I have had a number of clients ask me to put them on a yearly "clean out my eavestroughs" list, which morphed into an Annual Inspection service in the fall. With this in mind, here's my list of autumn chores:
- clean eavestroughs (gutters for my American clients)
- check roof (missing shingles, ice damage, chimney flashings)
- inspect caulking and flashings (bay windows, fireplaces, windows & doors)
- evaluate grading (to prevent water accumulating next to foundation)
- prune back plantings (whoa...isn't that landscaping? See below)
- paint touchups to exterior woodwork
- clean your chimney (and check that the cap is critter proof)
The common element in the above is water. It is without a doubt a homeowners (and builders) worst enemy. Less stuff in the gutters means less ice on the roof in winter. Caulking is self explanatory... but never rely totally on caulking, if there isn't a flashing behind that caulking, switch builders. And the pruning of shrubs and bushes is a reminder which arose out of a beautiful old porch I just inspected. If it hadn't been crowded by outrageously overgrown yews for the past 15 years, the client may have had to sink $2500 into a paint job, instead of $20,000 on a rebuild. Wood will last a long, long time if it is painted and allowed to stay reasonably dry.
A final thought... never hire the builder who can be there right away. There is almost always a good reason for that.
Rory McDonnell is a General Contractor, Licensed Carpenter and Architectural Designer with Build, a construction firm in Stratford, Ontario, specializing in new custom homes and renovations.