Now That the Winter Is Over, Do These Maintenance Projects at Home

Cabin fever has officially subsided, and homeowners are starting to emerge from hibernation, raring to take on some much-needed home repairs and improvement projects.

If you’re among them, it’s important to plan your work wisely so that you make the most of your time – and money. Here are six projects to focus on this spring.

1. Check the Roofing

If you notice missing shingles, cracks, or leaks in your roof, it could be time to have it inspected by a pro. If they cannot see obvious signs of damage, but the age of the roof has reached its “use by date,” expect to shell out approximately $5-$10 per square foot for slate roofs that are 15 to 20 years old and $8-$12 per square foot for asphalt shingle roofs that are 20 to 30 years old – or more.

You can expect to pay even more if your roof requires special materials or replacement of the entire structure instead of just certain sections, such as around dormers and skylights.

2. Mow Your Lawn and Fix Holes in the Ground

When it comes to lawn care, proper timing is everything – and should be planned well ahead so that your grass emerges healthy and strong. Most lawns need to be mowed at least twice a week during summer, so sign up for one of those yard maintenance services to do the job for you – or consider cutting back on work hours instead.

Professional landscapers will charge between $30 to $50 per visit (for regular weekly or bi-weekly maintenance). But if you mow your lawn, a homeowner can expect to pay approximately $25 to $30 per visit – or more.

If you have any sunken areas in your yard from tree roots or an eroding foundation, repair them with topsoil and grass seed before the ground thaws.   Be sure to phone around for the best prices. Or take advantage of your local university’s landscape architecture department where you can get topsoil for free, but expect to pay $15 to $20 per yard if you need more than three yards.

3. Touch Up the Paint

If you’ve had your drapes closed for months and years on end, chances are that rosy glow you see when you pull open those curtains isn’t just from the sunlight. You may not notice fading or peeling paint on the interior of your home until the spring, but if you get a closer look at it once you open up those blinds, you can expect to see an additional $1 per square foot for every year that has passed since the last time it was painted – or more.

If the paint is merely peeling, you may be able to get away with simply touching up problem areas. If not, just plan on repainting the entire wall or room.

4. Inspect and Repair the Furnace for the Winter

Springtime seems early to think about heaters and furnaces but consider this: these systems might have been overworked last season. Also, if you wait until fall comes around to inspect them, it might take a while before you can get help if they need fixing. You’re not the only one who’s likely looking for furnace repair specialists. So call around and find out who’s got the best rates so you can book them early.

It doesn’t matter if your furnace is gas or electric. Some basic maintenance tasks need to be checked, including cleaning debris from the blower, checking for damage to the heat exchanger, inspecting ignition components, changing filters, draining the condensate pan, and checking ductwork for leaks.

You can also have a technician inspect gas piping with a camera to check for possible damage so that it’s ready when the weather gets cold.

5. Check Windows for Proper Weather Stripping

If you live in an area where winter lasts several months, it’s especially important to make sure that your windows and doors are properly weather-stripped. If you don’t, you could be losing up to 20 percent of heated or cooled air – and costing yourself a lot more than you need to be spending on heating and cooling bills.

There’s no such thing as too much insulation when it comes to homeownership, so check the quality of your windows and doors to be sure they are properly sealed. You can repair or replace weather stripping on windows, doors, siding, fascia boards, door thresholds, and skylights for relatively little money – but it certainly pays if you do it ahead before the first freeze hits.

6. Clean Out the Gutters

If you’re putting off cleaning your gutters, consider this: last year’s leaves and debris could cause your gutters to overflow and flood an area of your yard that you never want wet. Plus, if it overflows into the gutter enough times before draining properly, you could find yourself with a clogged downspout and even more costly repairs.

The good news is that cleaning out gutters can be quick and easy. All you have to do is remove the downspouts, climb a ladder, clean the leaves and debris from around the edge of your roof with a stiff brush or whisk broom, avoid walking on your roof where you might damage it, reset your downspouts in their proper place (most likely in the center of the gutter), and you’re done.

Spring is a great time to do some minor home repairs. You can save money by doing them yourself, but you should also have someone check the work to make sure it’s done correctly. It’s also important to check with your insurance company before having any major changes made because there could be things that are unsafe or will void your homeowner’s policy.

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