Your Complete Fall Maintenance Check List
Here it is, fall again, many people's favorite season. The beautiful leaves, the warm days and crisp nights, what's not to love? With winter on the way, fall is the best time to clear up those home maintenance projects you've been putting off. Because repairing many of the most common air and water leaks involve liquid sealants that need some dry daytime heat to set up, you want to have your home ship-shape before the cold and snow arrive. Here's a checklist for preparing your home for winter.
- Most pipe flashings have a neoprene (rubber) gasket hugging the pipes. It deteriorates over time, so check for cracks and holes.
- Wall and valley flashings overlap to keep water running down to the gutters. Check for bent sections, loosened nails, holes or missing pieces.
- Check for cracked, curled or delaminating shingles (where the shingle's layers are separating). While you wouldn't necessarily be able to detect loose shingles without probing each one, if you see buckling shingles, you may have a patch ready to blow off on a windy day.
- Check for shrinking and deteriorating caulking strips, especially along sidewalls.
- Skylights usually offer no tell-tale signs of imminent leaks, but do check for cracks in the outer surface.
* If you can, walk your roof to complete these tasks. If you can't, use a pair of binoculars to inspect it from the ground or from a ladder.
- Clear out leaves, nests and debris. You probably should do this once all the leaves have fallen or maybe twice before winter. Clogged gutters almost always guarantee leaks into the house during a heavy rain or snowmelt.
- Check for blockages in the downspouts with a garden hose.
- If you have a leaf guard system, check for any damage, but be careful not to set your ladder against it. The aluminum wing-shaped guards are very susceptible to denting which may void any warranty on the system.
- Consider adding heat tape to the gutters and spouts to prevent ice build-up and ice dams.
- Inspect for weather or animal damage.
- Check for cracks, separations and rot.
- Check for loose or missing pieces.
- Check the eaves, as well, although they aren't necessarily part of the siding envelope. Look for excessive sagging, which is a sign that water may be pooling inside.
Doors and Windows
- Inspect the exteriors for deteriorating caulk.
- Inside, determine if the weather stripping on doors is still tight. Close the door on pieces of paper, then pull the paper out to see if it slides easily. If so, the weatherstripping needs attention.
- Check for drafts at windows by moving a lit candle around the perimeter, keeping drapes and blinds out of the way, of course. If the flame is blown away from or drawn to the window, the seal needs to be addressed.
Most of these home maintenance chores can be readily taken care of with liquid sealants and a ladder. However, when it comes to your roof, it's always best to consult a professional. Some things that seem suspicious may be completely fine, but an effort to "fix" them can make any future repairs more difficult and costly.
If you're ready to replace any of your exterior components or would like us to inspect and make necessary repairs, please give us a call. Wayne Overhead Door Sales and Home Improvements installs only the best quality windows, doors and siding. We also repair and replace roofs, install gutters and gutter protection systems that will keep the leaves out every fall. Contact us today to schedule your free in-home estimates.