Your home is built to withstand the elements, but sometimes, it needs a little help. After a long winter or a rough storm, it’s important to perform some basic maintenance to keep your home in tip-top shape and avoid disasters.
Here’s a simple checklist to follow when doing home exterior maintenance:
Check the Chimney Cap
If you have a chimney, it should have a chimney cap on top. This is a wire-mesh cover that allows smoke to vent out the top while preventing animals, leaves, and debris from crawling inside and clogging it.
The cap is particularly important if you have a functioning wood-burning fireplace that you use regularly. Any blockage at the top of the chimney increases the risk of a fire or smoke inside the house.
Even if never use your fireplace or due to updates, you no longer have a connected fireplace, you still need a cap. The last thing you want is an animal climbing into the vent, getting stuck, and dying inside, creating a terrible smell that permeates your home!
Clean the Gutters
The gutters and drainpipes that run along the edge of your house create run-off points that prevent water from pooling on your roof and leaking through to the inside of your house. You can prevent significant water damage just by keeping your gutters clean throughout the rainy season!
Additionally, the drainage pipes prevent water from pooling around the foundation of your home, which could otherwise cause foundation damage. A clogged drainage pipe or gutter eliminates this protection, putting your foundation at risk.
Gutter maintenance is very simple. You’ll need a secure ladder and gloves to protect your hands. You should remove twigs, leaves, and other debris from the gutters at least once a month, but you’ll want to revisit your gutters after any major storm. Heavy rains and winds could have piled extra debris into the gutters that you need to remove.
Make Roof Repairs
Inspect your roof for damage after every rain and windstorm or at least once per year. It’s easy to replace missing shingles or patch the flashing when the damage is minor, but if you wait too long, it can turn into a huge job that requires an entire roof replacement!
Start with a visual inspection, standing around 50-100 feet away from your house on all sides. If necessary, take a closer look with a secure ladder.
You may be able to make basic repairs yourself, but if your roof is getting old (15-20 years or older), and there are many places that need repairs, it’s probably time to get a brand-new roof.
Re-seal Windows and Doors
Windows and doors should have been properly sealed with caulk and weather stripping when they were first installed, but improper techniques, age, and bad weather can degrade the protection. Drafty windows and doors create inefficient heating problems and invite insects and pests into your home.
Check and update the weather stripping and caulk around each window and door in the home. You may need to replace old components with new pieces.
This is also a good time to inspect your windows. A typical residential window has a lifespan of about 20 years because the materials start to decay and require replacement after that point. Then, consider installing new windows to maintain the comfort and efficiency of your home.
It’s nice to have trees near your home to provide ambiance, create shade, and clean the air in your neighborhood. However, if left unchecked, trees growing near the structure can become a nuisance.
Trim any trees and shrubs away from your house to prevent branches from butting up against the building, potentially causing structural issues. It will also prevent excess debris from clogging your gutters and moisture from pooling on your roof and siding, which can cause interior leaks.
Additionally, you’ll want to prevent overgrowth above your roof to keep critters away. Raccoons, squirrels, mice, and other rodents have been known to climb the branches over your home and find their way into your attic.
Spring is the best time to trim overgrowth if you want to avoid stunting the plant’s growth. Research proper methods for pruning trees to keep the plant healthy while protecting your home.