Exterior House Maintenance 101 Guide: Keeping Your Exterior Looking Like New
Dear LiveAbode Readers,
Welcome to our Summer 2023 issue, where we focus on Getting it Done! Summer offers longer days and warmer temps, boasting a convenient time to tackle that seasonal to-do list before cooler days and busier schedules compete for your attention this fall. With a plan in hand, the proper tools and an abundance of low-maintenance options, our experts will help you complete that to-do list so you can enjoy all that summer has to offer.
In this issue, we’re heading outside as we focus exclusively on a home’s exterior. Our team of experts is sharing tips and a helpful guide on how to keep a home’s exterior looking like new from top to bottom. (After all, it’s one of the biggest investments of one’s life!) We’ll also explore how to creatively add character to a home’s exterior through the use of window boxes, corbels and shutters. Looking for a dramatic before and after exterior refresh that increases your home’s curb appeal? Re-siding your home and adding or updating window trim together can provide a finished, impactful aesthetic sure to cause a double take. We’ll explore siding choices and installation considerations in our comprehensive guide and window trim styles, finishes and colors.
We hope our latest issue keeps you inspired! We would love to see your projects along the way, and invite you to tag us on social media.
As always, we welcome your feedback and ideas for future issues and remain grateful for your ongoing readership.
The LiveAbode Editorial Team
Exterior House Maintenance 101 Guide: Keeping Your Exterior Looking Like New
A well-maintained home exterior not only enhances curb appeal, but also helps to protect your home from the elements. Keeping your exterior looking like new all year round requires regular maintenance, attention to detail and a proactive approach.
Let’s explore the essentials through our Exterior House Maintenance 101 Guide from cleaning, landscaping and repairs, to a breakdown of seasonal tasks to avoid becoming overwhelmed.
Regular cleaning is essential for maintaining the appearance and longevity of your home’s exterior. Even when using weather-resistant materials such as Royal™ Vinyl Siding, Exterior Portfolio™ Siding or Celect™ Cellular Composite Siding, dirt, grime and mildew can still accumulate on various surfaces, which may lead to wear and tear over time. Moreover, proper cleaning and upkeep can help prevent costly repairs or restorations down the road.
- Siding: Use a soft-bristle brush and mild detergent to clean vinyl, wood, PVC or fiber cement siding. For stubborn stains or algae, consider using a pressure washer on a low setting. Be sure to angle the spray downward to prevent water infiltration behind the siding. For mold, use a mixture of bleach and water to remove mold spores that can damage your house over time.
- Windows: Clean windows with a squeegee or soft cloth and a mixture of water and mild detergent. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or sponges as they can scratch the glass. Be sure to clean both the interior and exterior sides of windows for optimal results.
- Shutters: If you have shutters on your home, be sure to remove all shutters for a thorough cleaning. Use a mild detergent and a soft brush for the best results. Rinse and let dry completely before reattaching them. Regular cleaning can prevent discoloration and extend the lifespan of your shutters.
- Deck and Porch: The key to maintaining a deck or porch is to sweep your deck regularly to avoid accumulation of materials. For deeper cleaning, use a specialized deck cleaner to remove dirt and mildew. Zuri® Premium Decking, which is made from composite PVC, is moisture and UV resistant, making it a longer-lasting and more-affordable option. If you have porch columns, you can also maintain these with routine cleaning. PVC porch column wraps last longer and require less maintenance.
- Roof: Remove debris and moss using a soft-bristle brush or a roof cleaning attachment for your pressure washer. If you are in a shaded or wet area, consider applying a moss and algae treatment to prevent regrowth. Be cautious when working on the roof to avoid falls and damage to shingles.
When choosing cleaning products, opt for eco-friendly and non-toxic solutions that are safe for your family and the environment, improving your home’s indoor air quality.
Proper landscaping maintenance is also crucial to enhancing your home’s curb appeal and protecting your home from nature’s wear and tear. A well-maintained yard also creates a welcoming atmosphere and can even increase your property’s value.
- Mow your lawn regularly to maintain a neat appearance and promote healthy grass growth. Adjust the mower’s height according to the grass type and season. Tall or unkempt grass can attract unwanted pests that may damage your home in the long run while also posing a health risk.
- Trim hedges, shrubs and trees to prevent overgrowth and damage to your home’s exterior. Prune dead or damaged branches to encourage new growth and maintain a tidy appearance. Overgrown trees and shrubs can damage the structural integrity of your home and its exterior, including its foundation and roof. Trim trees and shrubs so they are a good distance away from your siding to prevent moss growth, decay and damage to siding.
- Remove weeds and dead plants from your garden beds and refresh mulch as needed. Proper mulching can help retain moisture, suppress weeds and regulate soil temperature. Overgrown gardens can be inviting for pests and insects that may choose to make themselves at home in the structure of your house.
- Landscaping can increase your home’s curb appeal while creating a welcoming sentiment. Add colorful, low-maintenance plants. Choose native plants and perennials that are well-adapted to your region for easier care, less maintenance and a positive impact on the local ecosystem.
- Maintain a consistent watering schedule for your lawn and garden to promote growth and prevent drought stress. If water conservation is an issue, consider installing a drip irrigation system for efficient watering.
Addressing exterior repairs promptly is essential to maintaining the structural integrity of your home. Waiting too long can mean damage that is more expensive and time consuming. The warmer months of the year are convenient to check your house’s integrity and evaluate for any repairs that may be needed. Common exterior repairs include:
- Roof leaks: Inspect your roof regularly for signs of damage. Fix leaks promptly to prevent water damage to your home’s interior. Replace missing or damaged shingles and ensure all flashing and vents are secure.
- Cracks in siding: Repair cracks in your siding to prevent water infiltration and potential damage to your home’s structure. Inspect caulking around windows to ensure they are sealed. This can also help reduce heating or cooling costs and keep unwanted pests out.
- Peeling paint: Scrape and repaint peeling paint to protect surfaces from moisture and maintain a polished appearance.
- Evaluate your skills and knowledge before attempting DIY repairs. Don’t hesitate to outsource and hire a professional when necessary to ensure repairs are done correctly and safely.
Focusing on seasonal maintenance tasks, especially during summer and fall, will help ensure your home’s exterior remains in top condition all year round.
- Summer: Clean out your gutters and downspouts to ensure proper drainage during heavy rainstorms. Inspect your decking, columns and fencing for signs of damage or decay and make the necessary repairs. If summers are warmer and drier, this is a good time to do renovations or repairs on your home.
- Fall: Rake leaves and remove debris from your yard to prevent mold, mildew and pests. Winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems to prevent freezing. Conduct any final, minor repairs before the weather becomes colder.
- Winter: Home maintenance in winter can seem less accessible, but it’s still possible. Most importantly, clear snow and ice from your roof, walkways and driveway to prevent damage. This also ensures extra safety when walking and driving in the winter. Keep salts away from your house, as they can ruin the siding as well as concrete driveways, sidewalks and patios.
- Spring: Spring is the time to inspect your home for any damage that occurred during the winter months. Clean debris from winter. Then inspect the exterior for signs of winter damage, such as cracked or missing shingles, broken gutters and damaged siding. Be sure to address any issues promptly.
Properly and regularly maintaining your home’s exterior is crucial for maintaining your home’s appearance, structural integrity and value. By prioritizing regular cleaning, landscaping and repairs seasonally, you will keep your home looking like new and prevent expensive issues in the future, while avoiding quickly becoming overwhelmed. Maintaining your home properly will ensure that it remains a source of pride and enjoyment for years to come.