WRITER | PAM TOIGO
There is something about the newness of spring that can’t be matched. But when all that snow finally melts away, what it reveals can sometimes be … not so pretty. Aside from the obvious work in the yard that needs to be tackled, there are a whole host of chores that need to be done on the exterior of your home. Exterior maintenance done now can save you from costly repairs in the future. So clear your weekend, grab your pruners and power-washer, and bring the list below with you. It’s time to spring clean, exterior style.
🔲 Roof: Start at the top by making a visual inspection of your roof. Look for any shingles that are out of place or missing. Pay special attention to the flashing around the chimney, making sure it is snug in place to avoid spring-time leaks. If there are issues, consider calling a roofing pro to do the work that is hard to reach and dangerous.
🔲 Gutters: Your gutters may have gotten a good cleaning in the fall, but end-of-season leaves and debris can clog a downspout if not taken care of, causing water damage around your home’s foundation. If your gutters are too high to reach comfortably, you can hire a local building maintenance company to clean and flush them at a relatively minimal price.
🔲 Siding: Walk around your house and make sure the siding is clean and secure. This is a great place to pull out your power-washer to wash away the dirt and grime. If you don’t own a power-washer, rent one for the day or borrow one from your neighbor; you will need it for other spring cleaning tasks. If your siding is wood, keep up on the paint. Paint serves as a protectant against UV and water damage.
🔲 Windows and screens: Collect all your screens, spread them out in the driveway, and start hosing them down. A gentle brush and some dish soap will help make the task quicker. As for washing windows, your best bet is to hire a professional who will clean all windows inside and out, even getting to your highest areas. The cost can be steep, so shop around, and make sure you know exactly which tasks are included in your bid (interior, exterior, window sills).
🔲 Garage doors: These doors tend to take a beating and show it. Use a power-washer with some detergent to wash them down to remove all the winter grime.
🔲 Driveway/walkways: Grab that power-washer again and use a detergent specifically for cement to wash away any ground-in dirt or mold. Inspect driveway and walkways for cracks. A cement or asphalt crack leads to moisture seeping under the asphalt and creating bigger problems. An asphalt driveway may need a seal coat every 2 or 3 years. This job may be better left to the professionals, as it can be super messy, not to mention toxic. A driveway or walkway that has been freshly power-washed and seal coated will immediately make your entire exterior look brighter.
🔲 Deck/patio Keep that power-washer going, because most decks and patios need a yearly washing, too. Being covered by so much moisture all fall and through the long winter will lead to mold growth and staining. Use a special mold treatment to avoid repeated mold growth. If you have a wood deck, check for warped boards and replace any that don’t lie flat or that appear to have splinters. Power-wash and then stain or seal them to prevent the wood from splitting and rotting.
🔲 Outdoor furniture: A simple hosing down will often do the trick to wash away dirt and cobwebs. Although we love that power-washer, it may be too strong and damage the furniture finish.
🔲 Mailbox: Damage from the snowplow is not uncommon. Paint if needed, tighten screws, and make sure it’s standing up straight. Your postman will thank you.