Finally, spring has sprung! Snow, ice and freezing temperatures have subsided – but, the damage these elements might have done to your home has not. Before you chuck away at your spring cleaning list inside, make sure you perform a thorough check-up on the exterior of your home:
1.Clean Gutters & Downspouts
Your gutter system is your home’s lifeline during spring showers, guiding rainwater away from your roof and foundation. It's important to check to make sure you didn’t suffer any potential ice dams throughout winter that could’ve resulted in bent or broken gutters. You’ll want to replace those materials before heavy rainfall starts.
Equally as important as looking for damage is ensuring there is no blockage in the system. Leaves and other debris can quickly build up and prevent water from flowing away from your home. Grab a pair of gloves and a sturdy ladder to scoop organic materials out of your gutter system. If you’re not comfortable doing this on your own, don’t hesitate to call a professional.
2.Inspect Your Roof
If you're comfortable climbing a ladder safely, you can inspect your roof from a securely set ladder. If not, grab a pair of binoculars for a closer look. The freezing and thawing that takes place throughout winter can create big splits out of small cracks. You’re looking for curled and missing shingles, cracked caulk around pipe collars, rusted and pitted flashing and other roof penetrations.
The last thing you want is to suffer a huge leak during springs first heavy rainfall. If you notice any damage to your roof and/or shingles, contact your local licensed roofing contractor to assess the damage and extent of repairs needed.
3.Inspect Windows & Doors
Look for bent or broken hinges, frames or edges. Also check for holes in screens before you swap them out for storm panels. If you cannot repair damages on your own, contact your local handyman or consider having them replaced entirely.
Spring is a great time to trim overgrown tree limbs away from the exterior of your home because you can identify individual limbs that aren’t covered by an abundance of leaves.
As a rule, branches should be kept about 5 to 7 feet away from your home. By trimming branches away from your home to prevent added moisture from falling onto your roof and siding, you deter wild animals like squirrels and racoons from nesting in your attic and you safeguard your roof from a possible fallen limb that could cause extensive damage to your roof.
5.Ensure Proper Drainage
With many heavy rain showers to come, it’s very important to make sure the soil slopes away from your home’s foundation walls. Built up water/moisture can introduce mold, mildew, termites and basement leaks.
Shoot for at least six vertical inches of slope over 10 feet to move rain and snowmelt away from your home.
6.Check Foundation Vents
Foundation vents provide air circulation that helps dissipate excess moisture and prevent mold growth. Come spring, these vents can easily become blocked with leaves and other debris.
Clean the vents by hand or by using a shop vacuum. Repair any damaged screens that a critter may be able to squeeze through – remember, mice can squeeze through a hole barely bigger than the diameter of a pencil!
7.Consider Resealing Your Driveway
The vigorous cycles of freezing and thawing in winter can force water to seep into your driveway, causing cracks. If you notice a large number of cracks come spring, consider having your driveway resealed to prevent further cracking and damage.
8.Apply Caulk to Leak-Prone Areas
Freezing and thawing affect your home similarly to how it affects your driveway, creating openings and cracks that leave the interior rooms vulnerable to seeping moisture. Locate leak-prone areas like windows and the siding where walls join and apply exterior caulk to seal the area.
9.Inspect Outside Faucets and Hoses
Frozen pipes are a homeowners worst nightmare in the winter. Make sure you didn’t miss a damaged pipe by turning on outdoor faucets and hoses to make sure water is still running as it should; if you can stop the flow with your thumb, the water pressure might be too low and a pipe inside your home may need to be repaired.
10.Examine Current Home Insurance Coverage
Every season you should meet with your local insurance agent to ensure you have the appropriate coverage for weather to come. Your home is potentially your biggest asset, so examining your current home insurance coverage is crucial to protecting your home against the severe spring weather that is fast approaching.
Winter can really put your homes defenses to the test, that’s why it is so important to safeguard your home in the fall and ensure a speedy recovery in the spring.