10 Simple Ways to Clean Up Your Home’s Exterior This Summer
Author: Alyssa Craig
With the warm weather and the extra daylight, summer is a great time of year to focus on your home’s exterior. Since you spend most of the year inside your home, you may not have noticed the spots that need extra attention outside. So take a walk around the outside of your home and take inventory of what needs to be done. The list below will help you evaluate your home’s exterior. Once you’ve determined what needs to be done, it’s time to prepare for your tasks.
In preparation for your outside cleaning extravaganza, be sure to select a warm day with little wind, as this could otherwise end up working against you. Cover small plants, shrubs, and other landscape with a plastic sheet. Move lawn furniture and decor out of the way. Cover all vents, electrical outlets, and outside light fixtures. Finally, be sure to wear protective clothing and eye protection.
Alright, you are now ready to get cleaning! Here are a few suggestions for where and how you should be cleaning the outside of your house.
1. Pressure Wash Siding: Make sure all windows and doors are tightly closed before you begin. Using the correct hose, spray at a downward angle, testing a small section for damage before continuing. Keep moving in a side-to-side sweeping motion as you continue to wash the side of the house. But be careful! You can cause serious damage (even shattered glass) with a pressure washer.
2. Hand Wash Brick, Stucco, or Delicate Wood Shingles: These materials will not hold up well against a pressure wash. Instead, hand wash with a regular garden hose. There are attachments you can get at home improvement stores to help you out. Pretreat soiled areas with cleanser before spraying with a hose.
3. Paint: A new coat of paint can do great things for making a house look like new. Before you get started wash down the area to be painted and remove any dirt or paint residue. Next, scrape and sand away old paint. Use this as an opportunity to patch and fill areas that are cracking or otherwise damaged. Finally, prime and paint!
4. Remove Mildew and Mold: Unfortunately, mildew and mold will not come off with a powerwash. To remove, scrub it off with a bleach solution (one part bleach, four parts water). Wear gloves to protect your hands from the chemicals.
5. Repair Driveway: If you have cracks in your driveway, now is a great time to repair it. Remove grass or weeds growing in the cracks. Next, pressure wash the whole driveway. Patch cracks and holes with concrete resurfacer. Finish with a fresh coat of latex asphalt sealer to make it look like new.
6. Clean Your Deck: Your deck is bound to be used a lot this summer for BBQs and enjoying summer evenings. Apply a special deck cleaner and follow the directions on the bottle and allow it to sit for its designated amount of time. Either pressure wash or clean with a long handle scrub brush. Rinse and allow to dry completely. Refinish and apply a sealer or stain if necessary.
7. Repair Roof: Now is a much easier time to fix roofing problems than in the winter when snow and ice might be your enemy. Look for torn or missing shingles to replace or repair. Seal any gaps in the roofing cement. Cover exposed nailheads with roofing cement. Clean up any debris or frisbees that have made their way to the roof.
8. Clean Windows: If possible, clean in the shade to keep the cleaner from drying too quickly and ruining your work. Consider using a 50/50 vinegar and water mixture and newspapers (rather than paper towels) for a more environmentally friendly project. You can also try washing it with a squeegee. It’s faster and more likely to produce a streak free surface.
9. Clean Window Screens: Window screens often get neglected, so as you clean your windows, give these some love too. Remove and soak in a kiddie pool filled with soapy water. Use a soft scrub brush to gently remove dirt. Rinse with a garden hose and allow to dry.
10. Clean Gutters: Use an extended ladder to put yourself at a good vantage point to the gutter. Use a gutter scoop to get out the debris that has built up. Put the debris into a bucket or dump on a tarp below, as this will make cleanup easier for you. After the large debris has been removed, hose down the gutter, starting opposite of the downspout to remove anything else that may still be there.
As mentioned here, having a clean, put together exterior to your home adds to your home’s curb appeal whether you plan to sell your home in the near future or not. These jobs can quickly add up, but with some elbow grease, a great day off, and determination, these projects can be completed and your home will shine for another year.