Home im­prove­ment projects for your fall to-do list

South Shore Breaker - - LOCAL - CON­TRIB­UTED edi­tor@southshore­breaker.ca

Home­own­ers know that main­tain­ing a home can be a year-round job. No home is im­mune to wear and tear, and home­own­ers who want to pro­tect their real es­tate in­vest­ments should try to stay two steps ahead to en­sure their homes do not suc­cumb to the el­e­ments or be­come out­dated and un­ap­peal­ing to prospec­tive buy­ers.

Fall has be­come a season that’s syn­ony­mous with home im­prove­ment, but home­own­ers need not wait un­til the leaves be­gin chang­ing colours to start plan­ning their next projects. The fol­low­ing are a few items home­own­ers can add to their fall home im­prove­ment to-do lists.

Roof in­spec­tion

Less pre­cip­i­ta­tion tends to fall dur­ing the warmer months than dur­ing the late fall and win­ter. As a re­sult, home­own­ers may not be aware of leaky roofs un­til au­tumn has come and gone. But wait­ing un­til win­ter to in­spect the roof can prove dis­as­trous, as weather con­di­tions will not be con­ducive to in­spec­tion and in­creased pre­cip­i­ta­tion may re­sult in po­ten­tially costly dam­age. Leaky roofs can be eas­ily iden­ti­fied by look­ing for wa­ter stains on in­te­rior ceil­ings. Once you see a stain, you can climb onto the roof to iden­tify the lo­ca­tion of the leak and fix it be­fore win­ter rains and snow­fall turn the prob­lem into some­thing much larger. In­spect your ceil­ings for signs of leak­ing af­ter a strong rain­fall, and then ad­dress any leaks im­me­di­ately.

Gut­ter clean­ing

While some home­own­ers pre­fer to de­lay their gut­ter clean­ing projects un­til late fall, those whose homes are sur­rounded by trees may need to sched­ule two such projects. Gut­ters clogged with leaves and other de­bris can cause se­ri­ous roof dam­age, and that dam­age can ex­tend all the way in­side a home. In ad­di­tion, clogged gut­ters make great nest­ing ar­eas for in­sects or crit­ters. Al­ways stand on a lad­der when clean­ing gut­ters, wearing gloves to re­move items by hand and drop­ping leaves and de­bris into a trash can be­low. Stand­ing on the roof and lean­ing over gut­ters greatly in­creases your risk of in­jury. If the gut­ters are clear when you first ex­am­ine them in early fall, you can wait un­til later in the season to give them a com­plete and thor­ough clean­ing.

Once you have fin­ished clear­ing the gut­ters, you can use a hose to run wa­ter through them and the down­spouts to con­firm ev­ery­thing is func­tion­ing prop­erly.

Win­dow and door­way in­spec­tion

Be­fore tem­per­a­tures start drop­ping once again, home­own­ers will want to in­spect their win­dows and door­ways for leaks. Over time, cracks can de­velop around win­dows and door­ways, and while such cracks are rarely no­tice­able when the weather out­side is warm, they can be quite ob­vi­ous and very costly if they re­main un­sealed come the start of win­ter. Cold air can en­ter a home through cracks around win­dows and door­ways, and many home­own­ers who don’t sus­pect leaks may re­spond by turn­ing up the ther­mostats in their homes. That can prove quite ex­pen­sive over a full win­ter. Choose a windy au­tumn day to place a hand by win­dows and ex­ter­nal door­ways in your home to see if you can feel drafts. If you can, seal th­ese cracks as soon as pos­si­ble.

Pa­tio cleanup

Pa­tios are pop­u­lar hang­outs dur­ing spring and sum­mer, and that can re­sult in a lot of wear and tear. Once you store pa­tio fur­ni­ture for the win­ter, in­spect your en­tire pa­tio to de­ter­mine if it needs any re­fur­bish­ing. While cer­tain pa­tio projects may be best left for spring, you can still clean any stained ar­eas around the grill and look for cracks in the side­walk that need to be ad­dressed.

Pre­par­ing for fall home im­prove­ment projects ahead of time can help home­own­ers com­plete projects in a timely man­ner and en­sures they won’t be forced to brave the win­ter el­e­ments when re­fur­bish­ing their homes.

123RF

Au­tumn is a great time to in­spect pa­tios that might have en­dured some wear and tear dur­ing the heavy us­age sea­sons of spring and sum­mer.

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