Spring is in the air and that means it’s time to do some exterior home maintenance. While we were all holed up inside all winter, our houses were taking the brunt of winter weather and storms. Even if you live somewhere with extremely temperate weather, time alone can be enough to cause damage to many of your home’s exterior surfaces.
But all that exterior home maintenance can be a massive task to undertake. It is easy to look at the to-do list and have no idea where to begin. With so many tasks that all seem so important, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and out of your depth.
If you need a little help getting started, check out these 10 must-do exterior home maintenance tasks. No matter where you start, it’s always a good idea to be proactive about the health of your home.
1. Roof Repair
If you don’t know where to start, why not try starting at the top? Roof repair is critical and necessary no matter where you live or what your weather is like season to season. All roofs will wear out over time. Checking on the health of your roof can save you a lot of pain in the long term.
A good rule of thumb for roofs is that if you can see any damage or it has been more than 20 years since your roof was replaced, you may need to start thinking about roof replacement. While doing your exterior home maintenance, don’t just check the exterior of your roof. It is also important to look at your roof from the inside to try to spot damage.
A damaged roof can result in issues like leakage, rot, or even pests. This affects the inside of your home just as much as the outside.
If you aren’t sure what to look for, contact a roofer to do an inspection, and potentially a replacement, for you. A roofer will look for things like broken or missing shingles, rust, sagging, cracks, and more. These experts can recommend either a repair or a complete replacement for your roof.
2. House Siding
Another big item on the exterior home maintenance checklist is house siding. Just like with your roof, your siding will take damage over time no matter where you live.
When inspecting your house siding, look for things like rot, cracks, and mildew. These can all be indications that you have a bigger problem at hand.
Fortunately, house siding is not as dire as roofing. Where a roof could require a whole replacement due to damage, siding is a bit easier to repair yourself. If you are diligent about inspecting your house siding, you can catch signs of trouble early in order to address problems before they have a chance to become more severe.
If you spot damage on your siding, make necessary repairs, such as recaulking areas with cracks. Paint will also go a long way to repairing house siding that is damaged. You can even replace the siding yourself if necessary.
We started at the top of the house. Let’s now look at the bottom.
The foundations of your home are crucial to the overall health of your house. A simple inspection can spare you a major headache in the long run by allowing you to spot problems early.
When it comes to foundations, be on the lookout for cracks and deterioration. Part of your exterior home maintenance may require contacting foundation companies to see if the damage you found is serious enough to require repair. Some wear and tear is normal with time, but some indicate a more serious issue.
4. Check Out the Garage
You’re outside anyway, so take a quick look at your garage if you have one. Garages take a lot of wear and tear and they don’t benefit from temperature control and other things that keep the interior of your house healthy.
One thing to look for in a garage is leakage. It’s easy for water to seep into garages, causing damage over time. If you have small leaks, you may be able to repair those yourself while doing your exterior home maintenance. For more serious leaks, however, it may be necessary to call a contractor who can help you seal the leak permanently.
You should also look at the door or doors of your garage. The doors are not as sturdy as the rest of the garage, so it’s easy for them to sustain damage over time. Check the door for cracks and other damage before deciding if you need help with garage door repair or can make the fixes yourself.
Also check the mechanisms that open and close the door, especially if your garage door is automated. In either case, you should take a close look at things like springs. If these wear out then it may become difficult to open and close your garage. Look into garage door spring repair if you suspect your springs are suffering from rust or other types of damage.
5. Find Mosquito Nesting Grounds
Mosquitoes are annoying and potentially even dangerous pests. They love to find pools of murky water to live in. And it doesn’t take much water for them to settle in. Especially in fall and winter, it’s easy for water to collect around our homes, providing excellent nesting grounds for mosquitoes looking to breed.
While conducting your exterior home maintenance, take a quick look around your property for any places mosquitoes might try to use as a home. Any pool of water could become a breeding ground, so look carefully.
Particularly troublesome areas for standing water are things like pool covers. Basically, anywhere on your property where snow, ice, and rain have been able to collect could be a danger area for mosquitoes. These pools of standing water can also cause damage to the structure of your home, which is an additional reason to find them and clear them out.
6. Check Exterior Wires and Cables
Just about any time you’ve had a service installed at your home, there has been some sort of wiring involved. This includes things like internet, cable TV, phone lines, or even plumbing.
All of these wires can get confusing. Sometimes contractors will leave them unsealed during installation, or gaps will form over time. While conducting an inspection and exterior home maintenance, check the places where wires connect to your home. If you find gaps, seal them up with foam or caulk.
If left unaddressed, even these tiny gaps can result in damage. They can allow in moisture and pests, both of which can damage your home and cause problems like mold and rot over the long-term. A little bit of caulk will go a long way in heading these problems off before they can even start.
7. Clean and Seal Up Exterior Air Conditioners
While you’re sealing up the holes around cables, wires, and plumbing, take a look at any external or window-mounted air conditioner units you have installed. These are another potential place for gaps to form between your home and the outside world.
For window air conditioning units, consider removing them when they are not in use. That is obviously going to be the best way to ensure there is not a gap between the unit and outside. However, during hot months and other times when you have the unit installed, check carefully to make sure it fits snugly in the window where you placed it. You can seal the window if necessary or move it to a different location where it fits better.
If you have an external air conditioning unit, place cleaning it on your exterior home maintenance to-do list. Air conditioning units can get dirty and damaged just like anything else you have sitting outside. While cleaning it, check for dirt and encroaching growth. You may want to trim back plants that are getting a bit too close.
If you can, cover your exterior air conditioning unit during cold months when you aren’t using it. This is similar to how you’d remove window air conditioners when they aren’t needed. It keeps the air conditioning unit in better condition by preventing damage from exposure to harsh weather.
8. Clean Up Branches, Leaves, and Other Debris
While we were all holed up for the winter, branches, leaves and other types of debris had a chance to accumulate in our yards. Spring is a great time to go do some yard work. Remove branches, rake up leaves, and cut the grass for the first time.
All of these tasks are great not just for cleaning up, but also for keeping pests at bay. Critters will use long grass and fallen branches as places to hide under. Insects may also try to make your backyard their home if it is overgrown.
Yard work should absolutely be part of your exterior home maintenance checklist. If you have a garden, this is the perfect time to revive it. Clear out old plants and install some new ones. You can look up flowers, fruits, and vegetables that are right for the season and climate.
A garden can be a great project to do with children, as well. Choose simple, hardy plants and add a burst of freshness and color to your home.
9. Step Up Your Landscaping
If you are a little more ambitious with your backyard designs, think about some paving and other landscaping you can start to do. While you’re doing your “softscaping,” meaning adding things like plants, shrubs, and trees, also think about some hardscaping.
Hardscaping refers to all the hard surfaces in your back yard. This could be something like a patio or a paved walkway. Maybe you’d like to have a deck or even some water features in your yard. All of these elements can make your backyard even more beautiful, but they do take some work and effort to install and maintain.
If you aren’t sure where to start, paving contractors can help you begin to get an idea of the types of hardscaping that might be appropriate for your property. Get creative and don’t be afraid to think outside the box as you tackle this exciting new exterior home maintenance project.
10. Bonus Exterior Home Maintenance To-Dos
Those are the big items, but there is a lot more you can do around the exterior of your home if you have the time and ambition for it. Tackle some of these extra projects as the mood takes you and step up your exterior home maintenance know-how.
- Clean the gutters: You should clean out your gutters about twice a year, so why not start now? It’s never a bad time to get up there and get dirt, leaves, and debris out of your gutters. As these materials build up, they can not only cause damage but also render your gutters effectively useless.
- Repair paint: Paint can take a beating when exposed to the weather. Take a quick look around and repair any paint you find that is chipped or damaged. It is not merely cosmetic; it can also protect the surface the paint is on.
- Clean window screens: Screens can collect a ton of dirt and junk. Give them a quick cleaning.
- Clean your fence: Same goes for fences! All the debris that can build up in your yard can also build up on your fence.
- Trim your trees: Any trees that are on your property will need to be trimmed occasionally. Overhanging branches can drop debris that could clutter up your yard or block up your gutters. A quick trim can forestall these issues.
No matter what projects you plan to tackle as part of your exterior home maintenance, be sure you’re always checking carefully for damage. Small cracks and chips can be an indication of much bigger problems down the line. It’s never a bad idea to jump on these problems early on so you can catch them at the source.
If you are stuck or unsure, look into local contractors who can help with some of these tasks, or inspect areas you suspect of having problems. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to home repair and maintenance.