After a long winter, everyone looks forward to the warmth of spring and the upcoming summer season. What most homeowners dread is the annual spring cleaning and maintenance that comes with the season - I know I do. But doing your annual spring maintenance to take care of any damage left behind by winter isn’t just important - it’s necessary.
Spring brings a lot of rain, and if you’re not keeping a close eye on your home, you may find that Old Man Winter left some fingerprints that let the water in, causing problems with mold and rot.
Here’s your to-do list this spring to keep your home dry and looking great.
Look High and Low
Your roof will probably have taken the biggest beating from Old man Winter. Do a visual inspection to look for signs of wear and tear. Peeling or missing shingles are a sign that you need a new roof.
With all the wind, rain, and heavy snow, (and possibly more to come) do you know about the state of your gutters? If they’ve been clogged, their ability to remove excess water away from your home is compromised. You want to make sure the path remains clear for rainwater to easily wash far away.
It’s also time to take a look at the weatherstripping and caulking around your doors and windows. If you find any sections that are missing or damaged, replace as necessary. You may need your ladder to reach the higher windows, so I hope you didn’t put it away after you cleaned the gutters.
The average home can lose up to 30 percent of its heat due to drafts from damaged or missing caulking. I like to use a low-expansion, polyurethane foam like Sika Boom because it prevents doors and windows from warping.
When climbing your ladder, always be safe. Thousands of ladder accidents are reported in the U.S. each year, and most of these accidents could have been avoided with proper technique and common sense. Don't be a hero and overreach.
The mortar in between your exterior bricks needs regular maintenance, and after a long winter, it could be looking a little worse for the wear.
Crumbling mortar can cause a number of problems like loose or flaking bricks, or water damage to the structure behind the brick.
Fixing crumbling mortar is a process called tuck pointing, which means scraping out the old mortar and replacing it with new. The replacement mortar needs to seal the gaps in between the bricks to keep them from flaking.
Set a Good Foundation For Spring
Do a visual inspection of your foundation. You’re looking for any cracks. Some hairline cracks are normal, so you don't need to call your contractor immediately if you find one.
Mark any cracks (outside and in an unfinished basement) with tape and check on them every three months. If they haven't grown, likely you can fill them in with an epoxy injection. If the cracks are growing, call an engineer. And if you find any cracks large enough to fit a coin, call in a pro immediately.
Take Steps to Clean up Mold
Spring weather is wet and unpredictable. If your spring cleaning has revealed mold in your home, take action sooner rather than later. Breathing in all those mold spores could start to affect your family’s health.
Remember, if the area affected by mold is greater than 10 square feet, do not attempt to clean it yourself. You will want to bring in a mold remediation company to professionally clean and eliminate the mold source.
In smaller cases, you can handle the cleanup yourself. Always wear protective clothing, goggles, gloves, and masks so you don’t accidentally ingest any mold spores. Spray the affected areas with Concrobium Mold Control which will crush the mold spores at their source and prevent regrowth. Remember, bleach will not properly solve your mold problem.
Get Your Green Thumbs Up
Spring cleaning and maintenance isn’t just about tasks related to your building. The new season is a good chance to bring some life back to your property – and this especially goes for those of you who want to stretch that green thumb. Rake your garden beds, and lay down some new mulch before you plant your spring and summer gardens.
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.More Content by Mike Holmes