ARTICLE Donna Blaber First published in Renovate magazine
With warmer weather approaching, it’s time for the annual spring clean. After the wet and wild winter months everything from the roof to the lawn needs a good once-over, and while the to-do list may seem long, the rewards can be extremely satisfying.
· Depending on the cladding, wash down your home’s exterior with a waterblaster or a soft brush to remove any lichen, mould, spiderwebs and insects. Consider applying a repellent such as Miss Moppet’s Revenge (www.wetandforget.co.nz) to keep insects at bay.
· Identify cladding issues such as chipped bricks, deteriorated mortar, and rotten or broken weatherboards and make necessary repairs.
· Check the roof for winter damage including cracked or loose shingles and tiles, ‘popped’ or rusting roof nails etcetera, and make repairs. On Art Deco buildings check snow hasn’t split flashing sealing the parapet and roof; it could lead to future leaks.
· Inspect your loft or crawl space thoroughly checking for signs of leaks – especially around chimney areas – that require repair. Good ventilation is vital in this space so while you’re there remove anything that restricts or obstructs airflow.
· Inspect your garage or basement for signs of leaks or seepage through foundation walls. (Spring/summer is a good time to excavate exterior walls, apply sealant and/or install further drainage if required).
· Check all decked areas for soft and spongy wood indicating decay, particularly in areas that tend to remain damp. Make necessary repairs and consider resealing to protect the decking. Also check for water stains near exterior walls; what begins as a simple drip can result in water damage to your home.
· Wash your windows inside and out. Before tackling interior glass, clean out the window sill tracks with a soft brush, then wipe with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and water to kill mould spores. Check that weep holes are free-draining; unclog with thin wire if required.
· For a perfect lawn, preparations must begin in spring. When you mow, make your first few cuts higher than you usually would; grass grows best when it’s left to grow from about 50cm high. ‘Overseed’ bare patches of lawn and take care of any moss with an application of lime.
· Fertilise and mulch beds, borders and fruit trees. Apply compost liberally and begin a compost heap if you don’t already have one.
· Plant out your veggie garden and flower borders. Remove any stray weeds quickly before they take hold and spread.
· Remove leftover firewood stored beside your home. Restack elsewhere, out of the way.
· Check hoses for snow damage. Turn on the water and restrict the flow with your thumb – if you can stop the flow your home’s interior piping is damaged and repairs must be made as soon as possible.
· Fill surface cracks and chips in concrete pathways and driveways.
· Extend your spring clean to your vehicle. Remove clutter, vacuum, wash the windows inside and out, wash and wax, flush and refill the radiator, and perform an oil and filter change.