Think of spring home maintenance and the first thing that comes to mind is spring cleaning. While the date of the first day of spring differs around the world, it remains the time to wash away the dirt and prepare your home for the year ahead.
In the Chinese calendar, ‘Ninyabaat’ is the 28th day of the 12th month in the year, however it’s usually performed just before the first day of the new year. Homes are cleaned and any fixes and repainting jobs are performed to banish the bad luck of the previous year. In the Middle East and Central Asia, the spring cleaning is known as Khaneh-Tekani, which translates as “shaking house”. Houses are repainted, silverware is polished, carpets are cleaned and the air is freshened by burning sandalwood or the espand herb. By physically cleaning your home, the belief is that you are also getting rid of the past and any evil spirits that may have formed connections to your property.
Despite the importance of cleaning, it needn’t and shouldn’t be your only focus as we enter April. There are many spring home maintenance duties that should each play a role in giving your home an MOT to prepare it for the year ahead. Below, we reveal some of the most important spring home maintenance tasks.
Essential spring home maintenance tasks
Check your roof
After winter’s bout of bad weather, it’s important to check your roof for problems and signs of damage. Look for loose or missing tiles and keep an eye out for signs of water damage on upper floor ceilings which could point to a leak. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this can be delayed until we’re approaching autumn. Summer heat can damage tiles and if yours are already looking fragile, they’re likely to suffer.
Skylight owners will need to look for signs of a leak (water around the frame) and if you own a chimney, book it in for an inspection. A lack of excess smoke filtering into your home means that it’s probably fine but if a chimney specialist gives it a clean bill of health, you won’t have to worry about soot damaging your furniture any time soon. Spring is the ideal time to give it some TLC as fewer windy days mean less risk of a downdraft pushing soot, creosote and other substances down your chimney and inside your property.
Inspect gutters and downspouts
Following the recent rainfall which saw cities double, or in Oxford’s case, triple its January average at 146.9mm, prioritise making sure that your gutters are clear from leaves and other debris to avoid future flooding and damage to the structure of your home. A plumber can fit non-return valves to your drainpipes to stop dirty water being forced up and into your home.
Downspouts are the means of carrying rainwater away from your gutters and taking it to your local sewer system or rainwater harvesting system. If you’ve noticed water pooling close to your home during heavy rainfall, pinpoint where your downspouts are releasing the water. Gutter extensions are your port of call for redirecting this location further away from your home in order to protect your building’s structure. Aim for roughly six feet away from the side of your house.
Look for pests
When moisture comes into contact with wood, it’s easy for wet or dry rot to form. A 20% moisture level is all that’s required for dry rot, while you’ll need a 28-30% moisture level for wet rot. Once the rot is established, it’ll only need a 20% moisture level to maintain its presence and damp wood in a humid home is the ideal playground for common woodworms or beetle larvae that breed within the wood and create 1.5-2mm holes from which to escape and travel.
There are different types of woodworm, so start by identifying which type you have before you attempt to treat the problem. Once your home is a human only zone, you’ll need to remove the source of the damp to stop the critters returning. A leaking roof, overflowing pipe or a badly sealed bath are three of the most common causes, so make sure that each room is well-ventilated and hire in a damp proofing specialist if need be.
Freshen up paintwork
Over time, exterior paint can be prone to peeling or bubbling. Not only will flaky paint expose the outside of your home to the elements, it doesn’t show your house in its best light and the same is true of weakened internal paintwork.
If you can see exposed wood peeping through the paint, scrape off loose flakes or bubbles and sand the surface until it’s smooth. After that, you’re free to add a coat of primer before repainting with a water-based paint, suitable for external application. For internal walls, scraping off the old paint flakes before applying a PVA and skimming the wall is your best option. If you’re not confident in your skills, a plasterer can help.
To pro-long the life of your windows and doors, schedule some time into your diary to check your caulking. Applied to window sills and door edges, caulking is your plug to fill cracks and seal off your home to rainwater, air and bugs. If yours is loose or easily peels away when it’s touched, scrape it all off and indulge in a spot of sanding before re-filling the exposed areas with fresh caulk.
Repair damaged concrete
Many of us have concrete slabs in our back gardens. It can be tricky to maintain them, especially if you’ve opted for an appropriately named crazy paving design, where slabs are positioned at various angles and distances from each other. You only need to act if you notice cracks or if the slabs appear to be further apart than they were previously.
To fix cracking concrete, remove any weeds and fill the gaps with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulking, before washing it down and applying a sealant. While filling in the gaps will help support the slabs from the stress of you walking over their surfaces, a sealant is needed to prevent water and dirt from reaching the joints.
If you need professional help to perform your home maintenance, post your job and up to three local tradesmen will get in touch to help. Whether that’s a roofer, plasterer or damp proofing specialist to name but three trades, you’ll be emailed links to their profile pages which come complete with previous ratings and recommendations.