Outdoor chores to check off now
Summer is gone, the kids are back at school and you're ready for fall — but is your home ready? Tackle these areas now, and your home will be ready for the cooler weather.
Maintaining your home through the changing seasons is easy if you know what to do.
After months of summer sun and outdoor activity, your outdoor spaces need a bit of sprucing up. We rounded up the five areas that need your attention now.
Now is the time to pamper your patio, especially if you live in a cold-weather climate.
Seal cracks: Any cracks that have developed over the spring and summer months should be sealed. You can use a wire brush and a leaf blower to get any debris out of the crack, and then patch with a concrete patching compound, available at your home improvement store.
Put on a coat: Does your concrete patio have a dull finish? Apply a maintenance coat of sealant before cold weather hits. Be sure to clean the concrete and let it dry completely before applying sealant to the surface. Follow all directions on the package.
One area of the home that's easy to forget is the gutters — until that first rainstorm when you realize they're clogged.
Empty them out: Even though more leaves will fall during the autumn months, now is the time to clear the gutters out. Check corners where leaves may congregate, and check downspouts that might be clogged.
Fix them up: If any of your gutters or downspouts need repair, spend some time now to prevent a rainy-day emergency.
If any of your outdoor painted surfaces are peeling or showing wear, you might want to cover them in a fresh coat now.
Spruce it up: Now is a good time to paint, since once the cold, wet weather hits paint won't dry or cure properly. Pay special attention to any painted surfaces that are badly peeling or damaged in some way, as rain can seep into wood over time and cause damage.
Read our foolproof guide to outdoor hardscaping >>
Your driveway sees more traffic than any other surface outside. Maintain it properly for many years of wear.
Seal cracks: As above for patios, concrete driveways can develop cracks over time and need to be properly filled. Before repairing cracks you should thoroughly clean the driveway with a power washer, making sure that debris doesn't stay in the cracks; then allow it to dry completely. Use concrete patching compound to repair the cracks.
Put on a coat: Winter weather can be hard on your driveway, especially if you live in a harsh climate. A fresh coat of sealant will help maintain your driveway through the fall and winter months. Clean the entire driveway, paying special attention to oil stains. Allow the driveway to fully dry, and then apply sealant to the surface, following the instructions on the package.
That same breeze that you open your doors to enjoy in the summer turns cold and unwelcome come fall. Weather stripping keeps the cold outside, where it belongs.
Seal your doors: Check around exterior doors, including the door that leads out to the garage. Replace any weather stripping that is missing or damaged.
Weatherproof the windows: Each window in your home is another place where cold air can come inside. Check around all windows for weather stripping that needs replacing.
More fall around the house