Autumn and Winter are great seasons. Everything slows down. Autumn is filled with beautiful shades of leaves, everywhere. Which brings me to my next (but same) point. Leaves everywhere! It would be wonderful if preparing your home for Winter just included a few DIY efforts. Making sure your home doesn’t suffer wear and tear and damage these colder seasons, seems extremely wise.
Reasons for Autumn Home Maintenance would include:
A basic visual check from ground level may be all that you can manage. We don’t recommend getting on the roof yourself. Get an expert to do this. Check for signs of rust, broken or cracked tiles, or flashings that may have lifted or cracked. Also check nearby trees and overhanging branches as they have the potential to damage a roof during high winds. (Tip: Before pruning, check if you need Council approval and an arborist.)
Clean, or possibly replace, your gutters. You may need a ladder to check if gutters are blocked with debris and dirt. Use a running hose to detect leaks (or wait until it rains). If they’re clogged, you can end up with a flooded interior and damaged exterior. So clean them, and if necessary, replace them. It’s the job of your roof’s drainage system to divert water from your house’s exterior, so it’s important that this system is operating smoothly. Clogged gutters are also more prone to rust and corrosion. How do you prevent this? Before the tree leaves start to drop, clean out your gutters, and consider having mesh guards installed to keep debris from causing future blockages.
I know, I know — this seems tedious and is one of those things where you’re like, “eh, it’ll be fine!” But, it could very easily not be fine. When water gets into cracks it freezes, expands, and can make the crack even bigger. Enough small cracks can turn into big cracks, and eventually the concrete can crumble. Plus, uh, you’d probably prefer a driveway without a giant pothole. So, using concrete crack sealer, fill it up and be done with it.
Like decks, we recommend a regular pressure clean of all your hard surfaces such as driveways, paths, and pavers. Removal of dirt, oil and grease, or moss will always be easier with regular cleaning.
We recommend resealing a wooden deck 2 or 3 times (or more) a year to extend its useful lifetime and good looks. Also consider regular high pressure cleaning to remove stains, dirt, and cobwebs.
If you have a high pressure cleaner, it may be a good idea to give the outside of your house a good clean to prevent build up of dirt, cobwebs, mould, etc. Take care around windows, doors, vents, and pipes to prevent water penetration of internal spaces.
For all external gates, it’s good practice to check the locks and hinges to ensure they shut safely and securely. You might also consider hiding away wheelie bins, and pool filters with a bespoke wooden cover or enclosure. This will not only look amazing, but provide protection from the elements.
You know what they say: The best offense is a good defense. If you want to keep your lawn looking great in the spring and summer, you need to prep it for the fall and winter. Roots are still active when the grass isn’t growing, so applying fertilizer will prevent winter damage. Doing this will also help your lawn turn green faster in the spring, which is crucial, because who wants to look at a sad lawn once it gets nice out?
If you notice drips or water stains running down your internal walls, this is definitely a sign of water ingress somewhere (eg. whirly birds, back run from the edge of the roof, holes in the roof, or holes in the exterior walls from air conditioning cables etc.). Finding the problem can sometimes be a little tricky, but this is a situation that really deserves immediate attention as it will continue to get worse.
Checking the seals around your external doors, windows, and skylights will ensure your comfort all year round, but especially so during winter. Time and wear and tear have the potential to deteriorate most seals. Replacing some seals is relatively straight forward, but for others (eg. around the edge of a skylight), it may be a little more challenging to do yourself.
There’s a proverb that says you’ll soon forget things that are no longer visible or present, and your bathroom exhaust fans are no different. Every 2 to 3 months it’s a good idea to remove the exhaust fan cover and clean the blades, vents and filters. Removing dust regularly will not only help prevent mould and mildew, but will keep your exhaust fans in safe working order for longer.
Another relatively easy job to keep your home looking fabulous throughout the colder months. Check skirting boards, door frames and high traffic areas for chips, scrapes, scratches, holes, etc. A patch and repair that looks great after it’s painted, or just achieving a smooth consistent finish can take some skill and be quite tricky to achieve, so talk to your local Handyman in Cape Town.
As you probably use your drying a lot more during the colder months and/or drying your clothes on racks inside, now’s the perfect time to do a laundry audit. You don’t need to engage Marie Kondo, but decluttering and organising your laundry now will be worth the effort. Commit to using all products before replacing them with new ones. Throw away or recycle empty containers. Assess your workable space in terms of storage – do you need racks, shelves, cupboards, baskets. Can you install a rail or retractable clothes line? Wall-mounted extendable clothes airers are another good option, especially if you have limited space. Hooks within cupboards and behind doors are also another space saving option.
And lastly, our number one tip is to declutter your home, from your front door to the garage/carport. Dispose of, recycle, upcycle, and give everything a home within your home. Like your laundry the possibilities are almost endless – hooks, rails, shelves, cupboards, retractable racks etc. In the garage/carport you may be able to hang items (eg. bicycles) from the walls or ceilings.
Like a regular health check-up, a home maintenance schedule is important for every house’s upkeep. Continuing to check on your exterior, appliances, heating and cooling, plumbing, security, and electrical systems will help prevent breakdowns, save money, and keep your home looking its best.