By Megan Wild, author of Your Wild Home Blog
Whether you’re a DIYer or can afford to hire a construction professional, renovating your home is a must for the upcoming winter months. The best time to tackle these changes is during the fall.
As the weather cools and the effects of summer become more evident, you can make necessary upgrades to your home without sacrificing comfort in the winter. When handled properly, these renovations will restore your home’s functionality, cut energy costs and protect your household’s health.
Below are a few tasks you can tackle before the rain or snows begin to fall:
1. Roof Maintenance
Summers are hot. When mixed with vacation days and holidays, the summer heat is perfect for outdoor activities. While we’re all out enjoying ourselves, this same heat is wearing down your roof. It’s easy to underestimate the damage the sun can cause on your roof since it’s not as obvious as hail, wind, snow or even rain, but UV rays, heat and thermal shock can add up to costly repairs if left unattended.
An 80-degree summer day can heat your rooftop to 144 degrees easily, and that’s an average temperature in the United States. On a 100-degree day, you’re looking at a 180 degree rooftop! This type of heat speeds up the damage done by UV rays, weakening the surface area and eliminating your roof’s flexibility. As autumn rolls around and the temperature starts fluctuating, your roof will expand and contract. This is what thermal shock is, and without treatment it can result in your roof eventually splitting.
Your roof can have a long life if you maintain it properly. Remember to clean off debris, not just from the rooftop but also the gutters. Check your base, or sheathing, and make sure it’s in good shape. The wood underneath the shingles or exterior materials makes up the roof sheath, as well as the felt paper layer on top of the wood. If either layer is retaining moisture or has tears or cracks, you need to replace them. Also replace any loose or missing shingles, and if you don’t use shingles consider switching over. Shingles are more waterproof than single-ply rooftops or panel-type roofs.
2. Carpet and Floor Restoration
During the spring and summer, your carpet and floors receive quite the workout. From the foot traffic of your summer guests to the activities of your pets and children, a lot of residue gets tracked in. As the seasons begin to change, mud and moisture enters your home. Cleaning your carpet before winter begins can positively affect the health and well-being of your household. By deep cleaning your carpet, you can eliminate trapped pollutants, clear out possible dust mite infestations, and help prevent mold growth in your floor.
There is also the possibility of replacing your carpeted areas with hardwood, which reduces buildup of pollutants and dust. Also, by switching over to hardwood floors you may add overall value to your house, making the upgrade a valuable investment.
3. Sealing and Insulation
During spring and summer, people tend to spend the majority of their days outside or with the doors and windows open. Because of this, it’s easy to be unaware of gaps and drafts in your home. After a significant period of time has passed, the natural wear and tear that comes from constant use can create gaps in these entryways. While this is not a problem during the summer when you want airflow, it can become quite the inconvenience during the winter months, when you want to retain heat.
Caulking and sealing openings such as your windows and doorframes is a very cheap DIY opportunity that can save you hundreds of dollars in energy costs. If you have an attic, you’ll want to inspect that area as well. Make sure your attic is properly insulated and that the insulation is fresh and free of any mold.
4. Window Replacement
Replacing a window can pay off in a major way. You can identify windows that need to be replaced by the drop in temperature in the surrounding area. While not as obvious an upgrade as a floor renovation, new windows save homeowners thousands of dollars in heating costs. By switching your exterior glass with multiple or thicker window panes, you can increase your level of comfort and eliminate condensation and frost during the winter season.
5. Gutter Maintenance
During winter, moisture is a constant threat to your home — and keeping it away from your foundation is a must. Clean your gutters thoroughly during autumn to ensure any and all water buildup will be funneled away from the house’s foundation. A clogged gutter of leaves and gunk in the winter can lead to ice formations and blockage. These elements can seriously damage your roof as well as your foundation. Make sure your gutters are firmly attached to the house and sloped for proper drainage. Also, make sure your downspouts are clean and connected securely.
While there are many other methods to properly renovate your home and prepare for winter, these are just a few suggestions for the more hands-on homeowner. Each one can be handled by an aspiring DIYer looking to save money on maintenance or monthly billing costs.