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May 08, 2009

BinocularsIt’s easy to let months go by and never proactively have a look at the exterior of our homes to see if anything is amiss. The weather is great right now, so I suggest you set aside an hour or two to give your residence a visual once-over.  If you can do this twice a year, at least, you’ll have a far better chance of correcting any problems while they’re still small. 

What should you look for?

Outside, check under the eaves of your house to see if there are any brewing issues like wasp nests, water damage or leaks from the roof.  Does the wood appear to be warping, softening, or showing any unusual bulges or discoloration?  (If yes, consider contacting a roofer or pest control operator.)

How are the gutters?  Peeling paint can allow rust to happen and shorten the life of the gutters.  Keep the gutters free of debris.  RustOLeum may help extend the life of your gutters and comes in a wide variety of colors (and is findable at your local hardware store).

Step back from the house to get a view of your roof. It needs to be free of debris; if you have large trees nearby this may be an ongoing challenge!  Having pine needles, leaves, etc. accumulate on the roof can cause moisture to be trapped on the roof and accelerate aging, invite moisture problems like fungus and dry rot, and possibly induce leaks.   If it’s a cedar shake roof, are the shingles beginning to curl or split? For any type of roof, when was it last inspected?  If your roof is more than three or four years old, it probably needs some “tune up” work done – small repairs that will keep water from getting into your home.  A licensed, referred roofer can do small tune ups on the roof for a few hundred dollars and prevent problems from arising.  Plan to have it looked at by a professional every few years and it will last much longer!

Now focus on the chimney cap.  Do you have a spark arrestor and rain cap? If not, you need one. (I wrote about this on my other blog site: What