Simple Scheduled Maintenance: Spring Edition

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After a few snowflakes here and there, we’re coming to an end of our wintry wait for our fun in the sun here on Delmarva. Spring is fast approaching and before we get to enjoy beaches and other outdoor adventures, we’ve got to ensure the homestead is in good working order, inside and out. The best way to make quick work out of this endeavor is to make list to ensure you’ve covered all the bases. Toback Builders is here to help lay the foundation for your list, just in time for the cold weather to break. Aside from infamous “Spring Cleaning”, there’s a good number of outdoor tasks to ensure are out of the way before any issues arise. Some of these are obvious, others can slip our minds though.

Let’s go over our targets then discuss them further:

Clear and inspect gutters

Inspect around windows/doors. Especially caulk/silicone condition

Spray for pests

Inspect plumbing conditions

Inspect roof and extrusions

Inspect chimney

Inspect attic for further evidence of roof leaking, inspects/pests, mold etc.

Inspect concrete for cracks and damage

Inspect decks/patios for loose boards/weather damage

Install screens in windows and doors

Inspect basement and sump pump

Clean or service AC units

Alright there’s a general list (of course homes can vary and can require some additional treatment if other features and/or elements are present). But, with this list gives us a foundation to work from to keep us busy enough for now.

Let’s get a good in depth look at what each task should require:

1. Get the gutters!

Most of this is pretty self-explanatory. Remove debris that could be filling and clogging your gutters from working efficiently. Ensure downspouts are clear and free of obstruction as well, and that water is being diverted away from the foundation. Easy task that mainly only requires elbow grease.

While cleaning the gutters keep an eye out for any holes or damage that’s visible. To do a better check of your gutter function, bring a bucket of water with you and pour in gutter periodically and simply look for leaks. If you discover any, a simple tar or silicone patching will suffice.

2. Caulk the cracks!

This is something you’ll want to take your time on. Ensuring there’s a proper seal around your openings is the best way to prevent future damages and subsequent repairs. Inspect areas where your siding meets your doors/windows (typically J-channeling brick mold etc.) and see if there’s a good continuous bead of caulk/silicone. This is the most common point of water entry in such cases. Look for cracks or any other disruptions in the seal yearly, winter can be particularly challenging so spring is an excellent time to look for damage that could have occurred in the cold weather. If necessary, apply an outdoor approved caulk/silicone sealant.

3. Bug obliteration

Pests aren’t something you want to deal with once they’re all moved in and settled in your home. Treating your exterior (and interior if desired) for bugs early in the season is easily the best preventative against invasive bugs. Simply find a product that you feel suits your needs best and follow treatment instruction as per product suggestion.

4. (App)raise the roof!

This is a must do. Ensuring your roof is in proper working order will save you heads and money down the road. Though unless severe conditions arise it’s usually in good shape. BUT, that doesn’t mean skip out on inspecting your roof. Look for raised shingles that’d indicate failing fasteners, loose shingles, check the boots fittings and flashing around any extrusions. If you don’t feel comfortable with heights or doing roof repairs, it’s best to contact a professional here at Toback Builders to take care of it for you!

5. Attack the attic

This is a good follow up after looking over the roof. This will give better hints to any possible leaks. Water damage isn’t hard to spot. Also attics can be a safe haven for molds due to heat and moisture. Ensuring you have proper ventilation can prevent this of course. Invasive pests can also often leave their calling cards in the attic as well.

6. Chimney Check

If applicable check your chimney for signs of damage. Especially along mortar lines between bricks, as these are typically where problems first arise. Any cracking, eroding, discoloration can be signs of issues. You can use an approved sealant for short term repair, but a mason might be necessary to prevent future issues.

7. Sweep the concrete

This doesn’t take long and you’ll probably have noticed anything awry sooner. But, a good once over of your concrete can help prevent any possible damage from spreading. Cracks are often formed by water/ice in the winter season, and if there are any you’ll want to get sealer down before the situation worsens next winter.

8. Inspector on deck

Winter weather can punish your decking and other bare wood structures. Stain and sealer in the summer can certainly help prevent this, but spring is a good time to look for loosening fasteners, warping, splitting, and other damage wood can sustain through the winter. Again, these can be easy to spot but a once over doesn’t hurt. And identifying problems early on can help prevent possible injuries.

9. Scrimmage the screens

How can we properly have spring cleaning without open windows? Always best to air out the house after being cooped up all winter, let’s get those screens in!

10. Probe the plumbing

Whether you feel comfortable or not working on plumbing, you’re the first step to identifying issues that need to be addressed. Moisture on pipes is never a good sign, sweating or leaking can be indicators that something isn’t right. Checking your water sources, kitchen, bathroom, washroom, etc for initial problems around water lines is a good start. Further inspection can occur in crawl-space or basement. If you identify any issues, take action immediately whether it be a DIY solution, or calling a professional.

11. Going below deck

For those with a basement, this is a casual stroll down the stairs. More obvious stuff here, look for moisture, water etc. Signs of pests. Cracks in concrete and other signs of damage. And don’t skip on checking the sump pump function. Bring a pitcher of water down, pour in sump reservoir and ensure pump is operating properly. If not, repairs or replacement will likely be in order to prevent significant damage.

For those with crawl spaces, my condolences. But, going below and inspecting under the works of the house is a great practice. Look for any standing water, this could be a sign of plumbing issues. Yet another good hot spot to look for pests and critters. Inspect footers/pillars for any damage, shifting, sinking etc. And, also not a bad idea to open up all vents around the foundation to air out underneath. This can help discourage mold growth.

12. The big chill

Last and CERTAINLY not least, the air conditioner! The benchmark of the modern world. Make sure to clean or replace any filters for your Air Conditioning unit. Cleaning the coils also improves efficiency. Also, if you notice your AC just isn’t cooling down the house like it should be, it might be time to call a service professional. Make sure you discuss what they plan to do before it’s done, and make sure just adding refrigerant isn’t their entire solution without testing components of the unit itself. Just to make sure you’re getting what you’re paying for.

This is sure to cover most of your basic home maintenance needs. Again, each home can be different, and some of these might not be necessary or you could require additional work depending on what features and additional equipment your home could have. But these are the “crucial” routines you’d like to make a habit of each year around this season. If you do find yourself requiring a professional, whether you are in Rehoboth Beach, Lewes, Dewey Beach, Fenwick Island, Bethany Beach Delaware, or Ocean City Maryland, Toback Builders is in contact with and works with professional services daily, and would be more than glad to help you find a reliable serviceman.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Until next time friends…
Nicole D., Tobacks Resident Blogger