10 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Summer

Adapted from: www.libertymutual.com/masterthis/warm-weather-home-maintenance and www.hgtv.com/design/decorating/clean-and-organize/get-your-house-ready-for-summer

Exterior deck and wood siding, restored and wood stained by Craftsman Painters, Modern Home, Piedmont California

Exterior deck and wood siding restored and stained by Arana Craftsman Painters, in Piedmont California

1. Clean the walkway: Pressure-wash the walkway, then replace damaged pavers or bricks, or just flip them over. If any pavers are sticking up too high, raise them, remove a little dirt, and drop them back in place. On concrete walkways fill in cracks with a masonry crack filler that matches the color of your concrete.

2. Spruce up the front door:  Probe the weather stripping around the door with a screwdriver and caulk any post-winter gaps before tightening hinges that may have come loose due to shifts in temperature.

3. Clean windows and screens: Caulk any gaps in the framing and check that the mechanics are working by opening and closing each window a few times. Wash windows with a vinegar-ammonia solution first, then with water only. Dry with a squeegee.

4. Quick tip: Wash windows on a cloudy day. Otherwise, the sun may dry the solution too soon, leaving streaks. While you’re cleaning, evaluate how your windows have fared through the winter. Look for signs of dry rot or water damage. Check the seals around windows as well, and re-caulk, re-paint , or replace damaged weather stripping where needed. This will go a long way toward keeping the hot air out and the cool air in as the weather gets warmer. Finally, clean your window screens, inspect them, repair any damage, and reinstall them in your windows. Use a hose and mild detergent, but don’t pressure wash them — the force of the spray can damage them. You can repair damaged screens with a kit you can purchase at most home improvement or hardware stores.

5. Inspect your roof: A quick look at your roof and home’s exterior could reveal minor problems that have begun over the winter, which you can have repaired before they become major issues. Check for misaligned, cracked, or missing shingles, all of which can let water seep in. Also check flashing (those metal pieces where the shingles meet places like your chimney) for rust and inspect the caulk around pipes or skylights to be sure it hasn’t cracked. Inspect the chimney and the joints between the bricks or stones for pieces that have fallen out or have vegetation growing in them. Both could be signs of water problems.

6. Clean the deck: Use a deck brush or power washer plus a deck-cleaning solution/wood cleaner (ask us for recommendations) to remove mold, dirt, and mildew. If the finish is worn, let the wood dry for a few days, then re-stain.

7. Clear out the gutters: Clean leaves and debris from your gutters. The next time it rains, stand outside and look for breaks or leaks in your gutters and downspouts.

8. Inspect your exterior paint job and repair your siding, stucco, shingles: Find areas of post-winter rot or stucco cracks and repair the damaged areas. Pressure wash your home if dirt or mildew has accumulated. Reapply overly-faded stain. Check for peeling or chipping paint and repair these areas if minor enough; consider a full repaint if peeling and cracking is widespread.

9. Clean and recoat outdoor furniture: Clean off furniture that has been sitting in storage. Inspect metal parts for rust and treat with a rust preventative. If furniture is IPE, power wash and recoat with a clear sealer, and re-stain or repaint if coating is worn or chipped.

10. Reinforce fence posts: Replace warped or rotten pickets or posts, then give posts a good yank to make sure they’re sturdy in the ground.