School is only boring if you make it that way. There are practical life lessons all around your home that won’t feel like “school” at all. Here are a few projects to do with your kids that are fun and teach important subjects.
1. Science – Start a Garden
Doesn’t have to be big, and it doesn’t even have to be outside. Gardening is full of science lessons, including chemistry, biology, measurements, and more. And you can eat the results!
Walking through the chicken life cycle, including how an egg gestates and hatches, is one of the most fascinating and educational experiences in life. Ideally, I would recommend you buy an incubator and hatch some eggs yourself.
Don’t be scared! You can get everything online and you don’t have to keep the chicks once they hatch. Trust me, you have someone like me near you who loves chickens and will take them off your hands. Just put out a Facebook post and watch the chicken people emerge.
Scholastic has some cool chicken-hatching lesson plans to get you started.
This is an oldy-but-goodie. Building even the simplest bird house requires measuring, calculating material, volume, estimation, even calculating the size of the hole in the front. Math, math, math that is fun, fun, fun.
And there is nothing more fulfilling for anyone than building something with your own hands. It’s what HomeDabbler is dedicated to.
Posted at 10:19 am by HomeDabbler, on September 7, 2019
Live in your home long enough and you will have to deal with wood rot.
I’m sure they will figure out how to make houses from completely synthetic materials one day, but until then wood rot will continue to me a major home maintenance issue.
There are three spots around you home that are especially prone to wood rot, the three most common that I dealt with in my home repair business. You can prevent them though.
Exterior Door Frames
Your exterior door frames are likely made of wood. Really cheap wood. You probably also have a concrete pad or a wooden deck that leads to your door. When it rains, water splashes onto the door frame, especially the bottom 12 inches, under the first hinge.
This kind of rot can sneak up on you because the frame is painted. The paint gives the appearance that the frame is solid when it is not.
Find your most exposed door. If you have a garage, this is usually the pedestrian door on the side. Crouch down and push with your index finger where the door from meets the threshold (the horizontal metal piece that you walk over to go through the door). If it is soft or your finger pushes through, you have rot.
Here’s what it looks like.
How do I fix it?
Once the rot starts, it is a done deal. You must have the rotten spots repaired. A skilled carpenter can do this, but it is delicate surgery. You are likely to end up with clunky patches at the bottom of your door frames.
You may have to replace the whole door. If you do, I recommend spending the extra money on doors with composite frames. Solve the problem long term.
How do I prevent it?
There are a few ways to mitigate and prevent this. First, make sure the eave over the door is guttered. All that roof water splashing on the door will surely rot it. Also make sure the frames are completely caulked, every crack, and painted at least every other year.
When I say horizontal trim, I mean any piece of trim that sticks out perpendicular from the wall. This is usually an exterior window sill.
These pieces essentially become a shelf for water to sit on. When (not if) the caulk fails between the trim and the window, water can leak in and rot the trim.
Looks like this.
How do I fix it?
Remove and replace the rotten material. I recommend that when you (or your carpenter) make this repair that you go back with either pressure treated lumber or a non-wood product like fiber-cement.
How do I prevent it?
Like most exterior effort, caulk and paint regularly. And keep the water away. This is usually done with gutters.
I predict that over time this type of rot will be less of a problem. The builders are using more resilient materials than they used to for house trim, like pressure treated and fiber cement.
Here’s the trim on my parents’ house. It’s made of pressure-treated lumber and will last till the cows come home.
Under Your Sinks
This is the most insidious of all because, seriously, who ever checks for leaks under the sink? We just grab the next bar of soap and shut the cabinet door.
But you should check every once in a while. There are two main ways water will leak under your sink and cause rot. First, your faucet supply lines can (and over time, likely will) start a slow drip. Second, your drain seals can fail.
This leak is insidious because it is one drip at a time – no sound, behind the scenes. Until one day you do look under the sink and see black mold everywhere and have a puddle (and rotten wood) in the bottom of your sink cabinet.
How do I fix it?
First, diagnose the problem, supply lines or drain. If it is the supply lines, you will see dripping water even if the sink is not running. For drains, it will only drip when water is running through the drain.
Only one way. Look under your sinks ever month or so. Another trick is to put a dry paper towel under your sink. If there is even a drip, you will see it immediately without having to crawl under there.
A little prevention goes a long way
I know it’s a pain to add more maintenance tasks to your already busy list, but repairing these three common wood rot issues is really expensive.
You can check and prevent these in less that three hours a year vs. hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars in repair.