Fall weather is here, and crisp temperatures are soon to turn into winter’s cold weather. Is your home ready for the seasonal change?
Your home is a major investment, and it’s smart to care for it well in every season. The home exterior experts at John McCarter Construction recommend that homeowners take time every fall to inspect their homes and perform needed maintenance, so their home is protected and performs well through the harsh Michigan winter.
To make it easier for you to care for your home exterior with thorough seasonal maintenance that gives you peace of mind, we’ve put together a handy fall home maintenance checklist. It includes everything you should consider as you check and care for your home exterior this autumn.
1. Winterize Landscaping
Preparing your front yard and back yard to withstand the winter is the best way to ensure your outdoor spaces look great and are ready to bloom come spring.
- Remove all dead plant annuals.
- Trim shrubs so they don’t scrape siding.
- Prune tree limbs away from the roof.
- Keep cutting the grass until you’ve run your lawnmower out of gas. (Leaving gas in the motor over winter lessens the life of your mower.)
- Move, divide, and plant perennials. (Fall is an ideal time to do so.)
- Rake and remove or mulch dead leaves.
- Clean and store lawn tools in a safe, dry place.
2. Inspect Home Exterior
Home siding benefits from being washed at least once a year. And since fall is a good time to check for home maintenance issues, do a quick inspection of your exterior.
- Walk your entire home’s exterior, looking for:
- Apply proper cleansing agents to the siding you have. Use a garden hose rather than a power washer, which can strip paint and damage siding.
If it’s been 3-5 years since the house has been painted, it’s time to repaint. Paint protects your siding from the elements. If your siding is seriously damaged, old, or not satisfying you, fall is a good time to consider siding replacement. Contact a siding contractor like John McCarter Construction for a consultation and estimate.
3. Tend to Outdoor Structures
Before winter hits, there are a few things to do to prepare porches, patios, decks, fences, and other outdoor structures.
- Seal wood surfaces to protect them from winter’s snow and ice.
- Fasten down loose floorboards.
- Tighten loose hinges on gates and other outdoor structures.
- Clean and store outdoor furniture in a safe place.
- Dump dirt out of old planters and store planters until spring.
4. Clear Gutters and Roof
With winter snow and ice on the way, your roof and gutters need to be in proper working shape to drain away moisture and prevent leaks.
- Clear away any dirt, leaves, and debris in your gutters.
- Check gutters for cracks and other damage.
- Ensure water runs properly through gutters and downspouts.
- Extend downspouts away from foundation to ensure safe drainage.
- Consider investing in gutter guards to prevent debris from getting in.
- Inspect roofing—or have a professional roofing contractor do the inspection, which is safer.
- Replace missing shingles and secure any loose shingles.
- Clean shingles with mold and mildew.
5. Inspect Windows and Doors
Drafty windows and doors can drive up your heating costs and allow room for moisture to do damage. Before winter arrives, care for your doors and windows.
- Ensure all windows and doors properly open, close, and lock.
- Check outside-facing doors for visible gaps.
- Add weather stripping where needed to block drafts and keep cold air out.
- Gently probe wood trim around doors and windows with a screwdriver to look for loose and weak spots. Repair with caulk, or replace trim if needed.
- Replace summer screens with storm windows.
- Clean glass panes inside and outside to wash away summer dirt and dust.
If your windows are old, outdated, or performing poorly, window replacement may be a good idea. We’d love to assist you in choosing windows that look beautiful and improve your insulation in time to keep your house warm this winter.
6. Check Chimney, Heat, and Insulation Systems
Home heating isn’t just an inside job. Check elements that are outside too, and ensure you’re ready to keep your house comfortably warm.
- Check flashing around chimneys, pipes, and skylights, looking for signs of leaks and gaps. Repair any areas where melting snow and ice could penetrate, causing leaks.
- Have the chimney inspected and professionally cleaned before using the fireplace.
- Make sure the fireplace damper properly opens and closes.
- Put fresh batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Check attic insulation. If needed, add more insulation. Be sure the vapor barrier is facing down toward the living space, which ensures moisture doesn’t get trapped.
7. Winterize Plumbing
Cold temperatures are common in Michigan, and that can put your pipes at risk unless you properly prepare them to withstand winter.
- Disconnect garden hoses from outdoor faucets.
- Ensure exterior faucets and sprinklers are drained of water.
- Turn off valves to exterior faucets and sprinklers.
- Cover outdoor faucets with a protective insulating cover.
- Inspect pipes in attic, crawlspace, basement, etc.
- Wrap pipes exposed to exterior walls—using either heating tape or pipe insulation.
Home Exterior Improvements that Give You Year-Round Beauty and Value
As you perform home exterior care before the cold, snowy Michigan winter arrives, you may notice areas that need more detailed repair than you are comfortable doing on your own. You may also realize there are some upgrades you’d like to make, such as a fresh coat of paint, window replacement, new roofing, or updated siding.
You don’t have to go it alone on your home care plan. At John McCarter Construction, we are experts in providing greater Detroit area homeowners with beautiful, low-maintenance, long-lasting upgrades that give you greater pleasure in your home and years of enjoyment. Contact us to schedule a free consultation and get a quote on home exterior improvements you’ll love.