When the conversation turns to spring cleaning, the subject is usually the interior of the home: washing windows, cleaning drapes and packing away winter clothes, for example. However, if you’re eager to get outside in the fresh air, take heart. It’s not only your living room and kitchen that benefit from being spruced up in preparation for warmer weather; the exterior needs some tender, loving care, too.
Exterior maintenance isn’t all cosmetic. There are tasks that help preserve the structure and ensure that your home is a safe place to live. Consider the following tasks as you prepare to enjoy your property to the fullest in the coming months:
Powerwash Your House
If the exterior of your home is looking a bit grimy, make it shine with the help of a pressure wash. A local tool rental store is a good place to obtain a pressure washer.
Use pressure washing equipment with care, since extreme pressure can damage wood and soft materials. Add a detergent to the washer’s reservoir to remove resistant dirt, but be sure the product is made for use in a pressure washer.
If there is mold on the exterior, mix a solution of one part bleach to four parts water to spray on the surface. Leave it on for 10-5 minutes before using a pressure washer to remove it. Cover nearby plants with drop cloths and wear rubber gloves when working with bleach.
Your driveway is undoubtedly feeling the effects of the winters freeze and thaw cycles. It’s time for a bit of maintenance and repair. Remove weeds that have settled into the cracks and grass that is encroaching. Use a pressure washer to get rid of dirt. Patch cracks and holes in concrete with a concrete resurfacer. Asphalt driveways may need latex asphalt resealer to refresh the surface. Replenish gravel, as needed.
Check your roof to see if there are torn or missing shingles that require repair or replacement. Use roofing cement to patch any gaps, especially around vulnerable areas such as chimneys and plumbing vents. No leaks allowed!
Washing Exterior Windows
The checklist for interior spring cleaning usually includes washing windows, but the exteriors need a cleaning, too, or the job is only half finished. You want a clear view of the garden and the sunny days. Do your washing when the windows are shaded. Use a 1:1 mixture of white vinegar and water for a sparkling finish. Dry the windows with newspaper, rather than paper towels, to avoid bits of paper clinging to the surface.
Ready your deck for long days of grilling and dining outdoors. Apply deck cleaner and let it dry before washing the deck with a pressure washer or a scrub brush. Rinse it and let it dry; then consider whether you need to apply stain or sealer. Let them dry thoroughly before using the deck.
Cleaning Patio Furniture
Get your patio furniture ready for months of use. Wash or clean away last season’s accumulation of grime, along with the dust and cobwebs that may have accumulated during storage. If you have a front porch, its accessories and furniture will also need some cleaning to look their spring best.
Barbecue season is coming, so don’t be caught unprepared. There’s nothing like the smell of grilling meat, fish or veggies. A degreasing detergent and a wire brush will take care of grimy racks and the inside of the grill. If your grill is gas, check the burners for rust and make sure the holes aren’t clogged. A small piece of wire works wonders in clearing them.
If the exterior of the grill requires painting, sand it first and wash it to remove grease. Paint it with barbecue and stove enamel, which withstands high heat.
Although it’s undoubtedly still too cold to plant new flowers and vegetation, take time to clean up any leftovers from last year. Any plants that have died over the winter are blemish on your lovely landscape, so remove them. Give trees and bushes a trim if they’re looking shaggy.
Clean Window Screens
If you have window screens to install, now’s the time to check them for damage and clean them. Dunk them in a children’s wading pool filled with soapy water, lay them on a flat surface and clean them with a soft scrub brush before rinsing. If there are small tears, you can flatten the fibers and add a few coats of clear nail polish to repair them. Larger holes will need patches.
Follow this checklist and you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy the warmth of the coming seasons to the fullest.