Spring is here and summer can’t be too far away, but one thing’s for sure – it’s a great time to tackle some outdoor home improvement projects. Now that it’s getting warm again, take a look – winter weather may have done a real number on your house.
Here are six spring checkup inspections you may want to perform:
1) Inspect Your Exterior Paint
Moisture is one of paint’s biggest foes, especially during the winter. It can cause blistering or peeling if you’re unlucky. During the winter, wet areas of the house like the bathroom and laundry room can develop more moisture build-up. This is due to less ventilation during the winter. This can actually seep through the walls and work its way out through the exterior paint.
If you get a lot of snow in your area and it isn’t melting and running off the roof properly, the excess moisture can start to soak into the eaves and drip down on the outside walls of your house instead. This leads to damaged paint. In any case, waiting to repaint your house until it gets warm again is always the best policy. Most paint isn’t designed to be applied in cold and wet conditions. It might not stick nearly as well and there’s the risk of the paint developing mildew due to the moisture in the air.
2) Inspect Your Fence
If you have a wooden fence at your house, spring’s always a great time to check it out. Especially if you have a wood fence, wood can really take a beating over the winter. If you got a lot of rain or snow over the winter and the wood has been soaked pretty thoroughly without being able to dry out, it may have developed mold or rot. In particular, check the base of your fence for any signs of rot. This is where water collects over the winter.
If you have trees in the yard and leaves pile up against the fence, the leaves can trap moisture, causing rot that way as well. In addition, look for loose boards and knotholes in the fence. Temperature fluctuations over the winter can cause the wood to swell and shrink repeatedly and may cause boards to pull loose from the fasteners or even pop knots out of the wood. Finally, high winds over the course of a winter may cause the fence to lean. If your fence posts aren’t set in concrete, it’s a good time to think about pulling them and resetting them in concrete.
– For tips on how to inspect a wood fence & also how to make minor repair, see our article – Fence Maintenance.
3) Inspect Your Driveway and Patio for Resealing
If you have an asphalt driveway or patio and you haven’t done this for a couple of years, it’s probably time to do it again. Spring through summer is typically the best time to seal your driveway or patio. If you live in an area that gets down to freezing temperatures, water can get into unsealed asphalt and expand as it freezes, causing cracks and potholes in the asphalt. In addition, frost in the soil underlying the asphalt can heave it and cause cracks. Concrete driveways or patios aren’t nearly as vulnerable to this but even they can benefit from sealing every five years or so (plus concrete can be vulnerable to staining if not sealed).
– For tips on DIY driveway maintenance, see our article – DIY Driveway Maintenance.
4) Inspect Your Garage Door
A typical garage door should last for at least 20 years under normal conditions. But the springs and other moving parts will likely need to be replaced eventually due to the wear-and-tear of regular use. While any major repairs or replacements should be handled by a garage door repair professional, you can take some proactive measures to extend the life of the moving parts. These include lubricating the springs, rollers and cables, plus inspecting the tracks for any dents or debris that might be blocking them. In addition, inspect the weatherstrip along the bottom of the garage door. Ensure that it makes a tight seal between the ground and the bottom of the garage door when your garage door is closed completely.
– Our Best Garage Maintenance Tips are here.
5) Inspect Your Gate
Especially after a wet winter, your yard gate may be in need of some TLC as well. Inspect the hinges for rust and tighten them as needed. If you have an automatic gate for your driveway that uses a remote in your car – check that the sensor isn’t blocked by debris such as fallen tree branches or overgrown weeds as these can interfere with the signal from the remote.
6) Inspect Your Foundation
The soil under your house expands and contracts as it gets wet and dries out over the course of a rainy season. This in turn can lead to foundation problems as the foundation either gets pushed up or sinks down. This can cause the foundation to crack. These and other problems are very expensive to repair if not caught right away. Once warmer weather arrives, it’s always a great idea to check the foundation. Make sure that you don’t have any areas where water is collecting against the foundation. Ideally, the soil should slope away from the foundation. This carries any runoff from your gutters away from the foundation rather than permitting it to soak into the ground and seep under the foundation.
– Foundation issues can be especially problematic when working to keep a basement dry. Here are tips for fixing water issues at the foundation.
For more on Spring Home Maintenance, here is a fantastic Spring Maintenance Checklist from Home Advisor. To continue to prepare for Spring Repairs, here are six more home projects contributed to us by DoitYourself.com. Cheers. ~jb
All images via Justin Krutz on behalf of Palatin Remodeling.