Home maintenance in the spring: Lessons from a home builder

By Fifty @ Mar 11, 2016

Every home builder will tell you maintenance keeps small problems from turning into catastrophes. Now that winter is over and the snow is going, a good home builder would advise checking on and repairing the damage that the harsh, cold and dark months have done.

A home builder will tell you spring is the time to start with a walk-around outside your house to check for any damage or wear to bricks, mortar, foundations, window trim and siding.

The walk-around

Check the foundation for cracks in the masonry, and have them repaired by a qualified specialist before they get worse and allow water into your basement. Look for low areas next to the foundation. When the ground has thawed, fill in those low spots with compacted soil to prevent leaks.

Look for water stains on exterior walls, which can indicate your gutters are not draining properly from your roof.

Windows are critical for home maintenance. Check for any spaces or openings around the frames. Make sure the weather-stripping and caulking are intact. If your window frames are made of wood or you have any other exterior wood surfaces, press into them with a flathead screwdriver to check for rot. Replace any rotten wood.

While you are on the ground, look for damaged shingles, which will be made worse by intense summer sun. Often after winter, you’ll notice roof tacks or nails are pushing the edges of the shingles up. This can lead to leaks in your attic.

Don’t let outdoor faucets slip past your home maintenance inspection. Make sure the water runs freely. Look for heaving, cracks or changes to what the home builder left on your driveway, paved walkways and decks. Make certain they’re still draining away from the foundation.

Look for discoloration or warping in any wooden decks. Check the railings and stairs to ensure they’re secure.

Check the indoors

Move your home maintenance indoors, too. Check basement walls, floor and ceiling for water stains or any sign of seepage.

Inspect the caulking around windows. Check under windows for wall stains that indicate water infiltration from the outside. If your double-paned windows appear fogged between the panes, you have a crack in the seal.

Inspect weather-stripping around all doors and windows. If you discover caulking from a home builder that is cracked, frayed or out of place, replace it. Don’t forget the sweeps under the doors.

Common springtime repairs

With the inspection over, it’s time to put home maintenance into action. Clear debris from the gutters and downspouts. Make sure that the gutters are tight and flush with the roof and that the downspouts drain away from the foundation.

Have a certified chimney sweep clean the flue.

Hire certified experts to inspect and maintain the air-conditioning system. Make sure to change your furnace filters, too—you’ll still be using heat for a couple of months!

Have the roofer of your home builder or another qualified professional repair any damaged or lifting shingles and any damage to flashing.

Inspect vent covers on your walls, such as the one from the dryer or range hood, and repair or replace them if necessary. Birds, squirrels and other critters love to make nests in these if they can get in.

Replace any cracked caulking around windows and doors, and repaint any peeling areas.

Spring cleaning

Often, cleaning out the dryer vent is an overlooked part of home maintenance. A dirty vent can be a fire hazard and will cause your dryer to use more electricity than necessary.

Clean window screens with soapy water so you can open your windows on cool summer nights. Not only will this make you more comfortable, it will save money on air conditioning.

Trees, shrubs and other vegetation have a habit of growing around and over air-conditioners installed by your home builder.Trim back trees and shrubs around your air-conditioner and clean up any loose branches, leaves or other debris that has fallen on, into and around it. This will help keep it running efficiently.

Attending to small home-maintenance tasks early in the spring allows you to prevent major costly projects. Look for real estate in Bountiful Utah with these details in mind. Our team at Rainey Homes would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the process.