October is here, and with it’s arrival, it brings some of the last warm days to do repairs around your home and prepare it for winter. Here are some simple yet important maintenance items to do to get your house ready for the cold days ahead.
Roof. Check your roof visually for loose, missing, or buckling shingles. Fix and repair any you see. If you see any sagging spots, check the attic for leaks and determine if the plywood underlayment is sturdy. If not, this will need to be removed and fixed or you could have a big hole in your roof after the first heavy snow.
Gutters. After the leaves have fallen, be sure to clean out the gutters to avoid backups from snow that can get into your eaves and even interior of your house. Consider gutter guards, but if you have had any problems in the past with ice damming on your roof (where large ice flows and icicles hang from the roof line), don’t use these as they can make the situation worse. My roofing contractor said the best thing is the old-fashioned, hard-work method of cleaning out the gutters. (I hate answers like that.)
Trees. Prune dead branches and cut down diseased trees as ice and snow storms may bring them down. This is especially true of any trees near your home. Also, be sure to trim any branches that rest on the roof.
Windows, doors, and trim. Caulk around windows, doors, and trim to ensure a water tight seal and to help with energy conservation.
Lawn. Use a fall fertilizer to help your lawn through the winter and prepare it for a healthy spring. If you have bare spots, add seed or the patch mixture of seed and paper mulch. The winter snows will help work the seed into the soil and prepare it for spring rains.
Pests. Bugs and other little critters (noticeably mice) will seek warmer climes as winter sets in – usually your nice warm house. Spray your foundation with premixed pesticide or hire an exterminator. Most use a water-based, colorless formula these days just on the outside. They claim it’s environmentally friendly, but if this is a big concern for you, look for a pest control specialist that only uses “green” solutions. (Also, my limited bit of reading on the subject seems to show that Borax can be used to control a variety of insects.)
Paint. Paint any peeling wood on steps, siding, shutters, and trim. Be sure to scrape or sand any loose paint off first before you paint. Then use a quality primer, finishing with a quality exterior.
With a few simple fixes, you can be sure your home is ready for winter, and save yourself potentially big problems when the wind howls and snow blows.