Archive for the ‘Home Maintenance’ Category

A Spring Checklist for Your Home

Tuesday, April 10th, 2012

Spring’s in full swing and, for many DC area homeowners, this season prompts a professional check of their homes spaces in need of inspection, maintenance and repair.

In addition to home remodeling projects, did you know that clients come to Merrick for home repair projects?  Our home repair division is dedicated to completing smaller projects for local homeowners.

If you’re not sure what needs to be checked or repaired around your home, open out this ultimate spring home maintenance checklist, (provided by HGTV) which lists many of the services clients rely on us for. We also assist clients with:

- power washing of decks and siding
- assembly of outdoor patio furniture/playgrounds
- repair for fences and gates

Why wait?
Get your home in the shape you want  by contacting us at 301-946-2356 or today. And, for more info, visit our Handyman page.


Have a good spring,

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

New Year’s Resolutions

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

I usually avoid making New Year’s resolutions. It’s not that I’m against the concept, it’s just that I spend a good part of the day trying to be better than I was the day before, so daily resolutions are more my speed.

Interestingly, many homeowners that we’ve spoken with recently are resolving to make small, medium and large modifications to their homes and habits in 2012. Here are a few of their ideas to consider in the coming year:


Stay Safe: By replacing smoke detectors, adding grab bars and better lighting and fixing the damage in your homes, you’ll be protecting yourself and your family members.


Winterize Your Home: Now that cold weather has arrived, don’t put off winterizing your home. Seal up cracks and repair the weather stripping around your windows and doors and remember to cover outside faucets, bring in potted plants and drip faucets when the temperatures go below freezing. It’s also a good time to add additional insulation to your attic, which can save you money on your heating and cooling bills.

Save Energy: Resolve to turn down your thermostat this winter when you’re at work or sleeping. Better yet, replace it with a programmable thermostat that remembers to adjust the temperatures for you. Also, install energy efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs to help reduce your carbon footprint while you save money.


Go Green: Make an effort to start recycling and properly dispose of old electronic equipment such as televisions, computers and cell phones. Take steps to save water and repair dripping faucets and fix running toilets. Also, consider installing low-flow showerheads and replacing old water guzzling toilets with new water saving or dual-flush models. When purchasing new appliances or electronic equipment, be sure they bear the federal Energy Star seal.


Maintain Your Home: Making a resolution to change the air filter on your central system every month or two will save energy and allow your system to run more efficiently. Draining your hot water tank once a year removes any sediment buildup. Cleaning your gutters regularly is another important home maintenance project that’s easy to overlook and avoid. Neglected gutters can lead to rotting eave boards, as well as damage to basements and foundations.


Resolutions, whether daily, weekly, monthly or yearly can have a big impact on your home and your life.

We wish you happy holidays and a wonderful New Year. If you have any questions or comments, reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick
Merrick Design and Build

Pepco’s Residential Energy Rebate Programs are Still Available in Maryland

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

A few years ago, residential energy rebate programs abounded. Today, many programs have come to an end or run out of funding, but the good news is that several programs are still available for Maryland residents.

Here’s a list of Pepco programs that offer money back on various remodeling improvements, appliance purchases and others home-related items:

Maryland Pepco Home Energy Audits
– Pepco is currently offering a wonderful deal: for only $100, they will perform a comprehensive energy audit of your home. Having an audit is a precondition for several rebate programs, and from a practical standpoint, it makes a ton of sense to understand how your house uses and wastes energy. I had my audit on October 10th and recommend you that schedule yours to take advantage of this limited-time offer.

After you receive your energy audit, call us to review your results. Your auditor will provide a list of recommendations and we can help make sense of their confusing report and discuss your repair and upgrade solutions. Once you complete the recommended home improvements, you can enjoy energy savings of 20% (or more) and receive up to $1200 in rebates.

Maryland Pepco Appliance Rebate Program – Save energy and money with these rebates, including a $50 refrigerator rebate.

Maryland Pepco Lighting Rebate Program – Change a lightbulb to use less energy, save more money and improve the environment!

Maryland Pepco HVAC Rebate Program – This program offers two rebates, plus ongoing energy savings, with Pepco’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) efficiency program.

Maryland Pepco Energy Wise Rewards Program Energy Wise Rewards is a new way for you to take more control over your energy usage, save money on energy costs and take a step towards a greener lifestyle.

Take advantage of these programs and don’t miss out on the free money! If you have any questions or comments, reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

Merrick Design and Build

What is Deck Flashing?

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

Decking flashing is the barrier that prevents moisture from entering the house through the openings which are created when a deck is built. Flashing is a deck building material that’s affixed to the exterior of the home where the deck meets the house and comes in a variety materials including aluminum, stainless steel, copper and vinyl.

If a deck is not properly flashed, water penetrates into the house framing, which can result in severe mold, decay, and overall serious and expensive damage. To support the goal of keeping moisture out, it’s critical to ensure deck flashing runs the entire length of the ledger board (the ledger board extends from the house and is responsible for jointly sharing support of the deck’s joists along with the deck posts). As part of proper flashing installation, silicone caulking seals the end butt joints and any places where water might intrude.

What happens when a deck is not properly flashed? Take a look at these photos to see!





































If you have any questions or comments about proper deck flashing, reach me today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality This Summer

Tuesday, June 7th, 2011

As the summer months heat up, we’ll spend more time indoors, so now is a great time to improve your indoor air quality. Here are a few tips to achieve your quest for cleaner air:

  • Properly ventilate your attic and crawl spaces to prevent moisture build–up.
  • Keep a healthy level of humidity. Dust mites and mold love moisture. Keeping indoor humidity around 30%-50% helps keep them and other allergens under control. Air conditioners reduce the indoor pollen count – another plus for allergy sufferers.
  • Keep your floors clean by vacuuming and mopping up dirt to reduce the dust and chemicals in your home. Also, use an entry mat to trap dirt from shoes or, even better, ask all residents and visitors to remove their shoes in the foyer.
  • Avoid synthetic air fresheners. You might associate a lemony or piney scent with a clean kitchen or clean clothes, but synthetic fragrances in laundry products and air fresheners emit dozens of different chemicals into the air. Conventional fabric softeners, dryer sheets and air fresheners may also release such gasses.
  • Carefully seal paints, solvents, pesticides and chemicals of any kind in your home. Keep quantities to a minimum and, whenever possible, keep these items stored in your garage or shed.

If you have questions or comments, please contact me at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

What Changes Might I Notice in My Newly Remodeled Spaces?

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

After your remodeling project is complete, you may feel relief, excitement and renewed pride in your renovated home. And, after the dust has settled (literally) and you begin to live your remodeled space, you may notice some of the following items. Many of these changes occur due to seasonal changes, fluctuations in your home’s temperature and the materials’ response to the environment (natural elements like wood can swell with moisture). Many of these items occur in most remodeling jobs, so Merrick offers “tune ups” to ensure your project continues to look and feel its best.


Some of the changes you may notice include:

Settlement Cracks and Nail Pops – You may notice small cracks in the drywall, which often appear in the corners of the room. Cracks may appear within a few months or within a year because of temperature and humidity changes. Nail pops can occur anywhere, but happen most often in ceilings.


Small Separations and Paint Lines – With crown molding and painted panel doors, you may observe small separations and paint lines due to changes in the seasons and humidity.


Loose Cabinet Doors and Door Knobs – For your cabinet doors and door knobs that get a lot of use, loosening and changes in alignment may occur.


Color Changes and Minor Cracking in Grout – New grout in kitchens and bathrooms may change color due to wear and tear. Signs of aging and minor cracking may appear where tile meets another surface (sometimes, the adherence of grout to materials other than tile can be inconsistent).


For more information or to discuss scheduling a tune up, please contact us today at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

Ideas for Spring Remodeling Projects

Friday, March 11th, 2011

It’s that time of year again: the warm weather is giving the DC metro residents the urge to do more around their homes and in their neighborhoods. If you’ve got the itch to make changes to your house, take a look at this short list of spring remodeling projects that can bring comfort and provide enjoyment to you and your family:

Improve Your Entryway and Windows – Adding a new door and windows can improve a tired facade (and entice future buyers if you’re selling your home). By installing ENERY STAR rated windows, you can gain as much as a 30 percent reduction in energy use and boost curb appeal.

Add Insulation – Spring and summer can bring their own brand of heat to the DC region and better insulation keeps more of your cooled air inside. And, once the winter cold returns, more heat will stay inside, too.

Fix Your Floors – Over time, floors can take a beating from human and pet traffic. Consider new types of flooring for one room or several, which can add a whole new look and feel to your spaces.

Show Your Kitchen Some Love – There are reasons why everyone congregates in the kitchen – it’s the home of two life sources (food and water) and it’s just fun to be there. If your kitchen isn’t looking or feeling its best, consider a partial or complete renovation.

Give Your Bathroom a Makeover – Tired of the tile and other outdated features in the bathroom? There are a variety of ways – from fixture replacements to more extensive remodeling – to improve this all important place in your home.

Don’t Forget the Exterior of Your Home – Winter weather can be hard on the exterior of your home. Make sure the outside is in good condition, not just for the aesthetic benefits, but also to maintain structural integrity.

As always, if you have any questions, comments or just want to say hello, contact me at (301) 946-2356 or

David Merrick

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality in the Fall

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

As the cold weather moves in, we’ll spend more time indoors, so this a great time to improve the quality of your indoor air. Here are a few tips to utilize in your quest for cleaner air:

  • Properly ventilate your attic and crawl spaces to prevent moisture build–up
  • If you use cool mist or ultrasonic humidifiers, clean them according to the manufacturer’s instructions and refill them daily with fresh water. Some homeowners use vinegar to clean their filters. To learn more about this method click here.
  • Carefully seal paints, solvents, pesticides and chemicals of any kind in your home. Keep quantities to a minimum and, whenever possible, keep these items stored in your garage or shed.

For more tips and information on improving your indoor air quality, visit this article.

Do you have questions, comments or concerns about your indoor quality? I’m a phone call away at (301) 946-2356.

David Merrick