Monthly Maintenance Reminder: Your Home’s Exterior

Outdoor Additions
Additions and Remodels
Decks and Porches
By Contractors.com Team July 12, 2021

And 7 Ways to Maintain It

 

Exterior maintenance is a crucial part of keeping any home spick and span for decades to come. When it comes to home maintenance, exterior work will likely take the most time to do thoroughly as there are many items to check off the list. From front lawn maintenance to sealing windows, there can be a lot to do. 

Home exterior maintenance is especially more demanding because the outside of your house tends to wear faster than the interior. Much of this has to do with the weather: without regular maintenance, gutters can clog, roofs can become overwhelmed with moss, your HVAC condenser can get covered in debris, and your home’s siding can get covered in mildew, mold, and even moss. Fortunately, home exterior maintenance isn’t that complicated, and most of it can be completed without calling a professional.   

Caring For Your Deck 

As time goes by, the combined forces of moisture and temperature change can do a number on your wooden deck, causing the planks to warp, rot, and crack. To keep your deck in good shape, it’s important to do some basic regular maintenance. Wooden decks can be overhauled in an afternoon and this should be done at least once a year. Power washing your deck should be the first order of business. This will remove mold and mildew that may have accumulated. It will also make it easier to spot any wood rot, damage, or insect infestation. 

Regular Cleaning Will Keep Your Deck Sparkling

Regular Cleaning Will Keep Your Deck Sparkling

Any damaged planks should be stripped out and replaced. You should also be sure to seal your decks every few years to help maintain their appearance and keep them from becoming vectors of mildew. If you intend on staining your deck be sure to sand before removing paint and crud. Be sure to wait at least 60 days before doing so if you have installed new planks so that the planks can weather. 

Roof Maintenance 

Roof maintenance is a crucial part of keeping your home safe and dry. One of the main tasks associated with roof maintenance is keeping your gutters clear. Roof gutters are designed to let the water run off the roof, but they tend to get clogged with foliage and debris over time. This can cause water to accumulate on the roof, and the added weight could damage it. To avoid this, make a habit of clearing gutters at least twice a year. You may have to do this more often if your home has shade trees.  

Keep Your Roof Spick and Span by Replacing Roof Shingles

Keep Your Roof Spick and Span by Replacing Roof Shingles

Roof shingles have to endure a lot of stuff, including storms, moisture, falling debris, moss, and UV radiation. Over time, this can cause shingles to dislodge, crack, and come away from the roof. It is therefore recommended that you schedule annual roof inspections so that a roofing contractor can detect any damage before it becomes a major issue. At the end of the day, regular preventative maintenance will head off the most common roof problems.  

Asbestos Mitigation

This one’s related to rooftops but it can apply to your home’s siding as well. If your home was built before 1980, there’s a good chance that it contains asbestos in these areas, especially if it has not had any retrofits done since it was built. Asbestos was used in asphalt shingles, cement shingles, roof underlays, and even in the sealants and flashings used in some roofs. It was also used in wood shake siding, cement siding, and slate siding. Because most of these pieces are exposed to the open air, there’s a higher risk of them wearing out faster or becoming damaged, allowing asbestos fibers into the air that you breathe.

Why You Should Inspect Your Roofing For Asbestos

Why You Should Inspect Your Roofing For Asbestos

If you suspect that asbestos was used in the construction of your house and have spotted signs of damage to those asbestos components, take quick action to have them removed. However, if the asbestos is in relatively good shape, asbestos removal isn’t recommended. Disturbing asbestos could increase your exposure to its carcinogenic fibers. The best thing to do if you have asbestos on your home’s exterior is to hire a home inspector certified in asbestos inspections  

Windows and Doors 

Keeping your windows and doors maintained won’t just make them look nice, but can also increase your home’s thermal efficiency and keep out pests. Plus it’s a great way to boost your home’s curb appeal. The weatherstripping on windows and doors wears out with time, so be sure to check it every few years. If your home develops a draft or appears to be losing heat to the outside, it may be that the weatherstripping is damaged. If so, simply strip it out and put in some new weatherstripping. The final step of sealing windows is to apply some caulking wherever there may be gaps between the window frame and the wall. 

Keeping Windows Maintained Increases Curb Appeal and Keeps Out Pests

Keeping Windows Maintained Increases Curb Appeal and Keeps Out Pests

You should also be sure to keep a weather eye out for any damage to the frame, especially if you have wooden frame windows. Wooden window frames can rot over time and will require regular maintenance to stay in good condition. To prevent this, be sure to refinish your window frames if you spot paint flaking. Cleaning your windows and doors every month or two will make it easier to spot any potential damage. 

If you have window or door screens, these will also need to be checked regularly for any damage since holes can allow critters to come into your house. Screens are also big dust magnets, so be sure to remove them and scrub them off with soapy water at least once a year.    

Irrigation

Irrigation systems should be inspected yearly, usually sometime after winter has passed and summer is on the way. As your irrigation system sits idle, it can develop leaks and damage throughout winter. If you have sprinklers, you’ll want to test them before they are needed by turning on the system one zone at a time and checking each rotor to make sure everything is working properly.  This can help detect if your sprinklers are clogged or broken. During heat waves, your irrigation system should be adjusted to double or triple the amount of irrigation. Otherwise, aim for at least an inch of water or an hour of run time for your sprinklers per week.  

An Inch of Water an Hour Helps Your Garden to Flower

An Inch of Water an Hour Helps Your Garden to Flower

Power Washing

Vinyl is the most popular siding material in the United States and is renowned for its durability and affordability. However, vinyl is prone to accumulating dirt, water stains, mold, mildew, and other grime over long periods. To keep vinyl siding looking good as new, be sure to power wash it once a year using a solution that is three-fourths water and one-fourth vinegar. This method can also work for metal siding and will remove most stains with ease. 

However, more persistent stains may require a stronger mix with laundry detergent. If you decide to do the power washing yourself, be sure to avoid spraying water under your siding as this can get into your insulation and cause more mold and mildew. When it comes to sealing doors, you mainly have to focus on keeping the weatherstripping in good condition. 

Fight Mold, Mildew, and Water Stains With Regular Power Washing

Fight Mold, Mildew, and Water Stains With Regular Power Washing

Your concrete driveway and walkways will also need power washing once a year since they too can become a center for moss growth (which can in turn create slip hazards). To further protect against the buildup of nasty stuff, consider sealing your driveway as this will keep it grime-free. 

Wooden fences can also accumulate fungus and this will cause them to fall apart faster. To keep your fence in good shape, be sure to power wash and resurface it regularly. 

When in Doubt, Consult a Professional 

If you feel the need for a second opinion, it’s a good idea to get in touch with a home inspector. Home inspectors can help you with a range of home maintenance-related topics. They can point out potential hazards, spot structural problems, and put you in touch with the right professionals that can fix these issues. If you want to get serious about maximizing your home’s value, hiring an inspector is worth it because they can pinpoint the things that will hurt or increase your home’s curb appeal.

Nip Problems in the Bud With an Inspector

Nip Problems in the Bud With an Inspector

There are also a number of home exterior maintenance tasks - checking septic tanks, inspecting your pool’s filtration system, pest control, etc. - that you may not want to take on yourself. In this case, a home inspector specializing in the task at hand will be very useful in keeping your home up to code.   

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team