As the weather cools off, our daily gatherings and activities tend to move inside. And once we’ve hunkered down for winter, we tend to stay hunkered down for winter. That means now is the time to tackle those last little home improvement projects to spruce up the exterior of your house and prep it for winter. That way, when the first frost hits, all you have to do is curl up in front of the fireplace.
Here are a few simple home improvement projects we recommend you tackle before the end of fall.
Paint your front door
For a punch of colour and a simple update, a fresh coat of paint on the front door goes a long way. In addition to giving the front of your house a fresh, welcoming new look, painting your front door can also help seal it from the elements — especially if it’s been a while since it’s been. painted.
It only takes about a quart of paint to cover most exterior doors, so it should be a pretty low-cost upgrade. You should choose an exterior paint that’s designed for the climate you live in; because a door gets a lot of use, durability is important. In addition to your paint, you’ll just need a drop cloth, a brush, and painter’s tape for this quick project.
Clean your gutters and downspouts
Many places experience a higher volume of precipitation during the winter and spring months. To get your home ready, make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of leaves. If the gutters are clogged and water accumulates, you can risk damage to your roof — and. if the water freezes, it can expand and damage both the roof and the gutters.
While you’re at it, take a look at your downspouts, too. They should be routing water away from your foundation. If the pipe coming from the gutter has shifted over time, move it so that water flows away from the house. If needed, you can purchase a new section of downspout (from most hardware stores or on Amazon) to help guide the water in the direction you need it to go.
Replace your weather stripping
To keep the inside of your home warm and your energy bill low in the coming months, now is the time to inspect all your weather stripping for cracks or other damage. Exterior doors should have foam or vinyl material in place to seal gaps between the door and the frame, which can wear out or fall off over time. Installing new weather stripping is a simple way to cut down on drafts and prevent loss of heat from the home.
There are a variety of weather stripping systems in vinyl and foam that are self-stick or come in kits. To choose one, measure the thickness and width of your door. Be sure to select weather stripping that fits your door and your needs — most importantly that it’s wide enough to close any gaps between the door and the frame.
Cut down on drafts from the attic, basement, or garage
If you have uninsulated attic, basement, or garage spaces, make sure that they are sealed well, both from the outdoors and from the rest of your home. Add weather stripping to exterior doors and to any doors that transition into your living space. You can add temporary insulation to unprotected windows or you can upgrade the windows themselves. Keeping the cold air out will prevent heat loss and save you money on energy bills.
Prep your chimney and fireplace
Hire a chimney sweep to check for creosote buildup, clean out your chimney, and make sure that your chimney cap or screen is in good shape. Creosote buildup can cause chimney fires, as well as causing smoke to back up into your house, so this step is very important. You should also inspect the chimney for any damage, clear out the hearth of ash or any residual wood chips, and sweep out the fine ash carefully so as not to send ash particles up into the air.
Power wash the exterior
Power washing the exterior of your house will not only brighten it up, it will also wash away any mould and debris that can trap water near your walls and cause damage to the paint. While you’re at it, power wash your deck and porch, too.
If you haven’t used a power washer before, try it out on your driveway or footpath first to get the hang of it, as the pressurised water can damage wood if you’re not careful. You can rent a power washer from a hardware store or buy it straight from Amazon if you think you’ll use it often. If you do have mould or mildew to get rid of, you can also add detergent to help remove it.