It’s May and that means the rain showers will be coming. Now is the time to make sure your house is prepared for the change in weather by taking these 6 steps to clean and maintain its exterior:
1. Replace Broken Screens or Repair Damaged Ones to Keep Bugs at Bay
Mosquitoes, bees, spiders, ladybugs, wasps, crickets and other insects will have a constant presence this Spring and can make their way onto your screens, windows, and into your home. If you have a damaged window screen, you’ll be inviting a lot more of these critters inside. If your screen has a small tear, make sure to repair it. You can purchase mesh screen repair kits online or at your local home improvement store. If your screen is badly damaged, consider replacing it.
2. Seal Windows to Keep Spring Bugs Out
Window sealant tends to crack or break apart during Winter, so it’s a good idea to reseal the exterior of your windows with caulk, silicone or sealant tape before the rain comes. Start by looking for peeling paint or wood that might be rotten. Use a screwdriver to probe joints. If you find rot, fill the damaged area with epoxy resin. If it seems unfixable, remove and replace the rotten wood. Make sure that any caulking and weather stripping is intact. Replace it if needed. You can check for leaks by inspecting areas where different materials meet, like between brick and wood siding. Seal those areas to prevent hot air and bugs from getting in.
3. Clean Gutters to Prepare for Spring Shows
Winter can take a toll on gutters, so make sure to inspect them for clogs or damage. Keep them free of debris by clearing them out on a monthly basis. Downspouts should also be checked and maintained. A downspout should be positioned at least 3 feet away from your home using a water extension or trough so water doesn’t pool around the foundation of your house. If your gutter is broken, buy a new one and reattach it. Make sure you know how to use a ladder safely before doing so. Here are some tips from This Old House on ladder safety that are helpful should you use a ladder while clearing your gutters.
4. Seal Your Chimney to Stay Cooler Now the Tempatures are Rising
If you have a fireplace, you should consider sealing off your chimney in Spring. Just closing the vent won’t help keep cool air in. Nor will it keep squirrels, birds, insects and other creatures from accessing your home. To keep your house cool and keep critters at bay you can purchase an inflatable chimney-sealant kit. Imagine a balloon blowing inside your chimney. Before you use a kit, make sure to clean your chimney first with a brush. Before you start brushing, protect your home’s interior from soot by covering the fireplace with a tarp and a shop vacuum. You can find some great chimney cleaning tips at Family Handyman’s website.
5. Inspect Roof for Damage and Fix Little Mistake Before They Grow
It’s important to inspect your roof for damage. Broken shingles or other problems can quickly turn into a big problem when those May showers show up. Look for:
- Shingles that are missing, moldy or decayed, broken or buckled
- Cracks or tears, blisters or wrinkles
- Decay or stains on soffits and fascia
- Cracked caulk, rust spots, tears, or buckling around roof penetrations on flashing
Don’t be afraid to call in a roofer for an inspection, instead of taking the risk yourself. A trained professional will be prepared for the dangers of working on a roof and has the tools to inspect it for damage.
6. Clear Vents and Crawlspaces
Many houses have crawl spaces with screened vents along the foundation walls that provide air circulation and keep animals from making a home underneath. Make sure to check any exterior accesses that lead to a crawl-space under your house, and keep screens clear of debris. Clean the vents and repair any damaged screens if necessary.