Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fall Tips for Prepping the Home Exterior for Winter {Guest Post}

By: Jakob Barry

When autumn arrives, most of us are still in summer mode, but as the weather begins to change, homeowners realize there's little time to batten down the hatches. Despite the many responsibilities towards family and work, winter will still be moving in so getting the home exterior ready for what lurks ahead is a priority.

That's why dealing with the fall clean up and property maintenance chores early will save the headache of doing it later and allow for more time to enjoy the changing of the leaves and last days of the garden with the kids before the first frost. It will also make sure our loved ones are safe and sound when the freezing temperatures move in.

That being the case, here is a quick checklist for making sure the main exterior issues are taken care of.

  • Roof leaks - Starting from the top down, checking the roof for damage or leaks is essential for the security of the home. After all, if a leak goes unnoticed, water could flow almost anywhere through the structure, wreaking havoc. Examining the roof to see if any shingles are missing is one way to get an idea of how well it's holding together. However, the best way to find leaks is by inspecting the attic, crawl space, or loft for any discolorations which will indicate water damage. You may even want to take a few minutes on a rainy day to check these places for dampness.

  • Gutters - We all know the power of water, as even a small but constant drip can split a rock over the course of time. That's why gutters are an essential part of the roof. They block rain water from flowing down shingles and striking the sides or foundation of a home. Problems occur, though, when gutters are blocked by leaves and other organic debris. For this reason, a survey of the gutters is worthwhile and if they, or downspouts, are clogged they need to be cleaned. Finally, screening should be placed over them so water enters but everything else stays out.

  • Drafts - Moving downward, windows and doors need to be checked for drafts which put a strain on heating systems and jack up utility bills. The checking is usually done from the interior, but when drafts are found they are generally sealed from the outside. Searching for drafts can be done inside with a candle held around window and door frames. If found, they can be sealed easily from the exterior with caulk.
  • Cracked cement - When cracks form in cement along foundations, walkways, and elsewhere, water can seep in. Where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, the water turns to ice and expands causing even further damage. Fall happens to be an excellent time to fix cracks in concrete because it's not too hot or cold and patchwork will harden well.
  • Yard tools - Last but not least, make sure all yard tools used over the warmer season have been safely returned to the basement, garage, or shed. This includes the garden hose, which could freeze and burst in extreme cold. Once everything is in its place, it will be easily found and in good condition when spring is finally in the air.

Jakob Barry is a home improvement journalist for Networx.com. He writes about Green topics for professionals across the U.S. like Warren, MI, concrete contractors.


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