Spring is an excellent time to inspect your home for exterior damage caused by winter weather conditions. A properly maintained home will ensure its overall longevity, protect the interior from the elements, and make the exterior look its best.
Start by doing a visual assessment of the full exterior and compile a list of any noticeable damage or areas that need improvement. Dividing the home into sections will make the inspection and list of potential repairs more manageable. Areas to pay special attention to include roof and gutters, siding, paint, windows and doors, chimney, the deck or porch, and fences. Below is a list of suggested maintenance procedures and preventive care for each area to make sure the home stays in top condition.
Roof & Gutters
Roof and gutters are the home’s first line of defense against the elements. Being proactive about maintaining the roof and gutters will protect your home and help to prevent future costly repairs. Follow the list below for preventive maintenance and to spot potential repairs. If roof repairs are more extensive than these simple fixes, or if the roof needs to be replaced, make sure a certified roofing contractor is used.
- Replace curling, buckling, cracked or missing shingles
- Ensure flashing is firmly adhered around skylights, vent pipes, and chimneys
- Clean debris from roof and valleys
- Apply moss retardant, if needed
- Ensure gutters are secured and sloped correctly for proper drainage
- Clean gutters and downspouts to prevent leaks and back-up
- Seal all gutter seams where leaks are evident
Most people don’t think about maintaining siding until visual issues appear such as mold, mildew, dirt build-up, and cracks or holes. With a little preventive care, siding repairs will be minimal, the product will last much longer, and will ensure the outside of the home looks its best. Someone who specializes in siding is often best used for significant siding repairs or for siding replacement.
Although mostly maintenance free, vinyl siding must be checked regularly for cracks and broken or missing pieces. It should also be washed regularly to prevent dirt and mildew build-up.
Annual DIY inspections are recommended to spot any cracked or broken siding. Where accessible, cleaning when needed with a low-pressure garden hose is usually adequate. Avoid pressure washing.
To avoid permanent damage to a cedar or wood siding exterior, regular maintenance is important. Moisture is the biggest enemy of wood, so make sure the siding is properly sealed or painted. Termites or other pests can be detrimental; regular inspections are recommended. Other things to look for are cracks or breaks in the wood, which can lead to moisture leaks. Like all siding, cleaning the exterior regularly is important to keep dirt and mildew from growing. This also provides a clear view of any potential areas in need of repair.
While every type of siding requires slightly different care the most important thing is to prevent moisture from getting past the siding, thus shortening the lifespan of the product. Regular inspections and cleaning will minimize siding repairs or the need for siding replacement.
In addition to enhancing the appearance of your home, paint also helps protect the exterior surfaces. Different maintenance depends on the siding or material used on the home. Bi-yearly check-ups are important to make sure the paint isn’t chipping or acquiring rot or mold. The Pacific Northwest climate is mild but damp, so although the paint will last longer than some other locations, the likelihood of the paint acquiring mold and mildew is higher. To avoid mildew or mold there are special paints with additives to help prevent it from building up on surfaces. Regular cleanings will also help. Staying on top of minor repairs and regular touch-up painting will help maximize the overall life of the paint job.
Windows & Doors
Windows and doors are constantly being opened and closed and if not properly maintained will allow moisture and other unwanted elements into the home, not to mention, increase your energy bill. Check doors and windows for air leaks. It’s also important to keep your door and window tracks free of dirt. Every six months windows and doors should be checked for condensation, mold, and properly working locks and hinges. Once a year clean all frame surfaces, tracks, check for sealed joints, and ensure all windows and doors open and close with ease.
Although not all homes have a chimney to maintain, those that do are often older so maintaining it is even more important. If you use the fireplace regularly during the heating season, the chimney should be cleaned annually. Doing so in the spring will avoid the fall rush. From the outside, inspect for any mortar or brick damage. Cracked or crumbling mortar should be removed and replaced, known as repointing. If you find significant mortar or brick damage it is generally best to consult with a professional.
Decks & Fences
As summer approaches and everyone’s spending more time outdoors you’ll want your deck and/or fence looking its best.
Decks are exposed to weather conditions year-round, which is why it’s important to understand how to protect and care for your deck to prevent expensive repairs. A comprehensive cleaning and inspection will ensure it’s ready for all those spring and summer BBQ’s. However, different types of decks require slightly different cleaning methods. Choose an appropriate cleaner for your type of deck. These vary for wood, composite, and vinyl surfaces.
To begin, look for debris build-up between deck boards. If the debris build-up is excessive remove using a putty knife. Before starting to clean, do an overall sweep of the deck. Next, thoroughly clean the deck with the cleaner specifically intended for your type deck. Most of the time a soft to medium bristle brush or push broom is a sufficient tool, followed by a rinse with the garden hose. If using a pressure washer, take care to use the right tip, or nozzle, for the job. Using a pressure washer incorrectly can cause a lot of damage, and even injury.
Once the deck is clean, inspect for rot. Also make sure all wood posts, beams, planks, and stairs are secure. Re-secure or replace any loose or broken sections.
Painting a wood deck with a sealer will ensure its longevity and protect it from the elements.
Inspect the full perimeter of the fence for any weak spots, loose nails or planks, or loose and damaged posts. If your fence is constructed of wood, mildew can be a problem when maintaining your fence. To prevent mildew build-up from happening scrub the fence with a mildew cleaner. If you want to give your fence a facelift and extend its longevity, painting or staining will do just that and is only necessary every couple of years.
Follow the steps above to make sure your home is well-maintained and beautiful. Utilizing preventive care will save time and money in the long run. If you need assistance with any of these projects or repairs, we can connect you with the appropriate service professionals for your specific needs. Just let us know how we can help by clicking on the work request today!