One of the most exciting times in many peoples’ lives is the day they invest in their first home. It is a time that is filled with possibilities, pride, and a flurry of activity. From the extensive paperwork that you must fill out for the mortgage lender to the excitement of settlement and the moving in process, there are many things to keep in check. Buying a home is a lengthy process, with many details that must be prioritized and organized in a way that makes everything run smoothly. Once all is done and you have moved into your home, you face a litany of chores and tasks you didn’t worry about when you were renting. Just like the buying process, though, home maintenance can be easy to stay on top of with a little research and planning.
Roof maintenance tips
Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, so be sure you keep up with any necessary repairs. You should perform a visual inspection on your roof twice a year to look for issues like missing or damaged shingles, damage to flashing, moss and algae growth (black streaks on your roof), and piles of granules that have washed off the shingles. A few other chores to keep up with include:
- Trimming your trees. If you have tree limbs that hang over your roof, there is always a possibility of them breaking off due to storms or rot. Even if a branch doesn’t appear to be large enough from the ground to pose a danger, it can be quite heavy and can severely damage your roof if it falls.
- Ensuring adequate ventilation. Ensuring that your attic is adequately ventilated and insulated is an essential step in preventing the growth of algae and moss on your roof. This will also act to reduce moisture and prevent ice dams in the winter.
- Checking caulking around flashing. If your caulking has become cracked or damaged, it can lead to leaks that harm your home’s interior. A professional can solve this problem easily by resealing the damaged area.
- Checking your gutters. Make sure that your gutters have not come loose from the housing that holds them to the roof. Proper gutter maintenance is also essential to ensure that your roof is functioning as it should.
When your roof is cared for properly, it will shield you and your family from the elements and prevent leaks that could cause extensive damage to the inside of your house. Keeping up with these maintenance tasks will increase the longevity of your roof and save you from costly repairs down the road.
Maintaining your gutters
Although checking for damage to your gutters should be part of your roof maintenance routine, you must also keep up with regular maintenance on the gutter system to be sure it is working effectively. When gutters overflow, it can lead to damage that may be very costly to repair. The soffit and fascia on the eaves of your home can fall into disrepair, water can get behind siding materials, and improper drainage can damage beautiful landscaping. When you perform maintenance on your gutters, consider these details:
- Runoff. One of the things you should look for when you check that your gutters are working correctly is that rainwater is being diverted away from home. Be sure that downspout extensions, irrigation pipes, and splash blocks are placed as they should be to carry the water away from the house.
- Downspout repairs. The joints where downspouts are fitted into place can sometimes come apart. When you perform maintenance, be sure to check that all joints are fitted together tightly. Be sure to check the downspouts for clogging as well. Leaves, twigs, and debris can build up inside them and inhibit proper drainage.
- Leaky joints. Some of the places where your gutters are fitted together may develop leaks. Check all gutters with a hose, and repair any leaky joints with silicone caulk.
- Keep it secure. If you notice any places where your gutters are loose or sagging, be sure to reaffix the gutter securely. Gutter screws are an ideal product to use, as they tend to hold better than gutter spikes.
- Keep it clean. Cleaning your gutters regularly is essential to ensure that they are working correctly. When dirt, debris, and leaves build up in gutters, it prevents them from draining properly and can cause rainwater overflow and ice dams, which further damage your home. Many homeowners install gutter guards to help prevent the buildup of debris.
Check your insulation
Your home’s insulation is a crucial component that helps to improve your energy efficiency and save money on energy utility bills. By keeping heat outside in the summer and inside in the winter, your insulation helps prevent water damage as well as mildew and mold. One of the first things you should look for when you buy a home is the type of insulation that is used in different areas. The most common types of insulation include:
- Sprayed foam
- Reflective foil-faced cardboard or polyethylene
- Loose-fill mineral wool, fiberglass, and cellulose
- Foam boards or blocks, known as insulating concrete forms (ICFs)
- Concrete block insulation, which is placed on the outside of a wall or included in the concrete mixture
- Blanket plastic or natural fiber, fiberglass, or mineral wool that comes in rolls
When you are aware of the types of insulation used in your home, it is easier to perform maintenance and ensure that it is keeping your home safe and energy efficient. You may have several different types of insulation throughout your house, but your routine maintenance should include these basic checks, regardless of the product:
- Look for signs of aging. If you know when the insulation was installed, you can keep track of its age, and replace it when it reaches the end of its lifespan. If not, keep an eye on signs of aging, and get a professional to check and ensure that it is still functioning effectively.
- Look for mold. Unfortunately, insulation can be an ideal breeding ground for mold and mildew if it has had water damage. If you detect a mold problem, call for professional help immediately.
- Bare spots. When you inspect your insulation, be on the lookout for any bare areas, especially in the attic or basement. Be sure to have these spots repaired to ensure that you are getting the optimal performance from your insulation.
- Check thickness. You should measure the thickness of your insulation to be sure that you have enough to get the best energy-efficiency. If you need more insulation in any area, a skilled professional can get your home up to par.
Window efficiency maintenance
When you keep up with maintenance on your home’s windows, you save money by keeping your energy utility costs low and preventing damage that may be expensive to repair. In addition to the energy savings, properly functioning windows improve your comfort level in the house all year long, and help to prevent unwanted insect infestations.
There are many ways that windows may become damaged over time, including everything from obvious cracks in the glass to drafty spaces in the frame and water damage. It is essential to check for these types of damage regularly and perform the necessary repairs to save yourself money down the road and keep your utility bills at a minimum.
As you get to work on your window maintenance, be sure to include these tasks:
- Wash your windows regularly and inspect them for signs of wear or damage. Look for rotten wood and cracked or missing caulking.
- Replace worn or missing weather stripping. This will improve your energy efficiency and prevent drafts.
- Prevent cracked windows from further damage by placing duct tape over the crack. Be sure to call for a professional repair as soon as possible.
- If the sash or frame is cracked, fill the crack with a bead of caulk. Again, call a professional to make the proper repairs. The caulk is just a temporary fix.
If your windows are the older, single-pane variety, you can use plastic heat-seal insulation kits to improve efficiency over the winter until you can have replacement windows installed. When you can include replacement windows in your budget, you will see extensive savings on your energy costs.
Keep siding clean and functional
Your home’s siding is one of its primary defenses against the elements. It protects the walls, insulation, and interior of the house from damage that could cost thousands of dollars to repair. For this reason, it is essential to keep the siding clean and to get small damage fixed immediately.
To clean your siding, you must first consider what it is made from. One of the most popular types of siding today is vinyl. It is easy to clean and maintain vinyl siding with a mild detergent, soft brush, and a soft cloth. You can also opt to use a pressure washer on its lowest setting, but be careful not to aim the stream upward, as you may get water behind the siding.
If you have fiberboard cement or wood siding, you should wash it once or twice a year with a garden hose or a pressure washer on a low setting. You may also use a soft cloth or a soft-bristle brush with a mild detergent on particularly difficult dirt or grime.
Stucco and brick siding should be cleaned once a year with a power washer. You will want to remove any dirt, mildew, or mold, but use care when operating the pressure washer. If you are not familiar with the best practices in pressure washing, you could damage the siding material. Many homeowners choose to hire a professional company to do the job for them.
In addition to cleaning, add these chores to your siding maintenance checklist:
- Repair any cracks or small holes with stucco, mortar, or caulking.
- Keep landscaping and vegetation at a distance from your siding.
- Direct the path if landscaping sprinklers away from the exterior of your home.
- Inspect gutters to be sure they are carrying water away from your walls effectively.
Maintain your brick or masonry facade
Stone and brick exteriors are stately and beautiful, but you must be sure that moisture doesn’t get into your walls and cause damage when it freezes. These exteriors are known to be very durable and low maintenance, but you still want to inspect them regularly to catch any potential issues before they lead to costly repairs.
When inspecting your brick or masonry, keep these tips in mind to ensure the longevity of your exterior and prevent interior damage:
- Brick or stone elements sometimes fall off the chimney and other areas due to condensation and the freezing and thawing cycle that accompanies the changing seasons.
- Fix damage to these materials immediately to prevent further moisture penetration to the exterior.
- Look for cracks in the mortar between stone and brick, and have them repaired as soon as possible.
- Consider having a professional contractor apply a siloxane repellent to your brick and masonry. This product protects against moisture for about five years, while allowing the materials to breathe.
Once you know the specifics of home maintenance that you must keep up with, accomplishing the tasks that will ensure the safety and longevity of your home and its features is far from overwhelming. It is important to remember how frequently certain chores should be performed and to organize your tasks into seasonal checklists that you can refer to when you set out to get the job done. If you keep these tips in mind when you create your list, you will develop a routine that keeps your home in the best shape possible. If you need advice or professional assistance with your home maintenance at any time, the professional contractors at Able Roof are here to help. Call us today at (614) 444-2253 to get the best care for your central Ohio home.