Homeowner Spring Maintenance: Visual inspection can reveal needed work.

March 21, 2011

worst roof damage

Owning a home comes with certain responsibilities and requirements in order to keep the house in top operating condition. Certain “maintenance” items need to be done on a regular basis to extend expected service life as well as uncover detrimental situations. However, it need not be a grueling task to help keep your home in peak condition. You can do several simple things easily in a single weekend to locate potential trouble areas.
Now that the snow is gone, it is a good time to conduct a visual inspection of the entire structure. Start outside and begin looking at your home as if you are preparing to buy it. Scrutiny will help reveal those areas that require attention from the hard winter. Look at the roof first and then work your way down the building ending at ground level and pay attention to anything that seems out of place or worn or haggard even in the slightest. Walking around the house and visually inspecting each side can show you what will need attention soon. Take binoculars along, if you have them, to get a closer look at the roof, chimney and roof vents.
Things to look for:
Roof – Curled or missing shingles and any evidence of ice dam damages. Bent flashings around chimneys or other roof protrusions. Flaking or missing cement on any brickwork of the chimney.
Gutters- leaks, loose corners, obvious low sections, missing or disconnected downspouts and elbows. Bent flashings and peeling paint.
Walls and windows – Depending on the construction of your home there may be several things to search for as you look carefully at each wall and the windows and doors. Remember you are looking for things that are out of place or that do not look quite right. This is not a time to plan changes or updates but rather a process to uncover the maintenance items that require attention. 
Windows & Doors – Look over each window and look for peeling paint, rotting wood, or fogged glass panes. Any of these could indicate a moisture problem from a leak. Is the caulking around each side still in place or is it breaking apart and falling out? Do the windows operate easily? Do doors swing, close, and latch well?
Walls – Brick or stonework exterior walls require mortar to bind them together. Is this mortar in good shape still? Is it cracked and falling out? Moisture penetrating the seams could find its way into your home. Wood siding may need new caulking or paint or stain. Are there any cracked boards that need replacing? Nail heads backing out or flashing bent from ice & snow?
Foundations – Look closely at where the ground meets the building. Is the ground sloping away from the building to facilitate drainage? Are there any sinkholes or other problems that may need some spring-clean up?  Once you have finished this wall, walk around and do the same visual inspection for each side, making note of the things that require attention by you or a professional as summer progresses.   Do not forget to look at the sidewalks, driveway and exterior lights. Are they all in shape and working properly?
Once you have a good idea of what will need attention, you can start working toward getting these areas repaired. Much of this work you can do yourself and the local hardware store or building materials retailer can offer advice and supplies to help you through the project. Consider which jobs may need the help of a professional as well, perhaps roof repairs is not something you are comfortable doing.
Information provided by Carl Munkwitz, Concierge Services Manager, Metro Milwaukee

If you need help finding qualified contractors to assist you with any problems you find,
First Weber’s Concierge Services can help by recommending pre-screened vendors in your area. Thank you for reading the First Weber Wisconsin real estate & Wisconsin living blog for information on spring maintenance on your house.

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