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5 things to do now to prep your home for summer

SPONSORED — While spring may have just begun, many homeowners already have their eyes on summer. From barbecues to lazy days in the shade to harvesting fruits and vegetables from the backyard garden, summer is the best.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to enjoy going outside when your yard isn’t comfortable or you’re spending too much time worrying about maintenance issues with your house. Spring is the ideal time to address those issues so you can enjoy the sunny days. Here are some tips for preparing your home for summer.

Schedule a roof inspection

Your home’s roof is like the tires on your car – essential but not something you think about until there’s a problem. Schedule a roof inspection early in spring to jump the line on roofing contractors’ busy schedules and so you’ll have time to address any issues that come up.

An average roof lasts a couple decades, but keep an eye out for problems, even if they show up earlier than you’d like. For example, in the Pacific Northwest, a build-up of moss, algae and pine needle debris can shorten the lifespan of your roof. Having missing, curling or cracking shingles is another sign your roof is wearing out.

Clean gutters

Clear out leaves, dirt and other debris that may have built up during the winter. Test each gutter section to check for loose pieces, gaps or leaks.

Downspouts should also be clear of debris and should drain away from your home’s foundation. If you have a basement or your yard is notoriously soggy, add downspout extenders that keep water away from your foundation.

Check outdoor spigots

Make sure your outdoor spigots survived the winter and will work when it’s time to water your garden or to let kids run through a sprinkler. If water doesn’t gush out within a few seconds of turning on the faucet or if the flow is weak, Angie’s List suggests these troubleshooting steps:

● Check the shut-off valve – did you turn if off for winter?
● Replace decayed washers
● Tighten the faucet’s collar nut
● Check for mineral or dirt clogs in the end of the faucet

If your water bill has been high, it could indicate a leak in your pipes down the line. If you can’t fix the problem, call a plumber.

Service lawn tools

After months of disuse, power equipment for lawn care may need some TLC. Clean your lawn mower, change the oil, sharpen the blade, fill it with fresh fuel and check for wear and tear to pull cords, spark plugs and air filters. In riding lawn mowers, charge or change the batteries, and inflate the tires.

Take similar steps with leaf blowers, trimmers, rototillers and other yard equipment. Identifying problems in spring gives you time to repair or replace faulty machinery before you need to use it.

Repair or replace the deck

Prepare your deck for all the action it will see in summer, from quiet moments in the morning with coffee to neighborhood parties on hot nights. If your deck seems to have structural issues, ask a licensed contractor to take a look and decide whether it is safe. A common upgrade you could make is to add or replace railings, customizing them for safety and beauty.

If your deck is past its prime, though, or you want to add one for the first time, there are many considerations, so start by focusing on the major decisions.

“The material is one of the biggest factors in its final appearance,” according to western Washington’s State Roofing.

“The two most common places most people forget to inspect their decks is where they meet the ground and between the decking and structural members.” says Paul Nelson, deck and special projects manager at State Roofing.

Materials that stand the test of time include hardwood, cedar, TimberTech (wood fiber reinforced with plastic components) and Trex (a recycled material made from reclaimed wood and plastic bags). A contractor will help you choose a size and shape that will fit your yard and family’s needs.

For details about roof and deck repair and replacement, visit stateroofing.com, where you can also request a free estimate for the work you want done before summer hits.

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