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Archive for October, 2014

Benefits of Hiring a Professional Painter in Maryland

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014

professional painterThe age of Do-It-Yourself is upon us. Many home improvement or maintenance jobs that were once almost exclusively the domain of trained professionals are now frequently attempted by the average Maryland homeowner, looking to save a few dollars on labor costs. Painting is no exception. But many times these attempts to save often end up costing far more in wasted time, mistakes, and generally lower quality than the professional service would charge up front. The Atlantic Maintenance group is here with a few reasons why professional painters still have a place in a DIY world.

Proper Preparation

Many Maryland homeowners often forget the amount of prep work required to ensure that paint job not only looks good, but also lasts. Professional painters know that the work before actual the painting is by far the most important part of the process. Without proper application of preparatory material, paint will chip, wash away, or fade quickly. A professional painter will know all the right steps to take to make sure your exterior or interior paint stays where you want it, and stays beautiful.

Safety

Painting the exterior of a two-story home is no mean feat and the average Maryland homeowner, armed with a neighbor’s ladder and paint brush, puts themselves at great risk when attempting it. A professional painter will have access to the scaffolding, and industrial ladders needed to do the job safely.

Professional Quality

Perhaps the most obvious benefit of hiring a professional painter for your Maryland painting job is the guaranteed uniformity in application of your chosen paint. A professional painter will have the focus, training, and experience to ensure consistent quality throughout your house.

Quick Clean Up

Often, the biggest pain that results from DIY painting is having to clean all the scattered materials up, or living with them lying around until the job is finished. A professional painter will always leave your house neat and tidy after every day of work, so you can enjoy the benefits of a freshly painted Maryland home without all the inconvenience.

Want A Professional Painter for Your Maryland House Painting?

Call Atlantic Maintenance! We do a lot at the Atlantic Maintenance Group, but painting is one of our specialties. We do interior as well as exterior painting and are careful to make sure that everything looks exactly as it did when we got there once we’re done – except for the exterior of your home, which will be new and improved. When you’re ready to give your home a facelift with the guaranteed quality unique to hiring a professional painter, give us a call at 410.768.4720 or visit the website today to get your free quote!

You can also follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ to see how we’re growing!

Comparing Paver Patio Materials Pt. 2

Monday, October 20th, 2014

paverContinuing off last week’s entry, the Atlantic Maintenance Group is here to continue exploring and comparing the different types of available patio pavers in Baltimore. Be sure to check out last week’s entry for the info on concrete, brick, and rubber tile, if you haven’t already. Otherwise read on to find out more about options for your paver patio and how they stack up against each other.

Flagstone, Slate, & Marble

Really this entry could just be called “Stone,” since almost any kind of stone can be used as a paver for your Baltimore dream patio, but flagstone, slate and marble are among some of the most popular choices. Other popular choices include limestone, sandstone, and granite. Available in pre-cut shapes, or a rougher uncut look stone has a unique class and elegance all its own. Depending on the stone you choose the installation cost could run anywhere between $12-$28 per square foot.

Tip: Stone will always be cheaper if purchased from a local quarry but what’s available there depends on your geography.

Decomposed Granite/ Pebble

Made from sand-like grains of granite, decomposed granite has a unique crunchy texture and offers the side-benefit of instantly absorbing any rainfall. Though it is very affordable, costing around $2 per square foot, it will require periodic refreshing due to surface loss, costing roughly $1 per square foot every three years. You’ll also have to purchase furniture accordingly, as the legs will tend to sink into this patio paver.

Recycled Materials

Considering going green with your Baltimore patio? You can reuse old building materials as pavers to help save money and the environment, while building something with an utterly unique aesthetic. Some excellent materials include: old concrete sections from a neighbor’s driveway, materials from an abandoned construction zone (make sure nobody’s using them before taking!), or old brick/ stone from a demolished building.

Tip: Make sure the materials you pick up are of a uniform thickness, otherwise your patio will be uneven.

Interested a New Paver Patio in Baltimore?

The Atlantic Maintenance Group specializes in the installation and maintenance of paver patios in Baltimore. If you have any more questions about paver patio maintenance, are looking to install a new patio in your backyard, or would like a free quote, call Atlantic Maintenance Group at 410-768-4720 or contact us via our website today.

Comparing Paver Patio Materials Pt. 1

Monday, October 13th, 2014

Paver PatioSo you’ve decided to have your patio paved. It’s a smart move that can increase the value of your Baltimore home while extending its useable space. But that paver will you use? Deciding amongst all the available options can be a difficult matter, especially without any way to directly compare them. The Atlantic Maintenance Group is here with a multi-part series comparing the various types of patio pavers available for purchase.

Brick

A classic choice for a patio paver, brick paver has character and style. They can be arranged in a simple flat method for uniformity, or different varieties can be mixed and matched to create a unique pattern. Brick pavers are available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors and can be finished to look brand new, or worn and weathered. They have a higher installation cost than some and typically run around $12-$18 per square foot in a professional installation.

Concrete

With a more modern look and feel than brick, concrete pavers can also come in a diverse selection of styles, sizes, and finishes. They can be brushed, acid washed, scored, stamped, and are available in virtually any color. Concrete also benefits from having a low installation cost and a relatively long lifespan. Stamped Concrete can be used to simulate brick at a fraction of the cost. Concrete pavers are usually between $6-$12 per square foot.

Rubber Tile

Manufactured using recycled tires, rubber tiles are designed to fit over any surface. Because they’re lightweight, they can be easily fit on decks. Designed to look like concrete and available in brick or terracotta finishes, rubber tiles are relatively new on the marketplace. It’s hard to say how they perform over time, but they’re an easy pick for DIYers as they snap together with connector clips and go for about $3-$6 per square foot. However there’s little information as to how they perform over time.

Atlantic Maintenance Group

Check back next week for further comparisons between paver patio options. The Atlantic Maintenance Group specializes in the installation and maintenance of paver patios in Baltimore. If you have any more questions about paver patio maintenance, are looking to install a new patio in your backyard, or would like a free quote, call Atlantic Maintenance Group at 410-768-4720 or contact us via our website today.

Source: HouseLogic.com

How to Identify and (Safely) Remove Poison Sumac in Maryland

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Toxicodendron vernix is a simple shrub (which can also grow as a tree) with thirteen leaves on each stem that takes on an alluring red during the fall season. However, despite its colorful appearance, this isn’t a plant you’d want to cultivate at home. That’s because Toxicodendron vernix is the Latin name for the plant more commonly known as Poison Sumac. Though more commonly found deeper south, poison sumac still crops up occasionally in Maryland, particularly on the eastern shore.

Poison sumac is far more likely than its relatives (poison oak & ivy) to cause a contact rash, and the results are invariably more severe. A rash from poison sumac manifests as painful swellings and eruptions and can be easily transferred by scratching to other parts of the body or people. Burning poison sumac is extremely dangerous. Inhaling any of the smoke could cause death by suffocation and anyone who does so should immediately be transported to a hospital.Poison sumac

Identifying

In Maryland, Poison Sumac can either manifest as a shrub or small tree with between 7-13 oval-shaped leaves on each stem. The leaves turn a bright red in the fall and are green throughout the rest of the year. Poison sumac leaves have smooth edges and grow in parallel rows along each stem. During the spring poison sumac often produces small, whitish-yellow or pale green flowing buds, which turn into white berries in the late summer and fall. Poison sumac typically grows in very moist or flooded soil.

Note: Poison sumac has a relative of similar appearance whose edges are jagged (and often bears red berries rather than white) rather than smooth. This is a non-poisonous cousin, which also grows in Maryland, called staghorn sumac.

Poison Sumac Removal

Before attempting any kind of removal, it’s important to be aware of your own allergy levels. If you have a history of bad reactions to other poisonous plants (particularly poison ivy or oak) or you are unsure, DO NOT attempt to remove poison sumac yourself. Immediately section off the yard around it and call a landscaping professional.

For those not allergic poison sumac may be removed via the following procedure:

Carefully mix 1 pint of commercial vegetation killer with 1 pint of diesel fuel in a metal coffee can. Take care to avoid splashes or contact with the skin. Wearing protective clothing (rubber gloves, long sleeves, pants, and a face shield) quickly clip the poison sumac to within a couple inches of the ground. Dip a paintbrush in the poison mixture and liberally brush the fluid on the fresh cut, coating the cut completely.

The gloves, can, brush, and mixture should be immediately discarded in a toxic waste bin (DO NOT BURN) after treating the poison sumac. The diesel delivers the poison throughout the entire root system via reverse capillary action. It is absorbed through the cut in the plant and then drawn the roots. The herbicide then takes over and swiftly kills the entire plant all at once.

Need Help?

Poison sumac removal can be dangerous even when following all the proper procedure. Why risk hurting yourself when you could simply employ an experienced professional who can safely remove the poison sumac speedily?

If you’re looking for assistance with poison sumac or have any other winter lawn care questions than contact the Atlantic Maintenance Group. The Atlantic Maintenance Group is a full service landscaping company, providing maintenance, design and construction, as well as snow removal, asphalt and concrete services.

We are your source for complete landscape and facility maintenance for commercial and residential properties throughout Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware. We are a self-performing landscaping company, meaning we don’t hire subcontractors, and senior management is involved with every project. Our highly trained team of professionals receives constant, ongoing education on the latest industry trends, updates and safety measures. This ensures we can deliver outstanding customer service and results to our clients, regardless of the size of your job.

If you have any questions about outdoor lighting, or to get your free quote today, give us a call at 410-768-4720 or contact us via our website today.

Sources: Living Space 360, PoisonSumac.org

Winter Lawn Care: Identify and Prevent Snow Mold

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

We’ve all had problems with mold. Whether it’s on a loaf of bread you’ve kept for too long or creeping in through a crack in your damp basement, mold has been a perennial problem throughout human history. But have you ever heard of snow mold? Even if you haven’t chances are you’ve seen it. Ever notice in spring how your lawn gets slowly expanding brown, straw-like patches? That’s snow mold. However with proper winter lawn care it can be sno-more.Dead Grass

What is it?

Snow mold is a fungal disease that is usually discovered at the beginning of spring when the snow begins to melt, though growth actually occurs during the winter months when the ground is cold and wet. Snow mold comes in two varieties: Pink (called Fusarium patch and caused by Microdochium nivalis) and Gray (called Typhula blight and caused by Typhula spp.). Gray snow mold forms resistant fungal structures while pink snow mold forms spores that tend to linger in debris. Both typically survive long through the hot summer temperatures but Gray snow mold activity stops when the temperature exceeds 45° F or the surface dries. Pink snow mold can continue to grow during wet weather in the fall and spring, provided that the temperature is between 32° F and 60° F.

How do I know if I have it?

In addition to the signature brown patches, snow mold gives grass a matted appearance and oftentimes leaves colored growths, which will be greyish white, or pink. In extreme cases snow mold can prompt the appearance of mushrooms and (in the case of grey snow mold) small, tough spherical structures called sclerotia on the leaves of affected plants.

How Do I Stop It?

Fortunately, while the damage caused by snow molds is unsightly, it is rarely serious. General lawn care guidelines suggest that you can treat affected areas by gently raking them to promote drying and disrupt fungal growth. Fungicides are not recommended.

If you want to get proactive about preventing snow mold, in the fall you should do the following: Avoid excessive application of fertilizer, mow your lawn until it stops growing, rake up leaves and prevent them from forming piles, and spread out snow piles to encourage rapid melting. If snow mold is a recurring problem for you, spraying your lawn with a coating of thiophanate-methyl in October or November may be helpful.

Can I Get Help?

If you’re looking for assistance with snow mold or have any other winter lawn care questions than contact the Atlantic Maintenance Group. Atlantic Maintenance Group is a full service landscaping company, providing maintenance, design and construction, as well as snow removal, asphalt and concrete services. We are your source for complete landscape and facility maintenance for commercial and residential properties throughout Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware. We are a self-performing landscaping company, meaning we don’t hire subcontractors, and senior management is involved with every project. Our highly trained team of professionals receives constant, ongoing education on the latest industry trends, updates and safety measures. This ensures we can deliver outstanding customer service and results to our clients, regardless of the size of your job.

If you have any questions about outdoor lighting, or to get your free quote today, give us a call at 410-768-4720 or contact us via our website today.

Source: University of Minnesota Extension

 

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