Regularly maintaining the outside of your home keeps it looking good and functioning well and avoids costly renovations and repairs that can result from neglect. Just a few hours' work a month provides a great insurance policy against wear and tear, and keeps your investment growing with the housing market.
Small chores like cleaning the leaves from gutters or spending a couple of hours touching up the paint on a fence or deck can make all the difference. All it takes is a little organization and a checklist of what to do each season. Having the right tools will make the job go faster and provide professional-looking results.
One of the best products to use on an icy path or driveway is regular, non-clumping cat litter. Its gritty texture has effective anti-slip properties, and, unlike other products, it will not damage the concrete.
To prevent weeds coming up between your patio paving stones, spread a little ice-melting calcium chloride over the sand in the joints, taking care not to cover the surface of the stones themselves.
Most people know that dried paint can be removed from glass using a razor blade. But it's not so easy to do this on a textured or uneven glass surface; in this case, simply soak the glass in water and dishwasher liquid for a few hours.
After it has been scraped and cleaned, a trellis can be painted using a long-haired (+ 15 mm) roller. Moreover, by rolling in both directions, you'll cover the entire surface in even less time.
To protect buried electrical wiring or to run it around the foundation, split an old garden hose and insert the wires. They will be better protected and last longer, and what's more it will cost you nothing, whereas plastic conduit is fairly expensive and requires the proper adhesive and fittings.
To prevent picnic table legs from rotting, stand each one on an aluminum plate filled with a good-quality wood preserver. The wood will absorb the liquid and thus be effectively protected for years to come.
It's often said that blunt tools cause accidents, and this applies to garden tools, too. Sharpening shovels, turf cutters, axes and other outdoor implements will make it much easier to cut through stems, roots, hard soil and other obstacles. Using sharp tools also helps prevent injury such as back or tendon strain from having to put too much pressure on the tool, or a more serious accident if the tool slips.
Good-quality garden hoses are expensive and should be emptied, rolled up and stored in a shed during the winter. If they are left out, the water inside can freeze and cause them to split, making them unusable the following year. In addition, if there is an interior shut-off valve for the outside tap, turn this off and bleed the line to the outside to avoid burst pipes.
Regardless of the season, animals and insects are always looking for a sheltered spot away from the elements. To keep them out of your home, make sure there are screens on all exterior vents and caulk small spaces where ducts and pipes enter the house. Stop drafts by checking that there are no gaps under garage doors or pet doors, that all doors and windows close well, and that the weather-stripping is in good condition.
The guttering and downspout system on a house is the first line of defense for keeping water away from the foundations. However, leaves and twigs can build up and form dams that collect dirt and debris, which, if not removed, will eventually divert the water over the side of the gutter. Regular cleaning of your gutters will keep the rainwater flowing off the roof and away from your property.
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