If winter seems to be dragging, don’t despair: Spring 2017 in the Northern Hemisphere begins on March 20. With the change in season usually comes the inevitable spring cleaning—a chance to refresh, restore, and repair your home after the long winter. However, one recent survey discovered that 68 percent of adults felt anxiety over the prospect of spring cleaning. When thinking about the exterior of your house, this trepidation is understandable; you can never quite be sure what havoc winter has wreaked until the snow melts and the weather warms up.
Of course, spring cleaning anxiety isn’t an excuse to ignore upkeep of your windows, exterior doors, siding, and roof. Here are some maintenance tips to follow once spring arrives:
Did the caulking around your windows survive the winter? Those little gaps in the caulk may seem insignificant, but come summer, cool air will sneak out and increase your AC bill. Reseal any cracks before the weather gets too hot. If you are putting screens back up, inspect them first to look for holes and any damage to the frames—you don’t want any bugs getting in your house during the warmer months. Finally, check the wooden windowsills for discoloration, which may be an indicator of rot that may have taken hold during the winter. If you see a suspicious spot, press a screwdriver to the area; if the spot is spongy, you may have a problem. Repair the rotted area before it spreads to other parts of the sill or even the framing.
The siding on your house can get dingy over a long winter, so give it a good cleaning during the spring. A wash will clear away the dirt, as well as any moss that might be forming (which can be a bigger problem than the dirt). However, a high-pressure wash might not be the best option for your exterior—it can damage fiber cement siding, dent vinyl siding, and scar wooden siding. Check with your siding’s manufacturer or installer on the best way to clean it and what kind of cleanser to use. With a little effort, your home’s siding can look brand-new.
External doors might face the same problems with cracked caulking and rot as windows can. Fixing these problems around the door should be a priority; then you can progress to giving your doors a good cleaning. Use a wet rag to pick up any dirt or dust and be sure to get the doorframe, knob, and doorbell—areas that are often touched but rarely cleaned. Touch up any scrapes or cracked paint and use Windex on any glass in the door.
Finally, we arrive at the roof—the part of your house that often absorbs the brunt of winter’s fury. Inspecting and maintaining your roof is perhaps the most important spring cleaning project you can undertake.
Start with the gutters. From the ground, inspect them to determine if any separated from their hinges (ice can cause this) during the winter. Then, climb a ladder and clean any leaves and sticks from your gutters. After completing this task, use a hose to gradually flush out any additional debris from the gutters and downspouts.
Next, look for any shingles that may be cracking, buckling, or otherwise damaged. Broken shingles can deteriorate even more under the hot summer sun; get them repaired now before your roof suffers more damage. Also, look for any cracks in the flashing around chimneys and vents.
Finally, take extra precaution when climbing a ladder or attempting any work on your roof. Don’t hesitate to call a qualified roofer to help with inspections and repairs. Enjoy your spring by letting professionals address any big concerns and problems you have with the roof and the rest of your home’s exterior.
What big home projects do you have planned for this spring?