Get Your House Ready for Summer

Cold weather can take a toll on any home, so HGTV Magazine consulted the experts on how to get yours back in shape.

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Mark Matcho


Clean the walkway

Pressure-wash the walkway, then replace damaged pavers or bricks, or just flip them over. If any pavers are sticking up too high, raise them, remove a little dirt, and drop them back in place. On concrete walkways fill in cracks with a masonry crack filler that matches the color of your concrete.

Spruce up the front door
Probe the weather stripping around the door with a screwdriver and caulk any post-winter gaps before tightening hinges that may have come loose due to shifts in temperature.

Prep the windows
Caulk any gaps in the framing and check that the mechanics are working by opening and closing each window a few times. Fill up two buckets: one with 1 cup of vinegar, 1 cup of ammonia, and 1 gallon of hot water; the other with warm water. Wash windows with the vinegar-ammonia solution first, then with water only. Dry with a squeegee.
Quick tip: Wash windows on a cloudy day. The sun may dry the solution too soon, leaving streaks.

Reinforce the fence posts
Replace warped or rotten pickets or posts, then give posts a good yank to make sure they're sturdy in the ground.

Redo the driveway
Sweep away debris, patch cracks, then use a squeegee to apply a sealer. For blacktop or asphalt, try Black Jack Blacktop Ultra-Maxx 1000 Driveway Filler and Sealer ($34 for 4?3/4 gallons). For concrete, try Quikrete Concrete Crack Seal ($10 for a quart, both acehardware.com for stores).

Tidy up the flower beds
Clear out weeds and use a spade to redefine bed edges. Till the top inch or two of soil if it's tightly packed, being careful not to disturb any bulbs below. Apply 2 to 3 inches of mulch.

Fill in the grass
Remove leaves and twigs and de-thatch dead grass with a metal rake. Ask for help choosing the right seed at a garden center, then apply it to bald patches or anywhere you want a thicker lawn.
Quick tip: Weed-killing fertilizer will work fastest if applied right before it rains.

Fix the sprinkler
Check for any winter damage, including broken heads and cracked pipes, by running your sprinkler one zone at a time. Any bubbling or geyser-like area needs a new head.

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