Spring cleaning season remains the time of year for Madison’s most rigorous home improvement efforts, but fall is also an opportune time to dig into some preventive home maintenance chores. Homes that get their owners’ attention on a regular basis don’t just hold more of their value with less expense—they also add some extra value: peace of mind.
These six top-level maintenance tasks may consume a weekend day or two, but will ultimately pay off by eliminating preventable deterioration:
- If your Madison roof has gutters, now is a time to clear It’s only “a” time because there should be a second round. After fall winds have deposited nature’s bounty of tree leaves and pine needles and everything else that could possibly pile up in them, it will be time to do a final clearing out. If you wait until then to tend to the gutters, there’s a good chance that sludgy goo will have formed beneath the autumn debris.
- Door seals. Weather stripping around inevitably decomposes over time, and hinges wear down. You can find doorjamb weatherstrip kits at the hardware store, and replacing foam tape that’s lost its oomph takes just minutes. For sliding glass doors that take too much muscle to budge, it’s worth getting down on hands-and-knees to deep clean the tracks—then follow up with some WD-40 sprayed into the roller workings.
- Windows. Window insulation is right up there with the doors as key entry points for heat and cold (the kind of heat and cold that show up in Madison energy bills). If you are stumped by how to renew the weatherproofing on some kinds of windows, Google and Bing are there to help. Search for “window weatherproofing” using the “images” choice, and see if there’s a YouTube video for one that looks like the window type that has you stumped (there almost always is).
- Garden. Clearing summer’s dead and dying growth and re-mulching where it’s needed is easiest to do in Madison right about now. Resist the temptation to scrimp on sufficient mulch: it isn’t just a pretty face (remember how much labor it saves during weed season?).
- Exterior. Now is also Madison’s easiest time to check for rot, insect infestation, or any other deterioration summer might have wrought on siding and trim. If an exterior paint job is overdue, this could be where my promise about just a weekend day or two might have been overly optimistic. But a fresh coat of paint now, before winter hits town, can be a meaningful budget saver in the long run.
- Deck. If you have a deck that takes stain, you have to do it again. Sorry, but it’s really true: the value of stain is that you only have to wash the deck and roll it on…but you do have to do it to cover the worn areas and protect the wood.
Those are the most frequently-cited fall home improvement hotspots. If this summer’s Wisconsin weather has been more punishing than usual on your Madison home, you might have some additional areas to mind—but for most homeowners, conscientiously attending to these should ensure a winter’s worth of peace of mind. One of my contributions (when it’s time to sell) is to help point out areas that buyers might think need improvement—and a well-maintained home will have very few of those. I hope you will feel free to give me a call whenever any questions arise on that score—or for anything connected with Madison’s real estate market!
Jen Stauter Kornstedt
HomeTeam4U-Stark Company Realtors
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