6 Home Repairs to Make Before It's Too Late

A piece of rotting wood painted white.

There are some DIY jobs that are best tackled early. Wait too long and you could end up with a bigger and more serious problem. Following are six things to repair around your home before it's too late.

1. Rotting Siding and Trim

Rotting siding and trim will only get worse over time. Rot can spread to nearby areas, making a small project much bigger down the line. Rotting wood also invites pests, like carpenter ants, that will tunnel through perfectly dry wood and set up a nest in your home.

To replace rotting siding and trim you'll need to remove the rotting piece and replace it with new wood. Make sure that when you remove the rotting piece, you cut into dry wood. That way you'll be sure to eliminate further damage. If you aren't comfortable doing the work yourself, you can hire a general handyman or carpenter.

2. Clogged Gutters

A clogged gutter against a red tile rooftop.

Cleaning the gutters is not a fun job. However, it's an easy one that can prevent serious damage down the line. If your gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, it's time to clean them out. Clogged gutters and downspouts prevent the flow of water when it rains. This water can back up, causing your siding and trim to rot. The water is also a breeding ground for mosquitoes. If there is still water in your gutters come winter, that water might freeze and cause ice damming, potentially damaging your roof.

To clean your gutters, you'll need a ladder and work gloves. Working from one side of the gutter to the other, simply scoop out any leaves and debris. When the gutter appears clean, rinse the interior with water from a hose. Make sure the water comes out the downspout. If the downspout is clogged, you may need to remove it and clean it out as well.

3. Driveway Cracks

A crack in pavement with a repair kit beside it.

Left untended, driveway cracks can expand and lead to bigger cracks down the line. Water often gets into and under cracks and expands when it freezes. This can cause heaving, larger cracks, and breaks in the surface.

Cracks up to 1-inch wide can usually be repaired with a pourable or tubed asphalt patch product. Remove any weeds or vegetation from the cracks and follow the product instructions.

Larger cracks and pot holes are best tackled by a professional.

4. Leaky Faucets and Handles

Leaking faucets and handles may seem innocent enough. However, if not addressed they can cause serious long-term damage. A slow leak not only wastes water; the consistent leaking can also cause the surrounding area to rot. This might lead to pests, or mold and mildew.

There are several reasons your faucet might be leaking and it depends largely on the type of faucet you have. However, most faucets have rubber o-rings and washers that wear over time. Start with replacing these and see if that solves your problem.

When doing any faucet repair, make sure to turn off the water to the faucet. Also make note of each part, and where they belong, as you take the faucet apart. Bring any o-rings and gaskets to your local hardware store for replacement.

5. Water Stains

A stucco wall with a water stain being removed by a pressure washer.

Water stains are a sign of prior or current water leaking into your home. Whether on a ceiling or wall, water stains may indicate a serious problem like leaking pipes.

First, you'll need to determine the source of the leak. If water stains are near a skylight or window, it's likely that the window may have a leak. If the water stains are on the ceiling, water can be coming from a leaking pipe or bathroom, if there is one overhead. Water can follow surfaces and it might even be possible that a leak in the attic causes a water stain on a wall below.

If you can easily identify the source, and it's a minor problem, you can likely fix the issue yourself. If you are dealing with roof repairs or leaking pipes in closed ceilings; you may want to call in a professional.

6. Faulty Outlets

Electrical outlets stop working over time. They get old and connections come loose. Faulty outlets might seem like a minor nuisance, but they can also be an indicator of a more serious problem.

Your first step should be to check and make sure that the breaker powering the outlet wasn't tripped. If all appears well at the circuit panel, you may have a loose wire connection or a burned out outlet. A burned out outlet may spark or show signs of blackening. These outlets should be replaced immediately. Because electrical work can be dangerous, you should call in a professional.

These are just a few common repairs that you can tackle early to prevent long term damage to your home.