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Ed Kunkel Spring

Spring exterior maintenance tips

Spring is here!  It’s time for some sunshine, gardening and barbecues.  It’s also time to care for your home and protect it.  So, get your list together, find your favorite working gloves, and most importantly -be careful!  If your plan includes climbing ladders and handling machines with deadly sharp blades, make sure you know what you’re doing and that someone else is around in case you get hurt.  Keep your cell phone secured in your pocket in case you need to call someone for help, because it’s an unfortunate thing to be stuck where nobody can hear you outside yelling for help.

Recommended tasks to complete outdoors

Take some time to inspect and clean your roof 

If you have trees around your home like many homes around the Northwest, you may likely have loose branches collecting on your roof.  The Northwest is also notorious for roof moss, which is fairly easy to control and eliminate.  Get recommendations from a roofing contractor on the best method that is right for your roof.  Anything that doesn’t belong on the roof can be a culprit for causing water damage or excessive wear on your roofing material.  Roofs are expensive to replace, so do as much as you can to preserve your roofs lifespan.

Clean your gutters and downspouts

Get all of the leaves, debris and gunk out of your gutters.  Remove your downspouts from their brackets and inspect them to make sure there are no obstructions.  Make sure you have a good seal on any connecting seams so water doesn’t leak against your wooden fascia boards or siding.  Leaking gutters and downspouts can cause your wood exterior to rot, and the process of this happening can be subtle.

Inspect your exterior paint

Does your paint look faded?  Is there any chipping in the paint?  These may be signs that your home is due for a new paint job.  Professional painters recommend that your home be painted every four years.  How long has it been for your home?  Painting is a lot of time-consuming work, but necessary to protect your investment.  Here’s an idea to ease the burden – I personally know people that paint only one side of their home every year, and they never change the color.  This can be accomplished pretty easily over a nice warm weekend by hand.

Clean your outdoor furniture

It’s sad to see a great piece of furniture go to waste from being worn out from the elements.  Outdoor furniture should be stored in a dry place over the winter, and be put out and cleaned during spring and summer.  Mild soap and warm water is also a great solution for cleaning your furniture.

Service your power tools

It’s time to fire up the lawn mower, weed eater, chain saw, hedge trimmers, etc.  So, when was the last time any of them had a tune up?  Check the oil in these machines, and the spark plugs – they probably need some maintenance, and hopefully you used a fuel stabilizer in your leftover fuel.  Nothing is worse than planning a weekend of putting a big dent in your yard work projects, and ending up fixing one of your yard machines for much of the day instead.  Adjust the height of your blade on the lawnmower for at least the first time around so you’re not struggling through the wet grass as much, and let your clippings dry in place.  I like to use my leaf blower to spread lawn clippings throughout my lawn instead of raking it up.  It makes great fertilizer, spreads well when the clippings are dry, and eliminates the need for a grass pile or to haul it away.

Fertilize your lawn

Depending upon the condition of your lawn, you may also want to aerate your lawn and add lawn seed.  This method will be helpful if you have excessive amounts of crab grass and other weeds that have taken over your grass.  Aside from spreading the grass clippings, I also use lawn fertilizer and a spreader.  One pass over your entire lawn with a good lawn fertilizer will make a great difference in how your lawn looks!

Trim up your shrubs and cut back growth where you don’t want it

Check the power line going into your home, are there any obstructions that could prove to be a problem – like tree branches hovering close or resting against it?  I don’t recommend that you try to cut away the unwanted branches around your power line, you should call your local PUD to fix this instead.  Do you have shrubs that are growing against the house?  That is what an inspector would call a ‘conducive condition’ to cause unwanted bugs to get in your home – use a hedge trimmer and clippers to trim them at least a foot away from your home.

Don’t forget to enjoy the fruits of your labor, it’s a great time for a barbecue in your well-cared for backyard!  Make sure you cook mine medium rare.


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Ed Kunkel