Fall Maintenance Tips | Exterior Fall Maintenance Check List


Exterior fall maintenance tips for your house performed during the last days of summer and through the fall season should prepare your property for the cold weather extremes.

Follow this  exterior fall maintenance tips / check list and pick whatever applies to your property, never delay it until the next month – you might be too late.

House exterior fall maintenance tips - repair damaged roofHouse exterior fall maintenance tips - seal all roof penetrations, flashings1. Start your preventive exterior fall maintenance by checking the roof surface for any damage and repair it if necessary, inspect flashing around penetrations, seal the gaps.

Remember that climbing the ladder and walking the roof is dangerous, you must be comfortable with it! Get a professional help if necessary – this also applies to some of the following list items.

House exterior fall maintenance tips - repair damaged chimneyFall maintenance tips - install screen around the chimney cap2. Second on the fall maintenance tips list is chimney inspection. Examine exterior walls for deterioration, ensure that its top is sealed around the flue, and that it has a rain cap installed.

Newer attempt to use a house chimney to support the ladder – it’s a general warning, but in many cases following it might save your life.

3. This item from the house’s exterior fall maintenance tips list applies to your chimney as well – examine / install protective screens around the chimney cap to prevent birds from falling into the flue during the cold season – use caution just like in the previous two paragraphs or outsource it!

Exterior fall maintenance tips - clean contaminated gutter and downspouts before the winterNumber 4 on our exterior fall maintenance tips list is to secure and clean gutters and clogged downspouts, seal leaking seams, disconnect long extensions resting on the ground to prevent them from freezing.

Even if you have gutter guards / screens installed, check the areas close to the downspout to ensure that they are clean. Check those two posts for more details about downspout maintenance & gutter maintenance.

House exterior fall maintenance tips - repair, refinish house soffit, fascia and trim5. Soffit, fascia, house trim – not only the fall maintenance tips items but extremely important before the cold season. Check them for moisture damage, replace missing sections to minimize rodents penetration, scrape loose paint, caulk, and apply new coat of paint.

Surface temperature should be above 50F for painting, otherwise it will not stick properly, and you’ll have to re-do the whole thing in a season or two.

Seal all wall penetrations to prevent air drafts, moisture and insects from getting in - home maintenance check listExterior fall maintenance check list #6. Check all penetrations – around the windows, doors, pipes, vents, etc. for gaps / cracks. If necessary, re-seal it with silicon (preferable) or caulking, fix windows glazing.

Always remove as much of the deteriorating compound as possible, clean surfaces and apply new sealant.

We are almost in the middle of the house’s exterior fall maintenance tips…

Clean clothes dryer vent, vent pipe - home maintenanceHouse fall maintenance - repair damaged ventsHouse fall maintenance check list - ensure proper vent covers installation7. Make sure that all exterior vents / covers / dampers are functional and clean.

Clothes dryer vent will need to be cleaned more often than just during your exterior fall maintenance and this should be definitely included in your routine around-year house exterior maintenance schedule – it’s a potential fire hazard.

To determine frequency of cleaning you’ll need to monitor it for a few weeks. As soon as lint starts accumulating  around the discharge end, clean it, and mark your calendar.

I forgot one thing – make sure that the vent covers have not been installed up side down – just like on the right picture above, and that they have no screens of any kind / damper or louvers only.

Seal Dryvitt joints - Fall House Maintenance Tips8. An obvious item on the fall maintenance tips list are house exterior wall finishes. Fix siding panels, seal gaps/cracks in stucco, Dryvit, brick, stone walls.

The consequences of neglecting Dryvit finishes maintenance can be devastating and include mold contamination of the house structure. Assuming that it was properly installed make sure that there are no open seams between the Dryvit sections and Dryvit to other material joint. Moisture / water that will penetrate open seams might become trapped under the finished surface, which usually results in mold growth.

Deteriorating tuckpointing between the bricks and any other masonry units can be devastating to a house wall if left in such condition for the freezing temperatures. The only way to fight Chicagoland’s weather impact on masonry structures is to have them evaluated before the winter and serviced if necessary. For tuckpointing Chicago and surrounding neighborhoods check the company featured in the video below.

House exterior fall maintenance - check weather stripping around the doors and windows9. This next of the fall maintenance tips will help to make your home more energy efficiently.

Check weather stripping around exterior doors and adjust thresholds to prevent air drafts.

House maintenance exterior fall tips - drain exterior water faucets, remove and drain garden hoses10. While performing exterior fall maintenance remove, drain, and store garden hoses, drain exterior water faucets.

Freezing water expands and will cause damage to the hose fittings, spray nozzles, and valves. Replace your regular water faucets with a frost-free type for extra protection. As an additional protection, you can install removable Styrofoam cover over the faucet.

House fall maintenance exterior tips - remove sump pump extensions resting on the ground to prevent freezing11. Sump pump discharge pipe requires its presence on the fall maintenance check-list as well. Keep it above the ground and sloped towards the ground, monitor long extensions or remove for the cold season to prevent them from freezing.

If the sump pump keeps turning ON more often during the cold season, this might be a result of a frozen or partially frozen discharge pipe.

While performing your exterior fall maintenance make sure that all of the exterior electrical outlet receptacles have GFCI protection# 12 of the fall maintenance tips deals with electrical outlets but even you know nothing about electricity you can perform some basis evaluation. Check electrical outlets for GFCI protection (check this link for more information) and weatherproof cover.

If you have some old, not GFCI protected outlet receptacles, have them replaced by a professional with GFCI outlet receptacles or protect that circuit with a GFCI breaker.

During fall maintenance seal driveway and sidewalk cracks to prevent expansion and possible displacement during the cold season13. As a next step on my fall maintenance tips list check and seal if necessary cracked sidewalks and driveways before the cold season to slow further deterioration.

Water trapped in those cracks could freeze up, expand them, and even cause displacement of hard surfaces.

Lawn sprinkler system head - drain your sprinkler system while performing fall maintenance, before the cold season14. Winterize sprinkler system – another of the fall maintenance tips that might save you from a lot of repairs next season.

Draining it is not enough; you’ll need a compressor to blow out whatever water remains in the lines. Under the ground they might not always be sloped properly towards the drain valve and could freeze up / crack during the cold season.

Clean window well drains - fall maintenance15. Since color changing leafs are the beautiful part of the entire fall maintenance period, keep your eye on them and remember to keep them out of the drainage channels around the property like inside the basement window wells, basement exterior entrance, etc.

When performing fall maintenance before the cold season seal or remove window or wall air conditioning units16. And the final of my fall maintenance tips: Seal or remove (and seal the openings) window or wall air conditioning units to minimize air drafts.

To complete preparation for the cold season follow the link to the house interior fall maintenance tips.

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