5 Outdoor Home Maintenance Musts for Fall
Use these tips to protect your biggest investment
We’ve all heard the Ben Franklin quote about house fires: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It proves true for regular home maintenance too, reducing the risk of emergency repairs, increasing the house’s value and keeping your family safer.
That’s why it’s wise to accomplish these fall outside maintenance chores now before winter sets in. Then do your inside maintenance, from pipes to windows and doors.
1. Clean Gutters. Because gutters and downspouts prevent water from damaging foundation and siding, clean and inspect gutters. Exercise caution if you don’t hire a professional, as this chore often requires climbing a ladder, an activity which results in more than 175,000 accidents a year, according to the National Safety Council.
2. Check Siding. Siding can be compared to your home’s skin; it must be intact and in good shape to do its job. Take time to inspect siding for rotten spots, damage, dirt and paint quality, advises the National Association of Homebuilders. Fix any damage yourself or hire a professional. Once that’s done, clean dirty siding with a pressure washer while wearing safety goggles, advises Danny Lipford of Today’s Homeowner TV show, and repaint sections as needed. Finally, trim back trees and shrubbery.
3. Inspect the Roof. Work your way around the house to examine the roof, either by standing on a ladder or using binoculars. Look for cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing; missing, broken (or curled, buckled, blistered) shingles; cracked/worn rubber boots around vent pipes; a missing or damaged chimney cap, and the presence of moss/lichen, which might indicate underlying roof decay, advises the National Association of Realtors. Address any problems promptly.
4. Weatherize Outdoor Faucets and Irrigation. Steps for wintering outdoor plumbing, according to home repair experts, include removing hoses from faucets, turning off the indoor shut-off valves to outside spigots, and leaving outdoor faucets open in order to drain water and relieve pressure that can cause frozen pipes and bursting. If your faucet is not the freeze-proof kind, cover it with an insulated faucet cover. For irrigation systems, drain per manufacturer guidelines.
5. Fix cement cracks. When water freezes
inside sidewalk or driveway cracks, they enlarge, making for bigger repair
bills down the road. Remove loose debris from narrow cracks, then seal them with a
masonry crack filler that works with a caulking gun. Wide cracks require more work.
all your purchases in your entire lifetime, none are likely to rival your home
in terms of price, so keep it in good shape. Taking care of small maintenance
chores now helps prevent costly and complicated repair jobs down the road.