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No doubt about it, the weather is definitely right for going outside and spending time getting all those home improvement projects done that you’ve been putting off until the forecast was totally agreeable.
Here on Long Island, winter wasn’t too bad, especially compared to last year, but that doesn’t mean you can skip doing a thorough job this summer making the outside of your house sparkle. We won’t detail all you need to do to whip your lawn into shape, but your friends at Alure Home Improvements are more than willing to help you win the battle for the home front.
What you want to do first is perform a complete inspection of your house, from top to bottom, and front to back. Don’t forget your garage, too, especially if it’s a stand-alone structure, because all too often homeowners forget about it until it’s in bad need of repairs.
Take a look at your roof and chimney. Long Islanders didn’t have to endure blizzards this year like in past years when they seemed non-stop, but winter weather is notoriously hard on the exteriors, and now is the time to take a closer look. You’ll want to remove all the leaves from the roof valleys, eaves, dormers and skylights, and clean your gutters, too, while you’re at it. And if you discover any nests, be prepared to remove them very carefully when they’re either away or asleep.
If you see any lifted, curled or damaged shingles, it could mean the underlying structure is exposed—and, left untreated, that problem could spell leaks. If you suspect damage to your roof, then go to your attic and check it out from underneath. Keeping a good roof over your head may sound like a cliché, but the stability of your house depends on it.
Look around your chimney and skylights and check the condition of the flashing, which refers to thin, impervious material installed to prevent water penetration and seepage. If you spot any holes or corrosion, you may have to replace the flashing.
Next, inspect your windows and doors for signs of wear and tear. Make sure the weather stripping is in good shape. You may want to seal any openings with caulk, foam, or glazing compound. If a gust of wind loosened a shutter, now is the time to fix it right. While you’re at it, wash the outside of your windows and repair any holes in your screens.
Look around the joints of your house, the places where different kinds of materials meet, such as vinyl siding and cement foundation. You want to prevent insect invasion, water leaks, and hot air or cold air loss. You are on the prowl for holes, loose joints, cracked mortar and fissures. These are not the kinds of openings you want to leave untouched.
If you spot mold or mildew on your siding, decks and trim, you should deal with it before the weather stays hot and humid. On large surfaces you can use a power washer to do the job. But on small areas, like under a windowsill, you may have to do it by hand. Mix a solution of 1 cup bleach, 1 cup white vinegar and a gallon of water. Make sure there’s proportionally much more water than bleach or you risk damaging the vinyl siding or the finish. Be sure to wear gloves when you scrub with a sponge. And don’t splash this solution on your plants and flowerbeds. If you need to repaint your siding or trim, use a mildew-resistant exterior paint.
Check your decks and patios for any boards that are warped, loose or splintered. Replace them if the condition warrants it. Also, really do a thorough sweep and get rid of all leaves and debris that might have accumulated between the boards. If you don’t, it could turn to rot. You may have to refinish the wood deck if it looks faded or worn.
Take a look at your lawn furniture. You want your guests sitting in those dirty and dusty chairs? If not, then maybe you should hose them down or wash them with a mild detergent. Check your metal furniture for rust or chipped paint. Sometimes just a spray enamel will make them shine for the hot summer months ahead, when your family and friends definitely want to hang out outside.
Did your driveway, sidewalks or steps get cracked over the winter? You must repair them before they get any larger and pose a hazard. You can get patching material and fillers for asphalt and concrete from your hardware store. If the driveway or walkway has dry-set pavers, take the time to brush some extra sand or stone dust into the joints to keep them in place and prevent weeds from springing up between them.
How is your heating and cooling system? Did you schedule your annual tune-up if you have central air? You can clean or change the air filters and remove dust and debris from around the grills and ducts. Your outdoor window air conditioners need attention, too. Remove the covers and clean the filters–some experts advise doing this every month of the summer.
And remember, if you spot something serious, you can always rely on your friends at Alure Home Improvements for the best advice, no matter what the season is.