The harsh winter months in Minnesota can do a number on the exterior of your home. Roofs, decks, porches, and windows are exposed to freezing temps and lots of snow, and will most likely be in need of a little TLC when the snow finally melts and the weather starts to warm up.
Spring is the perfect time of year to start tackling home improvement projects since there is a much lower risk of snow or cold weather. Pleasant temperatures tend to renew the spirit and motivate homeowners to get their homes ready for summer.
If you complete home improvement projects in the spring, you’ll be ready to have guests over by the summer. You’ll also save yourself the trouble of making important home repairs under the hot summer sun.
Clean up your landscape
As the snow melts and your lawn becomes visible again, take some time to clean up your landscape.
Lawn maintenance is no easy task, as it requires fertilization, trimming, and mowing. Start by raking the lawn to remove any branches, debris and leaves that you might have missed in the fall. Make sure outdoor water systems, pipes, faucets, and in-ground sprinkler systems are in working order.
You don't have to stop at a well-manicured lawn. Spring is the time of new growth. Since most plants and flowers begin blooming in the spring months, this is a great time to plant something new. Look into what plants will grow well in your area and how much maintenance is required of each.
If tending to a garden isn't your thing, try a few easy-maintenance potted plants you can keep on your patio, porch, or deck. It's a simple way to add greenery to your outdoor area.
Check for roof damage and make necessary repairs
Your roof is the first defense to the interior of your home, so it's essential for it to be in the best condition. Make it a priority to check your roof in the spring to look for any winter-related damage.
A snow-covered roof makes a pretty winter picture, but it can do some serious damage to the structural integrity of your home. Ice dams, or blocks of ice that form in the gutter, may prevent proper drainage and cause water to leak into the home. Snow and ice may also get under the shingles, leading to water damage and rot. Both can cause interior damage if not caught in time.
To check if your roof is in need of repair, look for the following signs:
- Cracked or torn shingles
- Missing shingles
- Sagging areas
- Curled shingles
- Water stains on the ceilings, which could point to a roof leak
- Water spots on exterior walls
- Rust or stains where exterior walls meet the roof
If you spot a problem, no matter how small, it is vital to fix it as soon as possible. The sooner you make a repair, the better. A seemingly minor issue can worsen if left unaddressed and lead to water damage and mold in your home.
Caulk window gaps
The freezing winter temperatures can wreak havoc on your windows, especially if they are already nearing the end of their lifespan. Check for gaps between the window and frame that may cause air leaks or poor insulation. A rotting frame or weather stripping may be a result of winter weather. If windows aren’t sealed properly, they’ll let cool air out and hot air in and you’ll waste a lot of money on air conditioning.
One way you can test for an air leak is with a smoke test. To conduct a smoke test, close all windows and doors. Next, turn off all combustion appliances such as the furnace, water heater, oven or any space heaters. Then, turn on bathroom fans and kitchen vents to create negative pressure and suck in outside air through any crack or gap around windows and doors.
Next, hold a burning incense stick next to a window. If there is an air leak, the smoke will fluctuate and be pulled inward. If there is not a leak, the smoke will not change.
You may only need to replace the window’s caulking to seal up gaps and help protect your home from wind and rain. However, if you need to replace a window, investing in energy-efficient windows is a good choice because they are thicker, help lower energy bills, and protect against weather.
Clean gutters to prevent water damage
Gutters need to be able to carry water from summer storms away from your home to prevent water damage. During the winter, snow and ice build up in gutters, putting extra weight on them and possibly causing them to pull away from the house. Once the snow has melted, you may find leaves, twigs or other debris clogging gutters. If gutters are blocked, damaged or out of place, they won’t drain properly. Leaky gutters can waterlog and rot window sills, peel paint off of siding, and leak water into the basement.
Remove debris from your gutters and downspouts, such as leaves and twigs. Then flush your gutters with water to identify any leaks or areas of standing water. If there is any sign that your gutters are not in working order, make sure to fix the problem right away before spring showers and summer storms hit. Minor leaks can be repaired with gutter sealant and draining issues can be fixed with slight adjustments.
If you need a new gutter, you should replace it immediately. There are two main types:
- K-style gutters are the most popular gutter type and are seen on most homes. They look like trim and are both decorative and functional.
- Half-round gutters are shaped like a semi-circle. They are most commonly seen in older homes or homes with slate or tile roofs and are usually used in restoration projects to match the style of a home.
Replace damaged doors to save energy costs
A poorly insulated door affects the temperature inside your home, requiring your HVAC system to work extra hard to maintain a comfortable temperature. This can end up wasting a lot of energy and money. If the door is rusty, heavily dented, rotting, or moldy, then it’s likely time to replace it with a more durable and energy-efficient model.
However, a weather-worn entry door that bears no other signs of distress, such as cracks, dents, or a sagging frame, may just need a fresh coat of paint. A freshly-painted door will add a pop of color to your home and is a great option for those on a tighter budget. Hose off dirt, scrape flaking paint, and caulk cracks before you get started to make the paint last longer.
Upgrade deck or porch
Outdoor decks and porches are challenging to maintain because they’re constantly exposed to outside elements. Because of this, they endure a lot of extreme weather during the winter months. Freezing rain, snow and ice load a deck or porch with moisture, which can cause the wood to mold or rot.
First, look for warped or splintered boards and sweep away any leaves and debris that might have accumulated. Then check to see if the deck was stained by wet leaves. Leaves leak tannins in the rain, staining unfinished wood as a result.
You can tell if your deck is in need of repair just by feeling it and looking at the wood. Rotted wood feels soft and spongy and looks darker than other wood due to the excess moisture. You can also check if your deck is rotted with a knife or sharp blade. If you can penetrate the wood without applying much pressure, it’s likely rotted. Any signs of mold or mildew need immediate attention before spreading or causing damage.
Power-washing, replacing the wood, and repainting portions are some of the ways you can upgrade your deck. If the finish on your wood deck is faded or worn, one easy improvement is to stain it to either change the color or just accentuate the wood grain.
Install a new mailbox
A new or refreshed mailbox that complements the style of your home is an easy upgrade that can quickly boost the curb appeal of your home. Consider painting your mailbox a new color or planting flowers around the base.
Update your address display
Give your doorway a fresh look with a new address display. This can be a great way to personalize your home and improve your curb appeal. The best part is that there are so many different ways to do it: You could simply paint the numbers a new color, install lights for better visibility at night, or get creative with colorful tiles or bricks.
Spring home improvements aren't limited to the exterior of your home. There are plenty of simple projects that you can do inside your home as well.
Painting your walls can be a great way to breathe new life into your home. Your wall colors set the tone of each room, so picking the right colors and doing a good job are important. While airy grays are still popular, including more color can make rooms feel richer and add personality. Use bolder colors in bathrooms, bedrooms, or bonus rooms instead of the main living areas.
However, wall paint isn’t just for decoration. It’s also a protective surface for your walls. Proper preparation and quality materials are necessary for your walls to last.
These are great projects that many people will accomplish on their own. But if DIY home improvement is of little interest; or if you have grandiose ideas that are too much to handle, let’s chat. BWBE is committed to providing quality workmanship in all of your projects. If you’re looking for high-quality home improvement at a price you can afford, you’ve come to the right place. Submit a contact form or give us a call today to discuss your home remodeling project.