Home maintenance might seem like a losing battle. But the alternatives could be expensive – a leaking roof, rotted siding, clogged gutters, or a cracked foundation. Fall is the time most of us start thinking about raking the leaves, caulking around entry doors and windows, and cleaning the gutters. Ongoing maintenance is important for a healthy home. Use these house exterior fall maintenance tips to help you win a few battles (if not the war).
Start with the Roof
Of all of the fall home maintenance chores, homeowners need to check off their to-do list, the first one that probably springs to mind is cleaning the gutters. When you clean the gutters before cleaning the roof, the debris will eventually end up in your freshly cleaned gutters.
Lightly sweep away twigs, leaves, branches, pine cones, needles etc. with a broom or rake. Don’t press too hard – you want to remove the debris, not the roofing shingles or their protective granules.
Inspect the roof for gaps around any flashings, worn and missing roof tiles, loose or damaged roof penetrations, or blocked vents. Either make the repairs yourself or call a reputable roofing contractor to do the work for you before winter arrives.
Soffit and Fascia
Soffit and fascia protect your home from the elements. They also prevent rodents from making a home in the roof rafters or gnawing through insulation or electrical wiring in the attic.
Look for peeling paint, blistering, or soft spots (sign of rotting wood) – these are indications of moisture damage. Scrape away any loose paint and use caulk to fill holes and seal corners before applying a new coat of paint.
Also, check for soffit panels and fascia boards that are beyond repair and replace them with new sections as soon as possible.
When is the Right Time to Clean the Gutters in the Fall?
It’s tempting to start cleaning the gutters at the first sight of a handful of autumn leaves on the ground. It’s a chore you really don’t like doing, so you might as well get it over with. Resist the temptation! In order for it to do the most good, clean the gutters after all the leaves have fallen from the trees or you might end up cleaning your aluminum gutters twice in one season. Pine trees shed their needles over a longer period of time; if you have both coniferous and deciduous trees growing near the gutters, plan on cleaning the gutter system at the end of autumn.
Clean and Repair Siding
Holes, cracks, or splitting in aluminum siding, wood siding or vinyl siding, can compromise the structural integrity of your home. Prevent vulnerability to the effects of water damage by fixing siding panels or replacing old panels with new ones when repairs can no longer be made.
Doors, Windows and Exterior Trim
When doors don’t close properly, windows are loose in their frames, or exterior trim becomes warped, they allow heat to escape your home. Don’t let drafts make your heating bills spiral out of control.
Make sure weather stripping around entry doors is still doing the job it’s supposed to do. If weather stripping has never been installed and your front hallway is always chilly when the colder weather arrives, adding it around the exterior door frame will reduce the amount of cold air. Also, check the space between the bottom of the door and the threshold – if there’s a gap, adjust the threshold so the air can no longer get in.
Inspect exterior trim for any flaking paint, signs of rot, or the appearance of mold/mildew.
Any cracked window panes should be replaced – they are also a source of heat loss if left unattended.