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Winter Critter Damage

Inspect your home for animal damage in early spring. Cold weather drives critters inside your home and/or outbuildings, and make homes (dens & nests) to stay out of the cold temperatures and to raise their young. 

CrittersChewing from squirrels, mice, and rats can damage exterior trim, siding, shutters, vents, and wiring. Double check your wiring, the chewing damage can cause a fire.

Raccoons and opossums do more damage than chewing, they will also do anything they can to get inside your home and/or outbuildings once they've decided to make a home. Once inside, they can damage attic insulation, wiring, and ductwork, and bring in food scraps to rot. The opossum also emits a smellthat can be mistaken for a skunk. Any of these critters will likely spread fleas and other pests.

Contact an animal control specialist to deal with any issues you find first, you want to be sure the animal is gone and hasn't left any babies behind. A professional will have the knowledge and equipment to do the job correctly.

Once the critter is gone, seal all places of entry with a hard, durable material such as fiber cement, sheet metal, etc. Just tacking back up damaged boards will NOT work. Be sure to cover all vents and make sure your chimney is capped and sealed as well.

While you inspecting your roof, use your leaf blower and broom to remove leaves and other debris. Be sure to wear rubber-soled shoes and to tie yourself off!

Mary Flaherty

Brendan & Mary Ellen Flaherty

The Flaherty Team

at RE/MAX Advantage Realty

Office: 410-549-3500


Hardwood Floor Care

Hardwood floors can look beautiful and lustrous years after installation if they are properly maintained and cleaned.

Brendan Flaherty, of Flaherty Floors, shares expert tips he has accumulated over his 30 years of experience as a hardwood floor specialist installing, sanding and refinishing hardwood floors.

Routine Cleaning:

The first step is to sweep, dust and/or vacuum the flooring regularly. Be careful when vacuuming, the wrong attachment can dull the finish and even scratch the hardwood.

Next use 1/2 cup of white vinegar to one gallon of warm water in a bucket.

Damp mop (NOT wet) the vinegar/water onto your wood floors. Be sure to wring out excess water from applicator or sponge as not to cause water to puddle.

Scuff marks, crayon marks, and/or heel marks can be removed 
using a cloth damp with mineral spirits, be sure to wipe dry with 
a clean cloth.

There are commercial products Brendan does recommend; Bona 
or Murphy's Oil Soap. DO NOT use a steam cleaner on your hardwood, it will take the finish off. DO NOT apply any liquid that 
has "FINISH" in it, such as Mop & Glo and Orange Glo.

Finishes should always be done by a professional flooring 

Long Term Maintenance

According to best practice standards of the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), every 3 to 5 years hardwood floors should be buffed and coated by a professional. This will take care of light scratches and heavy traffic wear.

Smoke Alarms

Smoke Alarms have come up while speaking with clients lately, many didn't know our law had changed. Maryland's Updated Smoke Alarm Law went into effect on January 1, 2018.

Yep, that's right 2018! So, we thought...

Maryland's Smoke Alarm Law requires the replacement of battery-operated smoke alarms with sealed units that have a 10-year lithium-ion battery and a silence/hush button feature. This is to transition away from 9-volt battery-operated smoke alarms in an effort to achieve more reliable smoke alarm coverage in older dwellings.

The law also requires the replacement of all smoke alarms 10 years after the manufacturer's date on the back of the alarm. This applies to both hard-wired and battery-operated smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms that are battery-operated and presently exist by code or locations where there are no smoke alarms present must be replaced. If the manufacturer's date cannot be found, the alarm is most likely outdated and needs to be replaced.