Spring Cleanup

Spring Cleanup …From the pages of House & Home…

Wake up your home from hibernation and get it ready to greet the warmer weather.

Every spring, homeowners break out the cleaning supplies and give the inside of their home a good scrubbing. But it’s really the exterior of the home that takes the brunt of winter’s harsh weather—and neglecting areas like the roof, gutters, windows or landscaping can lead to costly repairs.

“Preventive maintenance is done on your car, major appliances and even your own personal health,” says Ben Lapp of Middle Creek Roofing. “Giving [your home] preventive maintenance will save you money in the long run and prevent any major problems.”

Companies often offer estimates for free, says Adam Parnes of Global Home Improvement. “This allows you to find out if any repairs are needed without obligation,” he notes.

“When we approach a home, we’re looking for any signs of wear and tear and potential weak points in your home’s exterior that could cause problems. ... Repairs could be minimal or extensive, but it’s always better to take a proactive approach. Once water gets in your home [from leaking roofs, windows or gutters] the cost of fixing the problem goes way up.”

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Inspecting gutters and roofs
Spring is known for the rain it brings, which makes having clean gutters a necessity. “The debris in gutters from the fall and winter should be completely cleaned so there is no damming,” says Lapp. “Damming can lead to water running down the walls in both the interior and exterior.”

Kim Sammons of All United Roofing says a slightly clogged gutter can hold gallons of water, increasing the potential for water intrusion. “This can typically go unseen,” she says. “Water should be diverted through the gutters to a downspout that sends water 4 feet away from the house.”

Roofs are another area where damage is not so easily visible from ground level. Simmons says shingles should be checked once or twice a year and after major weather events. “From the exterior, look for missing, loose, cracked or torn shingles; algae growth that is dark green in color; or a sagging roof that may indicate inadequate framing support,” she says.

Lapp says the interior from inside the attic should be inspected for leaks and mold, which may be the most obvious signs of damage to the outside. “A new roof can cost upwards of $10,000, but an annual or semi-annual checkup can protect your investment or give you an idea of how many years are left on your current roof.”

Window maintenance
Soon, it will be time to open windows to let the fresh air in, but if windows are hard to open or look a little worse for wear, there is some routine maintenance that can help.

Simmons says to first inspect exterior caulking around window frames. “Old, loose caulking can be trimmed off and gaps can be sealed with good quality caulk. You also want to clean any sand, dirt or dust from the window hinges, sills, seep holes and tracks.”

Making sure that windows open and close smoothly is important too. “Not being able to open a window can be a safety hazard,” says Parnes, “and it can also prevent you from enjoying the nice spring breeze you’ve been waiting for.”

Experts say cleaning windows and screens will immediately make a difference. They suggest using newspaper instead of paper towels to clean them with a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar.

Landscape refresher
From a landscaping perspective, the areas of your yard that may need attention include general weeding, cleaning up debris and mulching.

According to Ed Swietanski of Gill’s Landscaping, taking care of these items early will keep the property looking its best throughout the season. “You want to cut back or remove old, dead growth from perennials or ornamental grasses so they don’t impede new growth coming through,” he says. “We also remove debris like sticks and limbs that may have fallen during a storm.”

Swietanski says he sees people make the mistake of mulching too early. “If the mulch is put down before most of the early spring blooming trees and shrubs are done, the resulting falling flowers can make the mulch look messy and may require a touch-up,” he says.

Seeking professionals
Many homeowners may think these tasks are easy enough to do on their own, but professionals are likely the safer way to go.

Swietanski says the landscaping maintenance can be very labor intensive, which prompts many of his clients to call.

For roofing and gutters, Lapp says, “An experienced professional should inspect these areas due to safety issues. They will have the proper equipment and tools to do the inspection and will be properly insured to fix any issues.”


All United Roofing
Wilmington, Del.
(302) 999-9064

Gill’s Landscaping
Mullica Hill, N.J.
(856) 223-9770

Global Home Improvement
Feasterville, Pa.
(215) 853-6086

Middle Creek Roofing
Newmanstown, Pa.
(717) 821-9467

Published (and copyrighted) in House & Home, Volume 15, Issue 9 (March, 2015).
For more info on House & Home magazine, click here.
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Author: Liz Hunter


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