Depending on where you live, winter's ill effects to your home can present unique challenges when tackling warm weather maintenance. Learn how to get your home back in shape.
With the change of seasons, Spring is a time to open up the house, clean it out and make sure it can survive the test of another year. Depending on where you live, winter?s ill effects can vary ? and can present unique challenges when tackling warm weather maintenance. Here are some tips to help you get started.
The Big Thaw
The snow is melting (hopefully) and it?s safe to go outside again without a jacket. Has the harsh winter damaged your home? Take a look:
- From the curb, look back at your roof. Search for any depressions in the surface where snow could have caused sagging. If your roof is 10 years old or more, have a pro go up there to secure any loose flashings (the metal strips where roof sections meet) and check the chimney.
- If you have wood siding, look for popped nails or misaligned and splitting boards. Any masonry should be checked for cracks or mortar that gets knocked out of place by the ice.
- Your formerly beautiful lawn will need a makeover. Clear out any rocks and cut it down low with the mower. Afterwards, apply a balanced fertilizer to bring it out of hibernation.
- The furnace has been running constantly the last few months, which is why now is the time to replace the filter before you forget about it. Also, check any electrical wiring that?s been exposed to the elements for cracking.
Sand and Sea
A home near the ocean is the dream of many, but if you don?t take care of its special needs, that special sand castle can wash away. Here?s how to get ready for beach weather:
- Air out the house when weather permits. When living near the ocean or a large lake, you have to deal with moisture problems, often leading to mold and mildew. Get the air circulating after a storm has passed.
- Salt air will corrode paint and metals and you may find rust marks on patio furniture and exterior walls. Clean and repaint where necessary and use a sealant to protect metals and wood.
- A wood deck in a coastal area needs extra care. Make sure the supporting timbers are secure and haven?t been affected by rot or water damage. Give the railings a good shake. Has it been two years since a sealer has been applied? Time for another coat.
- Check your door hardware. You may not be on the beach, but wind-blown sand can find its way into your locks and make opening the front door an ordeal. Spray some graphite lubricant into the keyholes.
Winter is prime time in the southwest, with 70-degree days and an occasional rainstorm. But heat season is around the corner and it?s time to get your home ready for the relentless desert sun:
- Check out the caulking and weatherstripping around doors and windows. The dryness of the desert causes cracking in these areas.
- Now?s the time to have your air conditioner or evaporative cooler tuned up and inspected. If you wait till the first heat wave it may take a while to get an appointment with a technician.
- Is your exterior paint job older than five years? The hot summer sun and cold winter nights wreak havoc on painted surfaces. Think about repainting soon, or at least touching up worn-out areas.
- If your garage door faces the afternoon sun it absorbs a tremendous amount of heat, which can affect its performance. Test the safety of your opener by putting an empty cardboard box in the door?s path and push the closer. When the door hits the box, it should reverse. If the box is crushed, have it checked out.
The Sticky South
Homeowners in humid areas know that maintenance is a year-round activity. However, spring is a perfect time to focus on some particular areas:
- After a wet, cold winter, your rain gutters probably need some attention. Have them cleaned out or, if you?re comfortable on a ladder, scoop them out with a trowel. Also look for areas where the gutter may have pulled away from the house.
- For homes with wood siding or trim, look for fungal damage or termite infestation on any exposed horizontal surfaces and at the joints.
- Give your house a bath with a garden hose and a spray nozzle. If you?re not experienced with a pressure washer, leave that to a pro since it?s easy to force water behind wood siding, which can cause mold problems.
- Check to make sure the attic and/or roof fans are operating, since they?ll help the house breath during a hot spell.
These spring maintenance tips apply anywhere: Replace your smoke alarm batteries; cut away any tree branches that are hovering over your roof; and even though everything's probably still moist, run your automatic sprinklers to make sure the heads are unclogged and flowing freely.
Finally, stuff that jacket and scarf in the back of the closet and forget about them ... at least until November.