Posted by Clara Beaufort
The cooler weather has arrived, and it looks like it is finally here to stay. While it is a common notion that home improvement, projects are tackled in the spring and summer when the sun is shining brightly, fall and winter come with their own slew of home improvement projects. Some of them are perfect for the DIYer, while others might be better left to a pro, but all will keep your home in tip-top shape as the temperature drops.
Rake It Up
As a kid, being asked to rake up all the leaves in the yard may have been a punishment, but the reality is that all that raking is actually necessary to keep a healthy lawn. Most lawns in the Northern U.S. are made up of one or a mix of cool-season grasses such as bluegrass or fescue. They get their name from the fact that they are most active during the cooler weather. Grass requires sunlight, nutrients, and water to truly prosper, and a layer of leaves deprives them of these nutrients. In addition, a thick layer of leaves is a welcome invitation to pests and lawn disease. Raking leaves might not be your favorite chore, but it promotes lawn health and keeps your yard looking tidy.
Unfortunately, some leaves never make it to the ground. Instead, they clog up your gutters. You might be thinking, what’s the big deal? The damage it can cause is certainly a big one. The main purpose of gutters is to carry water away from your home, but when clogged with debris, the water has nowhere else to go, so it sits, potentially leading to a leaky roof. When the precipitation is snow, it can build up on the debris, and all that extra weight can cause significant damage to your roof. Due to safety issues involved with cleaning your gutters such as working on a ladder or potentially inhaling mold from rotten leaves, it is best to hire a professional. According to HomeAdvisor, the average price to clean gutters and downspouts is $99 – $161 in Caldwell, NJ. When it’s all said and done, it’s a small price to pay for an accident-free fall and winter.
With the humidity and warm temperatures in hibernation, now is the perfect time to spruce up the exterior of your home. Start by giving your home’s paint job a touch up by scraping off any chipped or peeling paint, as exposed wood is prone to rotting. However, before you start the process, purchase an inexpensive lead test kit at your local home improvement store to make sure the paint is lead-free. A majority of lead contamination is a result of homes built before 1978. If lead is present, use the guidelines provided by the EPA for safe removal, or hire a certified lead abatement contractor. Keep in mind that you don’t have to repaint your entire home – you can spot paint, just remember to paint from seam to seam to disguise your paint job.
While you are focused on the exterior, don’t forget to look up and down at both your roof and foundation. Check your foundation for cracks, and caulk the areas where masonry meets siding, pipes, and wires enter the house, and around doors and windows to prevent heat from escaping and wreaking havoc on your energy bill. Next, turn your attention to the roof and check for missing or loose shingles, rusted and pitted flashing, and any cracked caulk. A pair of binoculars will suffice, and you can leave the ladder-climbing to the pros.
A little home improvement goes a long way when prepping your home for cooler temperatures. Tackle simple projects such as lawn maintenance and paint jobs and leave the tough stuff to the professionals. Once it’s all said and done, sit back, bundle up, and enjoy!