Warranty call or home maintenance issue?
Depending on where you are in the country, your homeowners might be getting ready for entertaining on their deck, or doing some spring planting. They might be anticipating wetter weather, or they could be turning on the sprinklers for the first time since last fall.
Some warranty calls can be avoided just by homeowners knowing what home maintenance they ought to be doing. This post is a list of outdoor springtime home maintenance tips for your homeowners. Feel free to share it with them! For a complete list, homeowners should refer to their warranty book and the tips on the ProHome website.
(Some of these are tasks that should be performed annually, not necessarily in the spring, but now is as good a time as any!)
Taking care of your doors will keep them functional and looking good longer. Start by inspecting the finish, the joints between doorframes and stucco, brick, or siding, and any joints at the threshold. Small gaps often develop where two different types of materials come together. If you find any gaps at these joints, you’ll need to repair the caulk to maintain the weather-resistance of your home. (You should use butyl-rubber caulks for exterior brick, masonry, and flashing.)
If necessary, lubricate rubber weather-stripping with an appropriate lubricant to maintain an effective seal.
Changes in moisture levels in the air might cause your exterior wood doors to swell or shrink slightly. This is considered normal.
Fixing a door that sticks can be done by waxing the side of the door, adjusting the hinges, or lightly planing or sanding the side of the door — the latter will require re-sealing or re-painting the edges of the door.
Lubricate a squeaking door hinge or a lock that sticks with graphite (not oil).
Sliding glass doors
Clean the door tracks and, using an approved window lubricant (penetrating oil or silicone spray), lubricate the door tracks, rollers, and slides, if needed. This should be done at least once a year, and spring is a natural time to do it, when you’re looking forward to spending more time outside.
Moisture due to condensation or from the weep holes should not be allowed to collect and remain in the bottom door track as this attracts dirt and can lead to mold growth, corrosion, and damage to joint sealants.
Tighten the screws on the door hardware. Use graphite to lubricate the lock.
Adjust and lubricate the rollers so that windows operate smoothly. Window tracks and weep holes should be inspected and cleaned at least annually to ensure they are free from dirt or other foreign particles.
As with sliding glass doors, it’s important to make sure the bottom window track doesn’t have water — from condensation or from the weep holes — collecting in it. Standing water attracts dirt and can lead to excessive moisture and mold growth in your home.
Inspect and clean debris out of gutters and flush clean with a hose twice a year, in the spring and fall. To keep them free from debris, downspouts, underground drain lines, and area drains should be flushed twice a year (or more frequently if necessary).
You should inspect and remove debris from drainage swales, drainage ditches and culverts, and from around the foundation of your home every month. If you haven’t done it recently, it should at least be part of your spring maintenance routine.
Gardening and yard work
For many, spring is a time to enjoy some gardening. Looking further forward, you might be thinking about hot summer days and irrigation.
If you’re putting in new flowerbeds, don’t put them too close to the bottom of your siding. There should be a minimum of 4 inches between the bottom of the siding and earth. If a flowerbed is close to the foundation, and is surrounded by hardscape, provide drainage within the bed that flows away from the foundation.
It’s critical to avoid heavy planting within 5 feet of the foundation. Do not plant trees near your home.
Don’t install raised planters attached or adjacent to the house. Before altering soil grading, or other drainage components, it’s important to consult with a soils engineer.
If there are any sunken or depressed areas in your yard, especially around the foundation, even them out by topping up the holes with fill dirt.
If you have an irrigation system, check sprinkler heads and timing clocks periodically to ensure that landscaping receives the appropriate amount of water. Make sure water isn’t spraying the house or other structures, including fences.
If you’re putting in a new irrigation system, avoid installing spray irrigation close to the foundation. Spray irrigation shouldn’t be installed within 5 feet of your foundation or structure. Stucco, brick, and other walls are not waterproof and constant exposure to irrigation will damage the underlying wall surface. Close to the house, consider drip irrigation instead.
Look around your yard for wet spots that don’t drain properly. Make corrections immediately to avoid problems.
Most exterior wall systems have a weep system that allows moisture to drain to the exterior of the home. It is important not to block the weep system in any way. For stucco walls, moisture exits from the "weep screed" which can be identified as a small bump between the stucco wall and the foundation.
Twice a year, clear away any leaves, dirt, or other debris that collects at the base of the weep system to avoid it being blocked (by soil or hardscape). The weep system should be a minimum of 2 inches from any pavement and 4 inches from soil.
If you’ve had cool, humid weather, you might notice efflorescence on your concrete. This is normal and can be scrubbed off with water and a stiff brush if you wish.
Inspect deck or balcony drains, and clean them, if necessary. If spring tends to be rainy for you, check several times during the season to ensure they don’t get blocked.
Planters should have a self-contained drainage system and be raised off the surface of your deck.
If you have a heat pump or air conditioning system, maintain the recommended clearance between the condenser and landscaping or other structures. For air conditioning, the condenser’s condensate lines must be serviced at least twice per year, at the beginning of the season and at the end.
So there you have it! Some outdoor spring home maintenance tips. We hope this helps you enjoy the warmer weather with greater peace of mind. For a full list of home maintenance tasks, please refer to your warranty book and the ProHome website.
If you’d like to talk about the benefits of warranty management, please contact Matt at (316) 706-0368 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.
If you know a builder who might find this information helpful, please share it with them.