How bout that rain, hey?! Winter and spring are hard enough on our homes, let alone this extended wet weather. It is about time we get out there for that wet weather clean up- and here are a handful of tips to help you protect one of your most valuable assets.
High winds are hard on the exterior of your home; the roof is no exception. Make sure your roof shingles are in good condition. The easiest and safest way to inspect your roof is not by way of ladder. Instead use your smart phone's camera and zoom, or better yet, try binoculars. Missing, damaged and curling shingles can invite water through to the roof deck and potentially into your home. Worn shingles are also an issue; they show degradation to the functionality of the roof. And, if cracked, could allow water to pass through to your home. Contact a roofing pro, or grab your ladder if you're handy, to make necessary repairs. Tree branches are another issue for your roof. Sticks, small branches and leaves can not only clog gutters, but cause moss and algae to form on the roof. It's important to trim the branches that hang over your home and to clean out your gutters. A mild cleaning solution, you can purchase at your local hardware store, could help remove any growing microorganisms growing on your shingles. I'ts important to follow all manufacturer directions carefully. You could also pressure wash your roof, however, if the shingles are worn, it could damage them even more.
Also check for:
The caps on the furnace and any exhausts or vents on the roof. Replace any damaged or missing caps.
Look for ice damming damage and be proactive- install heat tapes.
Check flashing and ensure nothing is missing or loose.
Check any metal areas of the roofing system for rust. Examine your roof deck in the attic attic. Look for signs of the roof leaking, check the corners for mold or dampness and, if found, begin remediation immediately.
Over flowing gutters can wreak havoc on your foundation. Be sure you're regularly cleaning your gutters and inspecting them for any damage. Conduct a leak test by running water through your gutters with your hose. Downspouts should carry water 3-4' away from your foundation.
Also check for:
Missing nails, loose downspouts and joints, dents and rust. Repair and replace any damaged gutters or downspouts.
To protect your lawn, consider burying your downspouts. DIY tips here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQXs4n5EUrE
3. SIDING & PAINT
Your home's siding does more than provide curb appeal and character to your home. It provides substantial protection from our unpredictable weather. Most siding requires attention, but without proper annual maintenance it can pose a risk to the structure of your home.
Wood trim, siding, shakes and shingles should have no evidence of wood rot. Check for moisture behind any exterior wood and paint or stain any exposed wood, as needed.
All exterior wood should be painted every 5-7 years. If you stain, instead of paint, it should be done every 3 years. Composition board and T111 may need attention more than every 3 years.
Dirt, grass and moss can stain your siding. You want to ensure you keep up with your curb appeal appearances by washing your vinyl siding every 2 years. Heavier stains on vinyl siding can be cleaned with a vinyl siding solution and soft cloth or soft bristled brush if necessary.
For plywood siding, like T111, look for any warping, expanding or contracting of the siding. Weathered wood can cause nails to pull out, joints to pull apart and siding to fall off. Plywood siding can deteriorate quickly, it's important to assess the structure of your siding a few times per year. When painting plywood, lightly power wash your exterior to remove any silt or lightly peeling paint.
Keep plants at least 1 foot away from your house. Plants hold water in the ground, the can grow into the seams of your siding and also invite mold growth on the siding of your home.
The number one inspector suggestion on my home inspections is to adjust the grade of the home. The ground should slope away from your home to prevent water from pooing near your foundation. As you read above, ensure your gutter downspouts are releasing water at least 3-4' away from your home.
Walk around the exterior and look for cracks in the foundation. Small hairline cracks should be filled with a masonry sealant. Bigger openings should be filled with an expoxy-injection.
Foundation repairs can be fairly inexpensive if attended to sooner rather than later. It is a good idea to inspect any foundation cracks after every heavy rain and snow melt, to ensure they aren't getting bigger (or wider than 3/16 inch).
5. WINDOWS & DOORS
Freeze-thaw cycles can cause shifting of doors and windows. Make any hinge and lock adjustments to ensure doors close properly. Gaps in doors and windows invite pests and are not energy efficient to your home. If you can see daylight around your doors, get out your weather stripping. Caulk any cracks around the framing of doors and windows to ensure the elements aren't infiltrating the structure of your home.
Window frames should always be clean. Clean window screens by removing them and washing them on a flat, clean surface. A mild dish detergent will do the trick. Patch or replace screens where needed.
Fog between the glass of your windows? This is not the look you want, especially when selling your home. Call a glass company or window company about replacing the seals in your window to give potential buyers and visitors a clean look when looking at the windows.
Exposed and rotting wood can be a big hang up on a home's inspection. Not only will it effect your home inspection, but it could cause issues to the structure of your home. Rotting wood invites pests to nest as well as allows water to puddle near the structure of your home. Ensure your deck is sealed with an oil-based stain and free of any rotting boards.
Surface preparation makes a world of difference when it comes to staining your deck. A clean deck ensures an even coat of stain is applied to the boards absorb the treatment properly. Sand rough boards, apply a deck cleaner and a wood conditioner before staining.
Try a darker stain to help protect the deck boards from UV damage.
Also check for:
The footings for deterioration, sinking, jacking or heaving, and check for proper connections. If you see any major changes in your deck, it's best to contact a professional for advice, repair or replacement.
Check deck framing for rot and overall integrity. You don't want to see anything loose, bowing or warped. Reattach, repair or replace as necessary.
Check the integrity of your deck's guardrails- look for rot & general deterioration. Repair and replace as needed.
Wood framing should never be in contact with soil as it expedites rot. Be sure to keep all wood sealed and protected from the elements.
The structural integrity of the stairs to your deck is important for the safety of use of your deck- especially important on larger staircases. Ensure they're property attached and there are no degraded elements of the stair system.
Ensure all fasteners and metal hardware aren't loose or corroded. Corrosion causes these connections to fail.
7. TREES & BRUSH
A healthy tree makes for a pretty yard! Take it from me, you do not want a wood boring insect or bird, or disease damaging your tree. You especially don't want to let it go longer than the current season you're in! If you see signs of disease of wood boring, contact a certified arborist asap to advise you on proper treatment.
A sad tree will show evidence of roots or sprouts poking through the soil. Bending or damaged branches that may not be bouncing back and producing leaves should be removed.
All branches extending over your home, or structures around your home should be removed to ensure the structural integrity of the roofs of your home and out buildings and the structural integrity of your decks and patios.
8. EXHAUST & DRYER VENTS
Dryer vents should be cleaned every 6 months to prevent risk of fire. Spring and Summer are a great time to check and clean your dryer vents. Your dryer also operates more efficiently when vents are clean and clear of lint debris. Remove the pipring from the dryer to the wall and clean it out with a brush, or try an old car wash mitt. If cleaning proves difficult, consider replacing the piping. If your dryer vent drops into your basement or lifts into your attic and then extends to the exterior of your home, you should clean or replace that vent as well.
Also check for:
Dented or cracked piping. Damaged dyer vent piping effects the efficiency of your dryer and can be a fire hazard.
Birds, insects or rodents nesting in dryer vents. Blocked venting also effects the efficiency of your dryer and can be a fire hazard to your home.
9. SPIGOTS & HOSES
Inspect hose spigots for any corrosion or damage caused from the winter. Ensure there are no obstructions or cracks in the pipes and valves.
Leaving your hose laying in your yard causes damage to the integrity of your lawn and also looks bad. Consider attaching a hose reel to the exterior of your home; and seal any screw or nail holes with silicon to prevent water intrusion.
Check your hose for any cracks in the structure of the hose and in the gaskets. Repair and replace if necessary.