In addition to our Independence, the Fourth of July also marks a sort of mid-year pause. Families with kids have by now shuffled them into summertime activities. All graduates have graduated; the gardens have all been started (and some parts of it, even harvested!). This used to be the season for television series reruns, resulting in measurably less TV-watching; but cable programmers have obliterated that notion — and this year, the Rio Olympics will draw much attention back indoors.
But for the most part, the beginning of July marks OTY: the undeniably Outdoor Time of Year. It’s the sunny, healthy time of year; time to get out of the kitchen and see how much outdoor cooking can get done. It just feels healthier — even if there are just as many calories in a burger cooked outdoors as in the kitchen.
For homeowners who have been telling themselves they would get around to the annual home maintenance chores pretty soon, it’s also the time of year when they are uncomfortably within visual range of many the details that call out for some quality maintaining. A sagging gate that really should be reinforced; paving stones that tree roots are slowly but surely upending — they may not demand attention in December, but — let’s face it — it’s already nearly August!!!
The outdoor features most in need of attention are different for every home, but here is a universal maintenance checklist culled from some of the items that commonly deserve attention. They may not be precisely those that warrant your ministrations, but may serve to jog your memory about the ones that make up your own maintenance checklist:
Deck & Patio – when the weather’s clear, it’s prime time for staining (it usually is an annual task — no matter what the label on the can promised).
Pots & Planters — new ones and old ones deserve “feet” beneath them… or any solution that facilitates draining. The surface beneath will benefit — and likely need less attention of its own later on.
Mold — it’s really easy to deal with if it isn’t allowed to accumulate for years. The products that make eradication easy can be found at all local hardware stores.
Drainage — while you’re out in the yard attending to everything else, keep your eyes open for evidence of runoff where it doesn’t belong. Trace it back to the source: if it’s just the beginning of a drainage issue, dealing with it early can save a lot of expensive grief later on.
Windows — pests frequently enter through cracks and openings that develop around window frames. You may need a ladder to be able to spot what’s developing on top, but if needed, a little caulk will keep your home’s “envelope” intact.
A/C — every kind of air conditioner needs to have its filter cleaned or replaced to prevent needless strain on the fan motor. If not July — when?
It feels good to have an annual look-see at how your home is standing up to the wear and tear that the past year has rendered. Once any issues have been dealt with, the rest of the summer will be that much more enjoyable. And on the very practical side, if and when you decide to hand your home off to a new owner, the financial rewards for having kept it in prime condition over the years will be measurable. I’ll be here in the meantime — standing by to answer any and all questions about our real estate market!