Every homeowner wants to keep their house in great shape. And the best way to do that is through regular maintenance. But sometimes, the best of intentions can end up costing you in repairs and replacements. Learn about six common home exterior maintenance mistakes and how you can avoid them.
1. Cleaning with Undiluted Bleach
Bleach is an excellent cleaning and disinfecting agent for many things around the house, but in most cases, your home’s exterior is not one of them. However, you don’t have to rely on expensive specialty cleaners either. A water-vinegar solution and soft brush can handle most mold and mildew issues on house elements like vinyl siding. If the mold is persistent and you feel bleach is necessary, make sure to dilute it with water according to the manufacturer’s instructions and rinse the area thoroughly afterward.
2. Ignoring Your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters in the spring and fall is a must to keeping your roofing system working properly. Your roof is displacing tons of water even during light rainstorms, and your gutters work to move that water away from your home effectively. If water is backing up on the roof or overflowing from your gutters, it could damage your shingles, siding, eaves, fascia, windows, doors, and even your home’s foundation! Even if you have gutter guards installed, it’s still a good idea to check for debris a few times a year.
3. Pointing the Downspout Splash Blocks the Wrong Way
It seems like a silly mistake, but it’s more common than you might think. Make sure that your splash blocks are pointing away from your home’s foundation. The taller skinny end should be under the downspout, and the wider end should point away from the house. Splash blocks help direct water away and avoid soil erosion. If they are facing your home, you are dumping that water onto your foundation. Once your foundation is damaged, it could cost over $10,000 to fix.
4. Pressure Washing Your Siding and Roof
A pressure washer is a great tool to have around the house for many jobs, but it isn’t the best choice to clean your siding and roof. If you have vinyl siding, the water could be forced behind the panels, creating moisture that leads to mold and mildew. In most cases, all you need to wash vinyl siding is a soft bristle brush, water, and mild soap. If you have no other option to remove mold and mildew than trying a pressure washer on your vinyl siding, make sure to always point the water stream down and stand far enough away from the home according to the manufacturer’s directions. Be aware that pressure washers can also erode brick, take off the top layer of wood shakes, and remove the protective grit on asphalt shingles. In the end, these exterior elements will fail faster, and you’ll be paying for replacements.
5. Only Checking Your Roof’s Exterior
When looking at your roof for signs of aging or damage, you must also check the attic or crawlspace if it is at all accessible. Your shingles could look great for years, but meanwhile, a leak to your decking on the underside of the roof could be causing significant damage. If you only look at the outside, you wouldn’t know until the leak gets so bad it’s dripping down to other parts of your home and causing more expensive damage.
6. Going with the First Contractor You Find
The search for the right exterior remodeling contractor can be overwhelming. So, it’s tempting to go with the first decently reviewed person you find. But take the time to dive into their reviews and track record and what projects they are equipped to do. For example, many roofing companies are surprisingly not equipped to do small repairs. So regardless of the state of your roof, they will suggest a full replacement, even if a few-hundred-dollar repair would have kept your roof working for years to come.
If you have something around your home that needs more than DIY maintenance to stay in great shape, schedule a consultation with the home exteriors experts at Brothers. As a full-service remodeler, we have the ability to do just about every project around your home, from the roof to the basement!