A common thing we see during home inspections is the result of what happens when years of simple but forgotten maintenance turn into costly repairs. Each Fall, spending just 15 minutes per day with a little caulking here, some cleaning out gutters there, and removing moss from collecting on a roof all pay off quickly and are important to protecting the value of your home.
Without regular upkeep, your house can actually lose value over time. Poor maintenance adds up when the time comes to sell a house, and the home inspector writes you up for a decaying deck or water damage in the crawlspace.
Here is a helpful seasonal home maintenance checklist tailored to Sacramento’s weather conditions. Dedicate just 15 minutes per day to weatherizing your home, and you will the preventative benefits will pay off.
Of course, if you truly don’t have the time to do it yourself, you aren’t sure about what to look for, or you just want a specialist to give your home a once-over, then SacPro Home Inspections offers a special $150 package that lasts up to 45 minutes reviewing what the outside of your home needs to get you ready for the winter. Afterwards, we will walk you through what we have found, and discuss options. We can also refer you to our trusted contractors for repairs. Call (916) 333-0540 to schedule your appointment.
Sacramento: Gear up for wet weather
In the Pacific Northwest region, water damage is one of a homeowner’s biggest concerns. Keeping water away from wood, out of walls, and draining away from under foundations is extremely important.
Most of the area’s rainfall happens between October and March, and according to The Weather Channel, Sacramento experiences 58 days of rain annually, adding about 19-20 inches of rain per year.
If you keep your house dry in all the right places, you can prevent mold and water damage.
Here are a few key areas to focus your attention.
- Trim your trees away from the house.
- Gently remove moss from the roof.
- Clean out the leaves, sticks, and debris from your gutters.
- Caulking, and more caulking
- Seal up decks, patios, and any wood surfaces exposed to the elements.
Trim all trees away from the house.
We like to start with recommending routine tree trimming, because keeping vegetative debris away from your roof makes the other recommendations and upkeep a little easier. Trimming your trees also looks good for curb appeal.
The yard is one of the first things agents look at before listing a house. But it’s about more than aesthetics.
Maintaining trees and shrubs also reduces storm and water damage. Think about wind, and a wood stick constantly rubbing against your roof or siding. Trimming back foliage also allows more air to circulate so the exterior siding can properly dry. Tree branches should be trimmed away from all electrical, and remove dead debris that can blow off in windy conditions.
A professional tree trimmer can run between $200 to $350 per hour, depending. So staying on top of this task will also reduce that bill if you need to call in a professional.
Gently remove moss from the roof.
Moss needs wet and shady conditions to thrive. As it spreads, it can lift your shingles, cause cracked shingles during the cold winter months, or even lead to mold. Then, when it rains, water can get inside your home and lead to more mold and water damage.
A tiny crack can cause big problems, so it is always a good idea to proactively get your roof inspected before the rainy season and make moss treatment a priority.
As soon as you begin to see moss, take action before it gets out of control. Use a soft-bristle scrub brush and cleansers like Wet & Forget to remove and treat the area.
Remember, roofs are dangerous, and balancing a ladder against a roof isn’t for every homeowner. Plus, improperly walking around on a roof can cause granules to come loose from asphalt shingles, crack roofing tiles, or otherwise damage the roof covering.
There is a proper technique involved with this task, and often-times moss removal is a task better left to a professional roof cleaner.
Clean out the leaves, sticks, and debris from your gutters.
All of the systems in your house are integrated to shed water away from your home. Think of your home as a large drainage system.
So, in addition to creating bad curb appeal, clogged gutters undermine the drainage system by allowing dirty water to run down the exterior of your house rather than away from it. Sometimes that water will penetrate your fascia board and even go into your walls, and the weight of all that water may pull the gutter away from the fascia board.
This improperly directed drainage water can cause mold growth and even put your home’s foundation and structure at risk. Also, make sure your landscaping grades away from your foundation.
You can DIY your gutter cleaning with an extending ladder, rubber gloves, and plastic scoop. We have even seen hooked hose extensions that allow homeowners to flush gutter systems while still standing on the ground.
But, of course, this gets trickier if you have a two-story home and need to clean gutters on the second story. If you need someone else to clean your gutters, then ask for a personal referral from your neighbors, or even post a request on Nextdoor for a recommendation.
Caulking, and more caulking
Technically we are talking about a “sealant”. Caulking / sealant generally describes any waterproof material that fills and seals joints between building materials. It is used for both new construction and repairs. But a sealant is typically more elastic and applied to areas which are more prone to contraction and expansion.
Water likes to seep into little cracks, and wood likes to absorb moisture. Lack of airflow, slow evaporation, and natural bacteria in the environment makes the perfect circumstances for wood deterioration.
Now look around your home… gaps between corner trim and fascia boards, wall coverings, and splits in wood provide plenty of opportunity for months of constantly moist wood. Every gap is an opportunity for rot.
Sealant is inexpensive, easy to apply, and comes in a variety of types. We recommend an exterior, paintable, and flexible waterproof polymer, such as GE’s paintable Silicone caulk for $9 at Home Depot.
Seal up decks, patios, and any wood surfaces exposed to the elements.
By now you have probably noticed a common theme: prevent rotting wood. And let’s face it, no one likes rotting wood. So make sure outdoor decks are properly sealed.
Note that anytime you power wash a wood patio or deck, it should be re-sealed within 3-5 days (but it also has to dry, so wait 48 to 72 hours to start the project.
Prime, dry, paint, dry, re-paint any exposed wood surfaces. But first make sure the wood is dry before you seal it with primer. A good primer coating helps the paint stick to the wood, and makes your paint job last longer. You can paint a latex over oil based primer, but not the other way around. You can also paint latex over latex. But one type of paint most people overlook are alkyd paints.
Conventional alkyd paints dry by solvent evaporation and cure by oxidation in approximately five days to a hard, glossy finish that is simply unmatched by latex paints. Think of alkyd paints as a mix between latex and oil based paints. Alkyd paints are well-suited for wood trim, doors, cabinets and other high-use areas that require smooth durability.
This type of preventative maintenance will save you money in the long run.
SacPro Home Inspections is committed to always providing our clients with outstanding service. Call (916) 333-0540 to speak with a representative.
Our experienced home inspectors are thorough and have excellent communications skills. If you are buying or selling in Antelope, Arden Park, Auburn, Arbuckle, Carmichael, Citrus Heights, Davis, Dixon, East Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, Elk Grove, Elverta, Fair Oaks, Folsom, Garden of the Gods, Granite Bay, Natomas, Orangevale, Rancho Cordova, Rancho Murieta, Rio Vista, Rocklin, Rosemont, Roseville, Sacramento, Sierra Oaks, West Sacramento, Williams, Winters, and Woodland areas, then we can help!