Sasquatch Breath Coming from your Gutters? Five Keys to Protecting your Home’s Exterior Finishes.
The best way to preserve and protect the value of your home is to prevent problems before they begin. With that in mind, we have curated the top five tips from our expert team here at Charter for protecting and maintaining the exterior of your home:
- Maintain Gutters, Downspouts and Drains
Check the gutters on your home for any signs of blockage. Gutters should be free of debris, corrosion and leaks, and water should run easily throughout the gutter system. When gutters get clogged, they often cause water intrusion. Therefore, any blockages should be removed when they occur. Most homeowners should clean gutters at least twice a year, but more frequently if you have a lot of trees close to your home. Leaves, and needles can easily accumulate in your gutters and window wells - especially in the Fall. Downspouts and drains should also be inspected to verify that they are free and clear of any debris to keep rain water draining properly and away from your home’s foundation.
- Inspect and Clean Your Roof
“Safety first” is vital in dealing with roof-related concerns. Accordingly, if you choose to inspect the roof of your home yourself, an easy way to get an initial overview is to remain on the ground and use binoculars to look for any anomalies. If you discover that you only need a few shingles repaired or replaced, a qualified handyman may be able to replace them for a reasonable charge. If on the other hand, you discover (or suspect) that there is extensive damage, you should contact a professional contractor to address the needed repairs. These same pointers apply to cleaning your roof. A safe inspection from the ground is always wise advice; any actual cleaning can then be addressed by professionals.
- Inspect and Maintain Sealants
While caulk should not be the primary defense against water intrusion, it is an important part of your home’s waterproofing system. Regularly inspect around windows, doors, and siding joints to verify that appropriate sealant is intact and performing properly. Exterior caulking should be reapplied as needed, typically every three to five years. Focus on areas where two different types of material meet, like around window trim. Check for gaps and reapply caulk to prevent leaks; also focus on areas where vents protrude through the siding to make certain they are sealed and clear of obstruction. When you or your construction professional apply caulking, be sure to: a) Use the right caulk for the application/surfacesb) Remove old caulk; clean the surfacec) Apply new caulk per manufacturer’s directions.
- Siding and Painting
The siding – whether wood or cement board (“Hardie board”) – should be sound, with no blistering or flaking paint or varnish. Depending on the severity of weather, you may need to repaint every five to seven years, although on some exteriors paint can remain in reasonable condition longer. Homes with wood siding and trim will need more frequent painting. Paint on stucco should last 10 to 15 years.
- Doors and Windows
As recommended above, window and door sealants should be inspected annually. In addition, windows and doors should have a protective or preservative finish. Wood windows must have a protective coat of paint or finish. Also, make certain that weep holes designed into the window frames are free of obstructions; vinyl window frames should be kept clean. If needed, add weather stripping to doors to ensure a complete seal against moisture intrusion. Have a Plan The best practice for preserving the exterior of your home is to develop a written annual maintenance schedule. Decide the best time of year to address each of the items listed above. For several of these areas, a preventive inspection conducted multiple times during the year is a good strategy. The goal is to protect, preserve, and maintain your home and to prevent the need for any costly repairs.
Charter Construction has performed Repairs, Renovations, and New Construction for 34 years. As always, if you have any questions regarding your home or building, our seasoned team of professionals is prepared to assist you with your construction needs. Please contact our Team at 206-382-1900 in Seattle or 503-546-2600 in Portland.