When it comes to completing any task, the most challenging part is figuring out where to start. Recognizing that there are plenty of must-do tasks that should be completed at the start of spring, we decided to put together a list that covers the most common maintenance tasks homeowners must complete, but sometimes don’t.
Read on and cross off each task when you finish!
1. Check and Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts help to direct water that pours off the roof into a specific area away from the building’s foundation. If you wait until heavy spring rains affect the area, it might be too late to fix clogs or damage before flooding has already happened.
With an extension ladder, an s-hook, gloves and a bucket, start cleaning from the downspout and move along the gutter and complete these five steps.
- Remove large debris.
- Rinse with a hose towards the downspout and check for leaks or blockages.
- Clear clogs and repair damage.
- Install a guard to prevent leaves and debris from entering the gutters.
Repeat these steps in the fall as the leaves start to fall.
2. Check For Termites and Wood Damage
Termites are found in 49 of the 50 states and cause upwards of $50 billion in damage every year. Searching them out before they can start wreaking havoc is crucial, especially because they like to eat from the inside out, so damage to wood might not be visible until it’s too late.
Search out Termites in these 5 locations:
- Wood mulch that is within a foot of the home.
- Wood fencing on or around your property.
- Firewood (keep this 20 feet from the home and 2 feet off the ground).
- Branches, leaves or composting with paper or cardboard material.
- Porches, decks, sheds, and tree houses.
Identify termites by their two sets of equal length front and back wings, wide waist without indentations, and a straight, beaded antennae. Also look for “mud tubes,” which are straw-like in appearance and used by termites to travel and provide a more hospitable environment.
3. Inspect Roof From All Angles
- From the ground, look for signs of sagging or issues that require closer inspection.
- Once on the roof, check for curled, missing or damaged shingles.
- Check that shingles still have their original texture and color.
- Inspect counter flashing and waterproof stripping.
- Check for water damage if shingles or waterproofing measures are damaged or missing.
- If the home has an attic, check the underside of the roof for structural issues or damage.
Once you have identified any problem, don’t immediately attempt repairs without first consulting a professional. Making the wrong repairs can lead to more complicated and expensive repairs.
4. Reseal All Woodwork
Sun, rain, cold and hot weather, debris and a great many different factors can destroy unprotected woodwork. Sealants can last for a few years to decades, but once signs of wear begin to show, it’s time to breathe new life into your wood.
Before you start, scrape away old paint with a paint scraper or pressure washer and sand the wood with medium grit sandpaper anywhere you plan to paint; if the wood is stained and sealed, use sandpaper to create a new surface. Finish with a brush and cleaning detergent, then rinse and thoroughly dry.
When ready, complete these 3 simple steps:
- Paint the wood with a preservative (this won’t finish the wood).
- Choose your sealant and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for best results, then use a finishing sealant if you don’t intend on painting.
- Using a roller or paintbrush, apply your stain or paint; apply multiple coats to hide dark or weathered wood.
Don’t forget to cover cracks or seams to prevent irreparable rot from spreading from these areas.
5. Paint Exterior Trim and Siding
Painting the exterior of your home can be daunting. While trim and railings are fairly straightforward weekend projects, there is a lot of ground to cover if you decide to apply a fresh coat across the siding.
How you choose to tackle this project will depend a lot on the type of siding on your house, size of the home, and budget. But before you start, here are some helpful tips:
- Be wary of weather; rain and humidity can leave you with a half-finished paint job or ruin the work that’s already finished.
- Protect landscaping, decks, concrete, grills and other equipment with a tarp or sheet to keep the paint from staining them.
- If you are willing to spend a little extra for a higher-quality paint, it might be worthwhile, as a good paint may last you a few more years and actually save you more in the long run.
- Get the old paint off because it won’t adhere well to old layers, and the risk of peeling increases.
- If the paint isn’t blended with a primer, you may want to think about applying a coat of primer, sanding, then painting.
- Prevent drips or streak by painting from the highest part of the house to the lowest.
Make sure to plan ahead and take your time when painting because you’ll have to live with the outcome for many years before the exterior of the home will need a fresh coat of paint.
6. Check Window Screens For Rips and Tears
The great thing about window screens is that they keep debris, bugs and animals from crawling inside the home, and they can be easy to repair if you notice it early enough.
With a needle and fishing line, stitch the tear and seal it with super glue.
Cut out the damaged area, then cut a patch from your replacement screen and glue or weave the strands together.
These are typically irreparable. To replace the screen, either buy an entirely new screen or remove the screen, unscrew the two sides and take out the damaged screen and install the new one. Reassemble the screen and install it in the window.
7. Have Heating and Cooling System Inspected
After a hard winter, you aren’t ready to shut off the head just yet. Now is a good time to replace air filters and contact an HVAC specialist to inspect heating and cooling equipment.
While it might not be hot enough to run the air conditioning, you’ll want to have fluids topped off, check for animals that might be living inside the exterior air conditioning unit and have any maintenance completed.
8. Fill Low Areas To Prevent Water Damage
Loose soil around the exterior foundation of the home can shift during the year. When spring arrives and brings heavy rains, this can result in flood damage and insect growth. Use compacted soil to fill in any low areas, so water will run off and away from the house.
If grass has died, now is a good time to fill in uneven areas of the yard, add trees and other foliage to brighten the property and keep topsoil from shifting.
9. Fix Faucets and Sprinklers
Cold weather can crack metal, weaken seals or cause pipes and faucets to separate from walls that can result in water damage. Turn on the sprinklers and connect hoses to outdoor faucets and test them for normal flow. Also, make sure to check for leaks in hoses, and that valves turn easily and completely stop the flow of water.
10. Service Power Equipment
Following manufacturer guidelines, safely replace belts, blades, fluids and any other mechanical components to make sure equipment doesn’t fail you mid-season.
Now might also be a good time to look in the classified for people selling old equipment, or shop around for early season lawn care sales.
11. Enjoy The Spring Season
Now is the perfect time to get outside after the long, dreary winter months. Once all of these tasks are complete, your home will be much better protected from the elements during the next 12 months.