« The Right Way to Re-Finish Kitchen Cabinets | Main | Spring Exterior Diagnostics Part Two »

Thursday, March 17, 2011


Advice from the Pros:

A Spring-time Walk That Can Save You Dollars

House_in_winter

Here in the Northeast--and in most of the rest of the country--it's been a hard winter. Fortunately, spring is just around the corner, and once the snow melts it's a great time to assess the toll winter has taken on your home. Simply taking a ten-minute stroll around the outside and examining the foundation, siding, trim, porch, and deck can tell you a lot and maybe head off any problems before they become more costly fixes down the road:

Foundation
In the spring there's usually still a lot of moisture in the ground, making it easier to see if you have drainage problems around the foundation. Look for water pooling up against foundation walls on the outside, and obvious signs of leakage inside. Besides actual cracks in the concrete, evidence of moisture problems include peeling or flaking paint, efflorescence (or salt deposits), chalky residue, and mildew.

Efflorescence

Efflorescence on masonry--probably a sign of excess moisture.

Soil often settles around a foundation, so adding more soil and re-grading so that water flows away from the house--rather than toward--is a simple fix. Hundreds of gallons of water fall on your roof during a typical rainstorm and repairing missing or broken gutters and downspouts will divert this deluge away from the house.

Decks and Porches
Decks really take a beating from freeze/thaw cycles. Water that seeps into cracks in wood will freeze and expand, swelling the substrate and stressing the finish coating. Cracked and peeling finishes indicate that there's a problem, but also look for excessively-cupped or bowed boards and rust stains from screws and nails. To prevent minor problems from becoming major ones, decks should be cleaned annually and recoated every one or two years.

Siding
All painted finishes eventually break down from exposure to sun and rain. But if paint has been applied to a properly-prepared substrate under suitable environmental conditions, it should last several years. If you're not getting good performance, the kind of failure can tell you about what caused the problem--and what you can do to correct it. Chalking and fading are normal signs of aging paint, for example, particularly on the south side of a house where UV exposure is greatest. But if there are blisters or peeling paint, it's likely that there's a moisture problem of some sort. This can be caused by leaking or broken gutters, but it can also result from moisture trapped behind the siding. If you have stucco siding, look for efflorescence and cracks, as well as flaking or peeling paint. If you have wood clapboards or shingles, check for rot, particularly down near the ground and where the siding meets trim.

Peeling

Peeling on wood siding--generally an indication of
moisture seeping to the surface.

Take a look at your landscaping, too: shrubs make decorative foundation plantings but they can limit air movement and prevent your siding from drying out. Prune back branches that are in contact with the house or move overgrown shrubs once the ground is workable.

Trim
Finally, take a close look at your doors and windows. Older windows may have loose glazing compound that should be replaced. Wood window sashes might look weathered, but often just need to be scraped, sanded, primed and repainted to look as good as new. Vinyl- or aluminum-clad windows and doors may just need a good cleaning.

It's amazing what a ten-minute inspection can reveal. That and a little preventive maintenance will minimize seasonal damage and premature paint failure, saving you money and headaches in the long run.

In the next post, we'll tell you what you need to do to prep your house for paint.

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a012875a9d834970c0147e3485414970b

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference A Spring-time Walk That Can Save You Dollars:

Comments

Glass, however, is something that vehicle owners will usually ignore until it becomes a major issue and once it becomes a major problem.

I thank thee that I am none of the wheels of power but I am one with the living creatures that are crushed by it.

That's just what roof care is all about. No matter what the weather is, a nicely-built roof or siding can endure it. Thanks for the well-given advice.

Aside for sun and rain, ants and termites are also burdens to houses during spring. Their common targets are wood sidings. Sometimes woodpeckers eat the wooden material, damaging the sidings in the process. You can treat them with wood preservatives every four to nine years to keep them protected.

thanks for the spring time walk post!!

In my case, I waterproof the roof and gutters using rubber sealants and elastomeric paint. They're a little troublesome to apply, but I can be assured that the roof will stay waterproof for a long time. Luckily my husband is brave and patient enough for the task.

Foundation and roofing should be built stronger so that it can surpass any season. And materials used must be flexible to whatever temperature the nature gives, so the family is safe in their own shelter.

Roofing must be strong because it serves as the main protector against the rain and heat of the sun. And for the countries who have snow or hail, it is really an appropriate shield from the danger. Check it out http://www.utahasphalt.com

Great blog. This has been a particularly hard winter for Morris County NJ. Attention Homeowners, is you are looking for a Painting Contractor at Reasonable Rates, check out http://bit.ly/NJPainting. Serving Morris County Since 1989.

All of our Exterior products are formulated to inhibit the growth of mildew on the paint surface however, if you have areas of your home that are mostly damp or shaded, mildew may still form. Your best option is to clean the siding with Benjamin Moore's "Clean" product number 318, which will remove and kill mold and mildew spores. You may want to clean these areas a few times to ensure all the mildew has been thoroughly removed. If you paint over mildew, if will grow through the paint and you will have continuous mildew issues. Once the area is clean and dry, paint with a premium exterior house paint such as Aura Exterior. If you have bare cedar exposed, an oil-based primer would be needed prior to painting.

is there a paint to put on my ceader home to prevent the appearence of the black mole that i have to clean every year john coyne jcoyne4@nycap.rr.com

Great advice guys!
This can save a lot of hard earned money and time that many of us seem to have very little of these days.

The comments to this entry are closed.