Spring is an important time for home maintenance. More than just a general spring cleaning, it’s a chance to make sure that your home wasn’t damaged during the harsh winter, catch up on deferred repairs, and help prepare your home to withstand the rainy season.
As the weather in Virginia and Maryland warms up, it’s not easy to know what home maintenance tasks should be done when. With this spring maintenance checklist, you can keep your home repairs on schedule. Follow these 12 outdoor maintenance tips to keep your property looking great and avoid the costly damages that can happen when repairs are neglected.
1. Look for Damages from the Winter Weather
Begin by doing a walk around the outside of your home, looking for potential damage that may have occurred during the winter months. Look for loose shingles, damaged siding, evidence of chimney tilt, or cracks in the sidewalks or driveway.
A visual inspection is a great way to spot issues early, before it turns into a much bigger problem. For example, if you see damage to your roof, getting it repaired quickly can help you avoid a flood of rainwater in your attic.
2. Check Your Foundation for Cracking or Shifts
The freeze-thaw cycles that happen during winter in Virginia and Maryland can be especially damaging to home foundations. As wet ground turns to ice, the expansion can put pressure on your home foundation. This can result in cracking walls, a bulging or sunken foundation, or the separation from other structures like steps or chimneys.
In the spring, walk the perimeter of your home, looking at the foundation sill, concrete, and where the house meets the ground. Call in the pros if you see anything out of place. Your foundation is one of the most important parts of your home, and finding issues early may help you avoid losing 30 percent of your home’s market value because of foundation damage.
Want the opinion of a foundation expert? Schedule a free inspection with JES Foundation Repair.
3. Remove Yard Debris
Your property may look unkempt after the winter, and a spring cleanup can freshen up your yard. Clean up any fallen tree branches. Rake the leaves. Cut back ornamental grasses, and remove debris. You can also clean up your landscaping by re-edging any flower beds and putting down fresh mulch.
4. Trim Trees, Shrubs, and Hedges
Early spring is the best time to prune most trees and shrubs. However, if you have spring-flowering plants like azaleas or lilacs, you’ll get the best display of flowers if you wait until after they bloom before pruning.
Start by removing any dead branches, and carefully assess your landscape to make sure that trees aren’t threatening your home. During a hurricane or wind storm, a tree limb can turn into a projectile that damages your roof. Tight plantings are also a problem, and a close thicket of shade can also reduce airflow and cause your siding to mildew.
5. Clean Your Home’s Gutters
You’ll generally need to clean your gutters at least twice per year, and spring is usually the biggest cleanup because you’ll be removing winter debris. This is an important step to keeping rainwater away from your home’s foundation and avoid basement or crawl space flooding.
Depending on the type of trees in your area, you may find that your gutters frequently become filled with leaves and overflow during a storm. Installing gutter guards can help you avoid clogged gutters and can reduce how many times they need to be cleaned.
6. Inspect Outdoor Plumbing and Pipes
Your home’s outdoor faucets and mechanical systems have been exposed to the elements all winter long. Perform a visual inspection to look for cracks, ice damage, corrosion, or leaks. Look at all home systems including an outdoor heat pump, AC unit, compressor, generator, sprinkler system, and faucets. If you see a problem, call a plumber or HVAC expert to replace fittings and keep systems safe.
7. Flush Outdoor Drains
Outdoor drainage pipes can get clogged from fallen leaves and debris. Whether you have buried drains, storm drains, or other water management systems on your property, regular spring maintenance can help keep them working properly.
Clean out any debris, and if you encounter a clog, use a plumbing snake to clear the pipes. After cleaning, use a pressure washer to remove grime buildup and keep your drainage system working smoothly.
8. Plant Lawn Seed
If your lawn has bare spots or is looking thin, spring is a great time to reseed and overseed. The spring weather usually helps seed germination, and by planting now, the new growth will have time to become established before the summer heat. Choose a variety of grass seed that’s well suited for your area and landscape, and follow the package recommendations to get the best results.
9. Look for Evidence of Pests
Pests can carry disease, damage your home, and make your home less comfortable. Checking the perimeter of your home in the spring to look for evidence of pest damage or cracks where pests could be getting in.
Look for evidence of pests along the base of your home, keeping an eye out for signs of termites, burrowing pests, or ants. Also look along the eves of your roofline for evidence of critters like bats, birds, or squirrels.
10. Maintain Landscape Along the Foundation
The area right next to your home foundation is critical for keeping your foundation protected and avoiding house damage. Debris, overgrowth, and drainage issues can cause rot, flooding, and pests.
Start by cleaning out the window wells that lead to the basement. Then check that plants have not grown too close to the foundation and that the area is properly graded to carry water away from your home. Damp soil or mulch right next to the foundation will hold moisture and attract termites. Homeowners may want to add drainage systems or create a perimeter of gravel next to the foundation to keep the home dry and protected from the elements.
11. Power Wash House Siding, Decks, and Outdoor Entertaining Areas
You can freshen up your outdoor surfaces by using a pressure washer on surfaces. Cleaning off the grime and dirt can improve the look of your home and any outdoor spaces. It can be especially important for shady yards where milder is likely to accumulate.
Follow manufacturer recommendations when power washing. Some vinyl siding companies suggest using liquid soap. There may also be setting recommendations. For example, softer wood decks made of pine generally need a lower pressure setting at 500 psi.
12. Plan Your Summer Projects
Ask yourself what big home maintenance projects you like to tackle this year. Would you like to install walkways, update drainage, paint, or something else? After the disruptions of the past year, homeowners are also adding functional spaces to their homes by creating home offices, gyms, or fan caves.
Home repairs have a good long-term value, and improvements can make your home life more enjoyable while also helping you avoid costly damages. For example, basement waterproofing can help finish your basement and add usable square footage to your home. It can also help you avoid flood damages which can average $25,000 for a one-inch flood, according to FEMA.
Need help with basement waterproofing, crawl space encapsulation, or foundation repair? Get a free inspection from your local experts at JES Foundation Repair.