Fall Exterior Maintenance Checks


foundation cracks

Seal foundation cracks before winter.











I wrote in my last post about a number of items to be checked on your property’s surface before winter.

Now, I’ll outline a few other checks needed around your property. It’s a great time to take care of these projects before the cold sets in and you have some time to work on any repairs.  Checking the foundation for cracks is an important project and one that can have devastating problems if not checked thoroughly.  Looking for cracks around the footers, siding, basement carve outs, storm drains, cellar access points and other cement foundation areas needs to be done regularly.  Over time, water can access tiny cracks and when water freezes, expand beyond the size of the crack and push it to crack further.  I’ve seen some cracks where several inches of water have leaked and when frozen, push the sides of the cement floor apart, causing severe home floor foundation issues.

Driveways and walkways should also be checked as these areas are on the front lines of storm weather damage.  Filling cracks and cementing broken sections will not only prevent damage to your property but also injuries of those walking on them.

And sidewalks outside your property, you should be clear who is responsible for repairs as sometimes these issues are not also known when properties trade hands.   As an owner, you’ll want the best  presentation outside your property and will want to care for these areas.  But sometimes they are owned by others including government entities who may not want you to repair their property.  Be sure to check public records to determine ownership of walkways and easements that abut your property and be quick to get in touch with those responsible for needed repairs. Flagging these areas may also be a good preventative measure so the public is not using these areas if the current owners are slow to place their own caution signs.

Fall is also the time to empty lawnmowers and other gas operated tools of their gasoline.  Find places to store these items so they are protected from the outside elements.  Clearing leaves from the lawn as well as fallen branches or other landscaping debris will limit issues when the snow starts to fall.  Many times the snow will hide items you’ve forgotten about and it’s not fun getting hit with a rake or other item that can cause injury when stepped on.  And wood can rot.  So while that pile of broken branches or stumps looks fine sitting off on the corner, once wood rot sets in, it can be an unstable pile.  And there’s no need to attract carpenter ants or worse, termites, to your property.   Get rid of as much debris as you can while it is clear and dry.

Lawn care never seems to end and for many of us, growing grass evenly over our property is an on-going challenge.  Now is the time to re-seed areas where grass growth is not strong.   Lawn watering has also tapered at this time of year but after you re-seed, it’s a good idea to provide adequate sprinkling for the seeds to germinate.  Planting bulbs for spring is also part of fall lawn care.  And this maybe a time when you want to rethink your landscaping plan.  It is far easier to move plants and flowers now and get them secured and protected that to start blooming early in the season and then risk injury by moving them during prime growing season.   Make sure you check your bulb growing calendar so you plan for these accordingly.

And lastly, check walkways, steps and deck for any needed repairs.  As these may cause injury for someone walking on them with snow on top.  And makes sure your railings are secure and can support someone who may grab onto it if they slip.  This is also a good time to stock up on salt and de-icing preparations.  Better to have  stock supply of these before everyone else is out buying them.   Or before that big snowstorm hits.