Exterior Home Maintenance Tasks To Do Before Fall Starts

autumn leaves - exterior home maintenance tasks to do before fall

Each year homeowners spend between 1% and 3% of the total value of their home on maintenance. It is important to keep up with your house to maintain its value and livability. Before each season, there are specific tasks that should be done to ensure the “wellbeing” of your home through the next few months. The following are some of the major exterior maintenance tasks you should do before the fall season begins.

Prepare Your Roof

With harsh weather coming, it is important to have a strong, sturdy roof. One item on your check list should be to call an experienced roofer to perform a professional inspection. While they are surveying your shingles, they can tell you what needs repairs. It is far better to be prepared for unfair weather than to have to clean up and repair the damage from it.

Check Your Gutters

Another task for the experienced roofer would be to check and clean your gutters. Gutters clogged with dead leaves and other debris can cause rain and melting snow to leak into the house, and can also cause exterior damage. Some gutters might be beyond cleaning and repair, and have to be replaced altogether.

Prevent Drafts

The fall months bring cool breezes and sometimes strong cold gusts of wind. To help reduce the amount of heat you need to keep the house warm, it is best to check for drafts. Fix any cracked windows, and use weather stripping to prevent the warm air in your home from escaping to the frigid outside.

To keep drafts from coming in through the underside of your door, consider making fabric draft stoppers. You can use some old fabric and sew it to make a long and skinny pillow. Fill it with some soft material, such as repurposed wool fabric, before sewing it shut. Plan on making a few and place them underneath doors, screens, or windows that have a gap. 

If you have a fireplace, use a fireplace plug such as a chimney pillow or flue blockers to prevent cold air from seeping into your home. You may also use a chimney cap, which not only prevents rainwater and wildlife from going through your chimney, but also eliminates downdrafts. Consider installing glass windows in front of the hearth, which  maximizes the fireplace’s heat efficiency and also effectively stops drafts. 

Drain Your Outside Spigots

spigot on white wall - exterior home maintenance tasks to do before fall

It is extremely important to disconnect any hoses you had attached to the house spigots before the weather cools off. You must drain all the water out of the pipes or the pipes will most likely burst when freezing temperatures hit. Water expands when it becomes ice, causing the pipes to burst.

Insulate Your Attic with Recycled Materials

Proper attic insulation can prevent the warm indoor air from heating your roof, which may result in ice dam formations. Insulating the attic also helps to traps heat and prevents it from leaking outside. Instead of buying items to insulate your home, why not use recycled materials to keep your attic toasty warm?

Consider using old wool blankets to cover the walls of your attic, or use old corkboards, denim, or even old sleeping bags. Doing so not only blocks out the cold, but it’s also an eco-friendly way to make your attic ready for the winter. 

Secure Outdoor Furniture

Just because your outdoor furniture is labeled “outdoor” doesn’t typically mean it can withstand harsh fall and winter weather. You have a few options with the furniture. If you have the space, the best option is to store it in a shed or garage. You can also purchase waterproof covers to put over the furniture. Another, yet sometimes pricey (and less environmentally-friendly) option, is to hire a professional to winterize your outdoor furniture using plastic shrink wrap.

Seal Your Driveway

Your driveway is an often overlooked maintenance task that can cost you a lot more if you neglect it. You should always repair any cracks you see even if they are small.

Ice wedging is a natural phenomenon that can cause even the tiniest crack to become a major one. Any water that seeps into that crack will eventually freeze with colder temperatures in the fall. As mentioned previously with the pipes, frozen water expands and your cracks will become larger and larger over time, leading to you eventually needed to redo your entire driveway.

These are some of the major maintenance tasks necessary to keep your house from damage when cooler weather hits. It is easier and less costly to prepare your house now, rather than have to repair it from damages. Once these tasks have been taken care of, you can start hanging your wreaths and carving your pumpkins to prepare for the fall season ahead.

Feature image: Aaron Burden; Image 1: Shutterbug75

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