Who would’ve believed that Punxsutawney Phil – that weather-predicting groundhog – called for an early spring and this year he was right! Spring has indeed sprung in our area, giving us the chance to finally step outside and breathe the fresh air without putting on a parka. And warm weather may trigger thoughts of spring home maintenance.
While you’re outside enjoying the warmer temperatures, take a moment to look around your house and property. Because your view won’t be obscured by foliage, it’s the perfect time to see what winter left behind and what needs to be repaired. The time you spend taking care of home maintenance business now will save time and money in extensive repairs down the road. To help you start tackling those projects, we’ve put together these Top 5 Spring Outdoor Home Maintenance Tips.
Tip #1 – Check the Roof
An easy way to inspect the roof to find damaged, loose, or missing shingles is to use a pair of binoculars. If you see loose or broken shingles, fix those as soon as possible to protect your home from leaks. If the problem extends beyond a few shingles, you’ll want to contact a professional roofer. Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too.
Tip #2 – Check for Cracks in the Foundation
A cracked foundation is often the result of frost heaves – soil movement caused by the freeze-thaw cycle – which can leave cracks in your basement walls and floor. If the cracks are less than a nickel-width wide, you can take the following steps to minimize further damage:
- Replace the soil surrounding your foundation with more porous alternatives such as gravel and/or fill sand, which is a blend of sand, soil, and clay.
- Add a drainage system at the base of a foundation, like a French drain, to drain the water away.
- Dig top-level and subterranean reservoirs to redirect water away from your home’s foundation.
- Insulate your home’s foundation to minimize heat loss between the foundation and the surrounding soil. When heat transfers to the surrounding soil through foundation walls, it enhances the freeze-thaw cycle.
- Make sure your gutters are in good working order and drain rainwater at a sufficient distance away from your house – at least 6 to 8 feet.
If the cracks are large or extensive, have the foundation professionally inspected and repaired.
Tip #3 – Replace Caulk & Weather Stripping Around Windows & Doors
If the gap around a door or window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk to keep your home energy bill down and the insects out. Check window-glazing putty, too, which seals glass into the window frame. Add weather stripping around doors, making sure that you can’t see any daylight from inside your home.
Tip #4 – Clean the Gutters
The decomposed leaves and twigs that nature leaves behind after winter may be worse than those in your gutter during the summer months. Pull leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts. Reattach gutters that have pulled away from the house. Run a hose on the roof and check for proper drainage. If leaks exist, dry the area and use caulking or epoxy to seal the leak. Add extensions to downspouts to carry water away from your home’s foundation.
Tip #5 – Inspect Your Driveway & Sidewalks for Cracks and Heaves
Broken concrete or asphalt is more than just an eyesore. It’s a tripping hazard that can lead to painful results. Fix any breakdown in concrete or asphalt before it worsens. You can patch or fill surface cracks, chips or flaking in concrete yourself using cement-repair products. For deeper cracks, settling or sunken concrete, or frost heaves, call a professional.
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