The sun is shining, the birds are tweeting and the grass is greening. Now that the weather’s nice, step outside and give the exterior of your home some attention and TLC. If you catch and fix small problems early, you’ll prevent them from escalating into bigger, more costly issues. Luckily, most of these items on this checklist will require little time and cost from you.
Clean gutters and downspouts: When dead leaves and other debris are allowed to gather and linger in your gutters, that leads to the decay of your trim and siding. Climb a ladder, and using your hands or a trowel, scoop out leaves, sticks and trash and drop into a waste bin below. Then rinse the gutters with the hose. While you’re doing this, have a helper check the downspouts for gaps and signs of leaks or blockage.
Roof: While you’re on the roof cleaning your gutters, pause and take a look at your roof. Look for broken, cracked or missing shingles. Search for popped nails and tap them back in with a hammer.
Masonry: Whether you have a brick chimney or a brick exterior, an annual inspection will help you catch small problems early. Repair active cracks in the joints with a flexible sealant. Remove any biological growth, such as moss, lichens, algae and mildew. Search for the underlying cause of this growth, such as a leaky gutter or a roof overhang, and repair as needed.
Doors: Make sure the door and the storm door close tightly. Check for air leaks and replace caulking and weatherstripping as needed. Inspect the paint or finish on your door; if it’s getting weather-beaten, it may be time for a sanding and a new coat of stain or durable paint. (This will freshen the look of your exterior to boot!)
Windowsills: Take a walk around the perimeter of your house, and check the quality of your windows’ weatherstripping and caulking. Otherwise, leaks will let in hot air this summer, which will make your air conditioner work longer and harder than it has to.
Paint: Touch up cracked and peeling paint on your trim, windows and siding to prevent water damage.
Screens: If your screens have been out all winter, remove, clean with water and a scrub brush, and allow to air dry. While you’re at it, keep an eye out for rips and holes so you can keep the flying critters of summer out of your house.
Driveway: Sweep the surface and check carefully for cracks, holes and uneven surfaces from frost heaves and the winter freeze-thaw cycles. Scrub stains with a degreaser, followed by a deep clean of the entire surface with a pressure washer. After your driveway has had a chance to dry, fill cracks and holes and apply a sealant to extend the life of your surface.
Faucets: Check for broken hardware and pipes and look for gaps that can let in air leaks.
Foundation: Check the concrete for cracks and gaps between the foundation and the masonry or siding. In the basement, check the walls for seepage and signs of moisture.
Deck: Sweep away any leaves or other accumulated debris. On cement or paved patios, scrub up stains from last summer’s barbecue with a scrub brush and degreaser. Wash away grime from the surface of your deck or patio with a hose fitted with a nozzle. Hammer in popped nails, patch the cracks and sand the splinters.
A little TLC this spring can go a long way for the exterior of your home. Take these easy steps to maintain your home and you will save yourself a lot of trouble and expense down the road.