Monday, September 23, 2013

Trugreen's Guidelines for Houston Lawns


TRUGREEN recently sent out the following to Houston Home Owners on the proper lawn watering and we felt it was important to pass their information onto you:

 

The Mail out read as follows:

Proper watering is critical to your lawn’s health and vigor. Deep and infrequent watering is the best practice. This means wetting the soil to a depth of 3-5 inches per irrigation. Water during the morning rather than the afternoon or evening; this allows the leaf blades to dry and reduces the risk of disease. Let the turf determine water frequency. Water at first signs of stress and not on a predetermined schedule. St Augustine turf has a poor drought tolerance and requires irrigation to survive during our long hot summers.

 

 HOMEOWNER WATERING GUIDELINES FOR HOUSTON LAWNS

SEASON
MONTHS
GUIDELINES
Early Spring
January, February
Rainfall is usually adequate. Water if we have a 2 week period of no rain
Spring
March, April, May
Water weekly if less than 1 inch of rainfall occurs
Summer
June, July, August
Water each section
Fall
September, October
REDUCE WATER FREQUENCY! This is Brown Patch season & excess water triggers this disease.
During September water weekly if no rainfall & every 2 weeks in October if no rain
Winter
November, December
Rainfall is usually adequate. Water if we have a 2 week period of no rain

 

Do not water every day or two. Frequent, short watering encourages shallow roots, unhealthy grass plants and turf susceptible to drought and disease

 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

For The Customer: How to Spot and avoid Trouble in Hardwood Floors

Homes across Texas with slight humidity variations through the seasons respond with the expansion and contraction of all of your wood in your home, especially your wood floors. During cool or cold times of the year, while the heater is running and the air is drying, floors contract and during the summer, while the air is more humid and the AC is running, floors expand. Although this process begins slow down over time, it actually never stops, regardless of the age of the wood. The following information, taken from the National Wood Flooring Association, is a great guide to your wood floor and how to maintain it.



Cracks and separations between boards
Nearly every floor endures some separation between boards. In winter, when homes are heated and the air is dry, wood flooring gives up some of its moisture and therefore shrinks. When that happens, thin cracks appear between. This is normal, and homeowners should be forewarned of this. It is acceptable, and customers should not be calling the installers at the first sign of cracks. Once the indoor heat goes off in the spring, and the indoor environment regains moisture, most of these cracks will close up.

Cracks in winter--in the drier months--may easily develop to the thickness of a dime (1/32 inch) for solid 2 1/4-inch wide strip oak floors. Floors with light stained woods and naturally light woods like maple tend to show cracks more than darker, wood-tone finished floors.
The cure for cracks? Homeowners should add moisture to the air during dry periods. It's their choice-live with the cracks and wait until spring, or else add humidity by opening the dishwasher after a rinse cycle, switching off the bathroom fan or hanging laundry to dry in the basement near the furnace. Better yet, install a humidifier in the furnace, or an exterior air vent for the furnace burner.
If cracks are a concern, laminated flooring moves less and shows fewer gaps.

"Cupping and crowning" are common complaints that develop with high humidity. Both problems occur across the width of the flooring material.
Cupping is when the edges of a board are high and its center is lower. It can occur after water spills onto the floor and is absorbed by the wood, but high humidity is more often the cause. If the wood expands significantly, compression set can result as the boards are crushed together, deforming the boards at the edges.
Cupping is caused by a moisture imbalance through the thickness of the wood: The wood is wetter on the bottom of the board than on the top. The moisture imbalance can be proven by taking moisture meter readings at different pin depths.

The first step in repairing a cupped floor is to identify and eliminate the moisture source. In the kitchen, it may be a leak from the dishwasher or icemaker. From outdoors, it might be the terrain of the lot, with rain and runoff not moving away from the house and foundation. Indoors, the humidity may need to be controlled, or a plumbing leak may be causing excess moisture in the basement, which migrates up into the subfloor and from there into the wood flooring.

Once the source of the moisture is controlled, cupping can usually be cured. The floor may improve on its own as it dries out over time. Other times, fans may be needed to speed the drying process. Once the moisture content has stabilized, the floor can be reassessed. Choices may be to do nothing at all, to recoat the floor or to sand and refinish the floor. However, it should not be sanded until moisture-meter readings indicate the floor is thoroughly dried.

Crowning is the opposite of cupping: The center of a board is higher than the edges. Moisture imbalance is sometimes the cause of crowning if excessive moisture is introduced on the top of the floor, perhaps from water used in maintenance or plumbing leaks from an overhead sprinkler system. However, a common cause is that the floor was previously cupped, but was sanded at the wrong time-before the moisture content returned to normal and the board flattened on its own.

It should be noted that some slight cupping and crowning may occur naturally, and should be tolerated: The bark side of lumber shrinks and swells more than the side closest to the center of the tree. Largely seasonal in occurrence, it's common in wider planks. Its appearance can be minimized by using a beveled-edge flooring product with a satin finish, rather than square-edge flooring with a high gloss finish.

Buckled floors
The "buckling" of hardwood floors-when the flooring literary pulls away from the subfloor, lifting up to several inches in one or more places-is one of the most extreme reactions to moisture that can occur. Fortunately, it is not a common occurrence.
Buckling happens most often after a floor is flooded for a time, but there are numerous other causes. On nailed floors, insufficient nailing, incorrect nails or incorrect subfloor construction are possibilities. On glue-down floors, the causes range from the use of incorrect or insufficient mastics to an inadequate mastic transfer, a subfloor separation or a subfloor contamination. See Moisture Detection Equipment.

In flooded hardwood strip flooring, the swelling stress is theoretically high enough to push out walls. However, before that can happen the nails or the glue holding the flooring to the subfloor wil1 usually give way, so that the floor bulges upward.
If buckling floors are caught early, spot repair and replacement may be possible. Once the standing water is removed, several boards may be taken up from the floor so that air can be circulated across and below the floor more effectively. Once the floor has dried to a more stable moisture level, repairs can usually be made.

Some tips on maintenance
The enjoyment of wood flooring depends on some routine but minimal maintenance details. These include:
  • Sweep your floors or use a dust mop daily, but do not use a household dust treatment, as this may cause your floors to become slick or dull the finish.
  • Vacuum your floor regularly, as often as you would vacuum carpets.
  • Clean your floor's coated surface with a lightly dampened cloth using a recommended cleaning product, and according to the manufacturer's directions for use.
  • Never damp mop a wood floor. In all cases, use minimum water, because water causes deterioration of the wood itself, as well as the finish.
  • Buy a "floor care kit" that your installer or flooring retailer recommends instead of counting on a home-made remedy of vinegar and water to clean your floors. Different finishes have different maintenance requirements, and it's best to follow professional advice in this area.
  • Clean light stains by rubbing with a damp cloth
  • Avoid using mops or cloths that leave excessive water on the floor. Never let a spill of water dry on the floor.
  • Control humidity levels by use of a dehumidifier or humidifier. You may need to add portable units in some rooms.
  • Have your floors recoated periodically as the finish shows wear.
  • Do not clean your wood floors with water or water-based products on a regular schedule. Clean only when necessary and clean only the soiled areas.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Maintain your Water Heaters – Regardless of what kind you have…

Very few people know that water heaters require maintenance much like the other appliances in our homes, such as the HVAC system. If not maintained, the water heater will not run as efficiently, and over time, will begin to deteriorate and ultimately ruin the entire unit. The following information can save you time, money and headaches in the future.


Over time, as water moves through your water heater, dirt and other residue begin to build up in the bottom of the tank itself. The water heater is designed to capture this dirt and residue so it does not travel through the hot water pipes and into our fixtures. No matter what type of water heater you have, you should consider flushing the unit at least once a year. This way, you can allow the water heater to run more efficiently, increase the amount of water you are getting, and save a bunch of money in the long run.

Benefits:

- Water heater last longer – saving you money

- Runs more efficiently – saving monthly gas and electric costs

- More hot water and for longer – no build up, more volume

- Increased water pressure, no build up, more pressure


Depending on the type of water heater you own, we have listed a couple of links that will help you flush your water heater on your own or you can give your neighborhood plumber a call and they will be happy to help out.

Traditional (Tank) Water Heater:
http://inspectingphoenix.com/home-maintenance-tip-flush-your-water-heater

Tankless Water Heater:
http://www.eztankless.com/service.html



With these easy steps you can double the life of your water heater, not matter they type.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

What Builder Certifications Mean for Your Home

While looking for a custom home builder, you may come across various building or green certifications. Of course, unless you’re in the industry, you may not know exactly what all these different certifications mean. More importantly, you may not know how these certifications benefit you.

Below is a short list of common certifications you might see – and a quick guide to what these certifications mean for your future home.

Certified Graduate Builder—This exclusive designation certifies the builder’s business and project management skills. Certified Graduate Builders have a keen understanding of today’s home building industry, and they go through continuing education to keep up to date with all developments in the industry.

For You: When you have a well-qualified project manager on your side, you can rest easy knowing your home will be built on time and within budget. Cunningham Building and Development has two Certified Graduate Builders on staff, helping us exceed all standards for your project.



NAHB Certified Green Professional—As a Certified Green Professional, a builder demonstrates the highest level of knowledge and skills for incorporating green building principles into homes without increasing construction costs.

For You: This certification means you’ll get an energy-efficient house that’s good for you and the environment. At Cunningham Building and Development, we have two NAHB Certified Green Professionals on staff—a distinction few builders in all of Texas can boast.



LEED—Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) is a worldwide standard for green building. This certification provides third-party verification that a home was built to be energy efficient, water efficient, reduce CO2 emissions, achieve high indoor air quality, and more.

For You: LEED certified homes have a smaller footprint on the environment, and that’s something you can feel good about. At Cunningham, we combine energy efficiency and luxury design to deliver a home that meets LEED green building standards.



Energy Star—Energy Star is a government-backed program aimed at helping to protect the environment through advanced energy efficiency.

For You: Energy efficient building practices can help you save money on your energy bill while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Cunningham Building and Development can create a home for you that meets the Energy Star standards.

Have questions about these building certifications? Just leave a comment and we’ll be happy to respond.