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SPRING MAINTENANCE

After a long, dark winter, the first day of spring arrived on March 20. Though most of us in the northeast see no evidence yet, it will surely be here soon. We will see sunshine soon! Along with the sun, we will notice all the work that needs to be done sooner rather than later.  

Most property owners believe that maintenance in the spring is all about cleaning, of course, that is a large portion, but maintenance of building, appliances, and sidewalks/driveways are just as important.

We have created a list of “must do’s” for spring that most property owners will find very helpful and may give you a head start on the planning phase.

Spring Maintenance Checklist

  • Inspect your deck, get rid of moss and mold. Pressure washers are effective and if you see wood damage, like raised fibers, increase the distance between the spray nozzle and the decking. Open decks and wood fences need to be treated every 4-6 years, depending on how much exposure they get to sun and rain.

  • Inspect your foundation, if you find hairline cracks, it is not automatic cause for alarm, mark with tape and re-inspect after a couple of months If they have worsened contact a structural engineer. If they are stable, fill them with an epoxy-injection system. Fill in holes in siding and foundation walls with expandable foam. Check that the ground around the foundation slopes away from the house (about 1 inch per foot). Look for pellet-shaped droppings or shed wings from termites. If there is evidence contact a pest control company right away.

  • Clear gutters and downspouts of debris and check them for corrosion, joint separation, and loose fasteners. Flush out downspouts and unclog leader pipes. Leaders should extend at least 5 feet to direct water away from the foundation.

  • Clean siding with a pressure washer to keep mold from growing. Check all wood surfaces for weathering and paint failure. If wood is showing through, sand the immediate area and apply a primer coat before painting. If paint is peeling, scrape loose paint and sand smooth before painting. Inspect caulking and replace if deteriorating. Scrape out all of the eroding caulk and re-caulk needed area.

  • Fill cracks, caulk edges, re-paint or replace windowsills, doorsills, and thresholds.

  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.

  • Roof leaks typically occur around an inadequately flashed chimney, skylight, or other opening. They're easiest to spot in the attic; inspect the rafters for water stains. Repairing flashing is best left to a professional. While the contractor is on the roof, have him clean leaves from roof valleys. Examine the siding under roof eaves, and the ceilings in the rooms below, for water or discoloration, indications that ice dams might have created leaks along the roof edge. Inspect the roof for cracked, curled, or missing shingles. Asphalt shingles typically last 20 years.

  • Inspect trees for broken branches. If the limb is high up, hire a licensed arborist. If you can reach the limb from the ground, take it down using the three-cut technique, which prevents bark from tearing and creating an open wound on the trunk.

  • Take care of cracked pavement before weeds take up residence. Home centers sell patching materials and fillers designed for asphalt and concrete surfaces. Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs should drain away from the home's foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.

  • Clean door and window screens and check for holes. Even the smallest hole is big enough for bugs to crawl thru. Patch holes or replace the screen (save bad screen to patch holes next year). Tighten or repair any loose or damaged frames and repaint. Replace broken, worn, or missing hardware. Wind can ruin screens and frames if they are allowed to flap and move so make sure they are securely fastened. Tighten and lubricate door hinges and closers.

  • Your landscaping adds beauty to your property, however, cut back and trim all vegetation and overgrown bushes from structures. Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.

  • Check lawn sprinkler system for leaky valves, exposed lines, and improperly working sprinkler heads.

  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you are at it, check your garden hose for dry rot.

  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yard work easier.