With the end of winter comes a sense of relief. No more shoveling snow, no more worrying about ice. Instead, thoughts drift toward the coming summer, and time spent outside.
Before you break out the outdoor furniture, however, there are a few things around your house that you’ll want to check on. The changes in temperature as frigid airs warm can cause cracks in the exterior of your house. So can the thawing of frozen moisture. Left unattended, these minor issues can quickly develop into major problems, turning quick repairs into large renovations.
Save yourself the grief and take a sunny afternoon to examine your property. This spring maintenance checklist will guide you to the most common areas where issues occur. A little work now can save you a lot of work later.
Heavy winds and snowfall can damage roofs, tearing away shingles and exposing cracks. Take a walk around your home and do a visual inspection of your roof, looking for any damage. Use binoculars or a camera to get a closer look. This will save you from having to get on the roof itself. If something doesn’t look right, call in a professional to inspect it for you. The risk of falling off a roof is real, so don’t put yourself in a position to get injured needlessly.
If you have an attic or crawlspace, inspect it with a flashlight for any signs of water damage. If you detect any damage, get your roof repaired right away. Minor leaks can often be fixed quickly by professionals, saving you from a full roof replacement.
While you’re inspecting your roof, take the opportunity to clean your eavestroughs and downspouts. While this is something that should be done every fall, it’s always possible for more leaves to get in and cause a blockage.
Sitting water in the eavestrough can lead to rot, leading to animals building nesting areas there. It can also allow water to backup and cause damage in areas it shouldn’t, like along the roof or foundation.
Make sure that your downspouts are clear and aimed away from the house. Direct them toward a downward slope so that water doesn’t settle along the foundation.
Take a look at all the entrances and openings to your home. If you left screens on the windows, make sure they’re still intact and haven’t been torn. Check the trim for warping or water damage. Also, check to make sure that the sealant around the edges hasn’t cracked.
Open and close all your windows and doors, ensuring that they don’t stick or swing too easily. Extreme temperatures may have warped them, preventing them from making a proper seal. If something doesn’t fit right, first try to tighten the hardware on the window or door. However, if it seems that some warpage has occurred, it’s time for a replacement.
When examining the outside of your house, there are a few things to look for. Check to make sure that the soffits are all still in place. If any are missing, or aren’t properly positioned, critters can get in behind them and set up nests.
If your house has siding, look where the panels meet and make sure that they’re all still connected. If there are any gaps or missing pieces, repair them immediately. If you wait too long, moisture could get in, leading to rot or mold.
This concern extends to the foundation of the house. Shallow cracks in the foundation are fairly common and can be repaired easily. However, if a crack goes too deep, moisture can get in and cause serious damage. If you’re not sure how serious an issue is, call a professional. They’ll often provide free estimates and can advise you on what action you should take.
When examining the outside of your home, consider the driveway and walkways, too. Winters can be harsh on stones, concrete, and asphalt. Catching minor issues and fixing them can save you from having to resurface your driveway or pour a new concrete path.
Decks and fences are under constant assault from moisture throughout the winter. That, plus the freezing and thawing that comes with it, can lead to premature aging on your exposed wood surfaces.
Pressure washing is a great way to remove the dirt that’s accumulated since fall. It also helps remove any mold or mildew from its surface. Once cleaned, decide if a refinish is needed. Take this time to replace any broken or damaged pieces.
It’s a smart idea to get your air conditioner serviced before the warm weather rolls in. Inspect the unit for any tears or signs of damage, and clear out any debris you find. Make sure that the unit is on level ground and that the hoses and wires are all still sealed and attached.
Outdoor taps and sprinkler systems are at risk of damage in freezing temperatures. Turn the water back on and examine all the spouts and outlets, keeping an eye open for drips or leaks.
Setting aside time in the spring for these chores will make for a more enjoyable summer. It gives you plenty of opportunities to find and address any damages or concerns that winter may have caused.