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Summer Cleaning
Preparing Wood Surfaces Before Painting
Summer Lawn Care Tips

Summer Cleaning

The kids are out of school and the traffic level in your home is bound increase dramatically, leading to unwelcome wear and tear. Click here for tips on how to save your house from the summer invasion.

  1. Mats Matter: You'd be amazed how much dirt a sturdy nylon mat will catch. Put one at each doorway. They are reasonably priced and can be found at any of the major discount superstores in the housewares department. Spend a little extra on a larger one to cover the area where kids enter the most. Teach them immediately that the first step in the house after school is where the dirt comes off! Or, make a rule that that's where all shoes are removed.
  2. Delegating Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Them: One of the main reasons Mom doesn't get enough help around the house is because it's painful to delegate chores. We all want things done "our way." However, letting go and allowing kids to have responsibilities is important all throughout life, and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. Assign chores around age group. Let children know that two or three jobs around the house belong to them. They will take pride in these jobs if their efforts are met with praise.
  3. Ages 8 - 12: These kids are ready for some real chores. The last person in the shower in the morning should be handed a spray-on bath cleaner with a little abrasive in it. Steam helps loosen dirt, so once they're finished, show them how to spray tile in the shower. After they've brushed their teeth, they can quickly go over the tile with a sponge kept under the sink.
  4. Ages 3 - 8: Even at this tender age it's not too early to develop routine and habits that could last a lifetime. When a child is through playing in a certain area, part of his or her routine should be to put his or her toys away. One idea is to build some benches in the rec room that open to hold toys. Also, large rubber bins are available at discount superstores in a variety of colors and models. Label them with stickers that are lively and that can show a child what goes where.
  5. Does Clutter Make You Shudder? Clutter is inevitable when kids are back to school. They come home with some of the most amazing items. Rather than have feelings hurt by tossing out their precious schoolwork, go to your same discount superstore and buy under the bed storage boxes. Let the kids decide what schoolwork they'd like to save - special projects they are proud of - and have them save them in these boxes.
  6. My Child, The Artist: When kids bring home artwork, display the really good pieces on the refrigerator with colorful magnets. Decide what the lifespan will be for each picture - then if it should be saved in a box or not. And when the little darlings use your walls for a canvas, use concentrated dishwashing soap to clean the crayon marks.
  7. Make Family Time Chore Time: Designate a time each week where the family can sit together in the kitchen or den and visit about what's happening at school, work, etc. Each person can be handling a task during the discussion such as polishing silver, folding laundry or organizing a drawer.
  8. Don't get Shocked: A portable hairdryer really comes in handy for quick dust jobs like cobwebs. Teach the older kids these shortcuts, but remember to also teach them about safety with electric devices. This is a good time for them to learn these facts.
  9. Hello, Mr. Dustbuster: Another great appliance that older kids can handle. With "after school" comes major crumbs from snacks. Let the kids know right away that you do not want to find any evidence of their snacks around when you come home from work. Have large garbage cans lined with bags accessible in the kitchen.
  10. But Mom . . . But nothing: Let the kids know that their areas, bedrooms and bathrooms are their responsibility. Buy each one their own set of cleaning tools, and let them know they are to use them before any play time after school. Go to an office supply store and purchase desk trays and pencil holders to reduce clutter in their rooms. The trays can be marked "homework to be done" and "completed homework" to avoid morning panic over lost papers. By third grade, kids should be held responsible for these items.
  11. Chore Charts: One of the best ways to start off younger kids. There are commercial ones available or, you can easily make one with a poster board. Have them on a bulletin board with each child's name and chores listed. Have them check off their chores when they've finished. You can also use the "gold star" system for a super job.
  12. Heavy Duty Day: Set aside one time slot a week for a heavy duty chore. Older kids can tackle one of their own, like window cleaning. Use a spray bottle of commercial cleaner, or fill one with vinegar and water. Give them soft cloths or old diapers and teach them the proper way to wash windows streak-free. (Use cotton cloth to dry for this.) Younger kids can help Mom and Dad turn mattresses, clean blinds or wash walls. Getting them involved early is the key.

Preparing Wood Surfaces Before Painting

Summer is the season when you put a fresh look on the house by painting. Prepare the surface properly before you paint for best results

Wood surfaces must be clean, dry, and in good condition before you repaint. Repair any damaged boards, trim, or shingles and fix any structural damage that allows water to penetrate.

Remove dirt and all loose, peeling, or blistering paint with a staff wire brush or paint scraper. Where paint damage is severe, remove the paint down to the bare wood. Feather the edges of any remaining sound paint with medium-grade sandpaper, then sand again with fine-grade sandpaper. If the top coat didn't adhere to a previous coat, rough up the damaged paint with sandpaper.

Wash greasy or very dirty wood with a mild detergent, hose it off, and let the wood dry before painting.

Apply a water repellent if moisture is causing paint damage. Prime with an oil-base prime coat, and cover with two coats of high-quality paint after you've prepared the surface.

Apply a clear waterproofing sealer to the ends of all wood boards to prevent water penetration. Brush a prime coat on bare or new wood. Where heat and humidity cause wood to deteriorate quickly, treat boards with a wood preservative before sealing.

Wood needs to be painted or stained to protect it from the elements with the exception of redwood, cedar, and southern red cypress (which should be sealed to help retard color changes.) Use a finish that matches the existing one as closely as possible. A 2-inch brush for trim and a 4-inch brush for wider surfaces are usually best. For a larger area, you may want to use a 9-inch roller. Choose a fine nap for smooth surfaces and a thick nap for textured surfaces.

Choose fair, dry weather with temperatures between 50 degrees and 90 degrees for best results in exterior painting. Wait until the morning dew has evaporated and stop painting before evening dampness sets in. Don't paint when conditions are windy or dusty, particularly if you're using a slow-drying, solvent base paint.

Need home inspection?

Call AmeriSpec Home Inspection Service, North America's number one home inspection service. The right inspection gives homeowners what they need most - peace of mind. AmeriSpec is a ServiceMaster company and is a member of the ServiceMaster Quality Service Network. For more information on any of the ServiceMaster companies and services, please call 1-800-WE SERVE.

Summer Lawn Care Tips

Drought Stress


  • In early stages, turf turns a light green to grayish color. Walking on the turf causes footprints.
  • Retarded growth
  • Poor density
  • Turf browning
  • Dead turf will result from prolonged drought


  • Lack of irrigation or rainfall
  • Improper irrigation

Helpful Hint

  • Check crowns to determine if tissue is alive. Crowns that are discolored
    or black are dead, and those turf plants will not recover.

Drought Stress on New Sod


  • Irregular brown patches of turfgrass
  • Patches may be restricted to certain sod pieces


  • Improper watering of new sod

Helpful Hint

  • New sod and seedlings are more prone to drought or other environmental stresses. Proper care at this stage is critical to encourage good root establishment.



  • Circular to irregular patches of off-colored turf
  • White to tan bands on leaf blades
  • Bands may or may not have dark borders

Conditions Favoring Development

  • Periods of heavy dew
  • High temperatures during day, but low night temperatures
  • Sunny days


  • Unknown. Considered a physiological stress

Heat Stress


  • Browning
  • Turf may die


  • High temperatures

Helpful Hint

  • Cool-season grasses vary in their tolerance to high temperatures. Grasses prone to heat stress include: annual ryegrass, annual and roughstak bluegrasses, bentgrass and fine fescue.

Your lawn is your welcome mat. A healthy landscape say a lot about you and your home. Keep your lawn and landscape looking its finest by using the lawn care company that more businesses and homeowners worldwide have come to trust. TruGreen-ChemLawn has the experience, technology and proven application methods to keep your lawn healthy and green. TruGreen-ChemLawn is part of the ServiceMaster Quality Service Network. For more information on any of the ServiceMaster companies and services, please call 1-800-WE SERVE.



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