Spring is officially here! Most people think of Spring Cleaning, warmer days and fresh air—At Chattanooga Exteriors, we want you to add one more thing, A Spring Home Exterior Checklist. Spring is a great time to make sure your home’s exterior is in good shape after being exposed to a years worth of whatever Mother Nature dolled out.
So, go outside and give your house the once over from top to bottom to identify any problem areas that may require a minor fix up now, preventing a major problem down the road. This list will help you stay on track, so let’s start at the top, and work our way down.
1. YOUR ROOF
What to look for: Step back as far as you can from your house, like the end of your yard, or across the street (use binoculars, if you have them), scan for missing shingles, as well as curled or “cupped” shingles, these can slow water run-off, trapping moisture, which may accelerate wear and tear on your roof. Also look at roof penetrations , like chimneys, skylights and plumbing vents. Make sure the flashing still lays flat and is rust free. Especially on your home’s north and east sides, where there is less direct sun, watch for mold and moss.
What to do: Because roof maintenance is potentially too dangerous to do yourself, hire a professional to repair and replace shingles. You can also call a handyman or pressure wash company to fix flashing or clean off moss and mold.
2. YOUR WINDOWS
What to look for: Spring is the right time to give your windows a thorough cleaning. It is also the best time to investigate window frames for peeling paint and if they are wood windows, mold and rot.
What to do: To test your wooden window frame for rot, press into it firmly with your fingernail. If the wood is soft enough to give, it may be time to visit the hardware store for a product that can fix it—or to call a professional window company to discuss replacement options.
3. THE SIDING
What to look for: The weather, environmental pollutants, road grime and animals can leave dirt and debris on siding, mold can also cling to some types of siding. Your siding is definitely one part of your house that can benefit from a good spring cleaning.
What to do: Refer to this guide from our friends at James Hardie Siding on how to clean siding for helpful pointers. And remember: It may be tempting to use a power-washer yourself, but it is very easy to go damage some types of siding. A garden hose, soft brush, and mild cleaner will usually do the trick. If you find that your siding is damaged or beyond cleaning, give us a call to discuss some affordable siding options that can actually improve the value of your home.
4. GUTTERS & DOWNSPOUTS
What to look for: Carefully examine your gutters and downspouts for large blockages of leaves, pine needles, or stray baseballs. To find hidden clogs, check them when it’s raining: If water pours over the top of a gutter, it’s blocked. Be sure water flows freely from downspouts too.
What to do: If you have a one-story home and feel comfortable on a ladder, you may decide to clean gutters and downspouts yourself (with caution, of course). Otherwise, it’s best to hire a professional.
5. DECKS & PATIO
What to look for: Because our decks and patios are often exposed to the elements year round, even the best-maintained decks may experience some deterioration. Survey your deck’s edges for rotting. Make sure you look underneath for hidden rotting and rusted fasteners or hangers.
What to do: A good cleaning and a reapplication of a sealer/stain is usually all that is required for routine maintenance. For minor repairs, visit your local hardware store to buy new fasteners and to find products that can help eradicate rot. For more serious repair or replacement, call a local professional contractor.
6. LANDSCAPING, TREES & SHRUBS
What to look for: Foliage that is too close to the house is not only a security risk, but creates a pathway for pests. You need some distance between your home’s exterior walls and the trees and shrubs. Also look at soil, mulch, and landscaping near your home’s foundation. It should slope down and away from the house, so that water can not pool and cause leaks.
What to do: Trim all branches and shrubs that are too close to your home, and adjust landscaping as needed to address pooling water. Remember, professional grade landscaping not only improves your home’s curb appeal, it can even add resale value.
What to look for: Inspect your brick chimneys for deterioration, loose mortar, and flaking or “spalling” bricks, all of which are signs that the chimney needs repair (again binoculars are very handy here). The chimney “cap,” often made of concrete or metal, should be secure and free of cracks that can cause leaks.
What to do: This is definitely best left to a pro. Contact a brick mason to repair a brick chimney. For general chimney repairs or cleaning, search the National Chimney Sweep Guild directory to find a local professional.
8. AND FINALLY … YOUR FOUNDATION
What to look for: Not every crack means big trouble for your foundation, but a crack with deflection might. You can tell when a crack has deflection if it veers in opposite directions or feels bumpy to the touch, get it looked at by a professional sooner than later.
What to do: Get in touch with a concrete or foundation repair company to fix most foundation cracks. Severe cracking, however, may require a consultation with a structural engineer.
When in doubt about any item on this home maintenance checklist, consider giving Chattanooga Exteriors a call. We may recommend you have a certified home inspector take a look at your home. An inspector can provide an unbiased, professional assessment about exterior home maintenance then we can provide any service required from roof to foundation.
And that’s it! With your spring home maintenance checklist complete, you can enjoy all that spring has to offer. Open your windows, let in some fresh air, spend more time outside … Enjoy.
If you would like to speak with us at Chattanooga Exteriors, call us at 423-389-4168 or fill out this short form.