Spring home maintenance is probably one of the more enjoyable times of year to work around your house. If you live up north where it gets cold, you're excited to finally get outdoors after a long winter. If you live in the south, you know that the heat will arrive soon so you want to finish up chores best done with comfortable weather. This spring home maintenance checklist was first published on my handyman website back in 2007 or 2008, so we dug it out of the archives (thanks to the WayBackMachine).
There were severe winter storms in southern New Hampshire that winter, coupled with the downturn in the economy. Many homeowners worried about household finances, put home maintenance at the bottom of their priority list. Knowing how costly repairs can be when needed home maintenance is deferred, I tried to warn homeowners this could be a costly mistake. Here's one simple example how delaying maintenance can significantly increase the scope and cost of repairs … for a rotted window sill.
Spring Home Maintenance Priorities
So what were the top spring home maintenance issues for homeowners in southern New Hampshire? To determine if their houses had suffered from any of these problems, which can have serious, and often hidden, damage when ignored.
- Did your home loose any exterior materials? Most common are missing roofing shingles, aluminum coil stock that is used to wrap trim around the roof (often confused with vinyl siding) or pieces of siding materials that are missing or loose.
- Did you have icicles hanging from your roof, which is a good indicator of ice dams? You'll want to check your attic to see if you had any water leaks – black streaks on framing or soggy insulation are good indicators.
- Did you use rock salt on steps or sidewalks? You'll want to clean them thoroughly to reduce damage from salt leaching into materials, as even concrete will crack and chip due to salt.
- Did you find any water in your basement? or a damp slab in houses with no basement? Spring is the ideal time for landscaping to move ground water away from your home, if today it's pooling around the foundation.
Spring Home Maintenance – Exterior Checklist
The checklist starts at the roof and works it's way down to the ground. Focus on the exterior wood which is susceptible to wood rot. You'll want to check wood siding and trim to see if it's “spongy or soft to the touch” indicating repairs/replacement is needed.
- Roof – check for missing or loose materials; check around chimney, vents & skylights for leaks, and long the eaves for evidence of ice dams.
- Fascia (vertical) boards underneath gutters.
- Gutters – clean once a year, twice a year if significant tree coverage; many houses have different needs on each side of the house so clean as often as needed.
- Siding & paint – check for cracks, gaps and peeling. Repair/replace caulking if you find any gaps.
- Doors & windows – repair screens, install/swap screens for storm doors/windows. Replace weather stripping as needed.
- Window sills and kick boards below exterior doors are the most vulnerable wood items, so check them carefully.
- Mailboxes, etc – repair damage done during snow removal to mailboxes, fencing, stairs, etc.
- Deck – clean, repair and stain. Stain wears better & easier to maintain, i.e. doesn’t peel.
- Grill – clean outdoor grill; check to insure it’s working properly.
- Exterior faucets – turn water on & check faucets for leaks. Be prepared to shut water off quickly as burst pipes are often inside the house.
- Foundation plantings (shrubs) surrounding the house need trimming to make sure the wood behind them can dry out.
Interior Projects for Spring Home Maintenance
- Attic – check insulation for moisture and replace as needed. Add more ventilation to insure moisture doesn’t get trapped.
- Bathrooms – check caulking and grout, and repair as needed to prevent water damage or mold.
- A/Cs – install window A/Cs so you’re ready for the warm weather. Check central A/C duct work and insure no leaks.
- Safety – check batteries for smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Spring is a fun time to hold afamily fire drill.
- Ceiling fans – clean (lots of dust on top) and check to insure fans are operating properly.
- Appliances – clean refrigerator coils, stove exhaust hood and dryer vents.
- Basement – check walls and floor for dampness; address source of humidity where possible; run sump pump to insure it’s functioning properly before spring rain.
- Hot Water Heater – drain twice a year and clean out deposits on bottom.
- Dehumidifiers – clean periodically and make sure they’re working properly.
With the warm weather, we encourage you to work hard and also take time to enjoy the fresh air and the flowers in bloom. Make sure your days aren't only about work. Take time to relax outdoors with friends and family, as you’ll never get to relive today!