It may still be chilly in Chicago, but we just gained our extra hour of evening light and spring will be here before we know it! After the annual polar vortex, we’re going to take advantage of every opportunity to be outdoors this spring. Of course, with spring will also come heavy winds and rain. If you’re itching to get a jump-start on spring preparations so you can savor the best of the season worry-free, check out our spring home maintenance checklist below:
1. Inspect the roof for winter storm damage. Grab a pair of binoculars and look for loose or missing shingles. If your roof is in need of repairs, start getting quotes now - summer is the busy season for roofers.
2. Check that the gutters are clear. Also make sure that the downspouts extend several feet away from the house to properly divert water away from the foundation.
3. Make sure your lawn slopes away from your house. A slight slope downwards on all four sides keeps water moving away from the foundation. If your lawn slopes towards your house, consider re-grading the yard before you do your spring planting.
4. Eliminate mosquito breeding grounds. Make sure no containers are collecting water and fill in low spots in the lawn.
5. Wash and inspect window screens for holes. Also install the screens on screen doors. If spring means the start of allergy season for you, look for window screens designed to filter pollen.
6. Termite-proof your house. Remove any wood that is close to your foundation, such as firewood or woodchips. Spring is the best time to see if you do have termites and need treatment - keep an eye out for termite swarms.
7. Inspect trees for damaged branches. Winter storms may have caused weak branches to break, but we’re not in the clear yet - spring winds may also take some down. It’s best to do heavy pruning of most trees in the later winter or early spring, before the tree buds.
8. Look for cracks in the concrete or asphalt. The freezing and thawing cycle is hard on hardscaping, so make sure no new tripping hazards have developed over the winter.
9. Prep porches and decks for spring and summer lounging. Secure loose pieces of wood and replace rotten ones. Schedule cleaning, staining and sealing, or painting as needed - this should happen every few years.
10. Evaluate the facade. Does it need a good wash or a fresh coat of paint? If you’re hosting an important celebration this year, that can be a good incentive to give a little extra TLC to the face of your home. Note that if you are planning on cleaning your facade, make sure it’s the right method for the material. Power washing seems like an easy solution but has to be approached with care so as not to cause water to penetrate siding and brick.
11. Schedule a maintenance appointment with your HVAC contractor. Make sure your heating system hasn’t suffered too much abuse this winter, and catch any problems with your A/C before you need it this summer.
12. Make sure your fire safety is up-to-date. Many people use daylight savings time as a reminder to change fire detector batteries. But don’t stop there! Clean out the dryer lint from the duct and make sure your fire extinguishers and escape ladders are easily accessible and in working order.
13. Smartify your home. Take advantage of a rainy weekend to set up any smart home tech you’ve been looking forward to trying out. Maybe that’s a smart camera and lights for when you’re away on vacation, or a smart lock for when the kids are running in and out of the house this summer.
14. Last but not least, get a jump start on your next home addition or remodeling project. Spring is the start of busy season for general contractors and design-build firms, so there’s no time better than the present to get started! If you’re not familiar with the design-build process, read more about the advantages here.
If you would like to learn more about our design-build home addition and renovation services or find out how we can help with a project you have a mind, please get in touch.
Photograph by Uriel Soberanes