Autumn is the season of fall foliage and pumpkin picking, but it also means winter isn’t far behind. It’s advisable for homeowners to begin the process of prepping for the cold weather before the frost hits by taking inventory of those projects that need attention and making a checklist of interior and exterior maintenance to be done.
The exterior of the home is a good place to start, as it serves as the first defense against winter’s wrath. Start by walking around the perimeter to assess whether there are any cracks in the siding or peeling paint that might need attention. Be sure to check the roof for missing or broken shingles, and ensure that the windows and doors are properly insulated. Clean your gutters and downspouts, and consider leaf guards to keep them debris-free. Turn off the water valve feeding outside faucets, disconnect any hoses, and have your chimney inspected/cleaned before the arctic freeze of a polar vortex strikes.
At a minimum, installing storm windows and doors can reduce winter drafts considerably. For added insurance, replacing worn weatherstripping and caulking any gaps will cut down on entry points for cold air to find its way into your home. These seals have a tendency to compress and bend over time due to the changing temperatures. Taking proactive measures during the warmer months will save you considerable money on home heating costs in the long run.
Autumn is a crucial time to prepare your deck for the coming season, as well as to repair any damage sustained from the wear and tear of the summer sun. It is ideal to apply a fresh sealant to prevent decay and preserve finish before those frigid temps and blustery winds encase your wood or composite deck in impenetrable ice. When possible, remove any leaves as quickly as possible, as dirt and remnants have a tendency to stain when left unattended for a long period of time.
While the outside is the obvious place to begin your defense against the elements, winter is the perfect time to give your home’s interior a facelift as well. Begin with the basics, such as replacing your furnace filter, weatherstripping/caulking any drafty seals or crevices around windows or central air units, and closing any vents still open from those warm, summer days.
Weekends are made for remodeling, whether updating your mouldings and trim, installing new flooring or wood paneling, or perhaps designing a custom table or storage compartment.
Flooring, while aesthetically pleasing, can also serve the added purpose of providing much-needed insulation from the cold. Carpeting is optional when you have a durable floor built to withstand daily usage; no need to hide the scuffs and scratches from company. Warm woods can be just as cozy during the winter months when maintained properly, and many floors are relatively simple to install as a part of a DIY weekend project.Storage is something most families can’t have enough of, but what do you do once the closets are filled to capacity? For many, building a custom chest or shelving to neatly store those miscellaneous items is the perfect solution. Another ingenious option is creating a mudroom bench, ideal for collecting muddy rain boots, hanging up those extra layers and keeping the floor clean and dry during the winter months.
Many homeowners are unaware of the upkeep needed to ensure that their house holds up against the ravages of Mother Nature. The best defense is to be prepared, preferably by beginning the process a few months in advance when there is less urgency. Even those who are more seasoned tend to forget some of the necessary preparatory measures until an issue arises which necessitates immediate action.
Whether you decide to take on the project yourself or hire a professional, the most important component is always the materials used. The quality of supplies will dictate the longevity, aesthetic and functionality, and can determine everything from how well your shutters sustain wind damage to whether or not you will need to replace roof shingles or siding panels following a storm.As we round out autumn and head into the winter months, be sure to take stock of your home to determine what improvements need to be made. Your property, and your wallet, will be better off for it.