The outside of your home is the first thing people see from the street. If the outside of your home looks neglected, the value of your home will drop like a hot potato. Many homeowners prefer to concentrate on fixing the home’s interior, but when it comes to fixing issues with the house’s exterior, they feel like they don’t know where to start. They think that to do exterior repairs, you must call a contractor. Getting expert help from professional contractors has its place, but there are many maintenance tasks you can do yourself.
Taking care of exterior repairs is important because, if neglected, it can cause structural damage to your home. After all, the exterior surfaces are always exposed to the elements. Your home deserves to be in good shape, so if you have no idea where to start looking at what needs to be fixed outside your house, here is a quick guide to help you.
Start With Roof Inspection
Roofs take a lot of beating from the elements. They protect all the contents inside your home and keep out moisture that would otherwise find itself in your trusses and walls, causing mildew and mold to grow. Over time, small leaks can cause rotting of your home structure, which is why it should be a priority when drawing up a list of exterior repairs.
Roofing materials are strong and durable. They are made to last a long time. Still, they can be damaged by storms or harsh weather conditions. So, inspecting them at least twice a year is a good idea to find small defects that can be easily fixed.
Sometimes, you may find that the roof shingles are covered by accumulated dust and dirt that may hide small cracks or damage. To make sure your roof is really okay, consider having it pressure-washed to remove built-up dirt and debris. Washing your roof is the most cost-effective way to extend the life of the roof covering and help you spot any shingles that are loose, cracked, or, in fact, missing. You can do the pressure washing yourself, and if you don’t own a pressure washer, you can hire one. However, if you notice loose shingles, it is advisable to call professional roofers to either do the job or advise you on how to approach the repair. The repair may be easy or difficult depending on the amount of damage, the roof covering material, and your skill level.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Your gutters are necessary to collect and channel excess rainwater away from the siding of your home and into the downspouts. If your gutters are blocked with mud (a mixture of dust and water collected from the roof’s surface), or weeds grow in them, they cannot do their job properly. Blocked gutters can lead to water leaking into your home. You need to inspect them regularly (at least every three months) to make sure they are not blocked.
It’s an easy job on your list of exterior repairs to do yourself, but if you prefer, there are gutter cleaning companies whose only job is cleaning out gutters. Calling these professionals can help you stay on top of gutter cleaning tasks.
Check Your Windows
Windows bring beauty to a home. They let in light and ventilate your space. Interior decorators often use window treatments like curtains or blinds to tie together the perfect look for the room. If your curtains are past their best, perhaps contacting a few window treatment companies can inspire you to improve your window dressings.
On the outside of the house, you must regularly check your windows for any signs of damage. Of course, it’s easy to see cracked glass, but often, the frames get neglected. You need to inspect and check for any signs of damage so you can fix it early before any permanent damage that needs costly window replacements occurs.
When checking your windows, look for any visible cracks or gaps between the window frame and the wall. If you notice any, it means that the window is badly insulated and your home loses heat or coolness in summer. Making sure that all the gaps are closed will reduce energy consumption at home and eliminate the temperature changes you feel as you stand closer to the window.
You should also check the rubber seals that hold glass panes in place. They prevent water from entering your home. The rubber should be intact and not look overly dry and cracked to keep a good seal. Look for condensation forming on your windows. It’s a sign of poor insulation and energy inefficiency.
Another issue with windows is that they often get stuck. So don’t forget to clean and lubricate your window tracks. Give them a thorough brushing with a soft brush first to remove all the loose dirt and grime. Then, you can use general-purpose lubricating oil to ensure all the parts move easily.
Take Care Of The Garage
Your garage is a place to store all those extra belongings that don’t fit in your house. It also keeps your car or serves as a workshop, so it should be a part of your checks or exterior repairs. When doing maintenance tasks on the exterior of your home, don’t forget to include it.
The garage door is the most important and likely part of the garage that causes trouble. You need to do routine maintenance to ensure that the door opens smoothly, is free of rust, and that the tracks, cables, and rollers are grime-free. If you look after your garage doors, they will last longer.
The tasks that you should include in the garage door preventative maintenance include cleaning the tracks by brushing away dust and grime that could cause your garage door to stick. After brushing, wipe the tracks with a wet rag. If you notice any rust or damage in the tracks, you may need to call a local garage door repair company for them to carry out any significant repairs.
You should also check the cables to inspect for any frays or damage. Cables work under high tension; if they become damaged, they can become a hazard to anyone using the door. Also, make sure that you check all the screws and bolts that hold all the parts of the garage doors together. Over time, these may work loose by the vibration of the door opening and closing.
Dealing With Clogged Sewer Line
Slow-draining water from sinks, showers, and baths is the most obvious tell-tell sign of trouble brewing with your sewer line. Whenever you open a tap, the water pools in the basin or shower and drains out very slowly. It could be a sign that you have a clogged sewer line. To prevent the problem from worsening, turn off the water at the main water line. It will prevent water from flowing into the blocked sewer pipe and save you from cleaning up backed-up raw sewage from your lowest-placed entry, like a basement drain or shower. The second thing you should do is to call a plumber. Unfortunately, fixing a clogged sewer is best tackled by a professional. The main sewer line often clogs due to damaged sewer pipes or tree roots growing and damaging the pipes. A repair requires specialized equipment, which you may not have at home. Sewer line replacements may be necessary if the clogging is severe.
Fix Your Driveway
Your home exterior repairs would not be complete if you ignored your driveway. Repairing cracks that appear on the surface as soon as possible will keep your driveway strong and the maintenance cost low, especially if you have an asphalt driveway.
To maintain your driveway, you need to make sure it is cleaned regularly. Keeping dirt, vegetation, and chemicals like motor oil off the surface of your driveway will extend its life. If you do notice cracks appearing, you may consider a DIY repair with a cold asphalt patching filler. You must overfill the space by an inch or two and then compact it with a tamp. To make your asphalt surface last longer, consider sealing it with a coat of sealer to protect it from exposure to harsh sun and snow. The sealing should be done once a year.
Regular maintenance will make your driveway last longer, but even the best-looked-after surface eventually gives in and needs to be replaced. If the surface of your driveway is very uneven, the asphalt looks very light and appears dry, or you have developed potholes, you may need to call the asphalt company to resurface your driveway.
Inspect Your Concrete Patio
Concrete is a durable and easy-to-clean material. That is why it’s a popular choice for spaces like patios, driveways, and garage floors. The main drawback of using concrete on your exterior surfaces is that it is porous and susceptible to growing mildew and absorbing stains. That is why including your concrete surfaces on the exterior repairs list is important.
Proper maintenance of concrete begins with keeping the surface clean. Regular sweeping and washing of the surface will prevent it from getting damaged by dirt and grime accumulation. A good wash with a power washer a couple of times a year will keep your concrete clean and looking beautiful. You can use a stiff bristle brush and a mild detergent to rub the stain out to treat stubborn stains. Avoid using a metal bristle brush on a concrete surface because the metal bristles can break off and get stuck in the concrete. A stuck piece of metal will rust, causing discoloration, and also pose a risk of metal splinters to bare feet walking across the surface. To further protect your concrete surfaces, you should seal them every two years.
If the concrete is damaged, you may have to call local concrete contractors to replace the old concrete.
Check HVAC Filters
One of the items on your exterior repairs list should be regularly changing the HVAC filter. A dirty, clogged-up filter affects the performance of your heating system. Not only does it force the system to work harder than it needs to, but it also affects your family’s well-being and may lead to unnecessary and costly repairs. The HVAC system filters the air circulating in your home. You can tell when the filter needs replacing by checking on it. If it has changed color or there is a lot of dust and hair stuck in between the layers, it is a good sign that the filter needs replacing. Other signs may include your energy bills increasing, your family members experiencing headaches and worsening allergy symptoms, or your system releasing carbon monoxide.
It is easy to replace a furnace filter yourself. First, you shut off the heating system. Locate the filter or check the system’s user manual to find out the specifications of the filter you will need. Buy a new filter. Remove the old filter and replace it with the new one. Then you can switch on the furnace again. That simple replacement should immediately improve the air quality in your home.
A word of warning: if you neglect regular filter changes, it takes more effort for the system to circulate air in your home, and it may lead to system malfunctions that will need to be repaired by AC repair contractors. In the worst-case scenario, a neglected dirty filter can lead to you having to replace the whole HVAC unit.
Carrying out regular exterior repairs tasks around the home will keep your home looking and feeling great and save you money in the long run. It is not necessary to call professional help for every task because you can fix some things yourself. Having said that, before you tackle a complex task like replacing windows or resurfacing your asphalt driveway, you need to be honest with yourself about your skills and call in the experts if the repair is extensive.
By taking care of your home’s exterior repairs mentioned above, you will ensure that your home is properly maintained and continues to provide you joy and increase in value.