Exterior summer home maintenance checklist
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When the weather is temperate and the hours of daylight are longer, take some time to both maintenance and to build improvements onto the exterior of the home. Avoid large expensive projects by keeping up with a seasonal maintenance schedule.
Make improvements so that the family can better enjoy living and socializing at home. If the option to sell is in the near future, begin to pamper the home now and be ahead of the game for next year.
The roof should be checked regularly; especially if the roof is older than five years and if the area has had a significant dose of adverse weather within recent years.
- Keep track of the recommended time for which the roof tiles are rated. This can be done by checking the warranty. Usually a roof will need to be replaced once the warranty wears out.
- If the roof needs to be replaced, consider an upgrade especially if it needs to be replaced sooner than expected.
- Research roof tiles and recommended amounts of insulation that can be placed underneath if planning a full replacement.
- Always check for loose or damaged shingles that can be replaced one by one without replacing the entire roof.
There are many projects that can be done to the garage from cleaning to organizing to finding new uses.
- Begin the season by going through and cleaning the garage.
- Apply a fresh coat of sealant to the flooring if needed.
- Think about whether the walls or floor could be painted or freshened with a new coat.
- There are many inventive ways to add shelving and other types of organizations systems to garages.
- If the homeowners anticipate converting the home to a universal design, a handicap ramp accessible from the inside of the garage may be a unique way to access the first floor from street level.
- Bike tires will last longer if the bike is hung on a rack or hook.
- Rather than thinking about eliminating storage from the garage, think about it as a creative storage area.
- An extra freezer or other appliances can fit nicely into a garage, especially if shelving accompanies the unit.
There are so many useful ways that a power washer comes in handy for the home.
- It is recommended that the driveway is cleaned yearly with a power washer prior to fixing cracks and to providing a fresh coat of sealant.
- The garage floor is another surface that can greatly benefit from a through cleansing.
- The sidewalks surrounding the home would also need to be cleaned prior to fixing cracks.
- Concrete porches can accumulate more stains and dirt than one might think. Use a power washer to clean the surface.
Different types of siding need different maintenance schedules.
- Regardless of the type, all siding needs to be cleaned yearly. Most types can be cleaned with a power washer, but thin vinyl would need a garden hose with an attachment and a cleaning solution designed for vinyl.
- If there has been some damage to the siding during the year, repair each piece. Hopefully your home came with extra pieces of siding. If not, when new pieces are purchased, plan ahead for the next set of repairs.
- If the siding is a natural wood or a painted wood, consider restaining and repainting respectively.
- There are many new types of siding on the market today. If your siding is in disrepair or if it has been high maintenance for the past several years, explore options and plan to replace it. Trim, house colors, and other decorative ideas could be updated at the same time.
Privacy and decorative fences are beautiful assets to the landscaping and are always on the radar for home maintenance project lists.
- Begin to inspect the fence by making a judgement about the solidity of the post structures. If it needs to be secured, dig around the base down three and a half feet and fill with concrete.
- Inspect the gate latches and make sure they work seamlessly. If the posts have moved, make an adjustment to the latch. If a repair is not possible or if the latch is too old, replace it.
- Check to see if the gates open and close smoothly. The gate, along with the latching system, may need to be replaced.
Doors and windows must stand up to the weather and to a lot of wear and tear.
- The summer is the most ideal time to repaint wooden windows & trims. Begin by scraping, applying a primer, and then painting the units.
- Consider replacing the doors and windows with energy efficient alternatives that can save the environment, the budget, and taxes.
As the season begins to warm, make sure the air conditioner is working properly well in advance.
- Have the unit inspected at the beginning of the season yearly. Many homeowners experience the air conditioning going out in the summer months when it is the hottest season and the maintenance repairmen are few and far between.
- Maintain the shrubbery from around the outdoor unit. Remove shrubs and foliage from within two feet around the unit.
- Make sure to clean and replace filters when it is recommended by the manufacturer.
During the growing season, lawn equipment is at the height of its usage and need.
- Regularly sharpen the mower blades; mid-season if needed.
- If the lawn mower is older than 5 years, make sure it has been serviced before the grass needs regular cutting.
- Like every other tool and appliance today, consider purchasing a high efficiency mower.
Begin to inspect cracks in the foundation by walking around the perimeter of your home.
- Repair the cracks with a recommended grout.
- Inspect and repair cracks within the basement walls.
Prolong the lifespan of the driveway by with yearly maintenance.
- Begin with the first steps by fixing the cracks with the type of filler recommended for concrete, asphalt, or brick pavers.
- If years of cracks have been repaired and the driveway is outdated, resurface the driveway with tar / asphalt.
- Consider redesigning the driveway to complement your home and landscape design. Stone and concrete imprinted design are two trends.
If the automatic garage door has shown unusual habits of opening and closing only halfway, opening again after it has been closed, or making loud screeching noises, it can be both maintained and repaired.
- Yearly, the garage door can be oiled. This job can be done easily by the homeowner.
- For doors that are not closing and opening as they should regularly, consider having it inspected and repaired.
- The springs could be close to the end of their lifespan and will need to be replaced. Do not ever attempt to service the springs; always hire a professional.
Most homeowners think of water when thinking of summer. Make sure to maintenance all water features at the home.
- Repair outdoor spigots if they are leaking. Occasionally the spigot will need to be replaced if it continues to drip after screwed tightly closed.
- Prepare the swimming pool for the new season. Begin by using a yearly start up kit and cleaning.
- If an outdoor hot tub has been in use, consider cleaning and maintaining it because of its prolonged seasonal use.
SUMMERTIME IMPROVEMENT PROJECT IDEAS
Adding decorative accessories to a home can give the homeowner a sense of pride and a renewed sense of ownership.
- Coordinating exterior lighting systems along with new landscaping can greatly improve the image and the security of the home.
- A European-inspired idea is to add window flower boxes.
- Evaluate the exterior and consider either adding shutters or replacing older faded models.
- Even the smallest detail such as new house numbers can be an improvement.
- Mailboxes take on so much wear and tear. Whether the unit is on the street, or attached to the home, there are many new styles and even lockable features that can make a new mailbox a useful and attractive feature.
A home’s landscaping is nearly as important to the property’s image as the building itself.
- It may seem like a luxury to install an irrigation system, yet a wisely designed system can even reduce water usage. Check to see if an existing system needs to be maintained and repaired.
- Summer is a great time to think about installing an invisible fence for pets.
- Consider redesigning the landscaping, either as a DIY or a professional project.
- An outdoor kitchen and fireplace is heart-warming, a social focal point, and adds significant entertainment features for both adults and children.
- Maintain trees during the summer months according to the tree and shrubs’ recommendations. As a rule of thumb, most trees should be ready for a homeowner to prune off dead wood, water shoots, and suckers. Wait until the trees are dormant in the winter to do structural pruning.
- When adding new plantings to the landscape, read each plant type’s recommendations prior to purchase.
Outdoor wooden structures, such as decks and porches, add practicality and beauty to the home.
- Depending on the wood type, clean thoroughly and apply a fresh coat of sealant yearly.
- If the structure is at least 3-4 years old, taking the time to resurface the structure can add to its lifespan.
- Building a new shed can help organize the entire household by alleviating garage storage and adding to the amount of household storage space. Be wise to think about how to plan for added storage space wisely rather than simply adding quantity.
- An arbour is a great social focal point and a beautiful feature for the landscape.
GENERAL EXTERIOR SUMMER RECOMMENDATIONS
When the projects go beyond DIY, hiring professionals is a safe choice.
- Take care to verify that the professional is licensed, bonded, and insured. If an accident should occur on your property and the professional is not insured, your homeowner’s insurance policy would be liable to cover the costs.
- Make it a rule of thumb to get three quotes from three different professional companies before hiring one of them.
- Always ask the professionals a lot of questions about their materials and methods when doing your research.
Remember “safety first” for all projects whether small or large.
- Take precautions when climbing tall ladders and when working on the roof.
- When in doubt, hire a professional for projects that are considered a little more dangerous.
- Always wear eye and ear protection.
- Read all instructions and warranty details for all newly materials and items. Keep these in a safe file and send in warranty cards.
- Keep in mind that a building permit is designed to protect the occupants’ safety. Contact your local building department for a permit. They will review your plans so that they pass up-to-date code requirements and they come out to review your work to verify that it is safely constructed.
As always, consider sustainability when planning and purchasing materials for each project.
- Hiring a sustainability professional to conduct an air check will verify whether or not energy-efficient windows and doors would improve the home’s performance.
- In a similar way, a professional can conduct an air check to evaluate cracks in walls that should later be patched and repaired.
- The warmer weather months during the summer are a great time to add insulation to exterior walls and to the underside of the roof.
- Since many homeowners are now recycling, consider organizing the trash system to accommodate this new habit.
- Build a compost container for the home, at least twenty feet from the foundation’s perimeter, so that the rich soil can augment the landscaping and vegetable garden.
- A rain barrel is a practical way to save water by using naturally gathered rainwater to use for watering the landscaping.
- A current sustainable landscaping trend is the “no mow” design. Though a radical idea, investigate some inspiring design ideas.
Summer is a great time to evaluate your home’s security system.
- Either conduct your own analysis and research or hire a professional to summarize the home’s security efficacy.
- Check all the home’s doors and windows to make sure they cannot be easily penetrated. Pre-manufactured glass block units are helpful for garage and basement windows.
- Install automatic timers and motion sensors for both the interior and exterior.
- Make sure all the windows are covered with blinds and curtains.
- Install a completely new alarm system that is monitored via a website that is accessible from anywhere.
- When on vacation, make plans for a neighbour to keep an eye on your property, to pick up mail, and to even park in your driveway occasionally.
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