulated debris or developed cracks. You don't want debris or cracks to compromise your home and affects its value, so we put together the following outdoor spring cleaning checklist to help you out.

Roofing

Your roof takes a beating during the winter. Extreme temperature fluctuations cause your shingles to expand and contract, leading to permanent damage. Heavy snowfall often creates ice dams, which then seep through your roof and warp your home's frame.

Because your roof plays such an important role in your home, you'll need carefully inspect and clean it once winter weather subsides.

1. Sweep Debris from Your Roof

Chances are good that leaves, sticks, and other debris accumulated on your roof during the winter. Because this debris provides a perfect breeding ground for mold, you'll want to remove this debris as soon as the weather permits. Simply sweep it from your roof with a broom.

2. Clean Your Gutters

You may not think of your gutters as part of your roof, but they play a vital role in your roof's well-being. Clogs cause water to back up onto your roof, which could lead to severe leaks and even foundation damage. Use a leaf blower or broom to clear leaves and debris from your gutters. 

3. Inspect Your Shingles

If you have asphalt shingles, look for dark, wet areas. This indicates cracks in the shingles, as well as a potential leak. If you have cedar shakes or wood shingles, look for curled, split, or broken pieces. If you have a slate roof, look for black areas. Dark areas indicate missing slate.

If you find damaged or missing shingles, replace them right away. If you don't feel comfortable replacing them yourself, contact a roofing or construction company in your area as soon as possible. The longer you wait to replace your shingles, the more likely your roof will sustain additional damage.

4. Look for Additional Wear

Even if your shingles look intact, your roof might have suffered damage during the winter. Inspect your roof for areas of heavy wear, especially near valleys next to the gutters. You should also pay close attention to areas near chimneys and vent pipes, as materials in these areas are more prone to damage.

5. Remove Mold

If you detect mold in your gutters or under your shingles, you'll need to remove it right away. First, mix equal parts bleach and warm water in a bucket. Dip a sponge or towel into the solution, then scrub the mold from your shingles. 

Siding

Whether you have wood, brick, or vinyl siding, your home's siding will benefit from regular cleanings. Not only do cleanings help keep your home looking great, they also prolong your siding's life, ultimately saving you money.

Use the following method to clean any type of siding.

1. Mix Your Cleaning Solution

A mixture of water and trisodium phosphate (TSP) is the safest cleaning solution to use on your siding. For best results, combine ½ cup TSP with one gallon of water. You can buy TSP at most hardware and grocery stores.

2. Divide Your Siding into Small Sections

The thought of cleaning all your home's exterior walls might be overwhelming. Make the project more manageable by dividing your siding into small sections that are no bigger than nine square feet.

3. Scrub Your Siding

Use a soft-bristled brush to scrub your siding. After you dip the brush into your cleaning solution, scrub small areas and rinse often. To avoid streaks, scrub from the bottom of your siding and work up.

Decking

You love your deck. It provides the perfect space to relax and read a book, as well as host family get-togethers and neighborhood barbecues. Because you use your deck so much during the summer, it needs to be in tip-top shape.

Here are a few tips to spring clean your deck and everything on it.

Use a pressure washer to blast dirt and grime from your deck's surface. If you don't have a pressure washer, a garden hose will also do the trick. Just be sure to clear all furniture from your deck before you soak it down.

Blast dirt and grime from your non-fabric patio furniture with a garden hose. This includes patio umbrellas and picnic tables.

Clean fabric-containing patio furniture. Start by vacuuming debris from its surface, then scrub caked-on dirt away using a mild detergent. We recommend a mixture of ¾ cup bleach, 1 tablespoon laundry detergent, and one gallon of water.

Outdoor spring cleaning doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult. Use these tips to make cleaning your roof, siding, deck, and gutters a breeze this spring.

Parties, Pilates, and Campfires, Oh My: 3 Ways to Use Your Deck This Summer

Written by DS-Bahr on . Posted in Uncategorized

You wake up, peek through your eyelids, and catch sight of a few rays of light. You quickly jump up, rush to the window, push it open, and are flooded with the fresh scent of summer. You hear birds chirping and your heart catches in your chest-your favorite season is finally here.

With summer right around the corner, now is the perfect time to plan for upcoming outdoor activities and events. Grab your bathing suit, some suntan lotion, and head to your deck so you can lounge away the day and plan three different ways you can use your outdoor space this summer season.

1. Host a Party

Summer provides the perfect opportunity to gather your friends, neighbors, and family together to celebrate the warmest season of the year. Follow these tips to host one of the most memorable outdoor parties on your deck.

Keep Stress Levels Low and Plan in Advance

Don't wait until the last minute to start planning your party. Make several lists (guest list, shopping list, and to-do list), invite friends to get involved, and split up responsibilities to avoid feeling overwhelmed.

Wow Guests with Creative Décor

To some guests, décor is as important as what's on the dinner menu. Set the mood with the following backyard accessories:

  • Lanterns
  • String lights
  • Tiki torches
  • Plants and flowers

You can also add a little personality with artwork. Buy a few canvases and some paint at the craft store and invite your kids to let their creative juices flow onto a blank canvas.

Satisfy Taste Buds with Delicious Grub

It's not a party without food. What's on the menu? Consider the following:

  • Steaks
  • Tacos
  • Fish
  • Grilled pizza

Plan the menu well in advance so you can stock up on all the right ingredients before it's time to party.

Quench Thirst with Unforgettable Drinks

If there's one thing to splurge on, it's drinks. Load your fridge with all sorts of beverages, including the following:

  • Soda
  • Juice
  • Alcohol

Keep your guests happy and the mood light with a Moscow Mule. This cocktail includes:

  • Ginger beer
  • Vodka
  • Lime

First, mix together two parts ginger beer with one part vodka. Add lime to taste.

Set the Mood with Music

Prevent awkward silences with music that will please the entire crowd. Create a playlist with the following songs:

  • "I Started a Joke" by the Bee Gees
  • "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye" by Roberta Flack
  • "Born Too Late" by Dent May
  • "Paris 1919" by John Cale
  • "You Do Something to Me" by Leo Reisman & His Orchestra

If you want music to dance along to at your party, browse through dance playlists on iTunes or Spotify so you can keep your guests entertained at your outdoor deck party.

2. Get in Shape

Summer is bathing suit season. Use your deck as an outdoor gym and stay in shape with a combination of the following exercises:

  • Yoga
  • Pilates
  • Barre
  • Zumba

If you don't want to do exercises on your deck surface, invest in a yoga mat to avoid splinters.

3. Camp Out

If the great outdoors are calling your name, you can heed its call in the comfort of your own backyard. Use these tips to transform your deck into the perfect outdoor campground.

Create a Campout Atmosphere

First, clean your deck so you don't have to worry about loose nails, loose floorboards, broken lights, or spider webs during your camping extravaganza. Once you've swept, mopped, and dusted, gather the following items:

  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Sleeping bags
  • Fire pit (small grill)

Set up the bedding away from the fire to ensure your family stays safe during your campout.

Create a Campout Menu

Excite your kids with a menu full of campout essentials, including the following:

  • Hotdogs, buns, and condiments (mix it up with onions, barbeque sauce, jalapenos, and banana peppers) Corn on the cob (don't forget the butter, salt, or pepper)
  • Tin foil dinners (stay full on meat, potatoes, onions, peppers, and any other vegetables)
  • S'mores (it's not a campout without plenty of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers)

You can always add an extra layer of sweet delight to s'mores with a dab of caramel or peanut butter.

Create a Campout Game Plan

When it comes time to campout on the deck with your kids, throw away any notion of bedtime. Instead, stay up late and stay entertained with one-or all-of the following activities:

  • Star gazing
  • Charades
  • Singing
  • Storytelling

Take time to create a campout game plan so you can create fun and lasting memories for your entire family.

Whether you want to host a party, get in shape, or camp out, your deck offers the perfect outdoor space for you to stay entertained all summer long. Use these tips to amp up your summer entertainment. If you want to give your deck a makeover before summer arrives, contact your local deck contractors today.

D.S. Bahr Construction, Inc.
612.722.1448
460 Hoover Street NE
Minneapolis, MN 55413