10 maintenance tips for the outside of the home

Print this recipe
Homeownership comes with an inevitable set of habits and routines that heavily revolve on property care. Whether unknowingly or out of necessity, many homeowners make caring for the interior of the home a top priority. It makes sense that cleaning and touch-up routines would center on residential spaces where the most time is spent. Although it’s important to care for the inside of a home, the exterior is just as vital to a property’s structural integrity and needs to be regularly maintained.
Setting a firm maintenance plan is key to keeping up with the care the outside of a home requires. Breaking down the process to the basics is a useful way to avoid becoming overwhelmed with tasks. Taking enough time to care for a home’s exterior is a practical way to set an ambiance for visitors, keep a home in great condition and stay a step ahead of the market when it comes time to sell a property. These 10 maintenance tips for the outside of the home are sure to keep a property as strong and appealing as possible while making caring for it entirely manageable.
1. Power wash the porch
Whether the home exclusively has a front porch or sports one in the backyard as well, it’s important to power wash these frequently used features. Porches are susceptible to all of the damage that comes with outdoor wear and tear. It’s likely that with time a porch will experience debris buildup from leaves, dust and dirt. Leaving these elements to their own devices can result in a porch that’s not only grimy and unsightly but comes with the risk of lifted boards and worn surfaces. A quick power wash at the turn of each season can eliminate excess debris and keep a porch looking its best while also lasting longer.
2. Wash windows and screens
There is a tendency when it comes to window cleaning to stick to the interior surface and leave the exterior glass to the elements. Removing the grime from only inside, however, doesn’t do anything to help keep exterior windows in top shape. To extend the life of window units and make sure they are allowing maximum natural light flow, regularly wipe down the outside as well. Use a traditional glass cleaner or a warm water and dish detergent mix to get the job done. Screens can be quickly removed and wiped with warm water and soap aided by a soft scrubbing brush for better results.
3. Clean gutters regularly
Just because it can’t always be seen from ground level doesn’t mean the debris that’s likely built up in gutters isn’t harmful. Gutters that aren’t regularly cleared run the risk of becoming a source of water blockage as leaves, dirt and grime build over time. Water that sits in the gutter or is allowed to overflow regularly can damage shingles and roofing below, potentially leading to a costly repair. Keep money in the bank and water flowing freely by independently removing gutter debris each season or commissioning a professional to do so.
4. Inspect and apply caulk around windows
It’s easy to assume that temperature regulation in the home starts with the furnace or air conditioning, but in reality, much of this rests with the quality of the windows and exterior caulking. Weather plays a big part in wearing down this important sealant, and if it isn’t reapplied regularly, homes run the risk of developing major drafts. Not only are air leaks uncomfortable when it comes to temperature, but in extreme conditions, these leaks can lead to higher utility bills as furnaces and air conditioners work to make up the difference. A simple reapplication is all it takes to keep the temperature level and windows sealed up tight. As an added bonus, windows that are well-caulked are known to keep bugs and other pests outside where they belong.
5. Trim away rooftop branches
Maintaining the exterior of a home involves an awareness of the property’s surroundings. Evaluate branch lengths from nearby trees that may extend over the roof. A dead or weakening branch doesn’t require much wind to come crashing down and cause significant damage. Trimming away these branches before they have a chance to be a problem keeps the home out of harm’s way and protects its occupants.
6. Perform a regular roof inspection
Interior living rooms, bathrooms and bedrooms are fairly straight forward cleaning exercises where dirt that’s visible can be quickly swiped away. Alternatively, exterior home maintenance requires the ability to clean beyond what’s visible and anticipate problems. The roof is a major part of an exterior home maintenance routine because it plays such a vital role in the home’s structure. It’s essential to perform a ground-level roof inspection at least twice a year to make sure lingering debris doesn’t remain. Something as simple as a Frisbee that hasn’t been retrieved can capture water on the roof, which eventually provides a path for moisture beneath the shingles. The potential for mold and structural damage runs high when roof inspections are skipped.
7. Apply paint touch-ups
A little paint goes a long way toward keeping the exterior of a home looking its best. Although some homeowners assume this is a purely aesthetic preference, freshening up paint is an effective way to keep surfacing sealed. A thin layer of paint around door frames, window frames and porch railings is an easy way to upgrade a home’s look while keeping paint chips from creating an unnecessary hazard.
8. Fix broken fencing
Whether it’s a tall wood fence for privacy or a chain-link addition to the backyard, it’s essential to keep an eye all year on fencing that might need attention or repair. Not only does a broken fence create a risk for unintentional physical harm, but it also allows animals that might not otherwise hang out around the home to come and go as they please. Homes with small children are particularly vulnerable to risk when it comes to fences that aren’t up to par. Regularly check for cracks, breaks or holes in fencing that could become a serious problem. 
9. Invest in a hedge trimmer
Similar to tree branches, out of control hedges can be disastrous to the exterior of a home. Without proper maintenance, hedges can grow up and past windows, scratching the glass and providing a more direct route for bugs and pests. Overgrown hedges can also lead to paint or siding damage. Remove the worry that comes with unnecessary repair costs and invest in a hedge trimmer that makes it simple to keep hedges at the right height.
10. Check outdoor hoses for leaks
It’s easy to overlook, but an exterior hose that leaks can be a big problem for a home's foundation. A leaky faucet that’s left unchecked leads to significant moisture buildup at the base of the house and can ultimately cause mold to grow or structural weakening to occur. Homeowners may also notice rising water bills. Keep bills to a minimum and the home protected from damage by checking outdoor hoses monthly for leaks and replacing them as needed.
Resources Insurance Hub
Print this recipe