With winter almost behind us, it’s time to get your house and garden ready to not only face the warm weather, but also the damaging effects of the sun, wind, and rain. Choose a nice spring day to walk around the outside of your house and take inventory of what tasks need attending to before they become a major—and possibly costly repair. Don’t think of spring home maintenance as “chores”; consider it as a great excuse to spend time outside after all the time spent indoors during the winter. Here’s a list of around the house spring chores to consider:
- Inspect your roof for any loose, missing, or damaged shingles, evidence of leaks, cracks in seals or flashing that may have shifted.
- Scrape, prime, and repaint any peeling or bubbling paint on trim or woodwork. Touch-ups now can forestall or prevent a big paint job later on.
- Check your steps and deck for cracks, rotting boards or places where nails have popped up. With concrete steps, consider painting them with concrete paint to protect the surface and spruce them up; repair any cracks.
- Clean and check your eaves troughs and make any repairs. Consider buying leaf guards for the tops of downspouts; these are easy to clean mesh screens that prevent debris from flowing into the downspout and clogging it.
- Walk around the perimeter of your house, carefully checking the foundation and seals for cracks. Even small cracks should be repaired; they have a way of growing into big cracks, and possibly leaks.
- Coat your driveway with driveway sealer.
- Arrange for an annual check-up of your cooling system, before the summer rush.
- Clean and, if necessary, replace your furnace air filter. If you didn’t have it cleaned in the fall, schedule a furnace cleaning.
- Wash your windows inside and out; take down storm windows if you have them, and wash and install window screens and window coverings.
- Clean and condition your outdoor barbecue to ready it for another season.
- Clean and repair outdoor furniture.
- Clean, sharpen, oil, and if desired, paint the handles of your garden tools.
- Bring out and mount your garden hose. Turn on outdoor faucets, once all danger of a freeze has passed, and test the hose; if there are any leaks, repair or replace the hose.
- Give your lawn a spring boost. Lightly rake up leaf debris and dead grass left on the surface, then apply a light application of fertilizer. Seed any bare spots, then give it a good watering.
- Spring clean your garden. Lightly rake the beds, removing debris and cutting down dead stalks from last year. Dig out any baby weeds, while they’re small and easy to get at. Apply a couple of inches of compost, but do not mulch your beds until later in the spring, so the earth has a chance to warm up. Plant spring bulbs such as autumn crocus, dahlias, and some lilies.
- Trim shrubs and trees while they are still dormant.
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