Exterior Essentials

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shutterstock_252475033While your home protected you from the elements all winter, you need to see how well it fared. Everything may seem good from a distance, but there are several issues you need to look out for. Whether it’s checking that your gutters are in order, power washing your exterior or making sure your patio is in good shape, there are certain potential problems you need to check.

Gutter, Leader and Shingle Damage

“Winter is the toughest time on the exteriors of a structure,” said Bob Anderson, president of Anderson Contracting in Garden City of the ice and snow that come with winter. He added that now is the time to check to see whether anything like a gutter or leader blew off your home.

“Gutters coming off the house is a big problem,” he said. “So is roof shingle damage. Carefully look at the roof. There’s a lot of ice damage that happens this time of year. You may have had ice buildup and you may have some shingles loose.” If that is the case, Anderson recommended you call a professional to repair any potential damage.

shutterstock_206913667Even if your gutters aren’t loose or missing, they may not be working properly. “Do a visual inspection and try and clean out the gutters,” said Anderson.

“An expert can make sure that all your leaders and gutters are not clogged,” said Mel Gassman, co-owner of Lemned Corp. in Glen Cove. He added that having clean gutters and leaders is a vital step toward getting your home ready for the upcoming warm weather. You want to make sure that spring rain is running through clear gutters and not backing up into your home.

Power Washing

If your home exterior is looking a bit dirty, there’s a simple way to clean it. Power washing your home doesn’t necessarily require calling in the experts. “There’s nothing wrong with power washing if it’s done properly,” Anderson said. However, the results depend on the nozzle you use. It’s not ideal for the water pressure to be either too powerful or too weak.

“Certain sidings, like older vinyl types, could crack and become dislodged from the house, and are not meant to be pressure washed,” said Gassman. “A better choice would be to use a biodegradable siding cleaner and a hose to safely clean your siding. The same applies to wood, such as cedar shake both on siding or a deck, because sometimes a pressure washer will add too much moisture, which can cause a mold problem. So do a test section first to assess the strength of your siding.”

Patios and Pathwaysshutterstock_113857270

At first glance, you may not notice certain problems that resulted from the cold. “During the winter, you have a freeze-thaw cycle where rain and snow gets into the brick and continually freezes and thaws. Sometimes it can disrupt a patio or footing,” said Gassman. He emphasized that any possible problems need to be repaired as soon as possible so they don’t get worse.

Once everything is repaired, you may want to enhance your outdoor living space. Lance Elliott of Design and Build Landscape in Massapequa said that spring is the time to start a new project. “People are always trying to create more living spaces, especially in their backyard.” Great places to start are with outdoor grills, patios and new walkways.

For a patio, Elliott said that natural stones, especially blue ones, are the latest trends. “We try to complement the style of the house,” he said. But he encouraged people to think outside the box and come up with their own ideas.

So if you’ve been dreaming of starting an outdoor project, now is the time to turn that dream into a reality.

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