Your backyard might not be the Wild West but there are still dangers lurking inside it. These perils become more apparent once you start making home improvements in springtime and discover that your own home is not as safe as you deemed it was. In fact, even the most benign spring cleanups, such as cleaning the gutters, carry the risk of falling and injuring yourself, so you need to take all the precaution measures before you turn handyman. In case you are wondering what exactly these measures mean for each outdoor home improvement, here’s a short guide for all the safety measures that you need to follow.
Step 1:Roof inspection and cleaning the gutters
One of the most vulnerable areas in the house is by far the roof which is directly exposed to the elements. Since it is located high above your head, it is hard to notice if there are any clogs in its drains, or structural damage around the flashings, for instance. That is why it is important to grab an extension ladder and climb the roof to have a look. If you are not planning to carry out any possible repairs yourself, then all you need to do is get in eyesight level with the tiles and not actually climb on top of it. By avoiding threading on the roof, you are preventing falling off it or through it.
In most cases, you are probably going to deduct that the only intervention on the roof will be simply cleaning the gutters. This might seem as a slam dunk but manipulating an extension ladder can be tricky. First off you need to place the ladder on solid ground or on concrete, as soft ground will make them sink once loaded and they might tip to one side. Secondly, make sure all the retractable segments are firmly in place so you don’t slide down. Finally, you need to keep in mind that the gutters on your roof are tens of meters long, so you will have to move the ladder a lot.
Failing to reposition the ladder is the reason why many homeowners fall down and injure themselves. Since you have a limited reach of your arm or the rake you are holding, you need to climb down each time you want to move the ladder a few meters to the side to cover the next section of the gutters. If you try to lean too much outward, you risk losing your balance and knocking down the ladder while you are on top of them, resulting in serious injury.
Step 2:A fresh layer of paint
Paint applied to wooden surfaces, like the outer walls of the house, the shed or the garage door chips away after a while. Spring is the ideal time to grab a bucket of paint and start repainting your house. Firstly, there is plenty of sunlight so you can spot all the problem areas and secondly, the air temperature is favorable when it comes to drying of the paint. You are going to best detect any chips in the paintjob by pressure washing your house and waiting for the surface to dry. One you notice that paint is peeling off in certain places, it is time to scrape it off using a chisel or a screwdriver if you lack appropriate tools.
This process might seem benign but this is the time that your health is in danger, as all those flakes coming off the wall become airborne and you can inhale them. That is why a face mask with an air-filter is pretty much standard equipment for repainting your house. Once you scrape off the paint, it is time for applying a new layer, all the while keeping the face mask on in order not to inhale toxic fumes. Since you are outdoors they are not as dangerous as when used indoors but they still pose a health hazard.
Step 3:Erecting new structures
Spring cleanup is not all about repairing and sprucing up the garden, as you can use the fine weather to build a new feature or two in the backyard. There are several ideas but a fire pit, a barbecue or an outdoor kitchen with a bar are some of the best solutions. The best thing about such projects is their final cost as you can outsource the building material you need from the garden itself. In most outdoor spaces there are rocks, some buried underground, that can be used to form the rim of the fire pit or the base for a bar. Of course, a trip to the local DIY center will be necessary but only to purchase nuts and bolts needed to secure the structure in place.
Carrying all those boulders, bricks, and stones around means that there is a real risk of them falling onto your feet. Even if you are using a cartwheel, it can easily lose balance and tip over, delivering a heavy payload right onto your pinky. That is why steel cap boots like the ones produced by Redback Boots should form an integral part of your gear when building more complex structures around the yard. Such boots are usually slip-resistant and waterproof, so you can use them for other activities as well.
Step 4:Building a treehouse
If getting on the roof is not mandatory, maneuvering tree canopies is if you want to make a treehouse for your kids. We all had one when we were kids, so there is no reason for the next generation not to enjoy a cozy hideout high above the ground. However, safety should be your primary concern when erecting this improvement, as you need to be careful while constructing it and the finished treehouse need to be 100% safe to play in/on.
Firstly, you need to have a harness that will prevent you from falling down if you lose your grip. Secondly, you need to have durable hand gloves on as there will be a lot of hammering, so you wouldn’t want to hit your fingers. The area underneath the construction site needs to be taped off, so no one will be able to stand under you while you work. No matter how much the kids are impatient to play at the tree house, there is no going near it until it is fully assembled.
Step 5:The windows
Springtime is ideal for cleaning and one of the areas in the house that is first on the list for a splash of cleaning liquid and water are the windows. Swiping the dirt from them is one thing but repairing them is a whole different ballpark. Namely, once all the muck that piled on them over winter comes off, it becomes apparent if they are scraped, dented or chipped in places, which would mean they need replacement due to their compromised structural integrity.
Replacing the window panes yourself is a viable option that will cost you time but that will save you money at the same time. If you are a skilled craftsman, then there is no reason not to manipulate the glass yourself instead of hiring other companies to do it. However, don’t neglect the safety measures such as avoiding direct contact with the edges of the glass pane. You need to put on gloves and place a piece of cardboard on the surface of the glass to prevent any scraping or breaking. Since these windowpanes are large in surface, move carefully around the house, as one wrong step could spell disaster.
The home improvement listed here are just the tips of the iceberg of what you can do in springtime. However, they demonstrate how every mending or building in the backyard needs to be accompanied by adequate safety measures.
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