Outdoor Spring Home Maintenance & Repair
Roofs: Start by inspecting your roof and replacing damaged shingles. Next, examine the chimney flashing and mortar joints on brick or stone chimneys. Use masonry caulk to repair any gaps or cracks in the flashing. If the flashing is in bad condition, make a quick fix with caulk, then call a roofing contractor to for a more permanent repair.
Gutters: Use water from a garden hose to check gutters for leaks. Repair any loose gutter hangers or spikes and use a level to make sure the gutters slant slightly down toward the downspouts. To repair leaks in gutter seams, let the gutters dry thoroughly, then seal the crack using gutter sealer, exterior caulk, or roofing cement.
Siding and Trim: After the exterior of your house has been cleaned, make any needed repairs to the siding and trim, then patch and paint bare spots. Scrape away peeling paint, and lightly sand to soften the edges so it will blend in with the old paint. Caulk any cracks, and apply two coats of quality exterior paint, being careful to feather the edges with the paintbrush so the patch won’t show. If the entire house needs painting, watch our video on Exterior House Painting to find out more.
Storm Windows & Screens: If your home has removable storm windows, take them down and store until fall. Repair small tears in fiberglass screens by pressing the edges together and applying clear fingernail polish to both sides. Small holes can be fixed with a patch kit. For larger holes and tears, it’s better to replace the entire screen. Once they’re in good shape, clean window screens by soaking them in a child’s swimming pool filled with water and a little dish detergent. Use a soft brush or broom to gently clean both sides of the screen. Reinstall the screens on your windows and enjoy the spring breeze!
Drainage: Keep spring rains from flooding your home’s basement or crawlspace by measuring the slope around your home’s foundation to be sure it drops at least 6” in the first 10 feet. It’s also a good idea to add extension pipes or splash blocks on downspouts to direct rainwater away from your home.
Attic Vents: Poorly vented attics trap summer heat that can cause your air conditioner to work harder and shorten the life of roof shingles. Inspect attic vents to make sure they’re clear, and check power vents to see if they’re working properly. Replace any damaged or missing screens on vents to keep squirrels out. If your attic isn’t vented, consider adding vents or power vent fans.
Termites: Grab a flashlight and inspect for termites. Look around the perimeter of your home, and in the basement or crawlspace, paying particular attention to any areas where wood meets the ground. Look for termite damage on wood framing, termite tubes on foundation walls, and termites themselves. Make sure mulch, firewood, and organic debris are kept away from your home’s foundation; and don’t store wood or cardboard in a crawlspace under the house.
Animal Damage: Examine the outside of your home for damage from squirrels and raccoons. Squirrels will chew anything, including trim, siding, shutters, and vents. If they manage to get inside your home, squirrels can be very destructive to wiring, insulation, and anything else in their path. Raccoons are often looking for a place to nest and will tear up vents and fascia boards to set up housekeeping in your attic. Repair any damage and seal potential entry points using a hard material such as fiber cement, sheet metal, or auto body filler. Back attic vents with steel hardware cloth.
Septic Tank or Grinder Pump: Prevent costly and messy sewer backups by having your grinder pump or septic tank inspected. Septic tanks need to be pumped out every three to five years. Grinder pumps are installed in homes that are below the sewer line or in neighborhoods with pressurized sewer lines. Annual inspections will make sure your septic tank or grinder pump are working properly.