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Your patio furniture isn’t what it used to be, but you can make it look good as new…

You’ve been sitting on it since the middle of April, but now it’s time to take another look at it.  Your patio furniture isn’t what it used to be, but you can make it look good as new…

Thank goodness for my neighbors.

Although they are nice people, I use them as a barometer for my home repair. When their grass looks like it needs cutting, I cut mine. When their garage door looks like it needs paint, I paint mine. You get the idea.

So last weekend when we were invited over for bar-b-que, I noticed that their metal deck furniture looked as if it had seen its better days. So when I got home, you guessed it – I decided mine was ready for some refurbishing.

Fortunately, refinishing your metal deck/patio furniture is easier than you think, and it will make a world of difference when it comes to enjoying your backyard.

Here is the play by play on making your metal furniture look spiffy again:

- Remove all the rubber tips from the legs and cushions.

- Wash and rinse the furniture thoroughly using a mild detergent.

- With a wire brush, scrape off all the rust and the loose flakes of paint. If you have places with paint ‘bubbling’ up on the furniture use a screwdriver to remove the bump, then wire brush it clean.

- Once you are done with the scraping, use a commercial rust remover to remove all the rust.

- Now the fun part. Paint or spray with rust-resistant paint. If the furniture is really corroded, you may want to use a rust-resistant primer first. Note – you don’t have to use black. What were once 4 black chairs and 2 black end tables on my deck are now 2 red chairs, two yellow chairs and two tables with a color that is something in the blue family, I think.

- Now just let it dry – up to 24 hours for each coat depending on weather and paint instructions. Then replace rubber tips and cushions and bingo – new patio/deck furniture.

If you take the time to do proper preparation, your job may well last a couple, three years. And at 105 hamburgers and hot dogs per year, that is a lot backyard enjoyment!

Does your roof suffer from hail damage?

It’s getting to be that season – severe storms bring out the worst in roofers, or rather, brings out the worst roofers.  They are known as wildcat roofers, Chuck in a truck roofers, what have you - and this is how they operate.

They will drive up to your house and tell you that you have hail damage to your shingles.  They claim they can tell by looking at a metal vent on your roof and seeing if it is dented.

They will tell you that your insurance company will write you a check for a new roof (which they will if you deserve one) and that they will be happy to do the work.

They will often not give you a written estimate, rather telling you that they will be happy to do the work for the same amount as the insurance check.  (What a coincidence).

Here’s the problem.  While you may very well get a new roof installed you are taking a huge chance.  HUGE CHANCE.

Does the company have insurance and workman’s comp?  Their telling you ‘Yes’ isn’t good enough.  You need to see documentation.  You need to physically see the policy and call the insurance company to make sure that that policy is paid and in effect.

What if you have a problem?  Your chances of getting any customer service out of your wildcat roofer are marginal at best.  Does the roof come with a warranty or guarantee?  Who will be around to do that work?

Your best bet is to get three estimates for a new roof, in writing.  Get and check references from 5 years ago.  Check insurance and workers comp paper work.  Make sure you’re getting the correct shingle.  Talk to other people who have used them.

When they ring your doorbell and say that they are “Doing work in your neighborhood” ask them where, and with whom.  Ask to go see them in action.

I had a company on my porch 10 days ago – true story – tell me that “My roof has hail damage and they are in the area working on my neighbor’s roof and would be happy to repair my roof as long as they are around”.

I asked them which neighbor and they said “The house two houses down, Cathy’s house”.

While I didn’t notice any work being done in the neighborhood (I don’t always pay attention though) I do know that none of my neighbors are named “Cathy”.  At that point it was a free-for-all with them not answering questions and retreating quickly up my driveway.

I always enjoy those moments.

Remember, just because they found the problem doesn’t mean they have any rights to fix the problem.  Do your homework.  You have plenty of time to do this, your roof is not going to fall in or suddenly start leaking.

You have time to make an informed choice.  Use it and do so.  Then warn your neighbors.

Be on the lookout. Be alert.

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