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Focus on These 4 Areas for Fall Maintenance Inspections

The leaves are starting to change. Here in Toronto, I saw some reds and yellows on the trees during the first week of September, and that means that summer is almost over and fall is well on its way.

Your main job as a homeowner during the fall season is to make sure your home is prepared to face the onslaught of harsh weather that winter brings. Believe me, when it’s below freezing in January, you don’t want to be dealing with a leaky or damaged roof!

Here are some of the major areas you want to focus on this autumn. Get started now, and you’ll be prepared to face anything that winter brings.


1. Clear Dead Branches and Falling Leaves

Do you have any large trees in your yard? Look for dead or dying branches - in case of a bad winter windstorm you don’t want to risk a fallen branch doing damage to your roof. Have it checked out by a tree specialist, so they can remove it if necessary.

When the leaves come down, they can get everywhere! While it’s good to get in the habit of raking your lawns and gardens out at the end of the season, don’t ignore spots you can’t easily see. I’m talking about your gutters! If leaves or other debris gunk up your gutters, you’re blocking the path water needs to travel so it’s expelled safely away from your home. When your gutters are jammed, water can flow right over top, dropping it directly against your foundation - and that’s asking for trouble.

If you’ve got a lot of trees, and are tired of climbing the ladder every weekend to clear out the gutters, consider installing a gutter guard overtop like the Smart Screen. Leaves and other junk will stay out of the gutters, and blow right off your roof, harmlessly onto the lawn.


2. Replace Caulking and Weatherstripping

I say this all the time, but a drafty house can account for upwards of 30 percent of a home’s heat loss. That’s huge! There’s a simple way to fight this heat loss. Before winter hits, walk around your home and do a check of all the doors and windows. You’re looking for instances of missing or broken caulking and weatherstripping.

Make sure you use a caulking that’s rated for outdoor use - and one that can expand and contract with the home. We’ve been using Sika products on the job site lately, and they are simple to use for your basic DIY jobs.

One added benefit of replacing your caulking and weatherstripping is that it can help deter rodents from taking up residence in your home during the winter. It’s true - a mouse can fit through a hole about the diameter of a quarter. It doesn’t take much, so if you find any holes around your doors, windows, or exhaust pipes, you’ll want to take extra care that they’re sealed.


3. Check Your Roof

With all the snow, ice, and wind, old man winter can cause some major damage to an older roof.  A roof inspection in the fall is never a bad idea. Look for any missing or loose shingles as they may allow water and snow to creep into your attic space.

It’s not too late to hire a roofer before the winter sets in should you need to do a replacement job. Call soon, as you may find that their schedules are filling up quickly with the change of season fast approaching.


4. Make Walkways Walkable

Go up and down your exterior walkways and stairs. You’re looking for anything that could be a tripping hazard, especially during the winter time.

Look out for things like broken paving stones that shift, or loose stair railings that need to be secured. If anything is starting to crumble, now’s the time to get it fixed.

And make sure you have plenty of de-icing agent on hand for any unannounced winter storms. It’s your responsibility to keep your walkways clear and safe.

About the Author

Mike Holmes, professional contractor and TV host, is working with Associa to refine the standards and protocols that today’s Homeowner’s Associations use to Make It Right™ for their homeowners. He brings more than 35 years of experience in renovations, construction, and inspection services, and is best known as the contractor and host of “Holmes on Homes” and “Holmes Makes It Right” where he rescues homeowners from repair and renovation disasters.