For the most part, this holiday season is in the rear view mirror. It is time to start planning for spring and all the necessary repairs and/or upgrades you discovered or thought of during the cold months of winter. Planning your projects now will allow you to hit the ground running as soon as the first thaw.
1. Power Washing Your Home’s Exterior
Once the weather warms a bit, you should consider giving your home a good power washing to remove all the dirt and grime that built up over the winter months. If you own a pressure washer you already have a good head start, if not, you can rent one at most home improvement or tool rental centers. In addition, you will need a good, environmentally safe, exterior house cleaner. Choose one that is suitable for the type of exterior wood, masonry, vinyl, etc. on your home. Exterior cleansers are either ready to use straight out of the bottle or require mixing with water. In either case, you should follow the manufacturer’s instructions to achieve the best results.
2. Washing Sidewalks and Driveways
Your home’s drive and walkways are also subjected to abuse during the winter months. They endure weeks of ice, snow, rain, mud, and in some places salt used to melt the ice that can soil and/or stain their surfaces. A power washer combined with the appropriate cleaner will remove most stains and leave your walks and driveway sparkling like new. Home improvement centers and hardware stores carry a large selection of masonry cleaners designed for use with a pressure washer.
3. Cleaning Wooden Fences and Decks
A power washer also comes in handy for cleaning wooden privacy fences and decks. Over time, the wood is subjected to the elements, which can cause discoloration and even mold buildup. Using a power washer set to the appropriate water pressure setting for wood will clean away the dingy appearance of the material while not damaging the finish.
4. Window Washing
After power washing your home’s exterior, it would be a good time to wash the windows. The power washer may have left your windows spotty or even dirty from flying debris. Plus, months of dirt and grime have had the opportunity to settle on the panes and around the framework.
To keep your home snug in the winter and cool in the summer, it's important to check your home's exterior for openings that allow hot and cold air to enter the interior. Check around all windows (once they've been cleaned) and around doorways for any cracks or openings that need to be filled with caulk.
6. Clean the Gutters
Gutters tend to fill up with leaves, dirt, acorns, and twigs, which can prohibit proper drainage. These should be cleaned out and periodically checked throughout the year to keep them free of debris.
7. Outside Air Conditioning Unit
There are two things to consider. If you didn't have the AC unit serviced prior to the winter season, scheduling a maintenance call is a priority so your unit will be in good shape for the upcoming summer weather. For your part, it's important to keep the area around the air conditioning unit free and clear of debris, weeds, shrubs, and anything else that can hinder the air flow of your air conditioning unit.
8. Enhancing Curbside Appeal
Upgrading the exterior look of your home adds curbside appeal, which results in a higher property value. Several projects can be undertaken to achieve this. These include a new exterior paint job, painting the front door, replacing an old mailbox, creating a walkway, and installing solar lights along the driveway and/or walkway.
9. Landscaping 101
With spring comes new ways to highlight your home with healthy growth. To make this happen, take care of issues such as reseeding bare spots with new grass seed or laying sod. It's also a good time to be creative by laying out a design for a rock garden, or building flower beds or window boxes for assorted plants and flowers.
Adding a few outdoor accessories is another project to highlight your home. Consider hanging inspirational wind chimes, displaying stylish pottery of all sizes, setting up a bird bath and bird feeder, and updating patio and lawn furniture with new material.