Househappy Home Services

All posts in Tips & Advice

GruntWorks Guide to Home Weatherization Tips.

Home Winterizing window caulking

How to Keep the Cold Air Out and the Money in Your Wallet.

The rain and cold is coming to the Pacific Northwest! This winter, when the weather outside is frightful, here’s two things that could light up your season: a warm, cozy house and some extra money in your wallet. Here’s our top list of areas around the home that you should look at to improve your energy efficiency and reduce heat loss.


Weatherstripping – If you can easily slide a sheet of paper between an exterior door and its frame, it may need weatherstripping. This includes access doors to your basement and attic.


Windows – Windows can be weatherized with a few simple steps! First and foremost, replace broken glass and re-putty loose panes. You will want to inspect older windows and if necessary, install new sash locks, or adjust existing ones on double-hung and slider windows. Carefully caulk on the inside around the window and door trim, sealing where the frame meets the wall and all other window woodwork joints. For windows that will be opened, use weatherstripping or temporary flexible rope caulk. For easy year-to-year weatherization, you may want to consider purchasing insulating window inserts.  Insulating window inserts are custom fitted to your windows and can be easily installed and removed for the season changes.


Exterior – Weatherizing around the exterior of your home is especially important. Be sure to caulk around all areas where electrical, telephone, cable, gas, dryer vents, and water lines enter the house. You can first fill the larger areas with fiberglass insulation.Caulk around all sides of window and door frames to keep out the rain and reduce drafts.

A common culprit for drafts is your dryer exhaust vent hood. If the flapper does not close properly or is missing, replace it with a tight-fitting model.


Chimneys – Cold air infiltration is common with chimneys.  If you haven’t had your chimney inspected this year, make sure your chimney service professional inspects and seals any areas which can be potential air leaks, such as the chimney flashing.  Also, when your fireplace is not in use, remember to close the flue!


Lower Heating Bills with Insulation.

One of the best ways to increase the energy efficiency of your home and lower your heating bills is through effective insulation. The good news is, you can have both by investing in insulation and home weatherization.

Adding or upgrading insulation, as well as easy home weatherization, can save you anywhere between 15% to 50% on heating and cooling costs.*  

When you understand heat flow, you will quickly see the importance of insulation. Heated air naturally flows from warmer to cooler spaces. In the winter, warm air inside your cozy living spaces will try to move toward cooler areas such as attics, basements and garages.  Insulation works by limiting this air movement to resist the natural flow of heat.

GruntWorks Cold Weather Home TipsThere are several different types of insulation.  These include: 

  • blanket (in the form of batts or rolls),
  • blown-in loose fill
  • spray foam
  • rigid
  • reflective
  • radiant barriers.

An excellent resource for detailed descriptions of types of insulation is the U.S. Department of Energy website. Here you can also find a handy tool to check which insulation is best for your climate.

Many home energy experts state that the average non-weatherized house leaks air at a rate equivalent to a four-foot-square hole in the wall.

Start at the Top: The Attic

When considering insulation, the attic is a great place to start, because adding insulation there is quick, easy, and cost-effective. Most attics are insulated with loose-fill or batt. Within these options, homeowner must also choose between fiberglass or cellulose. Costs vary, but in general, loose-fill provides better coverage and efficiency when properly installed.

In unfinished attics, you can simply install  layers to the attic floor. Or, if you’re thinking about finishing the attic, you can put the insulation against the roof. Insulating the roof is the better method if heating and cooling ducts pass through the space, or if you live in a humid climate and want to cut down on musty smells coming from the attic.

When insulating an attic, you want to be sure to also seal all areas where air may be leaking into the home. Failure to weatherize areas such as ducting to the outside, chimney perimeters, tops of interior walls, and the hatch or other access to your attic will continue to cost your in energy and money regardless of how much insulation you install.

Do-It-Yourself or Call in the Experts

Whether you choose to try a few DIY weatherization projects or you call GruntWorks to schedule a complete weatherization service; it is important to consider the value of making weatherization improvements.  If you’re still not sure where to start, consider a home energy audit.  You can also contact your GruntWorks Personal Home Assistant with any questions you have about home weatherization. You can reach us at 503-974-8554 or request a service estimate through our website. 

Stay warm and enjoy the season!

*This savings figure varies based on climate, your heating system type and the insulation methods you choose.


We LOVE home makeovers, don’t you? Here are 65 amazing home makeovers bringing new life and inspiration to just about every room in the house and outside, too! We’re especially impressed with the home exterior makeover shown below. Wow, what a difference!

If this gets you thinking about updating your current home, feel free to call us at 1-855-My-Grunt or contact us via our website  — we’ve got several amazing customer-approved contractors that are experts in making the drab in your home — well, fabulous.

Click through to Country Living magazine to all the entire, inspired collection of 65 Wow-Worthy home makeovers!

Need help prepping the guest bedroom for holiday visitors?

GruntWorks guest bedroom decorating tipsThe holidays are just around the corner, and along with the gifts and festivities, there are usually overnight guests, too. Are you ready?

How will you make room for Aunt Ida and Uncle Joe when your guest bedroom is being used as a storage unit/island of lost toys/half-finished home gym?  And what about your dream of turning it into an inviting retreat? Relax. This article will get you going in the right direction of making your guest bedroom guest-ready.

Step One: Clear the clutter.

Remove everything but the essentials, and put fresh linens on the bed.  (No clutter, just dull? You’re a step ahead.)

Step Two: Evaluate. 

Do guests have a place to hang and store their clothes?  Do guests have a place to sit down? Is there room for a nightstand or table next to the bed? Is there enough lighting? Does anything need to be repaired or finished before guests arrive?

Step Three: Dream!

Define your wants. Browse design magazines and websites for ideas (check out the hundreds of ideabooks on for inspiration).  Make a list of the things you’d change to make your guest bedroom as cozy, sophisticated and functional as you imagine.

Step Four: Get serious.  

Define your needs. What’s feasible in your time frame (will the paint dry before Aunt Ida arrives)?  What’s feasible for your budget?  Make a list of what truly needs to done.

Finally: Call GruntWorks. 

As your Personal Home Assistant, we take all the time and effort of planning a project off your plate. Whether you want to repair plaster, put up shelves, paint the room, remove or hang wallpaper, build a storage bench, reconfigure a closet, install blinds or curtain rods, lay carpeting, refinish floors, change a light fixture or replace windows–whatever you need, we coordinate the job, from checking references to getting bids to setting appointments.

Booking GruntWorks to take care of everything…  now that is a gift.

Simple Front Door Updates: Make a Dramatic Difference and Save Money.

Weatherize your front door for fall.Fall is on the way, a time of year which – as we Portlanders know all too well -brings the cool, soggy weather for which the Pacific Northwest is so famous. Over the next few weeks, we’ll all start digging out our rain gear, checking the blades on the windshield wipers, and before you know it, there will be jack-o-lanterns glowing from porches and windows.

Are Your Doors and Windows Costing You Money?

Before the rains come and temperatures change too drastically, it may be time to consider if your front door is ready to stand up against the elements. The Consumer Energy Center has found that 10 to 15 percent of a home’s heating costs are racked up due to heat escaping through improperly sealed doorways and windows. A gap of just 1/8th of an inch beneath your door lets out as much heat as a hole in the wall the size of a tennis ball.

Weatherproofing your front door could be just the ticket you need when it comes to having a few extra bucks to spend once the holidays roll around. Whether it’s just caulking your front door and adding weather stripping, to installing a brand new door, GruntWorks can take care of this for you. You may be surprised how affordable this can be through GruntWorks!

Spruce Up Your Look with a New Front Door.

A new front door can make a huge difference in appearance and keep the cold weather at bay. Here’s a “before” and “after” of a door replacement we recently did for a GruntWorks customer.


GruntWorks Front Door Replacement: Before and After Looks!


Front Door Fixes

BEFORE: An old, warped sticky door.

Front door replacement

AFTER: We installed a very secure, fiberglass door with all new trim and casing to keep the winter chill out and heat in.



Refresh Your Front Door With a Colorful Coat of Paint.

Before our notorious rains come, a new coat of paint can go a long way in terms of staving off weather damage and maintaining the value and appearance of your home.

Other Entryway Touches

Having flowerboxes installed can ensure that you’re ready to go once spring warms things up again. It’s also never a bad idea to have someone take a look at the gutters directly above your door and secure them if necessary. That way you can avoid walking through a waterfall every time you leave or return to your house.