The backyard looks like a mud pit, the windows are caked with dirt, and the basement is all damp and dingy, but at least it's spring.... right? When a house comes out of winter hibernation, it needs a bit of TLC. Winter elements are harsh on even the most durable building materials, which can crack and wear down when exposed to repeated fluctuations in temperature. Think of all those strange 10 degree winter days that plunged down to -15 overnight this year. And during the spring thaw, melting groundwater and heavy rain heighten the threat of water damage to your home.
Our Home Inspector Pros advise homeowners to carry out a yearly spring season inspection, paying special attention to the major exterior systems like the roof, eaves, and drainage. To get started, walk around your house and make a list of areas that need attention. Use the list below as a guideline.
1. Inspect exterior for damage:
Check siding for signs of rot, cracks, chipping or peeling paint, holes in brick, siding damage, and plain old dirt build up. Consider a powerwash.
2. Check the exterior drainage (water flow away from the house): If there are puddles standing around your home for more than 24 hours, it’s possible that water isn’t properly draining away from the foundation. First, check the eavestroughs for damage. A blocked gutter or broken connection could be causing the pooling water. Otherwise, there is likely a grading problem around your home. For grading issues explained, read Spring thaw is no hurrah for your home from the Mike Homes' National Post column.
3. Take a good look at the roof and attic interior: Look for worn, curled or missing shingles, and cracks. In the attic, check for leaks, water stains, discoloured insulation, rotting or moldy joists, and roof decking issues.
4. Clean eavestroughs: Check for obstructions or built up residue from the fall and winter. Ensure the eaves are securely attached to your home, check for loose joints, and ensure downspout water flows away from the house.
5. Clean windows and screens: Check for holes and tears in screens, and repair or replace as needed.
6. Check deck and fences: Take a look at boards for deterioration, and make sure that handrails and deck posts are secure. If anything feels wobbly or looks rotted, repair or replace them.
7. Take care of the fireplace, wood stove and/or chimney: If you had your share of cozy fireplace moments over the winter, consider getting a professional to do a cleaning and service. Turn off the gas furnace and fireplace pilot lights where possible.
8. Check trees: Look for interference with electric lines and large branches too close to your home. Have them professionally trimmed if necessary.