All homeowners know that maintaining your home’s value, appearance and quality is a year round endeavor. It’s a bit like training for a marathon with the finish line being a steady increase in your home’s value and your overall investment. During summer months, with hot temperatures and increased humidity, it’s important to redouble our efforts with a little sprint and interval training. It might not be fun, but the rewards far outweigh the pain of tackling big ticket fixes or watching our homes fall into disrepair.
The exterior of our homes take a beating from the sun, especially during the hot, hot month of July. At night, cooling temperatures cause constant contractions and expansions of wood, siding, brick and mortar, so July is an excellent time to give your home’s exterior a thorough inspection. Southern and western facing walls are going to take the brunt of the sun’s damaging rays, so pay extra attention to those walls. Scrape, sand and repaint any cracked or peeling paint to keep your home’s exterior sealed and protected. Check bricks and masonry for cracks or missing mortar and repair with fresh mortar or concrete caulk.
Summer is extremely tough on our roofs. On a 90 degree day, your roofing tiles can reach a temperature of 140 – 150 degrees! Your roof is, quite literally, baking in the sun and shingles can warp and bend, pull away from the roof and allow water to seep under and through your roof. Give your roof an extreme inspection, not only from the top, but from your attic, if possible. Check the attic ceiling for stains that might indicate leaks, particularly around “flashed” areas in roof valleys, and around vents and chimneys. Replace worn or warped shingles immediately and caulk any cracks in the flashing seams.
Like your roof, your driveway and sidewalks will also experience temperature extremes during July. Even small cracks can allow moisture to collect under concrete and aggregate driveways. Six months from now, just an inch of water can freeze and cause buckling and extensive cracking, so repair small fissures now and plan to seal your driveway and sidewalks every other year.
Shrubs, bushes and trees experience huge growth during the summer months, particularly if they are doused with regular rainfall. Do a walk around your property and trim back any trees and bushes that have come in contact with the walls of your home’s exterior. Generally speaking, you want six to ten inches of clearance between walls and plants of any kind.
While you’re checking for overgrown trees, check out your home’s foundation, as well. Look for signs of termites, those nasty, damaging creatures who flourish in warm, damp atmospheres. Look for tunnels and dirt bridges around your home’s foundation and in crawl spaces. If you even suspect the presence of termites, contact a local pest control company immediately for an inspection and extermination plan.
After all this home maintenance, you’ll be ready for a vacation and you deserve one. Make sure your home (and all your hard work!) is protected by installing motion detector lights or automatic timers to your home’s exterior. Not only will this provide an extra level of safety, but it will improve your overall home’s energy efficiency.
Happy home ownership, friends! Thank you for letting me be a part of your journey.