8 Home Projects for the Summer
Now that it’s summer, you might have some more motivation to complete home maintenance tasks, but you’re not sure where to start. Here’s a list of easy-to-complete summer home maintenance tasks that don’t require an expert to complete, and are perfect to do before it gets cold and rainy again! Follow these preventative maintenance tips to ensure your home looks great for the season and is protected from surprise repairs during the colder months.
1. Power Washing
If you’re lucky enough to live in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, you’re also familiar with its drawbacks: mold and mildew that builds up on exteriors. A great way to combat this negative effect of our natural environment is pressure washing your deck, porch, driveway, siding, or brick exterior. You can rent power washers from your local HomeDepot or Lowes. Before you rent, choose amongst four different colored tips standardized for specific angles. Red is for a zero degree angle that shouldn’t be used up close on any surface; yellow is for a 15-degree angle that’s great for washing concrete; green is for a 25-degree spray ideal for blasting away mildew on the deck or siding; white is for a 40-degree spray for windows and siding; and black is for a 60-degree angle more suited for simply wetting a surface.
One word of caution: avoid power washing any exteriors that were painted prior to 1978. The paint can be fragile and flake off, so it’s best to call a professional in that instance.
2. Repair or Re-paint Exteriors
After you’ve power washed siding, concrete, or a wooden deck, the next step is repairing or re-painting chipped, cracked or faded paint to protect it from the elements.
The best way to tackle this task is by first making sure to repair any cracks or holes with caulk and wait for a warm, dry and not-so-windy day to complete the paint job. Apply at least two layers of paint for maximum protection and check every couple of years for signs of moisture or cracking.
3. Clear Roof and Gutters of Debris
After the spring storms, leaves and debris are likely to clog your gutters and litter your roof. Wait for a few consecutive dry days to tackle the gutters and the roof. To start cleaning the gutters, grab a ladder, some gloves, a bucket, and a trowel. Begin cleaning around the downspout, using your gloved hands and a trowel to remove debris and place it in the bucket. After clearing debris, fit your hose with a spray nozzle and flush the gutters, being careful to avoid getting too much water underneath the roof shingles.
After taking care of the gutters, check the roof for debris and use a leaf blower or broom to remove branches or leaves. And in a moist Pacific Northwest climate, also check for algae growth and use an algae-resistant spray after you’re done cleaning the roof.
4. Inspect and Repair Fencing
Fences are another exterior feature constantly exposed to the elements that need proper care and maintenance. If you have wooden fences, clean and pressure wash the wood to remove mildew, moss, or graying, and then coat with a UV-and-water repellant coating.
For metal fences, remove rust with a wire brush and apply a rust converter to places that already have rust. You can also use a primer on the metal fence or a car wax to protect aluminum fences from additional rust build-up.
5. Check Your Air Conditioning Unit
Life during the summer is pretty unbearable with A/C, so take care of your indoor or outdoor unit. For an indoor unit, start by cleaning the evaporator coils and replacing the air filters; finally, check for leaks in the refrigerant that can cause your AC to run but not actually cool your home.
For an external unit, start by removing debris around it and then remove the cage to clean and straighten the fins. You can also gently vacuum the fins to get rid of dust and build-up. Finally, spray the unit with a coil cleanser. Rinse off the cleanser in 15 minutes after it’s adhered to the dirt on the coils.
6. Clean Ceiling Fans and Windows
Ceiling fans tend to work overtime during the summer, so be sure to brush them free of dust and dirt to ensure indoor air quality.
This simple job can be done with a step-ladder and some moist paper towels. For tougher build-up on fan blades, use a sponge to scrub off dust or dirt.
You can also clean your windows inside and out. Start with some Windex and paper towels on the inside, then a gentle spray of water from the hose for the outside. Follow up the outside windows by scrubbing them with a soft microfiber cloth soaked in a mix of dish soap and vinegar. Dry the windows with a squeegee, wiping it clean after each pass.
7. Fix or Replace Exterior Doors
Examine wear and tear on exterior doors by looking for sagging, drafts, or leaks. To remedy these issues, you may need to realign the doors, weatherseal them, install new components, or replace the door system.
To begin caulking and weathersealing your doors, check for old, damaged caulk and remove it with a putty knife. Then, apply a new, silicone-based caulk with a caulk gun around the doorframe to protect against drafts.
8. Check Windows for Leaks
Similar to doors, windows can be a big culprit when it comes to hot or cold air escaping, and some caulk and a caulk gun are your best friends in this process.
Start by checking around the windows for drafts and apply caulk to areas to be sealed, making sure that caulk sticks to both sides of the window seam. You can also do the same with weatherstripping tape, a high-density rubber foam applied around the window.
Now that you’ve gotten a head start on easy-to-complete preventative maintenance, be sure to call South Sound Inspections for jobs that require a professional!