Your Fall Home Maintenance To-Do List

House with fall colored trees

As winter nears, it’s time to prepare your home for cold weather. You can trust Handyman Matters Richmond to get your house ready for winter. We can take your fall home maintenance to-do list and get it done with just one call.

#1 Exterior Surface Protection

Painting or staining, it’s not just for curb appeal!  All exterior wood needs protection from the weather and coatings will seal the wood to prevent moisture intrusion and to protect it from environmental damage due to weather and insects.  Exposed and untreated exterior wood will become damaged immediately from water, sun and cold and needs to be coated with paint or stain.

Don’t take shortcuts that save you time only to have to repeat the process again in the near future.  Before painting, all bare wood needs to be cleaned and then sealed with a primer coat.  This seals the wood and prepares the surface so that the paint will adhere separately.  Consider that the primer should be paired with the paint that is to be used so that your project will be long-lasting.

Speaking of shortcuts, many customers ask us about skipping the primer step and using the all-in-one time-saving paint with primer products.  We let them know that the all-in-one paint and primer combination products work best when painting over surfaces that have been previously primed and are in fairly good shape, not over bare wood or bare drywall.

#2 Gutters

Clean your gutters often, not just annually.  Twice a year is recommended.  Dead leaves, the hallmark of Autumn and Spring (if you have oak trees), can quickly accumulate and clog gutters. Those dead leaves and other decayed muck can lead to backups that may contribute to ice dams this winter. Even if gutters aren’t clogged at the start of the season, check again after the leaves have fallen again, especially after periods of rain and wind.

Many homeowners believe that gutter covers will allow them to skip the gutter cleaning.  We’ve seen our fair share of damage to soffits and fascia after debris builds up in the corners of the gutters and ice dams form, backing up the drainage system and allowing water to slowly seep into the wood behind.

#3 Wood Rot

The high humidity in Central Richmond, Virginia is a haven for wood rot.  Take a look at the following areas where wood rot is most prevalent.  If areas feel spongy or dry and flaky, you have wood rot.  Small areas may be repairable with quality wood filler which is sanded and then painted.  Larger areas should be replaced with either wood or PVC.  And don’t forget to protect repaired areas with surface coatings like paint or stain.

Check these areas in particular:

  • Door and window trims where water can pool or splash up
  • Soffits and fascia (especially around gutters)
  • Porch rails and columns, in particular at the base of columns
  • Deck boards and rails where water or snow can accumulate

#4 Decks

Protect the deck: Fall is ideal to complete a deck safety inspection and repairs. Look for missing or rusted fasteners, boards that are worn or curling and need to be replaced and signs of rot, which may worsen over a long, wet winter. Take a look at your rails and wiggle them to make sure that they are securely fastened.  (Hint: well fastened and safe posts and railings should not shake!)  While you’re out there, clean off the fallen leaves and other debris, which can hold moisture against the boards and create a slick surface under snow.

Also take a look at your deck stairs to make sure that they are in good shape, including the steps (treads and risers), handrails and stringers.  We’re seeing a lot of issues with the stringers, the foundation of your steps that hold the treads (steps), where they are sitting on the ground, getting wet and rotting over time.  If your steps are leaning forward, this is both unsafe and a sign that the stringers are wearing and should be replaced.

#5 Holiday Lights

The holidays are fast approaching and if hanging lights is not as much fun as it used to be, don’t fret, we can help!  Exterior decorating for the holidays can be time-consuming, tedious and even dangerous without the proper tools, ladders or experience. While some aspects of home holiday decorating can be happily enjoyed by the whole family, there are some tasks that may just be better left to a trusted handyman.

#6 Smoke Detectors

You’ve heard, smoke detectors save lives!  But only if they are in proper working order.  That means that you have to check your batteries and push the “test” button to make sure that they are working.   If you’re hearing the “chirping” sound, it’s probably because you need new batteries.

There are two types of smoke detectors, battery operated and hard wired.  Hardwired also requires batteries.  When you replace your smoke detectors you’ll need to know what kind you have so that you can use the proper replacement units.  Home improvement stores sell smoke detectors in a variety of price points and while you’re there you can also pick up a good supply of batteries.

If you need help with testing or replacing smoke detectors, just give us a call!

Call 804-414-0512 or 804-414-2690 to schedule your Fall project or get your to-do list done.  And new news, you can also go on line to schedule your appointment at!

By | 2018-08-20T20:00:21+00:00 October 9th, 2017|Fall Home Maintenance|0 Comments