Betterbuilders' Home Exterior Preparations for Fall

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Seattle Builder offers tips on how to prepare home exteriors for fall by using a simple pattern of cleaning, inspecting, updating and sealing to make sure that the impending wet conditions create fewer problems.

Its tough to let the warm, dry summer months go. Luckily, in the Pacific Northwest, while temperatures continue to decrease with the loss of daylight hours, dry weather can sometimes linger into fall. This makes late summer and early fall the perfect months for preparing the exterior of your home for the ensuing wet weather. Betterbuilders, a Seattle home builder, has a simple and effective system for protecting your home against cooler, rainy conditions.

Summers and falls are often so mild in the NW that very little change in the condition of siding, decking and roofs is expected. Other areas of the country see more frequent storms and severe weather in the summer that can cause severe damage and rapidly age materials. In the NW, it is more a season for cleaning up and looking for damage from winter and spring. The later you do this in the fall, however, the drier the materials will be, allowing for easier cleanup and better results when painting or making other repairs.

There are several areas to focus on when preparing for fall, but each should be encountered with the appropriate progression of cleaning, inspecting, updating and sealing.

The Roof
Usually best to start from the top down for cleaning purposes. Cleaning a roof may mean anything from sweeping to pressure washing, which is largely determined by the particulars of your local environment. Once cleaned, begin the inspection process by looking for damage to tiles and around chimney and ventilation flashing. Small repairs can be attempted, but for larger jobs, always consult a professional contractor. Remember to check insulation for leaks and protect cedar shakes with weather sealant.

Pressure washing the siding on your home will not only improve the look of the house but can help to locate needed maintenance. Of course look for chipping paint or damage to vinyl siding. It is recommended that you use well under 2000 psi to avoid damaging surfaces and paint - use just enough pressure to remove the dirt. If paint is found chipping, remove and dry the surface thoroughly before painting. For more natural siding materials, find the appropriate sealant to apply after painting. Remember to check seals around outside faucets and fixtures.

Windows and Doors
Windows and doors should be washed to expose leaks and damage. Washing windows should be accomplished with a sponge to remove dirt. A solution of white vinegar and water should work, but other commercial alternatives exist. Check paint on exterior doors, including the garage, for flaking paint or damage. Touch up as needed. Then, check the seals on windows and doors for spaces and cracks. The process of window washing may have exposed a leak. Seal the leaks and keep the outside where it belongs.

Finally, begin the process on your deck so as not to push dirt from the roof, siding, windows and doors onto your nice clean deck. Pressure washing a deck is important for removing dirt that when contacted by water, will eat through the material. Be sure and store decking furniture before spraying the whole thing with water. After washing, inspect the decking for warped surfaces or chipping paint. Fix as needed and them apply a coat of water sealant.

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Bill Babb
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