1. Inspect Wood Trim & Caulk Around Windows and Doors
Walk around your entire home exterior and use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. If you note any soft spots where the screwdriver easily presses in you should aim to make repairs now before spring rains do more damage to the wood. Inspect the caulking around all the windows and door. Remove and repair any that was damaged during the winter to prevent water intrusion. If you buy high quality silicon acrylic latex caulk specific for exterior use you will have to do this less often. You may need and want to do touch up paint for extra protection over the newly caulked areas.
2. Inspect The Roof
Either from the ground or from the roof itself, if it is safe to access, take a close look at your roofing to look for loose or missing shingles; worn, damaged or rusted flashing and cracked boots around vent pipes. You may be able to do this to a certain extent from the ground with binoculars. If you notice concerns you may want to call in a professional roofer to evaluate and determine the cost for them to repair if it is beyond your capability. Unfortunately it can be difficult to get roofers to do small jobs that aren’t full replacements so if you need some names for that please reach out to me.
3. Clean Your Gutters
If you live in an area with any trees nearby those leaves should be all down by now. You should remove all the leaves, needles and other debris that have accumulated over the winter so your gutter system is not backing up and causing water to overflow. 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. Overflowing gutters and blocked downspouts can damage, fascia boards, siding and foundations. Make sure your downspouts drain away from the foundation with splash blocks or channels.
4. Clean and Repair Decks
Cleaning your deck of leaves and debris—especially between deck boards—prevents staining and reduces the chance of rot. Check for loose boards, and reset protruding nails to keep your deck safe. Use a flat-bladed screwdriver to pry gunk out from between boards. Use a deck cleaning product to revive faded and stained boards. Check all decks, patios, porches, stairs, and railings for loose members and deterioration. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain. If the stain doesn’t look like it should or water has turned some of the wood a dark grey, hire a deck professional to treat your deck and fence.
5. Inspect And Clean Walkways and Driveways
Winter can be tough on concrete and asphalt! Freeze and thaw cycles can break apart stone and concrete. Inspect all of your concrete areas for wear and damage. You should seal seal cracks with sealant made for the specific material of your driveway or walkway to prevent further damage. Stuff foam backer rods in large cracks to reduce the amount of sealant you’ll need. If the damage is extensive you should call in a professional to evaluate it. You may have algae or moss growth on your concrete and now would be a good time to do a first run of power washing to stay out in front of it before we hit the months when much more time is spent outside.
6. Clean The Siding
Get rid of dirt and grime that can cause mildew and shorten the life of your siding. As a bonus, the exterior of your home will look fresh and clean for spring. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting. There's no need for fancy cleaning solutions or power washers; a bucket of warm, soapy water and a long-handled brush are all you need. Rinse with water from a garden hose. If you do decide to use a power washer be careful with the setting on it as you could end up removing paint if the pressure is too strong.
7. Clean The AC or Heat Pump Condenser
Remove dust and debris that have accumulated on the AC condenser (the big metal box outside your house) so that the system works efficiently. Hook up a garden hose and spray the outside of the condenser. The water will melt away the gunk. Don’t use a brush or a pressure washer as you could damage or bend the metal. Having a HVAC professional service your system costs $100 to $250 and includes cleaning the condenser and lubricating the fan motor. I recommend having that done ever year to make sure your entire HVAC system is functioning properly and at peak efficiency
8. Prep The Yard
Start bringing your yard back to life now, before temperatures warm up for real. Cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Vegetation contact can cut into your home’s paint and exterior and cause damage. A little trimming can save a lot of money and time. If you have moss growth either in your grass or other areas apply an iron based moss killer now so it can get to work before spring really hits. Remove all excess leaves and debris so your plants and shrubs can receive the spring rains they will need to promote good growth for the next six months. Mow the lawn but not summer time short as its potentially dormant you don’t want to damage it. Apply a spring time fertilizer to promote growth. I highly recommend Lawn Restore by Safer Brands for an organic option that will never burn your lawn and promotes quality growth from the roots up.