Fall is here and the weather is perfect for spending more time outdoors. It is also the perfect time to start preparing your home’s exterior outdoor living space for the impending harsh winter weather. Taking the time now to get your home prepared for snow, ice, and freezing temperature will not only help protect your home but will save you some time in the spring.
Your home’s exterior is your first layer of protection from the winter weather. Make sure it’s in prime condition before bad weather and cold temperatures appear.
- Check your windows for cracks and clear the sills of dirt and debris and clean them with a dry paintbrush.
- Replace or reattach any loose or damaged weather stripping around the doors and windows. Check for drafts and caulk inside and outside as needed.
- Replace screen doors with storm doors. A storm door will provide an extra layer of protection and reduce air and moisture leaks.
- Inspect your siding and trim for wood rot, decay, or other problems and make any necessary repairs.
- Examine your roof for missing or damaged shingles and replace as necessary to prevent leaks.
- Check for damaged or missing flashing around the chimney, walls, skylights, and vent pipes and replace them as needed.
- Ensure that gutters and downspouts are properly fastened and directing water away from the house.
- Check that handrails on all of the exterior stairs are sturdy and secure.
- Trim overgrown branches away from the house and electrical wires to prevent branches from causing damage if they become coated with ice.
- Remove any hoses and store them inside. Shut off all of your exterior faucets.
- Be sure to properly drain and disconnect any water feature to prevent them from cracking and breaking over the winter.
Deck and patio
Your deck should be thoroughly inspected for damage at least once a year. If you didn’t inspect it or refinish it in the spring, check now to see if it needs to be refinished or requires any repairs.
- Examine your deck for split or decaying wood. This should include the support structures, deck floor, and railing. Replace any damaged or decayed boards.
- Make sure the railing and banisters are properly secured.
- Replace any flashing that is damaged or missing, especially in areas where water may collect.
- Give your deck a thorough cleaning to get rid of all the dirt and grime. You can use a power washer but do so carefully so you don’t damage the wood. Be sure to sweep away any leaves or debris.
- Sweep your patio to remove any dirt and debris and wash it thoroughly with a hose.
- Remove any weeds that may be growing around your patio.
While outdoor furniture is designed to stand up to harsh winter weather, it’s always a good idea to give it a little extra TLC at the end of the season to prolong its life and keep it looking great longer. Be sure to clean your outdoor furniture before storing it away for the winter. If your furniture will remain outside, consider covering it for added protection.
- If you have metal furniture, examine it for scratches and rust and touch it up with automotive paint.
- For wrought iron furniture, use a wire brush to remove rust and touch it up with an exterior paint created specifically for wrought iron.
- Plastic furniture can become brittle if it is left outside in frigid temperatures. Clean it with soap and water and store it inside.
- Inspect wood furniture for wood rot, decay, or damage and repair and paint it as needed.
- For outdoor furniture with fabrics, you should give it a good cleaning before storing it. Vacuum or brush off dirt and use soap and water on tough stains. While outdoor fabrics are resistant to mildew, it’s still a good idea to store them indoors over the winter. Consider storing them in plastic bags to keep them clean.
- Hammocks and umbrellas should be stored indoors. Before storing, wash them with soap and water. Be sure to allow them to try thoroughly before storing them to prevent mildew and mold.
Don’t forget to winterize your grill. Light it and allow any food particles to burn away, then scrape the grill and empty the grease tray. You should wash the exterior with soap and water. You can either bring your grill indoors for the winter or you can cover it with a plastic cover and leave it outside.