It’s that time of year again where temperatures vacillate from warm to freezing in transition from winter to summer. The temperature fluctuation during Spring causes stress to materials of our home and garden which contract and expand in response. It is a great time of year to schedule important home maintenance checks to stay abreast of any deterioration, damage and general upkeep of your property. Below are a few pertinent maintenance items to consider:
- Conduct a Perimeter Check
Take a walk around the perimeter of your home to check for any materials that may have fallen off the façade or roof. This can include but not limited to pieces of stucco, roof shingles, wood, stone, siding, glass. These pieces and their location will not only give you an indication what needs to be repaired, but also where to further investigate for damage.
- Building Cracks
The moisture that absorbs or seeps into the building can cause the building to have cracks and gaping holes. It is important to find these problems and seal them or patch them to prevent further water penetration or deterioration.
- Fenestrations – Windows and Doors
Windows and doors experience a great range of temperature variation as these openings are exposed to not only the changes in outdoor seasonal temperature, but also the difference of outdoor and indoor temperatures directly. Check for air seepage, evidence of water penetration, and re-caulk window and door seals, cracks and gaps identified.
The ground also experiences freeze/thaw stress during the Spring. Asphalt driveways, concrete, walkways, garage floors, interlocking pavers, wood decks, and any other floorscape materials are susceptible to cracks, physically shifting, misalignment, and grade change.These items can cause water flow changes towards and into the foundation of your home and cause water damage. They are also a tripping hazard. It is important to repair and re-grade away from the home, in areas that are affected. It is important to note that ice can cause damage to brick at floor level. Spalling brick at grade level occurs specifically when water penetrates during the freeze thaw cycle and causes brick to crumble, flake and break. This happens when snow is shovelled and stacked against the home wall. Also, salt used on driveways to melt ice will deteriorate floorscape and building walls at grade as it infiltrates into the material.
- Downpipes and Gutters
The gutters of your home ensures that rainwater and ice thaw flows off the roof and away from the home’s foundation, protecting against wood rot and water penetration. Gutters may become rusted, and blockages from sediment, debris, organic matter that was trapped in ice buildup, may be blocking waterflow. Ensure there is an unobstructed flow of water buy trimming and removing tree branches and bushes that are close to the gutters; manually remove any debris or blockages, do a water flow test using a hose, and reseal any rusted or cracked areas. Re-adjust downpipe extensions so water flows away from the foundation and clear any debris at exterior drains on your property. Ice formation can also pull the gutter away from home, so it is important to repair and reattach it to the home.
- Exterior Winter Storage
Outdoor storage of items such as firewood, excess built up recycling materials and decomposing organic matter, and outdoor winter gear, can accumulate during the winter season. This can cause the property to look visually cluttered and unsightly. Also, these materials will become damp during the spring thaw and may get infested and moldy. It is important to adequately store items, remove any accumulated recycling to the local recycling depot, and stack firewood in a dry location on racks so it does not touch the ground and should be covered. Keep a lookout for animal nests such as mice and squirrels.
- Gardens and Yards
The winter season can cause much weathering and damage to wood decks and patios. It is important to replace, reseal and repaint areas of a deck that show wear and tear, before wood rot sets in and infestations occur. Also, it is a time to prepare the garden for the spring and summer seasons. Do a light raking on lawn to remove dead fallen branches and late fall leaves. Cut back late perennial growth and prune dead growth on shrubs and trees, clean flower beds of accumulated debris and dead organic matter. Remove old mulch, fertilize new planting, and add new mulch.
It is advised to have a licenced professional to attend to the exterior maintenance of your home to certify the work will be done at the highest standards and ensure the longevity of your property.