A.B.E. Doors & Windows Blog

28 May 2019
Know What's Below
Know What's Below

 

“Know what’s below,” sounds like the tagline to a campy horror movie. While it might not be the best advice for dealing with the mole people or the creatures from under the stairs, it’s actually sound advice when beginning summer projects. Every nine minutes, an underground utility is damaged by third-party excavation. If you call 811 three days before beginning a digging project, they will come and mark the underground utility lines for you.

I know I hate it when the power goes out, so this is a simple enough thing to do to avoid a major problem. Striking a single line can cause fines, repair costs, outages, serious injury, and even death. In fact, third-party excavation is the number one cause of serious injury and death involving natural gas pipelines.

Whether performing minor landscaping or major excavation, safeguard yourself from hazards relating to underground utilities by calling 811 three days before any digging project. It’s the law!

20 May 2019
The Menace: Lanternflies
The Menace: Lanternflies

 

We’ve all heard about them, read about them, had the misfortune of seeing them or stepping on them. Yup, lanternflies—plant-hopping insects native to China, Vietnam, and east Asia—are taking over Pennsylvania. They’ve been invading since 2014 and are now officially established in Berks and Lehigh Counties. They’re nasty buggers that feed on woody plants, stunting their growth and even eventually killing them. They present a serious threat to our industries of grapes, fruit trees, and logging. [Those of you that enjoy wine should especially care since we need grapes to make wine.]

Now, taking down an invasive species isn’t something the average person can really do, but we can all do something to help stop the spread of lanternflies in our area. Since A.B.E. Doors and Windows services much of the Lehigh Valley, we have now started checking our vehicles to the best of our abilities when we move between job sites to make sure we’re not transporting any lanternflies or eggs. Eggs and flies alike can be crushed and eliminated.

This is something you can do at home as well, especially now that it’s the season of yard work. As you’re bringing out patio furniture or starting to grill again, check these items for deposits of eggs which can contain between thirty and fifty lanternflies. Egg deposits can be scraped off and destroyed in quite a few ways [with alcohol for one].

While you’re working on your yard, also keep your eyes peeled for the ‘Tree of Heaven’ or Chinese sumac. It’s the lanternfly’s preferred tree to eat and lay eggs on. You can use these trees to set a trap for the lanternfly if you are so inclined by spraying it with systemic pesticides through the months of June to August.

There is good news though. One of the funguses native to Pennsylvania has been found to prey on the lanternfly, but we’re all going to need to pitch in if we want to try to get rid of these bad bugs once and for all. So, when you see those lanternflies, happy stomping from all of us here at A.B.E. Doors and Windows!

15 May 2019
Tips and Tricks to Make Your Garage Area Stand Out
Tips and Tricks to Make Your Garage Area Stand Out

 

We are all enjoy seeing the transformation our homes undergo during spring time. The exterior comes alive with blossoms on the trees, colorful hanging baskets and perhaps a new welcome mat or wreath for the front door. Make sure this fresh look extends to your driveway and garage areas as well. A clean, continual look is not only aesthetically pleasing, but can also boost curb appeal if you are placing your home on the market this year. Here are a few suggestions to consider.

 

Your biggest upgrade or boost to this area will be your garage door. There are so many styles and options that can enhance your home's overall look. Consider a different material like wood or steel. Many doors offer vertical or horizontal patterns, besides the traditional paneled look. If your budget allows, wood doors make a spectacular impression, offering a variety of grains and bold stains that add a rich look. Window panes are another way to add character and set your door apart from other similar doors in the neighborhood. Iron hinges or accents are also a marvelous way to spruce up your garage door.

 

If your garage door is still in great shape, perhaps a fresh coat of paint is in order. A dark brown or bronze will work well with a brick home, while a gray exterior can be enhanced with a deep burgundy or black. You could choose a color a few shades darker than your homes exterior for a sophisticated, contemporary look. A word of caution....don't get drawn into a color that is over the top or too trendy. You don't want to be “that” home in the neighborhood!

 

Accessorize the area leading up to and around your garage door with low growing shrubs or planters. Choose perennials that offer color in the spring and stay green throughout the summer months. If the surrounding area of your garage is flat, consider adding a trellis or portico for added texture. The adjacent walls may benefit from some stonework or decorative trim. If you seek something less permanent, try lattice with ivy or another climbing plant to add a welcoming look.

 

If your black-topped driveway is in need of repair, perhaps consider pavers instead. Brick and concrete styles can be arranged in a pleasing design & artistic pattern. They also allow you to bring a bit of color to that area as well.

 

Have a bit of fun with new lighting. A lantern style on either side of a wooden garage door will give it a charming carriage house feeling. Another popular look is those vintage, goose-necked barn fixtures. Solar, pathway lights lend a little brightness at night as well as added security. A lighted border can also show off beautiful landscaping & lend a bit of ambiance.

 

Don't overlook the advantages of having a manicured, pleasing garage area. A consistent look makes your home's exterior look balanced and welcoming.

 

 

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