Assessing Winter's Toll on Your Home Exterior

Kimberlee Shaw
Written by Kimberlee Shaw
Updated March 30, 2016
home exterior with landscaping
Spring into maintenance with these post-winter home improvement projects. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Greg M. of Raleigh, North Carolina)

After winter, give your house's exterior a checkup and perform any needed home maintenance.

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Homeowners can breathe a sigh of relief now that spring has officially sprung. While experiencing some cool temperatures remains possible, the mercury is definitely on the rise. The days are getting longer, trees are budding, grass is greening, and allergies are flaring.

Now that the weather is nice, get outside and assess the toll winter took on your home.

Sticky window repair

Warmer temperatures entice you to throw open your windows to let the fresh air into your home. But is it easy to open your windows?

Older windows, especially wood windows, take a beating from winter weather and can be difficult to open. Moisture can cause wood windows to swell, making it nearly impossible to get the sash to slide open. Wood rot can also make it difficult to open your windows.

Wood windows also require routine maintenance in the form of regular repainting. Sometimes, though, these multiple layers of paint can build up, making the windows more difficult to open.

Examining and pressure washing siding

Inspect the siding on your home. If you have aluminum or vinyl siding, check the pieces to see if any have become loose, damaged or have pulled away from your home. Loose siding can allow water to enter the space behind it, causing water damage and mold growth.

You may notice that your siding has a buildup of dirt or green algae, especially on the north-facing walls that often get no direct sunlight. The best way to remove the buildup is to hand wash the siding with cleanser and a scrub brush.

Some homeowners prefer pressure washing their home exterior. If you do, there must be no damaged areas of siding that would allow water to seep behind. And you should always aim the pressure washer nozzle down. Aiming upwards can force water behind the siding.

Gutter cleaning and repairs

The gutters are another part of your home that takes a beating during winter. When there are measurable snow or ice storms, the weight of the snow or ice sitting in your gutters can cause them to loosen from their hangers, or worse yet pull completely away from your home.

Loose or improperly angled gutters will do a poor job at carrying spring rainwater away from your roof and to the downspouts. This can cause water to back up under the roof shingles or down into the wall framing of your home. It can also lead to landscaping damage, erosion and water finding its way into your basement.

Spring yard maintenance

Flowerbeds and landscaping around the outer envelope of your home can also suffer from the effects of winter. When snow sits on bushes, it can cause drooping or other damage to the branches. You can trim away any dead or damaged portions early in the spring, but it's best to do this before they actively begin their spring growth.

If you trimmed back perennials when they died at the beginning of winter, spring regrowth should appear soon. Make sure you clear away any leftover leaves or debris from flower beds so perennials can get the rain and nutrients they need, and the soil can loosen up for any spring annuals you want to plant.

Take spring home maintenance seriously

Winter can really take a toll on your home. Take advantage of the nice spring weather to walk around and inspect your windows, siding, gutters and landscaping for any signs of damage. Perform repairs now and your home will be in top shape for the spring and summer months.

Do you have a spring maintenance routine for your home exterior? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!

As of March 30, 2016, this service provider was highly rated on Angie's List. Ratings are subject to change based on consumer feedback, so check Angie's List for the most up-to-date reviews. The views expressed by this author do not necessarily reflect those of Angie's List.

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