• Maintenance Tips that Pay Big Dividends

    Published 2/18/2011

    Spring is a great time of year for North American homeowners. Milder weather is enticing us outdoors, energy is running high, and excitement about the time we'll spend with the family and friends on the deck or patio is building. There is perhaps no better way to channel the springtime energy and optimism than to renew, repair or even replace elements of your home's exterior that have taken a beating during the harsher months of winter. Doing so now will free up the wonderfully long days ahead for carefree pleasure... and save you money by taking care of small problems before they become costly major repairs.

    So with pencil and pad in hand, tour the exterior of your house and jot down the things that need to be done to recapture the original beauty and solid construction of your Home Sweet Home.

    Take it from the top:

    Start with the roof - Check for leaks, missing or broken shingles or tiles and damaged flashing and arrange to have everything repaired or replaced before the spring rains arrive.

    Move on to gutters and downspouts - Remove leaves and debris, then run a hose on the roof to check for proper drainage (away from the house) and to locate leaks that need to be sealed.

    Inspecting the siding - Clean any mildew from the surface of the siding using a 3 to 1 ratio of water to bleach, and also wash away dirt and leaves that might have been serving as nourishment for the mildew. If the siding is seriously faded or the color is looking dated, consider giving it a fresh new look by having it painted.

    Check wood surfaces (trim, doors, shutters, window sills, door sills, thresholds) - Scrape peeling paint and sand smooth before applying a high-quality primer and two coats of acrylic latex paint. Replace rotten wood. Carefully inspect areas where surfaces join (trim, windows, doors), filling cracks and applying caulking to seal out the elements.

    Don't forget the foundation - Check for cracking or deterioration and call in a professional for repairs.

    Rein in landscaping - Trim overgrown foundation plantings that may be contributing to mildew growth or marring painted surfaces.


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