If you’re like me, you generally stay inside when it’s raining and snowing. And, since it rains and snows a lot during the winter, you probably go a few months without walking around your house to inspect things. Of course, every climate is different, but here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, there is often a nice weekend in February or March when you can finally get outside and assess what “Old Man Winter” has done to your castle.
Once the weather clears a bit, I really enjoy taking a walk around my house. Not only is this just good for my mood, it’s a great opportunity to assess any issues with my home. I find the 3 or 4 months spent indoors gives me a fresh set of eyes. I can then make some plans as to what I need or want to get done to keep my house in order. Here’s a summary of what I do at my place:
I like to start out up on the roof. I check for tree limbs that have fallen, gutter guards that have become displaced, and other signs of damage that have occurred since I blew the leaves off last fall. This is also a good time to really look at the shingles. You want to check if any have come loose or started to curl. I also plan for moss treatment or other cleaning needs.
While on the roof, it is also a good time to look at the chimney and see how things are holding up. I check for cracked or loose mortar, loose bricks, and inspect the metal counter-flashing pieces set into the chimney.
Also be sure to examine any appliance vents extending out of the chimney or elsewhere on the roof.
Once back on the ground I like to walk around the outside of my house and take a close look at the siding and trim. I get an idea as to when I might need to paint and if there is any rot or other damage that is going to need attention. Dry months are by far the best time to paint so plan accordingly.
Walking around the house in the spring is also a good time to look at the ground near the foundation. I look specifically for signs of water collecting and then look for the cause. Usually, if water is collecting, it is due to improper grading (the ground sloping at the house) and/or water spilling over from the gutters or downspouts. Any water collecting near the house gets my top priority because it can cause a lot of problems. Mainly, seepage into the basement or crawl space and settlement of the foundation due to the soil being continually saturated.
Finally, walking around outside after the winter is a good time to assess for slipping or tripping hazards. I always check out my deck and patio to be sure they are free of excess moss or mildew. Also, I look at the concrete to see if any tree roots or settlement have caused offsets that are tripping hazards. Cleaning and repairing the deck or concrete is definitely a project for warmer times of year.
I find taking care of my house is not all that much work. The key is to stay on top of the little problems before they turn into big problems.