Winter beats up our houses and buildings for three solid months every year. But for we residents of Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin, it often feels longer than that!
After enduring such brutal winter weather, the outsides of our homes and businesses deserve some attention. So, spring is the perfect time to give your property the exterior care it needs.
But which maintenance tasks should you focus on?
We recommend starting with your roof, siding, gutters, doors and windows. Each of these parts is essential for protecting you from the elements and costly problems. So, by starting with them, you will set your property up for a successful spring and summer!
Keep reading to learn some spring maintenance tips for each of these parts of your home or business.
1. Start by Inspecting Your Roof
You’re going to need a roof that’s in good shape to combat the coming stormy days. So, the first thing you should do when it gets warm enough is go out and inspect your roof.
Winter weather can create many roof problems, so there are a lot of things to watch out for.
Below we’ll go over some guidelines for inspecting your roof at home and at your business.
How to Perform a Residential Roof Inspection
To properly inspect your residential roof, we recommend looking at it from three different vantage points:
- From the ground
- Up close on a ladder
- From inside your attic
These three perspectives will give you a full view of your roof. So, you’ll be able to catch all issues before they start wreaking havoc inside your home.
Inspecting From the Ground
The first step is to walk around your roof and give it a visual inspection from the ground. You may want a pair of binoculars for this step depending on how good your eyesight is.
As you survey your roof, note any areas that look alarming and are worth a closer inspection. These will be the areas you check out when you get up on the ladder.
Here are a few things to look out for from the ground:
- Are any shingles cracked, curling or missing?
- Is any debris, such as leaves or algae, collecting in spots on the roof?
- Do you notice any missing or loose flashings around your chimneys, pipes or vents?
Inspecting on a Ladder
After looking at the whole roof from the ground, climb up on a ladder and do a closer inspection.
Once up there, you’ll want to pay special attention to the state of your shingles. For asphalt roofs, look to see if the layer of asphalt granules is wearing away so that you can see the felt material underneath. A sure sign this is happening is if you notice the granules collecting in your gutters.
Next, examine the flashing around your chimney, pipes, vents and skylights. Note any cracks or space between the structures and the flashing. These can lead to leaks and serious damage to the roof, so you’ll want to get those repaired as soon as possible.
You should also remove any debris collecting on the roof while you’re up there. Doing so is crucial to keep water from collecting on the roof and causing mold and decay.
Inspecting Inside Your Attic
You should also inspect the roof from inside your attic. From inside you’ll be able to see if there’s anything blocking the vents and remove it.
You can also make note of your insulation. Is the attic fully insulated, or does more need to be added?
Finally, look for signs of leaks. If you notice any wet spots on the insulation, this is a sign your roof is leaking and will need to be replaced.
If you notice any of these problems, you’ll want to contact a professional roofer who will be able to help you assess whether the damage requires roof repair or replacement.
How to Perform Commercial Building Maintenance for a Roof
Commercial roof inspection is usually a bit different than residential inspection because most businesses have flat roofs. However, if your company works out of a building with a traditional sloped roof, then you can follow the guidelines for home roof inspection laid out above.
But if you have a flat roof, here are some guidelines to follow to make sure your roof is in good shape.
Go up and walk around your roof. As you do, look for any debris that has accumulated and remove it. When leaves and branches build up out there, it can prevent the roof from draining as it should and lead to standing water, mold and leaks.
Once you’ve removed the debris look around for these flat roof red flags:
- Has the roofing material shrunk so that the seams are pulling away from the edges of the roof?
- Is water pooling in any spots?
- Are there any tears or punctures in the roofing material?
One other step you can take to check for commercial roof damage is to inspect your ceilings inside the building. Check for water stains or discolored and bubbling wallpaper. These are clear signs that you’re dealing with a leaky flat roof.
If you notice any of these problems, it’s a sign the roof either needs repairs or replacement. Fortunately, a professional commercial contractor can help you assess this damage and make the necessary renovations.
2. Inspect Your Siding
Our next spring maintenance tip is to pay attention to your siding. We’re guessing it’s been a while since you looked at the exterior walls of your home or business. It’s crucial to do this at least once a year because neglecting your siding can lead to all sorts of problems, including:
- Increased heating and cooling bills
- Vulnerability to water and storm damage
- And unsightly cracks and mold growth
Here are some guidelines for inspecting your siding to keep these problems from happening:
Spring Home Maintenance Tips for Siding
What to watch out for with residential siding will depend on the type of siding you have. For low-maintenance siding options like vinyl or fiber cement board, you won’t have to worry about much. These options don’t require painting and are generally impervious to mold and mildew. So, the only issue you’ll have to watch out for is dents from hail or falling debris. These dents are more common on other types of siding, such as aluminum.
The types of siding most vulnerable to damage are wood options like cedar. Wood siding is susceptible to rot, especially near the corners of a home. So, you’ll want to closely examine wood siding for mold or rot and have any moldy boards replaced since they can cause leaks.
You’ll also want to look for cracked or peeling paint on your siding boards. If spots in the paint are wearing away, then you will want to repaint the whole section rather than just painting the spots. This is because touch-ups with new paint will make the siding look spotty.
If all this extra maintenance for wood siding is frustrating, you may want to consider replacing it with a lower maintenance option like vinyl or fiber cement. These options last much longer and are more durable than wood.
Guidelines for Maintaining Businesses with Brick Buildings
You’ll also want to check the outer walls of your business. Many commercial properties have brick exteriors, so here are a few tips for maintaining your brick buildings.
Walk around the outside and look for chips or cracks in the bricks. If not tended to right away these chips and cracks can lead to leaks and crumbling walls over time.
To deal with these cracks, you’ll first want to contact a contractor and make sure the crack isn’t threatening the structural integrity of the building. If it is, you’ll need to have a professional make the repairs. If it’s not, then you can use concrete sealant to seal the cracks yourself.
Another more cosmetic issue many brick buildings have is the formation of unsightly white spots. These white spots are called efflorescence, and they form when water evaporates off the brick, leaving behind a layer of salt. The best time to clean this off your bricks is on a warm, dry day. You can use a stiff brush to brush it away. If that doesn’t work, power washing or cleaning with an acidic cleaner like muriatic acid should do the trick.
3. Clean and Check Your Gutters
The spring is the perfect time to get up and clean the gutters on your residential or commercial property. Clogs could have formed during the winter, and you don’t want to find out about that the hard way when water starts flooding your basement!
You’ll want to get up on a ladder and remove all the excess debris that has accumulated in your gutters. If your gutters are absolutely packed with leaves and gunk, then you may want to consider investing in gutter guards. You can install these over your gutters to keep the excess debris out.
You’ll also want to pay attention to the performance of your gutters during those first rainy spring days. Do they leak at the seams? If so, then it’s probably a good time to get them replaced with seamless gutters. As their name indicates, these gutters lack seams, making them less prone to leaks and clogs. A contractor can custom make them for homes or businesses.
Another thing to pay attention to with your gutter system is downspout placement. Make sure the downspouts are directing water far enough away from your property so that it’s not flowing back and pooling near the foundation. Businesses will especially want to watch out for this so that pooling water doesn’t obstruct the pathway for customers to enter.
4. Make Sure Your Windows and Doors are in Tip-Top Shape
Your doors and windows have been closed all winter, but now it’s finally time to open up! But before you do, you’ll want to follow this spring maintenance tip to make sure everything’s in working order.
Without proper maintenance, windows and doors can increase your cooling costs by letting in warm air all summer. They can also let in insects, be a pain to open and make your home or business look dingy.
Here are some ways to care for the windows and doors and prevent these issues.
How to Care for Your Home’s Windows and Doors
One of the most common money wasters for homeowners is cracked and worn-out caulking around windows and doors. This problem raises energy costs by letting in cold air during the winter and failing to keep out heat in the summer. So, spring is a great time to inspect that caulking and replace it if it’s cracking or wearing away.
You’ll also want to pay attention to your screens. We all love opening our windows and doors to let that fresh spring air in, but are your screens up to the task? Be sure to dust off the screens and check them for any tears or holes.
If you find any holes, you can easily fix them with clear cement. To do this, use a piece of tape to hold the tear together on one side then add a dab of clear cement on the other. Once it dries, remove the tape. (Just make sure you test that the cement will work well with the screen material before you do this.)
One other thing to check is if your doors and windows are opening and closing as they should. If you find it difficult, then you may need to realign or replace them. An experienced contractor can help you with this.
Commercial Property Maintenance for Windows and Doors
Inspecting the windows and doors on your commercial property is also very important. An especially important task is to wash them to remove the grime that built up over the winter. The cleanliness of your windows and doors will make a great first impression on customers, especially when the sun shines through them on summer days!
We’re Here to Help with These Spring Maintenance Tips
There you have it! By following these four guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to enjoying the spring and summer without having to deal with any costly or unsightly problems!
If you encounter any issues with your roof, siding, gutters and windows like the ones we’ve listed above, our team would be happy to help. We’re professional contractors serving Northern Illinois, Southern Wisconsin and beyond. Please call us today at 844-736-6961 to schedule a free consultation.