Outdoor home maintenance: outsource or DIY?
A home requires regular maintenance both indoors and outdoors. The maintenance required on the exterior of the home is dictated by the weather climate where we reside. Maintenance is time sensitive due to the exposure to the elements. Making sure you keep up with regular exterior inspections as a critical first-step. This gives you the option to do it yourself (DIY) and save money in the long term.
Your roof is your first defense against the weather. The roof is also taking the majority of the beating from the sun, wind, rain, hail, and snow. It is important to regularly inspect your roof for major damage and signs of wear that may need repair. However, we encourage our friends and clients that close inspections of your roof is best left to Mary Poppins and the professionals.
There are two practical methods to DIY inspect your roof. If you have a ladder that can reach your roof, we recommend this inspection method. It’s best to stay on the ladder even if you are athletic and have good balance. Homeowners have fallen from the slightest sloped roofs and suffered tragic injury and even death. If you do not have a ladder, invest in a cheap set of binoculars. Some of our clients prefer to use a digital camera. Over time, you can compare photos and start to see changes that may require professional repairs. Some things to look for are:
- Missing or misaligned roof shingles. Are the edges beginning to curl?
- Flashing around the chimney, dormers, vent stacks, skylights or antennas
- Clogging and accumulating water around valleys in the roof
- Note: if you see brown stains anywhere on your ceilings this is a good indication you've got a roof problem.
If you think it may be time to replace your roof, it's worth contacting a roofer who has experience working with insurance companies. It may be that when they examine it they will note signs of ice/hail damage and this is generally covered by your insurance company. They may not pay to replace the entire roof but could cover a significant portion of the replacement expense.
Window and Doors
Check wood door and windows for rot. Pay special attention to anywhere that water comes into contact with the surface. It is good practice to clean both doors and windows. You may need to hire someone for 2nd and 3rd story windows that do not tilt from the interior. In addition to cleaning, you can perform paint touch ups, and re-caulk to ensure the openings are sealed.
There are a variety of types of siding. Each type requires a different approach to maintain the life and aesthetic upkeep. DIY Network has several topics on siding that homeowners will find helpful. The library contains a range of information from painting to complete repair for each type of siding you may come across. For basic maintenance, homeowners should seasonally inspect the siding for damage. You can refer to the extensive library of “how-tos” to mitigate the damage.
Gutters and Downspouts
It is critical to maintain gutters and downspouts, since they protect against water and ensure your home’s structural health. Gutters and downspouts direct water off the roof and away from your home. To reduce the risk of roof and home water damage, you should inspect, clean, and repair gutters and downspouts regularly. True Value consolidates a useful guide and supply checklist to help homeowners effectively manage this critical home maintenance task.
Around the Yard
Landscaping is an effort that can yield beautiful results, add to your enjoyment of your property and increase it's value. Maintaining grass and landscaping requires more than manual effort. A homeowner needs to understand the characteristics and implications of the seasons and weather to master the green thumb. Clay found in the Triangle presents special challenges for landscaping enthusiasts to work around. NC State’s Horticulture extension program has useful online resources for homeowners.
In addition to lawn support, homeowners may have maintenance needs that have potential impact concerning the safety and structural integrity of the home or possibly septic fields. It is advisable to call in the experts when you have large dead or dying trees around your home. In addition to being a safety concern, most insurance companies will not honor payouts if an obviously dead tree falls and causes damage.
Home maintenance tasks outside of the home present different challenges than inside the home. Outside maintenance requires more physical and hands-on work, which creates situations where safety becomes a concern. We work with many professionals in the Triangle area that will help you with any number of projects. We know our contacts are happy to answer any questions and pass along any advice they may have for your particular situation. At My NC Homes we love to help our friends and clients connect with each other to get the job done safely and effectively. If you need help or have questions, please give us a call, we are happy to recommend community specialists and services.
Co-authored by 3 Bossy Bees