You’ve made it through winter and spring has officially sprung! Now’s the time to do some heavy lifting around your house and time to take care of some essential home repairs and renovations that can help keep you leaping forward through 2016.
Springtime repairs and renovations are great for improving the overall look and functionality of your home. But some critical maintenance can also help erase yearly wear-and-tear and prevent serious, weather-related damage. From interior and exterior upkeep and repair basics, to roofing renovations and storm drainage overhauls, we’ve put together a checklist of important action items that can help you prepare your home for the impending warmer-weather months.
Outside Action Items: Water Woes And Roofing Red Flags
Household damage from water is the second most frequently filed insurance claim in the United States; however, 93 percent of this destruction is preventable. Below are some tips, tasks and information to help you defeat some of the common culprits that cause water woes for your home.
- Keep It Out of the Gutter — A clogged gutter or downspout can be one of your home’s greatest and costliest foes. According to Moneypit.com, an overflow of rainwater can cause mold, rotten wood, bugs, chipped paint, slippery sidewalks, cracked foundations, landscape damage and more. With spring showers arriving, not to mention seasonal hail and thunderstorms, it’s important to inspect drains and downspouts to make sure they are clear of leaves and debris, intact, and ready for rain.
- Move Up the Ladder — If you plan to tackle the gutters yourself, Cleaning & Maintenance Management suggests using a sturdy four-legged ladder and reviewing important ladder-safety protocol. In addition, gloves and goggles can go a long way in protecting your hands and eyes. For fast and efficient cleaning, try using a garden hose, nozzle spray or gutter scoop.
- On Guard! — Jazzing up your gutter with a leaf guard or cover is one way to speed up gutter maintenance. If you’re going to tackle this renovation DIY-style, do your research. Home Depot and Lowe’s both have a variety of products, and a quick search on YouTube can yield a few detailed how-to videos. HGTV.com recommends a roll screen gutter guard as a quick and easy DIY installation.
- Generate Curb Appeal — Inspecting the storm drains just beyond your yard is also a good practice, according to the City of Portland — a place that knows a thing or two about rain. Portland city officials recommend clearing a path for water with a rake if any blockage is visible around street drains.
- Don’t Be a Drip — Standing water in your yard could indicate an issue with your sprinkler system. Run a brief test on the zones where you see water, and repair or replace busted or malfunctioning sprinkler heads.
- Do As the French Do — If your drains and sprinkler systems are in tact, but you still have a huge water puddle problem, it might be time to check the elevation or slope of your yard. Before you plant spring foliage and flowers, take time for some “yard-scaping” to alleviate any water-runoff issues. Consider installing a French drain to help redirect the flow of water.
- Shingle Out the Problem — Roof repairs can be among the most costly fixes for a home. Keeping ladder-safety in mind, perform a quick visual inspection of your roof for issues. Owens Corning suggests checking for worn, curled, bent, loose, cracked or damaged shingles, as well as bald areas, dark streaks and excessive algae or moss growth.
- Phone a [Professional] Friend — Keeping an eye on your roof and fixing small problems with sheathing, underlay, flashing or tiles can help you avoid major water catastrophes. Just remember, some renovations may prove harder than they appear. So keep the number of a professional handy, just in case.
Additionally, many insurance companies have resources available to guide your decisions. Be sure to find out what services your company provides.
Inside Action Items: Weatherproofing And Keeping Cool
Making springtime home repairs and renovations inside your home is every bit as important as tackling outdoor challenges. Some fixes can have a major impact on your financial bottom line, by reducing energy costs and preventing the need for future repairs or complete replacements. Where should you start? We recommend starting at the top — in the attic.
- Evict Unwanted Pests — Make sure your attic space is free and clear of pesky vermin, like squirrels, raccoons and other unwanted furry friends, before tackling any big projects. As we reported in “Did You Hear That?,” pests in your attic and walls are often the result of roof or siding damage. And once they’ve nestled into your space, these critters can make a tasty meal out of your electrical wires and cables, all while leaving unsanitary droppings in their wake.
- Pamper Your Water Heater — If your water heater is located in the attic, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests wrapping an insulating blanket around the unit to reduce heat loss by 25-to-40 percent. These specialized materials can be found at most large hardware stores for between $25 and $50 dollars.
- Filter Out the Nonsense — HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) manufacturers typically recommend changing air filters once a month to preserve good air quality. In addition, it’s good practice to also visually inspect each of your HVAC units about every 30 days.
- Go Pink! — One of the most important renovations you can tackle is pink and fuzzy — insulation! In truth, there are many grades and varieties of insulation that are not all pink. And while some products are suitable for the DIY weekend warrior, some products, like a high-grade blown-in insulation, are best left to the professionals. Do your research and be diligent about taking appropriate safety precautions as outlined by This Old House.
- Light A Candle — Sealing windows is another great energy saver. One DIY trick to check for air leaking through windows is to light a candle and slowly move it around each window. Wherever you see a flicker, you probably need to apply caulking.
- Peel and Stick — Weather-stripping your exterior doors can not only help keep you cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, but it can also save you potentially 10-to-15 percent on your utility bill. Weather-stripped doors also help keep out moisture and bugs. Win-win … and win!
We hope you have a safe and fun time tackling your springtime home repairs and renovations. Let us know what’s at the top of your to-do list in the comments section below.
If you love home repair projects, but are in need of the actual home in which to channel your DIY energy, contact McMullen Group to learn what mortgage plan is best for you.