A checklist for homeowners who don’t know where to start
We’re professional cleaners, so we always recommend homeowners consider a service like ours to protect their homes.
However, we also strongly believe that homeowners themselves can take simple steps throughout the year to address small issues that could become big problems if left unattended.
In this post, we want to give you a maintenance checklist anyone can do. You don’t have to be very experienced to look for what we describe, and the solutions are so easy you could do them yourself. We’ll also explain how often we think a particular area of your home should be professionally cleaned, so you can better plan for how you want to take care of those areas.
For your roof, we recommend the following maintenance steps:
- Look for signs of growth on your shingles. Mold and algae can grow on the surface, retain moisture, and damage the integrity of your roof. (See this post for more details.)
- Remove debris like moss, dirt, and fallen tree branches. (You’ll obviously need to climb your ladder for this step.)
- Inspect the shingles for cracks. You can try zooming in with your camera, but a pair of binoculars would also help.
- Look for water leaking in your fireplace or in your attic.
- Check the attic for potential ventilation issues.
- Trim tree branches that regularly scratch your roof. Over time, these branches could damage your shingles.
How often you need a professional cleaning: once a year. If the roof was just installed, then you can probably wait two years.
For your gutters, we recommend the following maintenance:
- If you can reach your gutters on a ladder, then climb up and remove debris. (You might be able to use some of it for mulch.) The outside and inside corners are good places to start.
- Check for cracks and holes. If water spills out of the gutter, then it can damage the siding on your house.
- Inspect for potential holes in the drop outlet, which is the piece that connects the gutter on the edge of your roof to the vertical section attached to the side of your house.
- Look for signs of rust.
- When it’s raining, check how water exits the downspout (the curved portion of your gutter with an open mouth toward the ground). If water doesn’t flow freely through the downspout, then you may still have a clog you didn’t catch.
How often you need a professional cleaning: twice a year, usually in the fall and spring.
For your windows, we recommend the following maintenance:
- Wipe the exterior down with a household cleaner. No, this won’t solve all your cleaning problems, but the finished result of your window will reveal how much work remains to be done.
- Check the sealant around the window for cracks. This sealing can be damaged by various changes in the weather and result in air and water leaks.
- Inspect the paint or wood around your windows. Are there any signs of water damage?
- Open the palm of your hand and hold it close to the edges of the window. Can you feel air coming through? If so, you have a leak.
- Inspect the window for cracks, especially after a period of inclement weather.
- Raise and lower the window. If it doesn’t move as easily as it used to, then lubricate the tracks to make the window easier to close.
How often you need a professional cleaning: twice a year will do the job.
For your home exterior (ex., siding), we recommend doing the following maintenance:
- Look for signs of discoloration. If your house looks notably dirtier than it used to or compared to the house next door, then it may be time for a professional wash.
- Check for signs of water damage. (This, again, could be a sign your gutters are clogged and water is spilling over the sides and down your house.)
- Look for cracked caulk around windows and doors. Those cracks can lead to air and water leaks.
- For wood siding, you’ll want to look for cracked or chipped wood or paint.
- For brick siding, check the status of the mortar joints.
How often you need a professional cleaning: once a year. If the house is newly constructed, then you can probably wait until two years.
Walkways: Sidewalks, Patios & Driveways
To maintain the walkways around your home, such as your driveway, sidewalk, and patio, we recommend inspecting for the following:
- Look for stains. Mold and algae absorb moisture and can eventually damage the concrete or wood.
- Check for cracks and fill them in a concrete patch.
- Inspect if the sidewalk is still level. Running or frozen water can get under the slabs and push the concrete up.
- Remove weeds with a weed killer.
- After you’ve removed the weeds, put polymeric sand between the stones to keep them from growing back. This can also prevent insects from finding another avenue into your house. Be sure to remove excess sand, which can discolor your pavement.
- Regularly wash your patio and reseal it to remove dirt and stains and to make it harder for stains to occur.
- To remove minor stains, you can mix water with a mild detergent and apply them to the areas you want to clean.
- Keep an eye out for uneven surfaces. It’s possible plants or weeds are growing beneath the patio and damaging the integrity of its structure.
- If water flows under the patio, then find a way to divert the water stream. If moisture gets caught under the patio and it freezes (for example), then the ice could damage your patio.
- On your driveway, look for and fill in cracks with an asphalt sealer. Be sure to clean out the cracks before you seal them.
- Check how water flows near the driveway. If it gets under the asphalt, then the water can damage its integrity over time. (For example, if water gets trapped under your driveway during the winter and then freezes overnight, then the ice could damage the asphalt.) You can prevent this with proper yard drainage.
- If you spill gas or oil on the surface, then clean it up immediately. Those liquids can eat away at the asphalt.
Decks & Porches
- On your deck or porch, look for places where plants or algae might be growing in between the planks of wood. Left to themselves, they can damage the wood and break the surface of your deck.
- Apply a new sealant to your deck or porch every few years. This will help the wood repel moisture and prevent damage.
- Sweep away debris, even if it’s just leaves. Anything that can trap moisture will also help mold to grow.
- Regularly rearrange your furniture. Mildew can grow in places where sunlight doesn’t hit, so this step will help maintain the health of your deck or porch.
- Look for nails sticking up. As the wood expands and contracts over time, some of the hardware used to construct it, like nails, might start to stick up beyond the surface.
How often you need a professional cleaning: once a year for all of these surfaces.
Did You Find an Issue?
If you conducted maintenance and found a potential issue, then we’re here to help. Give us a call, and we’ll walk you through how a professional cleaning can give new life to your home exterior and keep your house safe.