Winter takes a toll on the outside of your home. As the weather gets warmer, it’s a good idea to check how your home has survived the colder months. Here are some essential areas of your house you should check every spring.
Before you bring out the deck furniture and plants, inspect and clean your deck. If you have a natural wood deck, check the upper and underdeck for rot, mildew, and loose nails. You can spot wood rot if there are soft spots, discoloration, or splintering. If you see any of these signs of decay, call a professional to check the integrity of the deck. Make sure to check any railings as well, which can become loose in the winter, causing a safety hazard.
Spring is also a great time to clean your deck. If you plan to use a pressure washer, make sure you read the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific material of your deck. If you use too high of a pressure, you can actually damage wood fibers. The best approach is to use a wood cleaner. You may also want to put a new stain or seal on the deck to protect it for the following year.
Winter’s cold may have caused seals around windows to harden, loosen, or crack. Take a look at your windows, if you see rotting or moldy frames, or condensation then it could be time for a replacement. Try to open and close them. If they are difficult to move, the issue could be frame deterioration or even your home’s foundation shifting.
Next, check your windows for air leaks. If you have an air leak, your room will likely feel drafty, and you could see higher energy bills. Feel around your windows for drafts, or even conduct a flame test with a candle. Once you find an air leak, you can repair it with weather stripping or caulk, depending on the location. However, air leak repair is a temporary fix. Once your window has a leak, the window is no longer energy-efficient, and you should consider replacement.
Spring cleaning and chimney inspections go hand-in-hand. You have probably used your fireplace throughout the winter months, so cleaning the chimney in the spring is a good idea. Plus, the National Fire Protection Association recommends having your fireplace, vents, and chimney inspected and cleaned annually. Build up in the chimney can cause smells during the summer, so cleaning it out before the summer months can improve the air quality in your home.
You should also look at the outside of your chimney for any signs of damage. Look at the masonry and make sure that water hasn’t expanded between the bricks, causing cracks that could allow insects, cold air, and water into your home. Then, check for any leaks around the edges of the chimney. Look at the flashing, the metal pieces used to direct water away from where the chimney intersects with the roof to make sure it is still intact. This area is particularly vulnerable to leaks, so if you spot an issue early, you can avoid a more costly roof repair down the line.
Ice and wind throughout the winter can lead to significant problems and expensive repairs, or even replacements, in the future. Start by walking around your home to check for any asphalt granules on the ground. Walk further away so you can see your entire roof, and look for missing shingles or dark patches. Pay special attention to the most leak-prone regions like skylights and chimneys.
Then, check inside. If your home has attic access, look for stains in the decking, rust around the nails, and proper insulation in the attic. If you find and fix a small problem now, you will save your roof from more costly repairs in the future. Learn more about how to do an in-depth check of your roof each spring.
Checking for loose or leaky gutters can help prevent drainage problems that lead to water getting into your foundation. If you can safely take a ladder up to the top of your gutters, remove debris with a plastic shovel or gutter scoop and flush out the gutters with a garden hose. If you notice a small hole or leaky joints, seal it with caulk before it becomes a bigger problem.
While checking your gutters this spring, you might see a bigger issue than debris and small leaks. Over the winter, water can freeze in your gutters, making them heavy. This added weight can pull them away from the fascia boards, the wooden boards directly below the shingles along the perimeter of the roof. If gutters are pulling away from the fascia board, you can simply use a small hammer to tap the spikes back into the wood, so the gutters sit tight against your home. However, if the fascia board is rotting, you should call a gutter professional who can uninstall the gutters, replace the damaged board, and reinstall them.
Checking these areas of your home every spring can help avoid costly repairs. Remember, your home is your most important investment, and the better you maintain it, the better it will treat you down the line! If you notice anything that you can’t DIY, contact the home exteriors experts at Brothers today. Our consultants will provide a no-pressure consultation to find the best solution for your home.