Fall isn’t just a time to stock up on supplies or clean your HVAC. Your home exterior needs some TLC too. A lot of people would avoid the frustrations, inconveniences, and heartache associated with winter if they paid special attention to the outside.
Your roof, exterior walls, lawn, and garden need to be ready for the freezing winter. After all, they’re the first line of defense against ice, snow, and sub-zero temperatures. Let’s look at 10 simple but effective fall maintenance tips that protect your Cleveland, OH, home from the harsh conditions outside.
First things first: Turn off all your outdoor faucets, as they can encourage leaks and frozen pipes. Water expands in freezing temperatures, exerting pressure on your water lines. When this happens, your pipes could burst and flood areas like your basement.
Direct your drainage
Grading impacts your exterior drainage. Make sure the ground around your home slopes away. If it stays the same, water will collect and leech into the soil. You can guess where it’ll end up from there. The ideal grading is six inches for every 10 feet.
Inspect exterior walls
Walk around your home and check the conditions of the exterior walls. Is the wall paint peeling? Are there blisters? Peeling wall paint and blistering means your wall paint is deteriorating. The existing film of paint won’t be able to protect your siding. You would do well to repaint it before it starts deteriorating. Otherwise, you will have to replace the siding.
Your yard should be clear of rocks, small branches, twigs, and construction debris. If you have foliage, dead flowers, or dead plants, turn them into fertilizer.
Inspect your foundation for openings, crevices, or cracks and seal them. Shrunken soils and foundation settlement are the major culprits. Further investigation may be necessary if their cause isn’t clear. Take action fast by contacting a local foundation repair expert, as these gaps could lead to structural failure.
Check your roof
Your roof stays intact most of the time. But debris, twigs, and weather changes can all affect its condition. Falling snow, humidity, and freezing temperatures will constantly attack it. Make sure there are no holes that can instigate leaks or depressions that might allow water to pool. If it’s leaky, fix the holes, as these could damage your insulation and other systems such as electrical and plumbing. Act now when you can. You wouldn’t want to wake to water leaks in early winter, would you?
Clear out gutters
One important but overlooked area is the roof drainage system. When it’s functioning, rainwater flows away quickly. Check the gutters and downspouts to ensure they’re collecting and moving water properly.
Remove debris, gunk, and falling leaves so water can flow. These fixtures can encourage ice dams during winter. Replace your old dysfunctional gutters with clog-free designs. If gutters are loose, tighten them.
Along with being clog-free, make sure downspouts are pointing down and away from your foundation. You also can opt to place these lines in the ground.
Weatherstrip the garage door
Check the garage door to ensure it’s not allowing drafts that could make your home cold. Weatherstripping your door will keep small pests at bay and prevent drafts. To make your door airtight, add weatherstripping between your panels and your door. Change the stop molding on either side and at the top of the garage door.
Lawn and Garden Care
Remember to clear dead or fallen leaves from your lawn. Plant spring bulbs and reseed any of the patchy sections. Deer-proof your lawn or garden by covering plans with wire or netting.
Prepare your yard equipment
Never leave your gas-operated equipment, such as lawnmower, leaf blowers, or chainsaws, full of fuel. Prepare your snow removal gear and tools as well. Your roof rakes, snowblowers, and shovel need to be intact and in an easy to access area. Also, store them in a cool, dry place away from moisture and the freezing outside cold.
Other maintenance tips
- Inspect and fix cracks on your driveway.
- Drain your garden hose and move it inside.
- Check and fix leaks on your windows.
- Replace cracked windowpanes and weak frames.
- Check for concrete hazards.
Schedule a free foundation inspection and repair quote this fall and find out whether your foundation and home are prepped for winter. The professionals from Ohio Basement Systems will investigate and fix foundation cracks, as well as give you suggestions on other ways to protect your home before winter hits in Cleveland, OH.