11 Ways to Protect Your Home When the Seasons Change
If you’re like most homeowners, you know you should protect your house against weather extremes. But the best time to prep is before things get bad—that means getting to work when your weather is still (relatively) mild. Here’s the year-round list of everything you should do—and when.
1. Insulate—against heat.Insulation is probably the first thing that springs to mind when you think of winter, but it’s equally important in summer (or year-round, if you live in hot, sunny areas of the country, like the Southwest)—because just as a frosty draft seeps in, so, too, does sticky air. To beat the heat, start at the top: the attic. Before the mercury rises, inspect every nook and cranny to make sure your insulation is installed properly and not letting cool air out. Tip: If you can see the tops of the joists, you need to add a strip of insulation above the existing layer. Consider insulating your attic door as a final barrier to keep your A/C inside—and heating bills low. Also check floors and walls throughout your home for drafts, caulking where necessary. Installing weather strips to doors and windows is one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways to keep your cool.
2. Combat direct sun.Wooden decks are easily dried out by intense sun, leading to shrinkage and cracks. Ultraviolet rays also break down wood fibers and lead to discoloration. When finishing—or refinishing—your planks (decks should be redone every other year), be sure to add a UV protectant sealer or stain as your final layer. If using a clear sealer, be sure it contains UV protectant. A stain, on the other hand, is naturally better at blocking the sun. The darker the stain, the better protection it offers your wood.
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3. Help your home play defense with the right paint.Bad weather can wreak havoc on the exterior of your home. Harsh UV rays cause paint to chip, peel, or fade; humid, rainy conditions help mold and mildew take root; and extreme temperatures force your home’s exterior to expand and contract, shortening the life of the paint. Stand up to Mother Nature’s forces with a fresh coat of paint developed for your weather conditions. New Valspar® Reserve ® Extreme Weather Paint + Primer with RainRelief™ Technology protects from intense rain and humidity, Valspar® Reserve Extreme Weather Paint + Primer with SeasonFlex™ Technology protects against hot and cold extremes, and Valspar® Reserve Extreme Weather Paint + Primer with SunStopper™ Technology protects against blazing heat and sun. Bonus: all these formulas cover in one coat, so no matter where you live, you can get the job done faster and easier.
4. Put your mind to the gutter(s).Fall can be one of the most pleasant weather seasons, but that doesn’t mean you can rest on your leaf piles. You know to rake your lawn, but you also have to clear your gutters of them. This’ll help keep water from freezing inside and splitting them when temps dip below freezing. Adding mesh or leaf guards can also solve the problem. While you’re up there, make sure your gutters are pitched at the right angle—between 1/16 and ⅛ inch per foot—to direct water to the downspout, and away from your home’s roof or foundation.
5. Outsmart the critters. Just as you’re getting ready to hibernate, so are mice and other rodents—in your warm and cozy home. Before it gets too cold, check the exterior of your house. If light can get through a crack, so can a mouse. Spaces around doors and windows are easy entry points, so be sure they’re sealed. (If you’ve already weatherproofed them, you should be all set. Just be sure weather strips aren’t warped or need replacing.) Search for holes in the interior of your home, too—including common entry points such as behind the sink and dishwasher—and plug up anything bigger than a dime with foam or caulk. Vents, however, are there for a reason. Rather than blocking, place wire netting over them to keep critters out without sacrificing airflow. Wooster Brush 5378-2 P… Buy New $1.31
6. Appraise the roof. Before extreme cold hits, get up on the roof to check for damage. Be sure all shingles are properly affixed and check for excessive moss or other natural growths that can warp your roof. Get rid of it using a roof cleaning solution, or call in pros if the problem seems larger than you can handle. Inspect caulking around areas like the chimney, pipes, skylights, and even your satellite dish. If the sealant is cracked or warped, simply recaulk to get ready for cold temperatures.