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Your spring home maintenance checklist

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Thu, 03/14/2019 - 14:55

Your spring home maintenance checklist

I know it’s very difficult to believe right now being in the midst of a bomb cyclone winter blizzard here in Minnesota and North Dakota but spring is actually next week, March 20.

Official spring or not, this winter has probably wreaked a little havoc on the exterior of your home. So as soon as the weather allows, and it’s safe to do so, there are number of things you will want to check and take corrective actions if needed.

We never recommend a homeowner climb onto the roof, even professionals slip and fall off them from time to time. It can be dangerous, don’t do it! The good news is of course is that most modern cameras and better cell phones offer telephoto features which allow the majority of roofs to be examined from the ground by the homeowner.

Most obviously, finding shingles on the ground is an indication something went wrong. Examine closely for missing shingles, shingles that appear to be displaced from their original position, and any signs that shingles are lifting and no longer adhered properly. Issues such as these should be professionally corrected as soon as practical to help avoid serious water damage to the interior of your home.

 Masonry chimneys also suffer the effect of freezing and thawing, often seen in evidence of the crown cracking or mortar missing from between individual masonry units. Observe as closely as possible also the flashings at the junction between chimneys and the roof covering. Because of the different masses between masonry chimneys and the house there is a constant pressure on the flashings as they move independently.

Your gutter system can be damaged by ice and snow sliding off of the roof, as well as the accumulation of ice in the gutter itself, over stressing the attachments. As the snow and ice melts leaks become quite evident if present. Any loose discharge tubes, often damage by falling ice, damaged downspouts or sagging or broken gutters should be corrected as soon as practical to reduce the amount of water around the foundation of the home.

Check the siding for any signs of damage or paint failure and make notes to take corrective action as the weather improves. Steel, aluminum, vinyl and fiber cement siding’s are relatively forgiving of weather although vinyl siding can be damaged by pieces of ice thrown by your snowblower. Your lawn mower can do much the same thing with small stones so taking care around vinyl siding regardless of the season is always a good idea. Some areas of the siding may require, at a minimum, touchup painting or minor repairs and resealing. Maintaining all of your wooden exterior housing components will often allow you to forgo major repairs at a future time.

Wooden windows can suffer minor damage and finish failure from the weather much the same as wooden siding can. So check closely for signs of decay, most typically at the lower edge of the brick molding. Brick molding is nonstructural and can be readily repaired or replaced as warranted. It does help keep water from entering behind the siding and is important to keep it maintained.

Foundations are typically quite resilient to weather of all types. If there’s water pooling next to the foundation however, as the snow melts, adjusting the landscaping will help reduce chances of water testing the theory that your foundation is waterproof. Standing water in window wells is also an indication that perhaps the drain from the window well is clogged or that leaves and debris have been allowed to accumulate. Window wells should always be kept clear of leaves and other debris that might block proper drainage. If you can see water through the glass it will come in.

One of the last things to check on the outside of your home is your deck. Decks made of wood or manmade materials can suffer the ravages of the harsh winter. Decks made of man-made materials may just need a good cleaning come spring and this can be done with the pressure washer or even just a garden hose. Wooden decks may have damage or deteriorating finish allowing the wood to start absorbing moisture, the first step in ultimate decay. Often, aging finishes are very apparent, but one trick that is useful is to sprinkle a few drops of water when the deck is dry. If the water beads the finish is still satisfactory. If the water soaks in it’s time to clean and refinish. Any damage or decay should be noted for prompt repairs or replacement.

Now it’s time to sit down with your list of observations and decide priorities and which jobs you want to attack yourself or farm out to professionals. And remember, spring is just around the corner.

Submitted by SterlingBrown on Thu, 03/14/2019 - 14:55