Tuesday, January 9, 2007

Fall Maintenance Tips

Here are just a few things you can do this fall season to protect your old house before the winter sets in.

  • Touch up painting. It is easy to keep putting this off, but waiting until you have a painter come out to paint the whole house can be costly. Some possible problems caused by not touching up the paint on your house are water damage and rot, which could lead to the replacement of the wood. Often you can do the touch up work yourself. It is just a matter of scraping off the loose paint, caulking, priming and repainting. If you already have some rot consider using the Abatron epoxy or liquid gel products.
  • Gutter cleaning. Gutters and downspouts are an important element to keeping your old house protected. Installed properly, these systems will shed water away from the foundation and the house. Check the gutters during the next rain storm to see if there are any problems. Look for water flowing over or behind the gutter (usually a sign that it is clogged or an installation/alignment problem with the drip edge on the roof and the gutter). You should get your gutters cleaned regularly, especially if you have a lot of trees around the house. Water from the downspouts should be shed at least a foot or two away from the foundation. Your wood gutters should be cleaned and oiled, at least annually. Most companies stop oiling at the end of September or early October. The weather needs to be fairly warm and the gutters need to be dry before linseed oil can be applied.
  • Caulking. This is a low cost, effective way to stop air and water infiltration. Interior and exterior caulking can help to lower energy bills and prevent rotting of materials. Exterior: The common areas to caulk are: storm windows, window and door frames, where shingles/clapboard meet edge trim, construction joints and between dissimilar materials (e.g., brick and wood) Don�t caulk underneath clapboard/shingles because they need to breathe and caulking will trap moisture. Use a long lasting caulk (at least 20 years). Acrylic latex that contains silicone offers ease of use and durability, but a urethane sealant is supposed to be superior if somewhat harder to . Make sure whatever caulk you use is paintable (if you require it). Interior: Inspect the inside of your house on a windy day to see where you have drafts. The following joints should typically be caulked on the indoor side of all exterior walls:
  • Between window and door casings and walls (including tops and under sills)
  • Joints in window jambs and casings, and the joint between window stops and jambs
  • Joints of baseboards and base mouldings
  • Ceiling to wall junctions, including crown moulding
  • Wall paneling joints, such as where wainscotting meets plaster
  • Insides of closets, cupboards, and the like. Use only long lasting caulk. Acrylic-latex for paintable, clear silicone-based caulk for non-paint jobs.
  • Yard work. Remove all leaves and trash from around the foundation and basement windows. If left to pile up they can help deteriorate the wood around your windows.
  • Weatherstrip your windows. Spring Bronze weatherstripping is considered the most durable. It is typically found at the Boston Building Materials Coop or other specialty hardware stores.

    Source: Some information contained in this document was obtained from Old House Journal

    Thomas said...

    Usually, the best time to check the exterior of our home is at fall, so we can prepare ourselves for the coming seasons. In my place at Boston, gutters are the first thing I check, to prevent clogging and patching up.

    Next thing I look for is rotting on my sidings; I make sure that the channel is working properly. If that is the case, I call for professional help like the siding (Boston-based company) so I can be at ease.

    gutter said...

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