Spring Cleaning

It’s warm, it’s bright, and it’s sunny, all of which mean that you can see every construction flaw. Chipping paint, uneven floors, and all that dirt… how can you get out and enjoy the season when everything seems to be begging for repair? Here’s a priority list.

Gutters: Leaves and debris clog up the gutters leaving your house’s foundation vulnerable to water damage. On the ground, check the drain extensions and splash blocks to make sure that they’re heading away from the house.

Trees: The winter’s winds and March’s storms may have injured some trees. Make sure that none are so compromised that they will fall on your car or take down power lines with them. Branches that aren’t leafing out—they’re dead, and should be taken down.

Paving stones and bricks: Ice and thaw cycles yank up pavers, causing potentially dangerous walkways. Be sure to fix these now instead of waiting until someone trips.

Sills: Again, the ice and snow can wreak havoc on wooden window sills and thresholds. Do they need a scrap and a new coat of paint or polyurethane?

Screens: Are all of your screen doors and windows ready to go? Make sure the weep holes are open. Those are the two little holes where the storm hits the sill. With the screen down, the rain can come in, so you need to let it out.

Roof and Chimney: Break out the binoculars before the leaves come out to look for damaged flashing, missing shingles, and squirrel damage. Also look for holes that are big enough for a small bird to get into—something may be nesting there. With a good pair of binoculars, you’ll also be able to check out your chimney mortar and flashing for damage.

Sump Pump: Check sump pump function before torrential downpours cause a surprise flood in your basement.

Smoke Detectors:
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and CO monitors, and bring them up to code, which means there must be one within 10 feet of the bedrooms, one in the basement, and one on every floor.

Decks: Wash down decks with a rented power washer or commercial deck cleaner. Use a deck brightener, then a sealer. Be sure to get the dirt out from between the deck boards—that will prolong the life significantly. Use a power washer with care—you don’t want to remove too much wood.