Our geography and type of climate we live in dictate many of the maintenance items on our to-do list each month. In those areas with four seasons, the coming of Fall is a time to check a number of items to prepare for winter’s cold and continuous clean-up after falling leaves and storms.
Checking gutters and downspouts to ensure they are secure and unblocked will save on repair bills in the future. Storms can knock downspouts from their brackets causing leaks. And blocked gutters can cause overflow and drainage onto your home’s facade and siding. It is advisable, during a storm, to check around the property looking for unusual draining or leaks that might indicate a repair is needed. After the storm, check all gutters and remove any blockage. Check on any areas where there maybe leaks or loose brackets. While it is not always pleasant to be checking during a storm, sometimes it is the only way to determine if there is a minor problem with drainage while the rainwater is pouring. Waiting until you can spot damage during dry weather may have given enough time for a much larger problem to be created.
While checking those gutters, it’s a good time to take a screwdriver and probe all wood areas of your property and look for leaks around deck areas, windows, doors and garage areas. Many times, poor gutter drainage can be dumping hundreds of gallons of water on an area and the damage can be severe if not caught early. But often, it is the smallest areas with a tiny crack from a falling branch that goes unnoticed for years until you find a massive leak behind that wood. Take a ladder and check with a keen eye all areas of the property for any damage, however tiny, that may have created a small opening for water to seep in. Use wood filler for any cracks found in wood siding before repainting. Caulk can be used for wood, cement fiber board or vinyl siding and should be used for any areas where moisture should not penetrate or damage will occur. Look for any cracks, holes, points of damage or butt-joints where previous sealant has opened up.
Look around doors and windows for trim joints that are in need of caulk for sealing. Anywhere you see any area where moisture might get in, these areas should be sealed. Painting maybe necessary afterwards but it is better to do a thorough job plugging any holes or potential areas of damage and do a little painting afterwards than it is to skimp on sealant. Always remember, the window weep hole should not be filled in. These tiny hole usually underneath the window on the frame is there to let water out of your window and should not be sealed.
Often people wonder if they should remove old caulking before applying new. Unlike interior caulking, exterior caulking when chiseled or forcibly removed may cause damage. Any chipping should be removed but modern caulk is designed to be applied to older caulk and will mold to it without problem.
Fall is also a good time to have your fireplace examined by a professional so it can be cleaned and any needed repairs made before you light the toasty fires for winter.