Sometimes home repairs do not reach our attention until they are already out of hand. This can lead to costly and time-consuming repairs that could have been easily prevented in the first place. Take the time twice a year to inspect the home for a few small issues and fix them as soon as possible. It will be well worth the time and energy. Most of these issues can be fixed in a few hours with minimal DIY knowhow. However, letting them go will eventually lead to calling in a professional.
Caulk and Grout
Replacing damaged, bubbled, and dirty caulk and grout in the bathroom is one of the easiest home repairs that can save future headaches. Caulking prevents water from seeping into wall and floor materials around tubs, tile, and sinks. If they begin to leak, there is nothing to protect drywall and wood from rot, mildew, and mold. New caulking in a bathroom also makes the entire room look cleaner and updated.
Caulking can be repaired in a few hours for just a couple of dollars. Simply scrape up the existing material and discard it. Then clean the area with a bleach and water (1/10) solution. Allow the area to dry completely before applying new water resistant silicone. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to get a proper seal
Missing or crumbling grout should be replaced for the same reasons. Chip away any existing grout that is loose or damaged. Clean the area with the same bleach solution and let the area dry. A premixed grout compound is recommended for small areas and can quickly be applied to the exposed areas. Be sure to smooth it down and get a good joint with the existing grout.
Railings take a lot of stress over the years. Once they fall into disrepair they can lead to damage in other stair components and are dangerous for users. Tightening up a staircase railing is easy and only requires a drill/driver, 1-inch spade bit, ratchet wrench, and handsaw.
Inspect the newel post -- these are the vertical posts at the top and bottom of the stairs and are the most likely reason for a loose railing. Tighten these up by installing a lag screw into the base of the post and connecting railing. Some posts might require two lag screws, but once repaired this fix should last several years.
Cut the ends of a 1-inch dowel to cap and cover the lag screw, and then stain the area to match the rest of the railing. Inspect the rest of the railing for loose posts and tighten or replace as needed.
Once fall has passed, it is time to clean out those gutters. It’s a dirty job, but it could save thousands in roof and exterior wall repairs. There are several methods to remove leaves and other debris from your gutters.
Scooping them out with a garden trowel is generally safer than trying to clean them by hand. Using just your hands is a good way to get them cut up on sharp metal or broken twigs. Gutters can be blown out with a leaf blower, as long as the gutters are dry. Attempting to do this when they are wet will be a frustrating process.
While on the ladder, inspect the gutters for loose connections, anchors, and leaks. When the gutters are clear, use a garden hose to run water through them and make note of any leaks. Bolts and anchors can be tightened up and sealant is used for small leaks. Larger leaks may be a sign of damage to the gutter and small sections are simply replaced if beyond repair.
Trees that have limbs overhanging roof lines, decks and windows should be trimmed back regularly to prevent storm damage. Additionally, limbs that are allowed to rest on a roof will allow mold and algae buildup and increase the chances of a roof developing rot.
Larger limbs should be left for an arborist that will generate a quote based on an hourly rate. Smaller limbs can be tackled with a pole saw. Be sure to watch out for any utility lines and plan for how the limb will fall before doing any cutting. A loose limb can break windows, damage landscaping and cause injury.
Remove debris left behind on the roof and power wash any areas covered with algae or mold using a bleach solution. Then keep an eye out every year for potential problem limbs and remove them before an arborist is needed.
The entire exterior of a house does not need to be repainted every year, especially with so many homes using siding. However, there are certain horizontal surfaces on the homes outside that are especially vulnerable to the weather.
Check the paint around door frames and windows sills, since they are the most likely to hold water after a storm. If any paint is blistered, cracked, or missing it should be replaced. Damaged paint allows water to soak into the raw wood and can quickly lead to rot.
Scrape away the damaged paint until the wood is paint-free or any remaining paint is undamaged. Then sand, prime, and reapply a matching exterior paint. Most exterior paint also includes a sealant but if the home is in an area of high rain or snowfall, be sure to check the directions and apply as many coats as needed.