The Builder's Blog

Useful information and home maintenance tips that we hope will help you prevent problems and solve issues.
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May 21, 2022

House Spring Maintenance

Spring is an excellent time to evaluate the exterior of your home for winter damage or simply areas that need regular maintenance, cleaning, etc.

Roof

The roof is a great place to start with binoculars as your initial examination tool. Even if your roof did not sustain any serious damage from snow or ice, shingled roofs should be inspected for missing or torn shingles or any signs of leaks or cracks. Moss growing on shingles should definitely be removed as it can cause shingles to lift and curl, leading to blow-off in strong winds. Algae stains on your roof can also be removed with the right solution, although, unlike moss, the only issue here is cosmetic. Make sure you do not use a high-pressure washer on your shingles, or they may be harmed.

Maintenance requirements for metal roofs are typically lighter than for shingles, but metal roofs should still be inspected for staining or any signs of damage. Light power washing (the most powerful settings could damage the clearcoat) is beneficial to remove dirt, debris, and any algae or mold buildup. Another thing to watch for is any overhanging tree limbs that may be beginning to scratch or dent the metal. These should be immediately pruned back by a professional tree trimmer.

Gutters and Downspouts

Another important early-spring project is to clean all debris from your gutters and to inspect them for integrity. Re-hang any sagging sections and carefully caulk any leaks. If they are beyond repair, do not hesitate to replace them. Make certain that all downspouts are facing away from your house.

These jobs need to be done early in the spring to prepare for spring downpours. Clogged gutters and downspouts collect water that rots the wood trim on the eaves of your home. This can lead to openings into your attic that invite small creatures to take up residence. Also, it is crucial that the water from those heavy spring downpours be directed away from your foundation. This can only happen if your gutters and downspouts are open and functional.

Siding

Whether you have brick, stucco, or wood siding, seeing stains on your house exterior may be a sign that your gutters have failed to do their job for one reason or another. Also carefully inspect for even small holes that may allow insects and small animals to gain access. Cracks that could admit water should be repaired with a color-matched exterior caulk.

For siding stains, clean with light scrubbing and a solution of a quarter cup of dish soap for every four gallons of water. Hose each section off by spraying downwards to avoid forcing water under the siding. Scrub any stubborn stains. Although, using a high-pressure washer may seem like an easier way to wash your house, many experts advise against power washing as it may force water and dirt behind siding or damage wood fibers on wood siding. Using a power washer on your vinyl siding can even strip off the outer coating of the vinyl, usually voiding any warranty you may have on your siding in the process. For these reasons, a hose and brush are the safest way to clean your siding.

After the initial cleaning of your siding, you should examine it more closely for any signs of mold or mildew. A mixture of 30% white vinegar and 70% water makes an excellent cleaning solution for molds, mildews, and other stubborn stains.

Windows

Windows are another area of your home that is worth examining every year.

Next, carefully inspect the caulking and weather-stripping around the outside of each window to make certain that winter freezing and thawing has not begun to break down the integrity of the seal.

This is highly important for two main reasons: water and air. Water entry is, of course, the most obvious indicator of a problem with your window seals and is the most destructive. Thankfully, regular seal checkup and repair should prevent problems of that magnitude.  

Air leakage, however, is more subtle, but can be truly costly. In summer, cooled inside air will leak out and warm outside air will be admitted, raising your cooling bills substantially. And, of course, the problem won’t end with summer costs. Unless you catch the problem in the fall, your winter heating bills will also be impacted. This is ridiculous; no one should be attempting to heat and cool the great outdoors! For year-round cost savings, inspect your window seals regularly!

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