Winter is hard on a home – wind pummeling the roof and siding; lots of rain and snow in the gutters; grimy windows reducing available winter daylight. While most of us are in spring mode since the weather turned milder, it is still technically winter. Take down those Christmas lights, wash the windows, or do some minor repairs. Show your home exterior some love this Valentine’s Day by cleaning first, then adding some festive touches.
Give Your Home Exterior a Good Scrub
Start the mid-winter refresher for your home’s exterior with a good scrub down.
Siding: Clean your home’s exterior with a solution of mild dish detergent and water when grime build-up and stains are very obvious. Add bleach to the cleaning solution if you detect mold, mildew, or algae growth. Use a garden hose with a pistol grip nozzle to clean siding without detergent or for rinsing once a soapy solution has been applied – it’s safer for siding, aluminum gutters, and downspouts than a pressure washer.
Roof: If the roof is easily accessible, it’s safe to walk on, and you’re comfortable working on a sloped surface, sweep off any debris that has gathered around flashings and protrusions or in roof valleys.
Gutters: Spot clean inside the gutters. Save the more thorough gutter cleaning for mid-spring. For now, just check the gutter channels for any clogs; also check for blockages inside the downspouts. If the outside of the gutters and downspouts need a little pick-me-up, wash them with a solution of mild liquid soap and water.
Windows: When the siding doesn’t require cleaning, even just washing the windows can give your home exterior a new lease on life. Wash all of the windows both inside and out. Clean windows will let in more light while improving your curb appeal (and your mood).
If It’s Broken Fix It
Performing a few simple maintenance tasks on your home exterior or knowing when to call a contractor can prevent costly repairs in the future.
Siding: Inspect the siding for gaps, holes, or cracks. Check for raised nail heads that need to be replaced. Repair or replace damaged siding panels.
Roof: Inspect the roof for any damage. For any serious damage that needs immediate attention, call a roofing contractor. Make any minor repairs you can DIY as soon as you are able.
Gutters: Look for loose hardware on the ground, gutter sections that are pulling away from the fascia, and seams in need of recaulking. Replace missing hardware. Tighten the hardware of sections that have gaps between the back of the gutter and the fascia.
Windows: Replace any broken or taped glass panes. Regardless of how well the repair was made, air is still escaping. Caulk around windows where there are gaps and cracks. Sand warped window sills.
Say It with Flowers
Place large containers on either side of the front door filled with early-flowering plants such as crocus, snowdrop, and narcissus. Other winter flowers and plants include spring heath, early rhododendrons, hellebores, and camellias.
Start a container garden. Container gardens are a collection of plants planted in a pot or container instead of in the ground. They can include vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, shrubs, and even small trees. They require minimal maintenance, allow you to move your “garden” around, and add variety to your landscaping with little effort.
The colours of Valentine’s Day are red, white, and pink. Bring the spirit of the holiday to your home by adding window boxes and filling them with red, pink, and white plants and flowers. Red, of course, is associated with love; white symbolizes purity of heart; and pink is a reminder of how the two work together when combined.
Add Some Festive Touches
Paint the front door red.
Hang a Valentines Day wreath on the windows or front door.
Hang a wind chime or bird house in Valentine’s Day colours and themes.
Replace porch lights with rose, pink, or pastel purple bulbs.
Decorate the front of your home with strings of red, pink, and white lights. Wind them around porch columns, deck railings, and windows.