Spring is in the air. For many homeowners, this means it's time for cleaning tasks like scrubbing the floors and organizing closets. This year, why not take a different focus as the weather warms up? Taking the time to tackle a few home exterior maintenance tasks will protect your home and reduce the amount of work you need to put in through the rest of the year.
Here are four essential exterior maintenance tasks to get you started.
Clean Your Gutters
Blocked gutters can cause water to accumulate on the roof, leading to leaks and damaged shingles. Since spring brings April showers, it's essential that your gutters are clear. Luckily, cleaning them out is much simpler than you might assume. Just follow these steps:
- Don a pair of rubber gloves.
- Spread a tarp out at the base of your home, beneath the gutters.
- Have a friend hold the base of your ladder for stability and safety.
- Climb up onto the ladder with a trowel or small scoop tucked into your back pocket.
- Scoop the gunk out of your gutters, dropping it onto the tarp below.
- Climb down the ladder, and then climb back up with the end of a garden hose in hand.
- Have your friend turn on the hose so you can rinse the gutters with clear water. Make sure water flows freely through the gutters and downspouts before you climb down.
When cleaning your gutters, if you notice an excess of shingle granules, this could be a sign that your roof is beginning to deteriorate and is in need of replacement.
Wash Your Window Exteriors
As debris accumulates on the outside of your windows, it can start running down your siding and leaving streaks, so it's best to tackle this task before you clean your siding. If you have double-hung windows that tilt inward, allowing you to access the exterior of the window from the inside, then just give them all a wipe down with a good quality window cleaner.
If you cannot access the window exteriors from inside your home, then you need to climb up on a ladder and clean them from the outside. The safest and most effective way to clean windows from this position is to use a strip applicator to apply soapy water. (Standard dish soap works well.) Next, use a squeegee to remove the soapy water and wipe the glass clean after each stroke. This should leave your windows clean and streak-free.
Power Wash Your Siding
The longer you let dirt sit on your siding, the more "ground in" it will become. Remove dirt promptly, and you'll avoid stains. Cleaning your siding in the spring also gives you the chance to inspect this part of your home for any cracks or loose pieces.
If you do spot damage, contact your siding contractor to have them replace and repair the damaged sections before water starts seeping behind the siding and causing further problems.
To power wash your siding, use a multi-purpose soap that states, on the label, that it is safe for siding. Add this soap to your power washer's reservoir. Then, put the soap tip on your washer: this creates a wider stream to distribute the soap properly.
Spray your siding, being careful to direct the stream downward and to the side so you don't force water beneath the siding panels. Start at the top, and work your way downward.
Once the first side of your home is covered in soap, remove the soap reservoir from the sprayer, and change the tip to a general use one. Rinse the siding clean, once again holding the sprayer at a downward angle and moving from top to bottom.
If your home is more than one story, you may need to stand on a ladder to reach the higher segments. Have someone hold the base of the ladder for safety.
Remove Debris From Your Roof
Throughout the fall and winter, leaves, sticks, and other debris tend to accumulate on your roof. When the springtime rain comes rolling in, this debris gets wet, exposing your shingles to continual moisture. This can accelerate shingle decay and even lead to leaks in an older roof.
To clean debris off your roof, wait for a dry, non-windy day and climb on a ladder. Use a long-handled broom to push any debris off your roof. Make sure you remove the waste completely—don't let it accumulate in the gutters. While you're clearing the roof, keep an eye out for signs of roof damage, such as:
- Peeling or crumbling shingles
- Flashing that has begun to peel away from your chimney or vent pipes
- Exposed nail heads
- Moss growth
If you dedicate a weekend to cleaning your siding, windows, gutters, and roof, your home exterior will look so much better. Plus, you'll catch any damage early on before it causes bigger issues. If you suspect you may be in need of a new roof, gutters, or siding, contact us to request an estimate.