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Spring Home Repairs

10 post-winter home repairs to handle when weather clears, including improvements to ceilings, roofing, siding & more.

During mild spring days, take stock of storm and water damage to your home—most houses sustain at least a few problems during the winter months. Make the repairs now, before starting on any remodeling or other major warm-weather projects.

Look for shingle damage and make repairs.

Repair Water-stained Ceilings

Following a roof leak, there is usually a yellow or brown stain on the ceiling below. Don’t paint right over the stain as it will likely show through. Simply seal the stain with a stain sealer and then repaint the ceiling. You can try to touch up the area, but you’ll likely find that the entire ceiling needs to be repainted.

Fix Missing or Damaged Roofing

Look for trouble spots on top of the roof—but only in good weather and only if you can do so safely. Or, go into the attic with a bright flashlight to check for signs of moisture. Step only on secure framing members—never on the insulation or topside of the ceiling below as neither will support your body weight. Look for pinpoints of daylight showing through (though on a wood-shingle roof you’ll probably see many such places, but these tend not to leak because they’re protected by the shingles’ overlap). Once you’ve identified the problem area, see the Roof, Chimney & Gutters section for information on how to repair your roof.

Fix Leaking Roof Flashing

Many serious roof leaks are not caused by missing or damaged shingles but rather by broken or improperly installed roof flashing. Repair or replace it, as needed. See How to Repair Roof Flashing.

Repair Siding Leaks

If you’ve discovered any areas where your home’s siding fails to hold Mother Nature out, see How to Repair Wood Siding for information on how to repair your siding.

Clear Gutters & Downspouts

Water damage often comes from clogged gutters and downspouts; dry weather affords the opportunity to clean them out. For information on replacing gutters, check out How to Repair Rain Gutters.

Eliminate Water in the Basement or Crawlspace

Keeping these spaces dry protects against dry rot, prevents moist air from being drawn up into the living space, and arrests the growth of mold. Depending on what you find, you may need a sump pump. Check out the Sump Pumps Buying Guide.

Repair Storm Doors

Winds can take a toll on storm doors. Often, the door closer becomes bent, breaks, or pulls away from the doorjamb. For more information on how to get your storm door back in shape, see Screen & Storm Door Repairs.

Block Air Leaks Around Windows

Mitigate drafts and save energy at the same time by installing or replacing weatherstripping.

Repair Rotted Woodwork

Where wood sills or sashes have taken serious abuse from the weather, resulting in rot, use epoxy wood filler to repair the area. Use a chisel to dislodge the loose, rotted wood, and then drill a few 1/4-inch holes into the damaged wood. Soak the entire rotted area with liquid epoxy “consolidant” to transform the area into a sturdy base for filler. Let the wood absorb the consolidant for about five minutes, and then continue reapplying, waiting, and applying again until the wood ceases to accept any more consolidant. Knead a batch of epoxy filler, according to label directions, and mold the repair. As the material cures, dip a putty knife into the solvent and use it to sculpt and shape the repair. Sand, file, or rasp as needed, and paint the area within three days.

Service Your Furnace and/or Air Conditioner

With forced-air systems, air returning to the air handler’s blower first passes through an air filter designed to catch dust and debris and help clean the air before it’s recycled back into your home. Change the filters quarterly or more frequently if they look dirty.

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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