Homeowners raring to go with spring cleanup chores
April 18, 2005
A few homeowners waking from a long winter’s nap may have quite a bit of spring-cleaning work awaiting them.
Heftier than most years, winter’s annual serving of snow has caused damage to decks, rails and even the main structures for some full- and part-time residents. The sudden thaw has sent contractors and landscapers out to conduct repairs and cleanup, and home improvement centers to stock up on inventory.
“There are people seeing damage. This is our seventh month of getting snow,” Meeks Store Manager Buzz Bera said from the South Lake Tahoe location.
Bera recommended to homeowners they hold off a little longer on painting houses and staining decks because the temperature could drop suddenly and it could still dump in the Sierra Nevada’s roller coaster of spring conditions.
“You want to make sure the boards have no moisture. Otherwise, you’ll seal it in. I’d say a week or two (to do the work),” he said.
South Shore General Contractor David Cattaneo is working on a few inside jobs near Tahoe Paradise that show winter’s wrath. At a house on Thunderbird Drive, the pipes under a sink and in a bathroom burst and flooded the whole floor. A new one will cost about $12,000.
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“If they don’t have good insulation and it’s not 55 degrees, then that can happen,” he said. “Sometimes the pipes are faulty.”
Water has leaked inside the house around the windows, which he repaired last year. This winter, the load of snow on the garage’s flat roof is dripping inside.
“When it freezes (and melts), it’s terrible,” he said, pointing up to the roof and dodging the drips inside the garage. “Snow doesn’t like a flat roof. Water has to go somewhere.”
With leaks, “freeze-back” is a common problem found in Tahoe when melting icicles form ice dams that infiltrate the interior under the shingles. More pipe problems are caused by homeowners failing to disconnect their garden hoses from outside faucets, which can prompt water to collect and freeze 18 inches back from the wall.
Another client of Cattaneo is facing at least a $5,000 expense to repair a collapsed deck in back from the snow that’s collected on Nottaway Drive, which runs alongside a hillside with water runoff. The doorway railing around the side steps had also fallen over from being encased in 3 feet of snow – an added $700 bill.
“It’s muddy here. They definitely need to have cement footings (at the base of the deck),” he said, looking over the fence at a neighbor’s deck that has them.
The homeowner on the other side has been through the drill. Debra Zotti said she rebuilt her steps and redid her backyard deck last year after it succumbed to snow damage.
“All this water through here moves the soil,” she said, while cleaning up the front yard. The back yard still has 3 feet of snow in it, so she’s waiting for meltdown.
Joe Walton of Tahoe Turf has been sending out landscaping crews to do raking, trimming and cleanup work for paying customers. Homeowners may want to use the pine needles as mulch, but Walton has discovered some plants don’t like them.
He realizes residents may be wanting to rush thorough spring-cleaning jobs.
“Remember it’s probably not the last snow of the season,” he warned eager planters. As for perennials, don’t be quick to judge whether plants will come back to life.
Walton suggests homeowners check the sprinkler heads in their systems because the heads could have gotten twisted over the winter months.
Despite the wet winter, the South Tahoe Public Utility District’s water conservation program remains in effect this year. Even-numbered street addresses are to water only on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays are designated as the odd days. No landscape irrigation is allowed on Saturday.