Home Tip Tuesday: Spring Home Maintenance Tips

The earlier you find and repair problems, the less costly they will be.

Winter weather can take a toll on your home, causing damage you may not notice without a close inspection. Performing an annual spring home maintenance routine helps get you and your property off to a secure start. The earlier you find and repair problems, the less costly they'll be. Think of spring home maintenance as spring cleaning for the outside of your house.

Begin your maintenance routine with a slow walk around your property. From top to bottom, take a good look at your roof, chimney, exterior walls, windows and foundations. A pair of binoculars will make it easier to see hard-to-reach spots without climbing on a ladder or crawling in uncomfortable positions. Don't forget to check the area above your roof too, meaning tree branches and limbs that may have cracked or been stressed during winter storms. Remove branches that extend over your roof, driveway or outbuildings in addition to any damaged limbs you might find. Unless you're experienced at pruning, call in the experts to remove any large or high-up branches.

Roof: Look for cracked, loose or missing shingles. Also looked for popped nails. Even if the shingle is still in place, a nail that's no longer secure could allow water to seep in where it shouldn't.

Chimney: If you have a masonry chimney, look for signs of efflorescence - a calcium-like white build-up on the bricks that may indicate joints are no longer repelling water. Also check the joints between stones or bricks to make sure none of the mortar has fallen out. If there is damage, make repairs as soon as possible and re-seal the masonry with a water-resistant barrier. 

Check the weather stripping and caulking around each window.

Exterior Walls: Common trouble spots are near gutter downspouts and under eaves. Look for signs of water stains on brick, stucco or wood siding. If you have wood siding, take a close look for damage or knots that may have popped out. Carpenter ants and other pests can use those small openings to enter and burrow under the wood. 

Windows: Check the weather stripping and caulking around each window. A tight seal around your windows not only keeps water out, it keeps your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. If you see condensation inside the panes of a double- or triple-glazed window it means the weather seal is no longer working. You may need to replace the glass or the entire window.

Foundation: Cracks in the masonry of your foundation could be the beginning of every homeowner's worst repair nightmare. Filling cracks with caulking isn't enough. If you spot problems with your foundation call a specialist. Paying an expert now could save tens of thousands of dollars in the long run. 

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