Spring Home Maintenance

It's May! The temps are creeping upward and summer is almost here.  It's an ideal time to tackle home maintenance projects. Addressing these can extend the longevity and improve the quality of your home, inside and out. A well-maintained home will also pay off in increased value and a higher resale price.

Wondering where to begin? Here's a handy checklist of home maintenance projects that will get your home ready to rock the warm weather that's coming. We've included tips for how to do them faster and easier—or with the help of a pro. Because, hey—you're busy! :-)

Clean the Gutters

Task: Remove leaves, pine needles, and other debris that have accumulated over the winter so your gutter system is ready to handle spring showers. Overflowing gutters and blocked downspouts can damage siding and foundations.

Shortcuts: Install gutter guards—screens, foam inserts, surface tension covers—which help to keep debris out of gutters. In general, screen types work best, according to the folks at Consumer Reports.

Call in the pros: Gutter cleaning for single story homes with 150 feet of gutters ranges from $127 to $219 with an average of $149. Multi-level and two story homes with 180 to 200 feet of gutters ranges from $179 to $249 with an average of $219.

Clean the AC Condenser

Task: Remove dust and debris that have accumulated on the AC condenser (the big metal box outside your house) so that the AC works efficiently.

Shortcuts: Hook up a garden hose and spray the outside of the condenser. The water will melt away the gunk. Don’t use a brush, and be careful if pressure washing—you could damage or bend the fins.

Call in the pros: You may need to pay an average amount of $300 for your AC servicing. Most of the homeowners spend between $150 to $400 for their AC servicing.

Prep the Yard

Task: Start bringing your yard back to life now, before temperatures warm up for real.

Shortcuts: Remove branches and stones, and use your lawn mower with a catch bag to make short work of dead leaves and twigs. Got roses? For full, beautiful blooms, most landscaping experts will tell you to prune your rose bushes just before the plant breaks dormancy and after the final frost—around mid-March for much of the country. If any buds are diseased, bag and toss them in the trash to avoid spreading fungus and infestations.

Call in the pros: A lawn service charges $85 to $130 for mowing and leaf removal on an average-size lot.

Clean the Siding

Task: Get rid of dirt and grime that can cause mildew and shorten the life of your siding. As a bonus, the exterior of your home will look fresh and clean for spring.

Shortcuts: There’s no need for fancy cleaning solutions or power washers; a bucket of warm, soapy water and a long-handled brush are all you need. Rinse with water from a garden hose.

Call in the pros: Cleaning the siding on a house runs $300-$600.

Clean and Repair Outdoor Decks

Task: Cleaning your deck of leaves and debris—especially between deck boards—prevents staining and reduces the chance of rot. Check for loose boards, and reset protruding nails to keep your deck safe.

Shortcuts: Use a flat-bladed screwdriver to pry gunk out from between boards. Use a deck cleaning product to revive faded and stained boards.

Call in the pros: The average cost to power wash, stain, and seal a deck is $1.57 to $4.04 per square foot.

Caulk Windows and Doors

Task: Inspect the caulking and repair any that was battered during the winter. Check around your windows, doors, and corner trim to prevent water infiltration and avoid costly repairs.

Shortcuts: Feel like you’re always caulking? You can cut down on the frequency of this task if you buy high-quality siliconized acrylic latex caulk rated for exterior use. It has good adhesion and flexibility, cleans up easily with water, and is paintable, too.

Call in the pros: A professional caulking job on an average-size house costs $178 to $410.

Inspect Walkways and Driveways

Task: Winter is tough on concrete and asphalt—freeze and thaw cycles can break apart stone and concrete. You’ll want to seal cracks with sealant made for the specific material of your driveway or walkway to prevent further damage.

Shortcuts: Stuff foam backer rods in large cracks to reduce the amount of sealant you’ll need.

Call in the pros: You can hire a handyman to repair cracks and holes for anywhere from $100 to $250.

Inspect the Roofing

Task: Take a close look at your roofing to check for loose and missing shingles, worn and rusted flashing, and cracked boots around vent pipes.

Shortcuts: Make it easy on yourself by checking your roof with a pair of binoculars while standing firmly—and safely—on the ground.

Call in the pros: A professional roofing contractor will inspect your roof for free, but will charge for repairs: $100-$140 to replace broken or missing asphalt shingles; $220 to $550 to replace boots and flashing.

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