Wednesday, March 2, 2011

5 Things to do this spring...


Spring is in the air, at least here in the Denver Metro Area, and it’s time to start making plans to clean up the mess often left by winter storms.  Maybe the nice weather will entice you to head outdoors to spruce up your house for the summer.

Here are a 5 things to do this spring to get your house ready for summer:

1. Inspect & repair your roof
The main purpose of your roof is to protect you and the inside of your home from the weather.  Water, wind and snow can take it’s toll on a roof and repairs should be made as soon as possible to prevent even more damage to the inside of your home.
Roof
  • If you can’t get up onto your roof to do the inspection the best alternative is to look into your attic for signs of leaks and use a pair of binoculars to inspect the shingles. 
  • Closely inspect around vents, pipes and chimneys – anything that protrudes through the roof.  If there are any signs of moisture such as rust on metal piping or stains on the wood sheathing around the pipes it means there is a leak.  
  • Use binoculars to inspect the outside of your roof covering and look for missing or damaged shingles.
Repair the roof
It is important to get any leaks sealed up as soon as possible.  Minor leaks can be repaired using roofing tar, available in caulk tubes. 
More significant damage to shingles and flashing may require a professional contractor to make repairs.  Before calling a professional roofing company check out this blog post from 2009 about roofing scams and how to protect yourself.
2. Inspect & repair gutters and downspouts.
Gutters are intended to gather the water running off of the roof and direct it to the downspouts.  Anything that prevents the water from freely flowing through the gutters is a problem. Downspouts and extensions are intended to direct the water, running through the gutters off of the roof and away from the foundation.
Gutters
  • Look for leaks focusing on seams, corners and transitions.
  • Look for any water running over the front edge of gutters.  This may indicate the gutters are clogged with debris and need to be cleaned or that the gutters are damaged and not directing water to the downspouts.
  • Look for evidence, such as staining, that indicates water is dripping behind the gutter. This may indicate the gutter has been pulled away from the roof or that the flashing is missing or damaged.
Downspouts
  • Look for any damage such as holes, cracks or sections that have become disengaged. 
  • Look for damaged extensions that are crushed or missing.
  • Check any underground drainage pipes for clogs.
Clean and repair gutters and downspouts
  • Clean your gutters using a Shop Vac, leaf blower or simply scoop out the debris with gloved hands into a bucket.  Place a tarp underneath you when you’re working to help with clean up afterward.
  • Repair gutter leaks with gutter repair/sealant which can be purchased in a caulk tube.
  • Repair or replace any damaged downspouts
  • Clean out any clogs in underground drainage by hooking up a hose and running large volumes of water through the drain to force out debris.  If necessary you can use a drain auger (drain snake) to clear the blockage, too.
  • Add  longer extensions to downspouts, where necessary,  to be sure all water is directed away from the foundation.

3. Inspect & repair all exterior finishes
Wood Siding & Trim - Any exposed wood surfaces will deteriorate much more quickly and may result in costly repairs or replacements in the future.  Be sure to inspect all wood siding and trim for missing, peeling or chipping paint or stain.  Paint and seal all exposed wood surfaces and  don’t forget about the bottom edges of wood siding, especially on the lower rows. 

Brick and Stucco -  Look for cracks or deterioration of brick mortar or stucco covering.  You can buy mortar and stucco repair products in caulk tubes.  Be sure all cracks are filled and sealed to prevent water from entering and causing additional damages.

4.  Inspect & repair damaged concrete
Inspect all exterior concrete areas such as porches, walkways and driveways.  Seal all gaps and cracks to reduce water entry, prolong life and prevent further damage from the freeze/thaw cycle.
Visit this previous blog posting for tips on repairing cracks in concrete.

5. Inspect & repair damaged screens
Repair any holes in screens with screen repair products.  You can also re-screen any screens yourself or have your local Ace Hardware Store do it for you.


If you'd like to learn more about your home and the maintenance tasks you should be performing check out our class, "The Morning After Closing" (Home Maintenance and Repair).

Visit our website for a complete listing of all of our home maintenance, repair and improvement classes along with a calendar of upcoming events.