Top 8 Home Maintenance Tips For Spring

Wednesday, October 09, 2013 in Carpentry, Exteriors, Repairs, Resources, Roof & Gutters

Top 8 Home Maintenance Tips For Spring

1. Inspection of windows and doors

Just after winter has finished, it’s a good idea to check around your windows and doors for any cracks in the paintwork and caulking. Gaps should be no wider than a 10 cent coin. If they are, they need re-gapping with a suitable gap filler (available from Bunnings or Mitre 10 in a variety of colours).

If your windows are older wooden frames/sashes it’s important to check the putty around the glazing which seals the glass to the wooden frame. If it’s cracked it needs to be removed and repaired using linseed putty available from your local hardware shop. It is a very easy job for first time DIY’ers - just follow instructions on the tub. Once the putty has set it will need to be painted to further protect it from the elements.

2. Check gutters and downpipes

A visual inspection is all that is sometimes required for gutters and downpipes. Check whether or not your gutters have leaves or debris restricting the flow of water as these can cause overflowing of gutters during downpours and a nasty drowning for anybody caught under them. Overflowing gutters can also cause unwanted flooding of the garden and areas surrounding the house, especially the foundations which are important to keep as dry as possible especially in older homes. Soaking of the exterior walls can cause dampness and coupled with condensation gives perfect breathing conditions for mould. 

If your house has no sarking protection, overflowing gutters can also result in water rotting fascia and soffit boards. Using a hose to check for leaks through the gutters is also a good idea as you may simply need some silicone. While inspecting gutters check brackets and make sure nothing has come loose during stormy nights.

A note on ladder safety
With an average of around 900 ladder related incidents in Australia every year, 50% being very serious, it is a good idea to pay particular attention when using any type of ladder. 

  • When leaned against the wall or edge, ensure the ladder has a ratio of height to horizontal distance from wall of 4:1
  • Make sure it’s secured (devices are available to secure the ladder at the top and bottom)
  • Ensure you always have 3 points of contact while ascending /descending or working from the ladder
  • Always make sure you have the correct ladder for the job at hand and if possible try and have another person assist you while using a ladder or working at heights
  • Take a few minutes to inspect the ladder before use (check for perished fittings and damaged rungs)
  • Go to Work Safe BC for further information

3. Roof coverings

Whether your roof is protected by iron concrete or slate, they all need regular checks and maintenance to keep your house dry.

  • Iron roof coverings: Look out for rust or damage like damaged hex screws or lifting ridge capping. 
  • Concrete tiles: Look for dislodged tiles from heavy winds or broken tiles from flying debris.
  • Natural slate: Look for cracks and slipped slates these can cause a weak link in an otherwise very good roof.
  • All coverings: Check hips, valleys and ridges for broken cement pointing. If this perishes it needs repairing otherwise it will keep coming away until it causes real trouble.

4. Fencing

Fencing is an important necessary addition to any home. What would be the first impression that a visitor will get of you and your family when they arrive at your address? For most, a tidy clean fence is essential for many reasons. If you already have a fence and maintain it, skip to the next section. Still here? Well you might be interested to know the following tips to help you maintain and keep your fence looking great all year round...

  • Check for damaged paint work: Painted fences timber, or otherwise, need to be maintained more than natural wood or powder coated iron fences. Damaged paint needs to be removed, sanded, filled, sanded again and repainted.
  • Use a pressure washer: Using a pressure washer helps to quickly identify those damaged areas by quickly removing old paint, exposing raw edges that need attention. 
  • Look for rot: Use a pointed tool or finger push on suspicious looking areas. If the area is soft and crumbles away easily you have rot! If you act quickly you may be able to save the infected piece using sand paper. Sand the infected area and try to find the extent of the damage. As a rule of thumb we try to remove at least 600mm of timber around the problem areas and replace it with new wood. If this option is not viable you need to treat your fence with a wood preservative available at the local hardware store. Two coats should do the trick! 
  • Pay particular attention to posts: especially where the posts are set into the ground. The marriage of timber and cement is not a match made in heaven and rot usually starts here where water can lie for days on end. It’s the process of drying out which weakens the fibres in wood and causes rot.
  • Iron fences require much less maintenance: Having said that, everything has its weakness and with iron fences damaged paintwork, dings, bumps and coastal weather can take its toll on. 
  • Rust: Can spread very quickly and if untreated can ruin your beautiful fence. Be sure to eradicate all signs of rust using a wire brush and ‘rust stop’ spray or paint. Spending a little time now will save you a lot of time later. Also look around your fencing posts as they too are usually buried in concrete and can have the same problems as timber where they enter the ground.
  • Concrete slabs/footpaths: Have you noticed any cracks in your concrete lately? Or do you just pass them without caring every day? Fixing concrete is highly recommended for a number of reasons... Trip hazards; growth of unwanted weeds; nesting grounds for insects such as ants; further cracking and breaking down of surrounding concrete... the list goes on. Don't panic however as fixing this common problem is a breeze. For cracks up to 10mm wide use an epoxy concrete filler available from the local hardware store. If your cracks are bigger and are causing you problems call in the guys at HY's for help and advice. It is not always expensive to fix these small problems and will leave your walkways nice and tidy and hazard free so you can spend more time on things you want to!

5. Gardening Equipment

If your tools are as important to you as our tools are to us, then you need to regularly maintain and look after them! 

  • Make sure your storage area is dry and protected from the elements.
  • Ensure all of your gardening equipment is kept sharp
  • Inspection of your electric tools for any damage is a must!
  • Any tools with timber handles may be maintained by applying linseed oil all over.
  • Replace broken handles with new ones to avoid possible injury.
  • A physical and visual check of all wires must be carried out on a regular basis to avoid electric shock and or fire to your garden in the hot seasons. Just be smart about safety, spending a few minutes before doing a job could save your life.

6. Raised garden beds

Raised garden beds are great for budding green fingers, and add a really nice feature to your garden. They are also great for the kids to learn how things grow. To nurture a plant, fruit or vegetables is a wonderful experience for all, and reaping the rewards come harvest time saves you money and makes the taste a little sweeter.

Constructing a raised garden bed is easy

  • For quick raised beds use eco-friendly treated timber
  • Mark the area you want to put your bed with rope or string - simply get some 40mm x 40mm timber pegs and using a hammer pound them in around your string line
  • When finished, line the pegs with some 100mm-200mm treated boards, joining and nailing the lengths on the centre of the pegs. Be sure to place pegs in all four corners.
  • Then simply back-fill your garden beds with nutrient rich top soil plant in some veggies or fruit and watch them grow!!
    For a thorough gardening resource check out www.ezyplant.com.au

7. Spring into planning

Spring at HY's has traditionally been one of our busier times. People are busy planning extensions and renovations for the coming summer and rightly so, as spring is the perfect time to forget those winter blues and get on with important projects and big plans for your home. Whether it’s planning your extension, renovation, dream deck, BBQ area, swimming pool, new footpaths, garden shed, sleep-out or raised garden beds, it’s worth planning thoroughly because if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right first time.

8. Do your research

If you are planning any project and need to hire a tradie it’s worth doing your homework. Look for references and referrals. Ask for photos and a possible visit to past jobs. Check credentials and insurances and most importantly ask the price for services rendered. As a rule it’s always good to get three prices just to compare. Of course with HY’s we have done the hard work for you, ensuring a top qualified and friendly team, at reasonable prices. Plus we guarantee a site visit and quote within 48 hours. Once you start shopping around you’ll realise that that is very rare! 

We hope you have enjoyed reading our spring tips. It is our dream to make HY's your day-to-day, go-to building services provider. If you are unhappy with any of our advice please drop us a line and tell us why.

We hope to see you soon!

Sincerely,
John Ellis, HY's Foreman

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