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2018 Spring Maintenance Checklist for Homeowners: Part Two

Last month, we shared part one of our 2018 spring maintenance checklist for homeowners looking to get their residence in tip-top shape for the season. With the warm and sunny days of spring finally fully in session, we’re following up with part two of the checklist, providing you with additional ways to properly prepare your property so you can relax and enjoy the loads of backyard barbecues, patio parties and days of fun in the sun that are sure to come this season!

Establish Mosquito Prevention Around Your Property

Photo: Calladoc

Nothing puts a damper on a fun-filled outdoor party with friends and family than the presence of pesky bugs that you and your guests have to constantly try to swat away. But mosquitoes aren’t just an annoyance that can ruin the vibe at your summer barbecues and pool parties—they can also pose a serious health risk when they take a bite out of your skin and transmit infectious diseases ranging from the West Nile and Zika viruses to dengue and yellow fever. And if you think it’s just your partygoers dining on the patio who could be affected by mosquito-borne illnesses, think again. Your pets are also at risk of catching diseases such as heartworm infections from a solitary mosquito bite.

Photo: Brightside St. Louis

To help limit or eliminate entirely the exposure your family, friends and pets will have to mosquitoes this year, be sure to establish sufficient methods mosquito prevention around your property before the dog days of summer have officially arrived and you end up with swarms of mosquitoes inhabiting your outdoor space. The first—and the absolute simplest—method for preventing mosquitoes from taking up a long-term residence in your backyard is to eliminate any and all sources of standing water, which can serve as a breeding ground for these tiny pests.

Photo: City of Los Angeles Stormwater Program

Mosquito larvae can emerge from eggs that are covered by just 1 inch of water, so keep a watchful eye out for containers and other objects that frequently fill up with rainwater, such as gutters, planters, flowerpots, buckets, outdoor décor items, patio furniture and kids’ toys. In addition to objects that regularly capture rain when it falls from the sky, keep containers that are actually designed to hold water from being contaminated and harboring mosquito eggs that will eventually hatch into larvae as well. Examples of these types of mosquito breeding grounds on your property include birdbaths, rain barrels and your pet’s water bowls. Emptying the standing water from these containers at least once each week and cleaning them thoroughly with soap and water will help mosquito-proof your property so you can enjoy your outdoor space all season long.  

Protect Your Residence by Repainting the Exterior

Photo: Consumer Reports

Many homeowners mistakenly believe that the main reason some of their friends, neighbors and co-workers make the effort to repaint the exterior of their residence regularly is simply to give it a face-lift and to significantly enhance its curb appeal. While replacing faded, chipped or peeling paint with a fresh coat of color can certainly achieve your goal of improving your property’s appearance, hitting your local hardware store, stocking up on an assortment of high-quality brushes and applying a new layer of exterior paint after a long, harsh winter can have many more benefits for your home than you might think.

Photo: Palmetto Pressure Clean

According to most home repair and renovation specialists, the biggest benefit your house will receive when you give it a fresh coat of high-quality exterior paint is increasing its protection from the elements. Whether you reside in the northeastern United States—where strong winds, extremely cold temperatures and massive amounts of snowfall can quickly contribute to wear and tear on your siding—or your property is situated in a coastal region that frequently receives hurricane-force winds, blowing sand and debris, and torrential rains resulting in excessive moisture that can lead to rotting wood and the development of mold, examining the exterior of your home at least once each year is essential to extending its lifespan.

Photo: Chewelah Painting

Applying the right exterior paint to your home can create a protective shield that helps resist the damage caused by natural elements like rain, wind, snow and sleet. When you choose a high-quality paint, it will serve as an outer coating on your siding, which will prevent most moisture from ultimately seeping into your residence. This protective layer of paint also prevents the growth of mold and mildew, which commonly occur in areas where excessive moisture is found and can be very costly to remove. Making the decision to repaint the exterior of your home after a long, harsh winter is key to increasing the lifespan of your siding, protecting your property from damage, and getting your residence ready to enjoy with friends and family throughout the spring and summer months to come.

Searching for Seaglass on the Outer Banks

Photo: SeaGlassJewels.com

If you’ve ever strolled along the beaches of the Outer Banks searching for seashells, you’ve probably discovered an assortment of unique shells that have washed up onto the shoreline with the rolling waves. From scotch bonnets, scallops and sundials to periwinkles, whelks and moon snails, dozens of varieties of seashells can be found up and down the North Carolina coast. But while stunning seashells of all shapes and sizes are plentiful from Carova to Nags Head to Cape Hatteras, another one-of-a-kind find is a bit harder to come by: Outer Banks seaglass.

Photo: The Coca-Cola Company

Also sometimes referred to as “beach glass,” seaglass is a small shard of broken glass that has been tossed and turned in the tumbling surf for such an extended period of time that its razor-sharp edges have become smooth and sleek. Ranging in size from a few millimeters wide to several inches long, “genuine” pieces of seaglass—pieces whose rough edges were smoothed by the sea and not in a manmade tumbler that speeds up the process and results in so-called “tumbled” seaglass—each have a history that dates back several decades, if not several centuries.

Photo: Cory Godwin

Outer Banks seaglass comes in an array of colors, some of which are much more commonly found than others. While hues like white, brown and green are the types beachgoers stumble upon most frequently on the barrier islands of North Carolina, seaglass found along the Outer Banks can also come in beautiful hues ranging from cobalt blue and brilliant turquoise to bright red, pale pink and light lavender. While spotting any piece of seaglass on the Outer Banks is an exciting experience for anyone searching for a unique find, the most coveted colors for collectors are usually those that feature the rarest tints: red, blue and teal.

Photo: Japan Sea Glass

The origins of seaglass on the Outer Banks can vary greatly, and for seaglass hunters who want to know the possible backstory behind a piece of glass they’ve discovered at the water’s edge, paying close attention to its color is the key to determining where it likely came from. In years past—before the modern-day use of plastic became so commonplace for packaging—household items such as shampoo, prescriptions, perfume, soda, beer and cleaning products often came in glass bottles or containers. In addition to commonly used household products, a variety of other sources of seaglass that washes up on beaches today include apothecary bottles, tail lights from automobiles, lanterns, traffic light lenses, insulators from power lines and even old pieces of glassware that wound up in the sea during a shipwreck.

Photo: Pinterest

When these items were irresponsibly discarded by their owners as litter or intentionally dumped illegally by manufacturing companies looking for a cheap method of disposal, they eventually found their way into the ocean, where they shattered into smaller pieces as they encountered other objects ranging from rocks and jetties to boats and floating debris. Over time, the pounding surf pummeled the shards of seaglass into smooth pieces with a frosted appearance, and their rough edges that were once sharp to the touch became polished and slightly rounded. The result of this sometimes centuries-long process is the creation of naturally tumbled seaglass that can be transformed into an array of meaningful keepsakes—the most common of which is genuine seaglass jewelry.  

Photo: Pinterest

Seaglass can be found in coastal regions around the world. For years, seaglass enthusiasts have flocked to the beaches of Spain, Australia, Nova Scotia, Puerto Rico, the British Isles, Bermuda and the Bahamas—all areas that are well-known for their abundance of seaglass—in search of the perfect piece to add to their collection. But stellar seaglass finds aren’t limited to the shorelines of nations overseas.

Photo: NC Culture

When it comes the best beaches to find seaglass in the United States, several beaches along both the East Coast and West Coast make the list. California’s Fort Bragg Sea Glass Beach and Kauai Sea Glass Beach in Hawaii are two of the best-known beaches in the U.S. for finding seaglass; however, the Outer Banks of North Carolina—especially along the Cape Hatteras National Seashore—are also recognized by collectors as a hotbed for beautiful pieces of naturally tumbled seaglass that wind up on the sandy shoreline.

Photo: Daniel Waters Photography

Whether you’ve come upon a commonly found color like white or brown, or you’ve unearthed a rare find that boasts unique shades such as vivid turquoise or bright red, finding seaglass on the Outer Banks is an incredible experience you’ll never forget. To increase your chances of uncovering a piece of seaglass along the shoreline or in the surf during your next Outer Banks vacation, start your search during low tide—when thousands of seashells that are typically covered during high tide are easily accessible—or comb the beach shortly after a strong storm, when large waves and rough surf stirs up the seafloor and washes an array of hidden treasures out of the depths of the ocean and onto the sand.

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