The Valentine’s Day holiday is one of the most popular consumer holidays in the U.S, and in many countries across the world. As a holiday marketed to and overtly centered on relationships and couples and everything symbolic of connection, and friendship, and love, it is also a common day for sadness, depression, and other emotional chaos.
True Meaning of Valentine’s Day
To add some perspective, the thing about Valentine’s Day is that it doesn’t actually mean anything–and even to many people in stable, successful relationships, it is just another day in mid-February. The social importance placed on Valentine’s Day is typically overemphasized by advertising, so there is really no reason to get too worked up over the holiday–especially if you have a history of feeling bad during this one day of the year.
When you look at Valentine’s Day as little more than a branded holiday where your desire to connect with others or show appreciation or affection is swiftly commandeered by retail stores, restaurants, and virtually everyone else wanting your consumer patronage, the authority of the holiday is kind of lost.
It’s Only One Day
When your heart is in the gutter on another Valentine’s Day, just picture the overworked advertising executive tirelessly trying to finalize her campaign to convince you that your loneliness can be solved by going into debt for some material good.
The absurdity of the picture should give some perspective on the contrived importance the Valentine’s Day holiday creates. If you have cause to celebrate Valentine’s Day, do so. But if the thought of another Valentine’s Day holiday alone among all of the perceived happy couples is getting you down, remember that no relationship or personal connection hinges on any holiday, much less an expressly romantic holiday like Valentine’s Day, and there is always someone who has it worse than you.
Unlike many other larger, worldwide official holidays, Valentine’s Day is typically much more exaggerated in scope by media and advertising. The potential for connection and true love are always present, and don’t begin or end on the 14th of February.
Gutters are made to last, taking the most damaging part of the storm and protecting your home from damage to the foundation. After a number of years, your gutters may begin to wear, requiring an upgrade. This depends on the type of climate and weather environment you live in, the quality of your gutters, and whether or not they were properly installed. Watch your gutters to help you identify when it will be time to upgrade.
While there are some situations that cannot be helped, there are steps you can take to better keep your gutters in the best shape. Rain gutters that have been filled with leaves, dirt, trash, and other debris will do no good, causing water to flow off the sides of the home as they would even without the gutters. If you do not have a gutter topper, make sure to clean out the gutters of your home at least once a year. This will help prevent damage from being sustained, as well as keep them working better for longer. Make sure to be cautious while taking care of this task as an alarming number of accidents occur during the process. Never get on a ladder or up on the roof unless you have someone there with you to help in case of disaster.
Examine Your Gutters
Most gutters will last between 20 and 40 years depending on the care that is put into them. If your gutters fall within this time period, it is crucial to start checking them to ensure they are functioning properly. To do this it is important to:
- Take a good look at the gutters from every angle. Look for rust of galvanized steel gutters, particularly on the bottom. Make sure there are no sections that have split or have started to sag.
- Take another good look at the gutters while it is raining. Look and ensure they are doing their job, diverting the rain away from the foundation of your home. Here it is important to look for leaks, and ensure the water is flowing out of the downspout as it should.
- If you do notice any problems during this time, evaluate them. Are these problems severe enough that new gutters will be necessary, or can they be fixed and made to last? There are some situations where the gutters can be fixed by do-it-yourself means, others will require much more work to get them to the shape they need to be in. Examine your gutters on a case by case basis to determine what will be needed.
Pay attention to your gutters, their effectiveness, and how soon they will need to be updated. By being aware of these things, your home will be better protected from storm damage no matter what comes your way.
Do you have old and unused rain gutters littering your yard? These eye sores don’t have to be useless forever. Try these ideas to repurpose your old rain gutters after you upgrade. No matter your style or the home projects you are looking for in your home, there are things that can be done with upcycling and repurposing. Try out some of these ideas for creative and practical uses with your upcycled gutters.
For many, finding space is one of the hardest parts of gardening. For those who have limited space, gutters are not only a fun design, but a way to get the most from the area you have. Start out by placing the gutters in horizontal rows along the sidewall of your home, fence, or other area you want to place these. This is perfect for those who don’t have an excessive amount of time to dedicate to their garden to more easily manage the section.
Children’s books are different from adult books in many ways, one of which is the focus that is placed on the cover design. In your child’s bedroom, use rain gutters to display these books in a fun and unique way. Make sure these gutters are clean and freshly painted if they are going to be coming inside, then hang them from the walls. Here you can place the books so way they are all displayed along the walls. This is a fun way for your child to get involved with reading, allowing them to choose from their favorite books at any given time.
The cords and wiring needed to run your computer, speakers, and printer can result in a disorganized clutter, causing more problems than they solve. If you have found it hard to keep the wires from tangling, try placing part of a gutter beneath your desk. This is a great catch to contain all the wiring, keeping it out of sight and out of the way. By doing this, you will find it easier to keep this part of your home clear and clean.
There are many different uses for your old gutters once you upgrade. Make sure to take advantage of these when switching. Put together an upcycling project that will not only be fun to do, but will also make a positive improvement to your home.
Improving the aesthetics of your rain gutters is a simple as installing a rain chain. These simple devices also serve a practical purpose of keeping water runoff away from accumulating at the foundation of your home. Rain chains come in many different styles and can even be constructed at home from materials like ceramic disks or metal cups. These chains improve the look and feel of your roof and gutter. Of course, the biggest benefits to improving the aesthetics of your roof and gutter is also being able to conserve and re-purpose water coming off your roof and through your gutters. Here is a look at some of the tops benefits of rain chains.
Redirecting water runoff from the roof away from the foundation is important to protecting the foundation from damage due to water accumulation from heavy rains. In essence, the rain chain functions in place of the downspout to carry water off the roof and direct it away from the foundation. This alternative to the downspout is more decorative and easy to put together and install. This water runoff can then be directed to a vegetated or rocky landscaped area to further help manage and re-purpose water flow. Make sure the rain chain has enough clearance from where you attach it to the ground to effectively control runoff. Measure the area where you want to install the chain. Too high and the water will splash from the chain; too low and the water can pool out of the bottom of the chain.
Easy to Install
The rain chain is typically installed from the opening where the downspout of the gutters is located. Installation is simple and straightforward since all that is required is removing the downspout and placing the top of the chain over the hole. Most rain chains come with a gutter attachment piece to place on top of the chain over the hole. This enables water to be directed freely into the chain. An installation kit can also be used to reduce the size of the hole and better direct water into the chain if the hole and the chain are not the same size. Many of these kits have outlet tubes that can be used to keep water from flowing on the underside of the gutters and dripping outside the chain after installation.
Once the chain is installed, there are a few options for what to do with the area at the bottom of the chain to further improve the aesthetic of the area. Incorporating stoneware or ceramic pots for the water to flow into can add a decorative flare to the chain. You can also construct a small square area at the base out of wood and fill it with rocks or plant vegetation to mitigate the water runoff. With the right kind of landscaping and decorative touches to the chain and surrounding area, you can vastly improve the aesthetics of the gutters and exterior corners of your home.
Roofs are probably the most important component of a house and come in a wide variety of materials, styles, and of course, pitches. There are distinct advantages and disadvantages to the many different varieties of roofs–with much of this dependant on the specific climate of the region and location of the house. Roofs with little to no pitch constructed from clay tile, for example, are best suited to warmer, more temperate environments. Sharply sloped roofs are commonly found in more alpine environments to prevent the weight of snowpack from damaging or collapsing the roof. Here is a more detailed look at some roof types and the pros and cons of each.
These roof designs are pretty self-explanatory since they feature very little pitch. These roofs are easier to construct than any roof with a slope and they are more accessible, safer, and easier to work on than steeply sloped designs. This roof design, however, often requires more maintenance since debris can gather on top with nowhere to go. Weight from snowpack and water can also be issues since there is no way precipitation can runoff. Leaks and structural weakening can be problematic if the roof is not properly reinforced.
This type of roof is typically used in small portions on certain parts of the home or on smaller structures like garages or guesthouses. The roof design is characterized by four evenly sloped sides meeting at a single pinnacle point. These roofs are aesthetic and are reliable designs on smaller parts of the house to accompany other roof types, such as flat roofs, rather than as full roofs for the entire structure.
The roofline of A-frame roofs is sharply angled and begins near the foundation lines and meets at the top at a sharp point. These roof designs are popular and have an ancient architectural origin in China, Europe, and South Pacific islands as simple, utilitarian structures. While used as cheaper, efficient roof designs all over the world, A-frame roofs are popular and common in northern, alpine environments where heavy snowfall is common. These roof design are meant to be an efficient method of keeping heavy snowpack from weighing on the roof and causing damage.
This is a traditional French design of roof that features a pitch divided into a shallow slope above a steeper slope. The lower slope in this design is often steeper and more vertical than the upper. The upper is often not visible from the ground. This type of roof is a more elaborate design than is often found on large public buildings or large homes with a considerable amount of roof space. In these roof designs there is additional living and storage space at the top of the house.
Rain gutters are a part of an external plumbing system that was developed as a necessity of a way of draining water. The history of the rain gutter, surprisingly, goes all the way back to the Roman Empire. Like many modern luxuries of infrastructure that we routinely take for granted, plumbing and drainage systems were used by the Romans to facilitate clean water transfer and water removal. While no single person can be credited with inventing the rain gutter, as it was more of a collective invention based on necessity, there are a few historical details around the emergence of an external channel for water to run off a building. Here is a brief overview.
History in the Gutter
As early as AD 47, the Romans are credited with having brought drainage systems to the British Isles. This included sewer systems and water management practices. By 1066, the Normans had invaded England and began reconstructing towns and cities. In these new constructions, many large buildings featured grand stone roofs and parapets that led to gutter drains that ultimately spit runoff water out of a stone gargoyle’s mouth. This was a crude, though architecturally unique way of disposing of water.
Downpipes soon began to be built to keep the water from running down the sides of buildings and damaging finishes. During the Middle Ages, gutters were made out of wood, clay tile, and lead and were made easier to attach to roofs with the increased use of tile roofs to prevent fires. As the centuries went on, lead became readily available to many people and the fashioning of rainwater goods like gutters with lead increased.
By the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries, cast iron had largely replaced lead as a prefered material of rain gutters and other goods. This coincided with the explosion of heavy industry–and soon the industrial revolution–throughout Britain and elsewhere in Europe. These cast iron fixtures would be used for the next couple hundred years.
The Twentieth century saw the popularization of plastics for rain gutters and other fixtures. In the aftermath of World War II, manufacturing was burgeoning and the use of plastics was on the rise. This made plastic rain gutters and downpipes more widely available as they were cheaper to produce and install than heavy metal. Today, rain gutters come in a variety of lightweight materials and styles, but still retain the same beneficial properties of the earliest drainage systems of centuries past.
Today is Memorial Day. Here at Rain Gutter Specialties, we would like to take a moment to remember this important holiday, and reflect on what it truly means. While many people will have the day off from work and school, take a moment between your activities to reflect on those who have died while serving as part of the United States Armed Forces. These brave men and women deserve to be remembered every day, especially Memorial Day.
The first Memorial Day was held after the Civil War as a way to remember the soldiers, both Union and Confederate, who died during this war. At this time it was known as Decoration Day, but this was soon changed. In the early 1900s, the day was designated to recognize all Americans who lost their lives during service in the military.
Traditionally on Memorial Day the United States flag is raised quickly the full height, then slowly lowered to half-mast. The flag will remain at this position until noon, when it is raised to full-mast. This symbolizes that the living will rise up to fight for liberty and justice, ensuring those that sacrificed did not die in vain.
No matter what your Memorial Day plans include, take a moment from your day to remember those who have died defending our country. Have a safe day today, and thank you to the Armed Forces currently serving for dedicating yourself so fully to our country!
All this rain has been ideal for our lawns, but less than helpful for the gutters of our homes. Many people go extended periods of time before realizing that their gutters are clogged, and by then damage might have already been done. There are many options out there when it comes to gutter protection, choosing the right one is critical.
Take the steps needed beforehand to protect your home from the hard rains, winds, and debris that have the potential to damage your gutters and as a result the foundation of your home. Rain Gutter Specialties can help fit your home with the best protection against the elements to keep your gutters functioning no matter what mother nature throws their way.
The Problem With Micro Mesh
One of the more common gutter guards currently on the market are the mesh filters that are designed to block debris from entering your gutter. While this may initially seem like the easiest solution, it will cause many problems over time. These products will start off seeming to work, but quickly give way to rust and corrosion.
While the companies that produce these products claim that nothing but water will get through the mesh, this isn’t necessarily true. It may keep out debris blown in the wind, but the aluminum and stainless steel the mesh is made from will begin to rust, leaking into your gutters. This will not only damage and reduce the effectiveness of the mesh, but your gutters as well. Stay away from these products as they will only cause you problems over time.
Now that you know the dangers of metal mesh gutter protectors, what options do you have? For those who are looking to protect your gutters from the elements, gutter toppers are the best solution. These will truly protect your gutters without causing their own damage. It is the material along with the design that will keep your gutters safe from the elements around them, preventing lasting damage.
Look into the protection of your gutters from the outside elements, understanding the risks present. Mesh gutter guards are an ineffective and damaging way to keep debris away from your gutters. Instead opt for more sure and stable methods. This will save you greatly in the long run, reducing the need to replace the guards and eventually your gutters. Make sure this protection is looked to, taking care of your gutters in all seasons. Doing this will save you much of the trouble this spring and summer, cleaning out the winter’s debris from your gutters.
There are many types of home exteriors that can be used, each of which can be used in your home. Find the siding that best suits not only the look of your home, but the area it is situated in. By finding the right material for your home, you can ensure the style you love while withstanding anything the elements can throw your way.
Up until about the 1980s, brick siding was one of the most popular choices. It is durable, has little maintenance, and a timeless look that many homeowners look for. There are a variety of colors that brick houses can come in as well as textures and sizes. In most situations, the brick is not the actual structure of the home, but rather the outside finish against the wood. If not properly applied, water can slip through the bricks, damaging the wood. The biggest disadvantage with a brick home is the high cost of material and installation, making this a less popular choice as other options come along.
Stone siding is one of the most durable types of siding. Some of the most popular of these choices include granite, slate, and limestone. These are weather resistant. Even more so than brick, stone siding is highly expensive. In addition to this, the cost of installation is high, requiring the help of a professional.
Stucco is fairly cheap for what it is able to do. There are a number of different ways to complete the formula, resulting in different types and colors. The use of stucco as a siding, although only becoming extremely popular in the last decade or so, has been around for hundreds of years. This type of material will develop holes if not taken care of properly, and needs more maintenance than other types.
Bevel Wood Siding
This is one of the oldest forms of home material. It is done by creating two angled pieces with a board, varying in thickness. This material is installed horizontally with the upper piece overlapping the lower piece along the surface.Painting and caulking are required as regular maintenance to prevent weather damage for this type of siding. This type of material is subjected to wood rot in some situations, which should be taken into account.
Since it was first established in the 1960s, vinyl siding has become one of the most popular options. This is due to the low cost, variety, and easy maintenance. There are hundreds of choices when it comes to color, direction, panels, and more. The only point of maintenance that is needed will be a routine wash on occasion. This is important especially considering it is the cheapest of all materials available.
Fiber Cement Siding
This is the type of material the James Hardie siding is made from. It comes in different colors, some giving the appearance of natural wood at a much lower price and maintenance requirement. It is more durable than wood, nonflammable, water-resistant, and able to last 50 years or longer, much longer than other similar material. It’s price is slightly higher than vinyl, but less expensive than the other siding choices, and will last longer.
There are many different types of material to choose for the exterior of your home. Whether you are building a new home, or upgrading an existing home, take into account all your options. These factors all matter, as well as what is aesthetically pleasing to you.